Hi, I’m Christy and I’m a recovering neatnik. Once upon a time I was renowned for being “the girl who loves to throw out everything”. And I still enjoy throwing things out. The problem is simple. Most of the stuff in my house isn’t really my stuff.
Everyone tells you how your life will change after you have kids. You’ll never sleep again. You’ll never have sex again. You’ll never go on date night again. You’ll never see another movie. And you’ll never see life in quite the same way.
Some of this is true. Some of it is definitely not.
What no one mentioned to me is that my house would slowly be taken over by clutter. It was a gradual progression, as we accumulated both more kids and more of the stuff that comes with them. After our first kid, our house was still pretty reasonable. The dishes were always done right after meals. I would clean up the messy areas at night before I went to bed, and we only needed to do about one load of laundry a day for things to stay reasonably tidy.
Today as I look around my house, I see a giant dinosaur on the floor, a Cars puzzle, an unfolded basket of socks, and a vacuum. On my dining room table there’s a painting of cotton candy, paperwork from my son’s school, dental floss, a pair of shorts, and a lampshade. And I’m pretty sure that lampshade has been sitting on the dining room table for at least six weeks. I want to move it, but it serves as a reminder that I still haven’t taken my bedroom lamp in to be fixed. I probably wouldn’t bother except that the lamp was a wedding present… from a close family friend… who passed away last winter.
However, most of the clutter in my house can be explained in one word. TOYS. After my nieces were born, I thought the toys would die down as the wealth was spread. Boy, was I wrong! If anything, they continued to multiply, and Easter became just like Christmas! Our house is still reasonable for a house with three young kids, but it looks nothing like it looked before we had children.
All of this is now coming to a head because we are house hunting again. And our house has to look presentable for days (and possibly even weeks!) at a time. In fact, the first real estate agent who came to this house explained to me that I was going to have to take care of the “clutter” in the corner of the living room. I glanced at the (fairly neatly arranged) containers of toys in the living room, and then glanced back at her with raised eyebrows. (We had even moved our lampshade for this woman, although we later moved it back.)
“Oh, you mean…” I pause solely for effect, “the toys?”
She explained it to me as though I were a small child. “Yes, the toys. You’re going to have to clean out all the toys and clutter and put them in the basement before you have an open house. People will think you have toys in your living room because your house is too small.”
I have a decidedly average size house, however cluttered it may be, and I shrug. “Sure.” My husband hates it when I fight with real estate agents (which I’ve been known to do), and I drop the subject. We do not to sign the dotted line, and she leaves.
I don’t know what’s more fun, the house hunting or putting our house on the market. And now for the question of the hour…
How do you cheat the Law of Expanding Stuff?