Thursday, May 24

Tidy? or Messy?

Messy collection. CD's DVD's, owls, dolls, bears, knitting, you name it. CRAP.But it is my crap, & I cant seem to part with it.
This bookcase would be more of a mess, but GOM sits beside the bookcase, & is inclined to obsessively tidy it all. At the extreme right you can just see the untidy toybox peeping out behind GOM's chair.

And here, on my side of the headboard, more books waiting to be read or finished. More mess.

I need to do some downsizing of the growing messiness in my life. I am a hoarder, much to my dismay.
When I was growing up, the constant cry was 'tidy up'. We lived in a very small house, so tidiness was essential really. But I was never keen to do the tidying- nor did I like the result much.
I remember going to school, I would walk to meet a friend, & she was usually running late. She had 2 older brothers, & a baby sister. I loved going to use the toilet in their house, because they had a huge calendar that hung on the wall, & her brothers used to write each other rude messages on the calendar. I loved to read the messages, & would always come out laughing.
Because her mother was always busy with the baby or the brothers, the house was always untidy. There would be books all over the place, football boots by the fire, drying off. Newspapers scattered about. Socks airing by the fire on a rack. They had 2 very fat cats, & they would sit beside the fire, or all over the seats. The kitchen was a huge room with one end of it the dining living room area. It seemed always sunny & warm in that wonderful, busy, messy kitchen.
My girlfriend had long hair, & her mother would plait it for her, & she would squeal with pain, & pull faces. I had wished my hair was long, but when I saw the ritual of the plaiting, I was not so keen. My friend would be apologising for being late, for her mother taking so long to plait her hair. I would watch the comfortable, chubby form of her mother, surrounding her family in love, it seemed with her size, & cheery face.
But I loved it all. I would sit happily among the cats, & watch the motes in the sunlight streaming through the kitchen window, & bask in the lovely warmth of the atmosphere. I was always sad when it was time to go, & we had to venture out into the cold morning air, & run shivering through the cold frost laden gully, that swooped down so steeply, & darkly.
The earth would stand on stalks with the hard frost, looking like funny little dirt trees. The ice would be thick in the puddles, & our hands would hurt with the intense cold. Grass would be heavily frosted white, & would seem ready to break or shatter if touched.
When we got to school, we would go to the oil heaters lining the class rooms, & try to warm our hands. They stung painfully as they thawed out. I cant believe, looking back, that we were not allowed to wear long pants. Our winter clothes never included long trousers at all. I suppose it has all changed now, with the advent of track pants for children going to school, or long pants at least.
But I still remember the wonderful relaxed mess, as being so much nicer than neat. I had another friend, whose mother was a neat freak. There was no relaxed comfort there. She was thin, angular, awkward, & seemed to keep her house the same. No mess, no warming boots or slippers. No chaotic heaps of books or toys. Just neat, clean order.
And I recall another friend whose house was the opposite. So messy the chickens ran in & out of the house. One might encounter cat pee or worse in the rooms. The kitchen was the domain of dogs & cats on the benches. Incredible. People said her mother was mad, or at least a little crazy.. she may have been.
The chaos & mess in that house seemed audible, cacophanous, not the wonderful humming melodic notes of the first friend, nor the thin squeak of the neat house.
I wonder what sort of noise my house makes. A chaotic one I guess, with laughter & barks, perhaps.
I just know I always felt much more comfortable in messy houses where casual was the order of living, than in sterile tidy houses. On the other hand, totally chaotic dirt was not to my taste either.


alphabet soup said...

There's always a happy medium isn't there? If I were to post photos of my back room (archeological dig) you would fall down.Not sure whether it would be from horror or laughing. But definately no cats on any surfaces where food is prepared in my home.

Ms Soup

joyce said...

Casual is where it's at. What makes me most uncomfortable is a house where everything matches like in a decorating magazine. It just doesn't feel homey to me. A huge disorganized dirty mess is not all that much fun either. I hope I am somewhere in the middle as you seem to be. BTW, I don't think books sitting around waiting to be read constitute a mess.

Molly said...

Now you have me wondering what kind of noise my house makes! My in-laws is the squeaky clean variety, where you feel you should apologise for the creases you make on the couch by sitting on it, and where, if you should so desire, you could eat, not only off the kitchen floor but also off the floor in the garage! Obviously animals are not tolerated in that house. But I think, and their son agrees, that there is nothing more decorative than a cat who knows he is king of the house, draped over the back of the sofa! I like a house that is clean and tidy enough, but easy-going and comfortable, so that people feel at home when they visit....

Henri said...

Ah, Meggie , I sit here , laughing , in our study , totally surrounded by utter chaos as you well know ! By comparison your place is a model of cleanliness and tidiness . Books lying about never qualify as rubbish or untidiness to me - they are always treasure waiting to be mined . Your place ' sings' well !

Tracey Petersen said...

I have a sister in law who is so tidy that her house terrifies me. A bit of mess is evidence that a life is being lived in the house! But chickens in the house is a bit too much!

smilnsigh said...

Precious entry!

And thank you much for being concerned about my comments 'problem.' :-) I really am fine though. Even took off that awful Word Verification thing. No need for nice friends to suffer for my carelessness.


Lucy said...

That idea about the note the house makes is really interesting...
I suppose there's creative clutter and clutter that stops things happening, cared-for mess and uncared-for mess. I guess if it's how you like it that's best; I love aspects of our house and the way we live in it, but it's always work in progress, sometimes I wish it was finished and there were no more decisions or ordering to be made, other times I'm reconciled that that's life: work in progress!
Your place looks lovely to me.

catalyst said...

I'm reminded of an expression: a clean desk is the sign of a sick mind. Perhaps the same with houses. (No sick minds in my house!)

Liz said...

What a nice post. I especially like your question about what noise your house makes.... sometimes mine makes too cacophanous a noise, but other times it's a pleasant hum, never ever quiet.

Sheila said...

Oh dear, I fear mine is a monotonous droning noise!
I'm one of those people who likes everything in it's place.
It's always tidy, but there are times when I don't dust for weeks.
It looks okay until you do a white glove test, as my dear departed MIL used to do. She thought she was so discreet too, bless her.
I like the 'public' bits to be tidy, but the family room is a bit of a catch all. There is nothing I like better than a good 'chuck-out'
and we have a rule now, that when something new comes in, something old has to go out.

Quilting Kim said...

Wow, Meggie, you sure brought back a flood of memories with the story of your friend getting her hair plaited. My grandmother used to plait my hair every morning and tie ribbons on the ends. I remember her yelling for me to stand still - she thought I had ants in my pants, but I hated the plaits. I wanted just wanted to pull my hair back in a ponytail. My granddaughter's mother is a hairdresser and she french braids her hair, which looks beautiful, but I can't imagine how she sits still for that.