Sunday, August 4, 2013

Fun with Housework and Cluttered Desks

If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is the significance of a clean desk? ~Dr. Laurence J. Peter

A writer needs a little clutter going in her head. Got to pull those stories from somewhere. But I did finally almost get my desk cleaned off today. (I didn't show the corner that still has a pile of stuff to do something with.) 

I should have taken a before picture so you could have seen what weeks of dumping everything on the desk for later looked like. While I was working toward my deadline on the new book, I didn't have time to deal with some of the things coming across my desk. Well, that's a bit misleading. Those things didn't go "across" my desk. They landed on my desk and stuck to it like the bottom side of whatever it was had glue. 

A place for everything and everything in its place. That's great advice - except for a writer like me who hates throwing away anything related to that writing. The letter my editor sent me three books ago. The scraps of paper with inspiring quotes on them. The catalogs with my books listed in them. I can't throw those away! The Valentine card my husband gave me - three years ago. A granddaughter's Kindergarten graduation program. Various and sundry bulletins from church. A 2012 calendar. Oops, now I'm wondering if the stuff on my desk has only been building for weeks. Maybe it was months. 

Come to think of it, I'm sure it has been months. It's been more than months that I've been taking turns sitting with Mom. That's been three years now. As someone told me once, it's like having two full time jobs. Sitting with Mom and writing. That doesn't leave a lot of time for decluttering my desk or my bookshelves. Things get postponed. Those things pile up. But eventually the piles get too tall. Eventually I finish the last book and look forward to a new book. I seem to need the desk cleared off to get that fresh start on the new idea. My sister is already asking me if I've started on the new book. I don't think she wants to hear me whining about a deadline racing my way if I delay the writing too long. 

Perhaps my problem is that housework is not my favorite thing. My husband once told me - while I was not too happily cleaning up the stove after cooking his breakfast - that a lot of women loved cleaning. Guess he's not married to one of those "lot of women." 

I'm more in Erma Bombeck's camp. My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance. 

Or I have to confess to being right there with Phyllis Diller about ironing. I'm eighteen years behind in my ironing. There's no use doing it now, it doesn't fit anybody I know. My husband's shirts get dusty waiting for me to iron them and then they have to be washed again and the whole cycle starts over. Like Phyllis says, he's probably outgrown them by now anyway. 

And isn't this the truth? Housekeeping is like being caught in a revolving door. —Marcelene Cox

But I did find this quote from A.A. Milne to be too true today as I cleaned off my desk. One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries. 

I don't know that the discoveries were exciting, but I did find something I had searched high and low for, but not in the right pile of stuff. I knew it had to be there somewhere. I'm hoping I put it in a place where I will find it when I look for it again. 

But tonight I'm going to let Ruby Lou Barnhill have the last word. A bright person can always think of something better to do than housework. 

Well, almost the last word. What household chore do you hate the most? I've always hated dusting. Not a hard job, just one that seems so futile. And go ahead, you "lot of women" and tell me how much you love cleaning and the household chores you like. LOL!

P.S. If you're reading this, Tarasa, look close at the calendar. It's on the right day!!!


  1. No doubt in my mind I hate dusting & bathrooms more than anything. I wish there was such a thing as a *cleaning fairy* ! I love your posts . Faye Simer

    1. Thanks, Faye. Glad you enjoy my woolgathering here. And I need that cleaning fairy to visit my house, but she's been notably absent ever since I got married - a long time ago.

  2. I hate all forms of cleaning. But sweeping and dusting hate me too so we're even. :) (They bring on my asthma.) I guess laundry is tolerable, but not dishes by hand. And right now I have a whole stack (or two or three) of stuff to go through. :)

    1. I don't really mind laundry, Ann. I guess because I used to have to do it so much harder - using a wringer washer and carrying in and out the water. Automatic machines seem like a piece of cake compared to that or to how my mother had to wash clothes. But we can agree on that dusting bit. The Shakers were on to something - making everything plain and uncluttered so the cleaning was fast and easy.


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