Friday, July 8, 2011

Leaving you with a controversy...

Oh yes, friends, I'm luring you in with a bit of red, white and blue plus the CK logo, but what I'm really wanting to do is:Fix you with a piercing stare!
But the dear little red, white and blue Wooden Horse of Troy does it so much better than I could.
The red, white and blue sofa is a great starting place.
When I took the photos earlier this week the sofa was looking as good as it gets.
Dear Sarah and Serenata's cushions had a fitting home for their beauty and friendliness.
But yesterday evening the sofa was a real state, with cushions all over the place, feather stuffing coming out a little bit and making everything look messy, and dog footprints and burrs from the garden more evident than I would like.
This morning I tidied it and I feel Oh So Much Better!
So this is the controversy, or, perhaps, just a chance to ask your opinion. The sweet and forthright Thrifty Mrs has done a post on mess recently - have a look at it here!
Of course the debate isn't new - Sarah and I were going round in circles on it back in November 2009, and we hardly invented it. Look at the comments on that post - what great variety of thinking there is on the subject of mess in homes and on blogs!
It's slowly coming to me (and I'm 42 now - how long did that take?) that I resent other people telling me how tidy my home should be, and that, out of rebellion and general ignorance, I let my home be far messier than I wanted for years. I'm now working on keeping our house just as tidy as I want. Not anyone else. It's all about me. How shellfish. But it works - for me, that is the secret of keeping a tidy-enough house. Not tidy by someone else's definition, but tidy-enough for me. I'm not perfect (note yesterday's sofa disaster, left over until today) but I'm working it out for myself now. Ha!
I'd love your comments, and have this super-duper thought by a new (to me) 16th century French philosopher to set us off:
"Everyone thinks himself the master pattern of human nature; and by this, as on a touchstone, he tests all others. Behavior that does not square with his is false and artificial. What brutish stupidity!”
Thanks to The Happiness Project to pointing me in the direction of Montaigne, with that quote. I'm going to be taking my week off blogging now. I may just pop in to see if you've said anything about tidiness etc, but I won't be visiting your blogs or posting myself for a week now. Thanks so much for joining in this week's red, white and blue fun!


Amanda said...

The thing is, should'nt mess be called 'living a life'? I'm not the tidiest person and find being tidy makes me miserable. This house seems tidy but thats because I factored lots of cupboards in so the mess is behind closed doors! Even in my summerhouse my mess goes behind the sofa. I'm a hidden messy person LOL

summerfete said...

Oh gosh I'm always hiding mess in my blog photos!

I am messy.

ps. my all time pet hate is putting laundry away,
I often have a mountain before I give in, and I dont even iron!

Peeriemoot said...

My house is *very* untidy and cluttered. I'd like it to be tidier but I've resigned myself to the fact that as none of us are inherently tidy and there are an 8-year-old and a 4-year-old in the house with corresponding amounts of plastic tat, it's not going to be as tidy as I'd want it for some time yet. My mother is a naturally tidy person so I'm always comparing our house to my parents house - not a good idea!

Jane and Chris said...

My house is as tidy as it can be. We live in the country with 13 cats and not enough cupboard space. I do not like clutter but untidiness is fine with me. I prefer to feel comfortable in a lived in home, than uncomfortable in a show home.
Jane x

Lola Nova said...

It is actually something of a sticky point with me. I love things to be tidy, if the house is too mussed up, I feel a bit scattered and irritated. I grew up in a house that was always clean and I suppose it comes from that. However, in the last few years I have had to let go of the notion that the house needed to be spotless at all times because it just wasn't real life, I couldn't keep up.

I am learning to accept that sometimes things are going to be a mess. I am struggling still with not feeling horrified when someone stops by and the house is a wreck. I am 42 as well, I guess we will never stop learning.

Rebecca S. said...

Hmmmm...interesting! My husband was a neat freak when I met him, but after living with me and having four children in the house, he is much more relaxed. I do like a neat and tidy house but I don't get too attached...housework is like beading a string with no knot on the end...remember? No point getting hung up on maintaining perfection at all times - it takes the satisfaction out of those little corners we do manage to make beautiful (and take pictures of). I hope you are well and happy these days, Floss.

marigold jam said...

Well I like some sort of order - without it I get quite stressed BUT I also work on the principle that there is no point doing housework until I will be able to notice the difference! I keep my kitchen worktops clean and wiped and the bathroom too but apart from that my house is often untidy usually covered with cat hairs and my windows might need cleaning. I say Life is too short to spend it cleaning but then if you are a person who likes cleaning then go for it. Each to his own and as long as nobody is likely to become ill from the lack of cleanliness and chores done then what does it matter? I have friends who are constantly plumping up the cushions and who have immaculate homes and others where you can write your name in the dust and I know which I prefer to spend time with and in whose home I feel welcome and comfortable!! An interesting conundrum you have offered us here. Have a good week.

Serenata said...

So lovely to see the owl, and cushion in your house and to know they are loved :-)

I would love to be tidy and organised, always used to be as a child, everything had a place, was neat and orderly and dusted, but sadly that aspect of me seems to have gone for a very long wander and not come back...I am still waiting. It is a continual struggle with me at the moment, but then I have other things going on as well, that don't help.

I would like my home to be tidy enough to not feel immense shame the minute I have to invite someone in! All I can say is that it is a blessing in one way that my parents live 12,000 miles away as I would be constantly stressed whenever they visited! Or perhaps it would be a good thing as I would have to make more effort. ;-)

Sarah - Red Gingham said...

Oh Floss I had completely forgotten that time! I just went back and read my messy kitchen post. I have to say, nothing has changed at all. I think you are either into tidying up or not and clearly I am not!! I think life is hard enough as it is without housework.

As for time, who has enough of that?? I feel awful when people call in and it's a tip, but with four little people constantly messing up what I do tidy, well what can I do? It's just life these days in our house. I like my friends who actually feel at home in our mess and they are a few of them.

I'm absolutely loving homeschooling by the way. Sorry to hear yours didn't go to plan. Unfortunately there isn't time for blogging these days. Still I'm sure blogging will be here for years to come.

Isobel said...

Hi Floss,
Here is what I think: I am totally sure that you cannot call a "pristine all the time" house a home. Plus I don't believe that a house that is featured on a magazine is that clean and tidy ALL the time. My house is a home. I am not a fancy person. I am clean, and try to be organised, but when we have kids and a full of life home, you will have the messy sofa, dogs footprints on the carpet, cats hair on your top, the crayon art on the light painted wall and so on. All these things can be dealt with. And being honest with you, I wouldn't change the way I live for anyone that can think that my home is a wreck (and to be honest, it isn't). I much prefer to have my family and myself happy than to knock myself out for a kind of house that my family would have to be prohibited to enjoy as it could get dirty or messy. Life is too short. Yeah, the dishes can wait overnight to be washed occasionally. It won't kill anybody. xx

Frog and Beef said...

I have thought often long and hard on this matter. It seems foremost to be a problem when a "neaty" and a "messy" live together and that equals stress and arguments. It is about respecting others I think. There has to be a little leeway in the relationship that will allow some room for each person to breathe and allow some "controlled" mess.
I am messy in a way that I do have areas of clutter (which does get tidied when I can no longer bear it - and believe me it does me good when I see the result) and I am neat in that I hate things to stay too long on the breakfast table and tidy them away, plus my desk is tidy and I adore sorting out the beads, ribbons, and items needed for my dolls into boxes etc. I love a garden in which the plants intermingle and you do not see the soil. My husband is very neat (he was commended at work on the tidyness of his desk) and he loves plants to stand alone and not to "stray". I know he thinks at times that I am a "slattern".
I think that "Yes" you do need to feel comfortable in your home and in your ways and "tidy enough for me" will work most times. But if you have a neat and a messy person living together it can lead to battles, so to respect what the other person needs and to at least achieve some of those requirements is essential for harmony.
I too hate to be told about cleanliness, neatness and other peoples expectations. It seems my husbands family îs full of ultra-tidy french wives who wipe as soon as you "mess" up an area and who fuss and reprimand their husbands for displacing things or for leaving foot/finger marks. They seem to run around with cloths clutched permanantly in their hands. Woe is you sneeze!
That way of being is not good either and I often wonder what they think of me, who was told (aged 18) by Stepmum "If you are going to live in Germany you will have to mend your ways!". (She was right in that at the last furnished place we rented in Germany the landlord told me that my final cleaning was unsatisfactory. He said quote "The couch table is not clean enough, I myself take 3 hours to clean and polish it for each new tenant" And that is just one item in the flat! Good heavens it would take a fortnight`s cleaning to have things up to idea of "clean". That is taking things too far and 40 years on from my Stepmum^s original words I though 2I am too old to stand for this!".
My home is neither particulary messy nor dirty, it is "lived in" and I respect the needs of my husband and my own. It works most times except when one of us is tired or out of sorts. So on the whole I would agree, revolt and the accompanying messiness comes at first, then you learn to do things foremost to your own idea of tidyness and to weave in the ideas of your tidy partner. It is a sign of caring when you stretch out over your own boundaries to incorporate some of the things your partner holds dear. A question of balance. I wonder what others think ?????