Clutter

Ever since we planned Meg’s birthday party for when I’d be 35 weeks pregnant, I’ve had a backup plan: hire a cleaning service to come just before the party.  That way our house would look awesome for the party AND be cleaner just before the baby comes.

That was as far as my plan went.  I had no idea how to find a cleaning service (we’ve never used one).  I had no idea if I’d actually be comfortable with strangers in my house cleaning.  I never brought it up with Thomas and I wasn’t sure if he’d be thrilled with the idea (I assume he’d want to save the money and do it ourselves).  I figured there would be time to figure out all that later, once the house was in cleaning-service shape (basically, picked up enough that you can actually GET to whatever you want to clean).  Which is where the plan has fallen apart.

We have a lot of stuff.  Everywhere.  Actually, I should probably say I have a lot of stuff.  I’m a packrat/saver/stock-upper.  I don’t like getting rid of anything, because what if we might need it?  The old “If you actually need it, it’s easy to go out and buy a new one” actually pushes me further into packrat territory, because I am a major cheapskate and HATE the idea of spending money to replace something I already had and gave away/threw out.  Haaaaaaate.

The major “cleaning” we have to do before the party is not cleaning-service cleaning.  It’s reorganizing.  For instance, our kitchen counters are covered with all the stuff we use daily, because our cupboards are full of stuff we never use.  I’ve been working on the cupboards for a couple months now – giving away pots/pans/appliances we haven’t ever used (a BIG deal for me, since I’m always sure the second I give it away I’ll suddenly want it), throwing away old food, and moving rarely used stuff (like Christmas serving plates) out of the kitchen.

So “cleaning the kitchen counters” is not a 15-minute task that involves a spray bottle and some paper towels.  It’s a two-month process that involves going through every cupboard we have.  The whole house is like this and it’s driving me crazy.  I don’t want all this clutter!  I don’t want people to SEE all this clutter!  But…I also don’t want to clean anymore.  I’m tired, I’m hot, I’m uncomfortable.  I want this never-ending, lifelong project of managing the amount of stuff we have to be OVER.

But I can’t let myself stop.  I keep pushing and pushing, because I know myself.  My current obsession with purging stuff is NESTING.  It’s not my natural personality.  I’m 99% sure I won’t suddenly need anything I gave away.  This is stuff I’ve held on to for far too long.  For goodness sake, most of this stuff we’ve had our entire marriage (four years) and never used.  But if I let it slide for now, I’ll never get rid of it.  Not only am I feeling the ticking clock of the birthday party getting closer, I’m very aware my due date is getting closer.  I feel like anything we don’t need that is still around when I have the baby will stay around for a very long time and I don’t want that.

Oh yeah, and UNDERNEATH all that clutter is surfaces that need to be cleaned. Can’t I hire someone to do that?