In a recent post, I shared a picture of my messy kitchen.
I’ve done this quite a few times before.
And also here:
In the comments on that recent post, many of you said, “Oh, thank you for being vulnerable and keeping it real.”
But the funny thing is…I didn’t even feel vulnerable sharing my messy kitchen photos!
I think it’s because I know that my kitchen never stays that way.
But: my clean kitchen never stays that way either.
I have long accepted that homes (ok, mine at least!) are in a persistent state of ebb and flow.
This is normal. NORMAL NORMAL NORMAL.
Things get messy, I clean them up.
Things get messy again, and I clean them up.
Repeat ad nauseum.
So, in a single day, my kitchen could look like this.
And a bit later in the same day, it can look like this.
Messy-clean-messy-clean is normal
Unless you have a maid following you and your family around all day long, your house is not going to be in a persistent state of tidiness.
It is just impossible to keep things impeccably tidy all the time!
People wear clothes and then dirty laundry accumulates.
You cook dinner and then there are dirty dishes, pots, and pans.
You clean the bathroom, but then people shed body hair and splash toothpaste on the mirror.
(Ok, for me, it’s more that I keep hitting the mirror with my mascara wand. My vision is so bad, I have to get super close to the mirror to apply mascara, and then I inevitably hit the mirror with the wand.)
You put your shoes on the rack in a tidy manner.
And then you lazily chuck them into the closet after wearing them.
(That’s all me. No one else uses my closet!)
Getting back to clean is what matters
If you want to have a generally tidy, clean house, there’s good news: you don’t need to avoid the messy part of the cycle.
You just have to not stay stuck there!
If I take care of the dishes each night, they’re never gonna pile up too high.
If I wash the dirty laundry regularly, it will never become overwhelming.
If I take out the trash and recycling when it’s full, it won’t overflow.
If I tidy up here and there, the tidying will never be a 10-hour job.
But even if I DO let part of my house get stuck in the messy cycle for a while, the solution is still the same: I give myself a little grace for being normal, and then get it back to clean when I have some time to devote to it.
No harm, no foul.
You don’t see everyone’s ebb and flow
If you stopped to visit me randomly, you’d be likely to find some part of my house in the messy part of the messy-clean-messy-clean cycle.
In fact, my home is almost never ALL in the clean part of the cycle, except for times when I’ve listed a home for sale (or right before I’ve had a baby!)
But the problem with the internet is that we mostly see other people’s homes when they are in the clean part of the cycle.
And then our brains think, “Oh, everyone else’s houses are always clean, all the time.”
You know that oft-repeated saying about how the internet is the highlights of people’s lives, and we shouldn’t compare their highlights to our everyday lives?
Well, this is kinda the same concept.
Even people whose homes are generally clean still will have times where rooms are messy. ESPECIALLY the kitchens (assuming that they cook!)
So, don’t compare the messy part of your cycle to the clean part of someone else’s.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this! Do you find yourself thinking that you’re the only one with messes?
P.S. If you can’t do all, here are the three household tasks I recommend not skipping.
P.P.S. I wrote a little post about the messy-clean-messy-clean cycle back in 2012. So click here if you want a trip back in time and a picture of my old kitchen in a messy state.
P.P.P.S. I don’t have ADHD or depression or a physical disability that would keep me from cleaning. I’m writing from my experience as an able-bodied person, because that’s all I know.