Heather Smith

The following list of helpful hints will help you keep up appearances in the housekeeping department with little or no effort. Enjoy.
  1. Have you just received a telephone call from a friend saying they're popping over in 15 minutes? Two words: Lysol wipes. Not very 'green' I know, but in about 30 seconds you can give your bathroom a once over and your friends will never suspect the slovenly conditions in which you normally live.
  2. Employ the "interrupted vacuuming" ruse. To do this, simply plug in the vacuum cleaner and place it in the middle of the living room. Then go about your usual daily business - watching television, eating bonbons, writing the next best thing in young adult literature, etc. If someone drops by, or if a family member returns home, greet them slightly out of breath and declare, "Oh, you just caught me in the middle of my housecleaning." This works a treat. Trust me.
  3. Never, ever, have glass kitchen cupboards. Not only is it just another thing to Windex but no longer will you be able to stock your cupboards in a quick and easy nilly-willy fashion.
  4. Ya know how some people have a junk drawer? Get yourself a junk closet, or even better, a junk room. This is the spot where you throw all miscellaneous items. Why spend time sorting things when you could be writing the next Giller Prize winner or watching Coronation Street? It's all about prioritizing.
  5. Hand your significant other a pair of rubber gloves and declare a sensitivity to chemical cleaners. Tell him/her that you've tried your best but the Windex spray is deep in your lungs and you feel breathless and lightheaded. While lamenting your environmental allergies, squint, cough, sniff, gag and, most of all, look disappointed in yourself, as if there was nothing you wanted more than to be able to provide a squeaky clean environment for your family. Then, while your partner is scrubbing away, you can go lie down to recover from the so-called Mr. Clean induced dizziness.
  6. To give the illusion of being a good housekeeper, frequently update your Facebook status with the following: (your name) is cleaning, (your name) is scrubbing, (your name) has a lemony fresh house, (your name) loves the new Lysol outdoor fresh scent, (your name) broke the vacuum again from overuse. (You name) has dishpan hands. You get the idea. Something to note: It is very satisfying to write these status updates on days when your house is particularly untidy.
  7. Have a child in your house under the age of five? Hand them a duster. Looking industrious, they'll wave it over the surfaces and then, at the end of the day, you can update your Facebook status to say: (your name) is happy to say that the duster was in full use today.
  8. Speaking of children, get yourself some. A messy house is always easily blamed on them. If you can't get your hands on any little runts at the very least befriend someone who has a few. Then, when visitors come, you can say "Oh, Mary, was here earlier with her six children, and let me tell you those children are busy. Just look what they've done to the house!"
When all else fails, say screw it. Post these quotes around your house and be done with it:

"A clean house is the sign of a boring person." ~author unknown.

"At worst, a house unkept cannot be so distressing as a life unlived." ~Rose Macaulay

"Housework, if it's done right, can kill you." ~John Skow

and my personal favourite:

"Our house is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy." ~author unknown

This last quote sums up my house. I refuse to spend my time ragging on my kids to keep things "just so". They should be free to be comfortable in their own house.

So while my house is kept sanitary, it is not perfectly in order ... and that's fitting, 'cause neither am I.
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4 Responses
  1. Iron Monkey Says:

    Your husband comments...
    Number 2. So THAT'S why the vacuum is always out.
    Number 5. I knew this was true. I predict you'll still keep up the pretense even though you basically 'fessed up in your blog. "Oh but, that wasn't true, I was just being funny in my blog. The cleaner is over there"
    Number 7. April loves to dust!

  2. CLB Says:

    April even dusted my apartment once. She asked me if she could. I mean how can you turn down such a sweet child?

  3. nan forler Says:

    You're speaking my language, sistah! Though I do seem to stretch this philosophy just a bit further, I love this positive reinforcement. My mother, who in her loving way has always comforted me when I lament about my messy house with "but you're creative," even gave me the mug that says "a clean house is the sign of a wasted life." I love my mom.
    Last year, when Maia had to draw a floor plan for her "fire evacuation plan," her teacher was particularly interested in one room upstairs where the junk piles up. She'd labelled it "the dirty room."

  4. Hahaha - I am sure if we had an extra bedroom we'd have a "dirty room" too.

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