It’s not a mess

Who doesn’t want to wake up every day to a picturesque, Pinterest-like of a home with everything tucked in nice and neat in cute boxes and with no toys or bread crumbs on the floor and most of the cups and plates in the cupboards where they belong?

I believe it is unnecessary to even actually pose this question to anyone. The answer is obvious. Or we may think it is…

When I was growing up, our house was always full of life. We were a family of 8 with the addition of all the different pets, ranging from rabbits to hamsters and eventually cats, we had along the years. There was always something going on; someone getting ready for a football game, someone preparing food, someone taking a shower, someone playing with a pet, someone studying. It was an endless list of someones doing something. And needless to say, no matter how often mom (along with us when we decided to stop being annoying babies/kids/teenagers) would make a superwoman effort to keep things in their places, there’d be a slight state of disorganization on most weekdays.

In retrospect, I don’t think our house was a mess at all, no matter what outsiders might have thought of it. It was the safe-zone of 6 children and their parents who struggled to keep them fed, comfortable and happy. It was a place of comfort, experimentation, experience and most of all, life.

If all the boots and jackets and mittens and hats were in their rightful places on the first snowy day of winter, it would have meant that nobody went outside today.

If the legos, Ninja-turtle action figures, plastic animals and Bratz-dolls were on the shelves and boxes, it would have meant that nobody played today.

If the pillows were perfectly aligned on the couch with the snooze blanket folded on the side, it would have meant that nobody squeezed in on the couch that night to fight over which movie to watch for longer than any movie actually lasted.

For me, a constant state of perfect organization of any house isn’t ideal. It’s scary.

It is a sign of one of these two things:
1. The house is abandoned
2. Someone at the house never rests, never sits down, never does anything except organize and clean

Neither of the options is good. I wouldn’t have swapped our house for a house straight from a ladies magazine for any price (mom will definitely disagree!). But hey, even IKEA display rooms have toys on the floor or on the beds, because they aim for authenticity, and they aren’t even real houses…

The internet is flooding with campaigns of “embracing yourself”, “loving yourself as you are” and the like. Why don’t we then apply the same idea to embrace the occasional mess? I mean, it is like a win-win deal: you accept the disorganization of your house at times and learn to see it as the result of a well-lived day, and hence, get rid of the mental strain and stress of “why, just why!?” (I really can’t find a word to describe the feeling) when looking at the house.

If you have kids or younger siblings, they’ll grow up, perhaps learn to pick up their own stuff someday. (If you don’t, forget this post because your house is probably never messy!) Eventually, toys will go into their places at the end of the day and dishes will be done along with the laundry. There’ll probably be a frantic “clean-everything-up” day approximately once a week or a couple of longer nights for a little update, or a 20 minute nightly chaos management session and that’s it.

So, drop the stress about the mess, please. Because honey, it’s not mess. It’s life.

EDIT/DISCLAIMER:

Seems like the post has sparked a lot of controversy from readers since some have understood its message to imply that we should never clean or organize our houses. This is not the argument. The argument is that when on some specific day, things get messy due to being busy, occupied, having unexpected events etc. it should be okay and not cause immense stress to the occupants of the house. I believe in tidiness and organization as much as any human does, but I also believe in having mercy on yourself at times. I don’t need to write a post about how to keep your house clean, everyone knows that. I am just against all the pressure and stress accompanied with how we feel about disorganization and tidying alike.

-Halima

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