I'm mellowing as I age.
My house is never all clean at once. Well, almost never. One day a month, after the cleaning ladies have been here, everything is spit shine gleaming. It doesn't last long. Maybe two hours, tops.
And I'm ok with that.
In years past I wore myself ragged, sweating and obsessing, pursuing the ever elusive perfect magazine house. I cleaned before the cleaning ladies came. Sometimes I cleaned after they left. I ironed everything. Cleaned the hardwood floors on hands and knees. Many times I would open a drawer or closet to put something away and get sidetracked for hours making that one drawer/closet picture perfect. Only problem was, it was never clean/organized/pretty enough. There was always one thing or ten I felt needed to be done before I could pour myself a glass of tea, grab a magazine, light a candle and just relax and enjoy home. It was exhausting.
Then I turned 40 and we sold our house and lived life in limbo for a year and a half. Anyone who's already passed that milestone will possibly agree that mid-life crises are very real. For me, it finally dawned one day that time marches on no matter what's on my floors or how much dust covers the furniture. No matter whether my spice rack is alphabetized or not. No matter whether my unmentionables are folded precisely into uniform sized squares or not. There will be no do-overs for today. Who knew that three storage units and five thousand boxes could change your life?
So I stopped obsessing. It's one of the most freeing things I've ever done.
Anyway, here are my secrets for keeping up a home:
#1: I only have one set of sheets per bed. I've winnowed down a collection large enough to fill an entire hall closet to the point that the four remaining are not even matching sets. My spare linen collection will fit on two shelves in one of the closets in my bathroom now. This eliminates the need to ever fold sheets, which is a task I absolutely loathe. I do however have a decent collection of pillowcases. That way, if I get an urge to change things up, I only have to swap out the pillowcases - much simpler!
I sometimes still iron the cases and the top edge (only!) of the flat sheet. I don't mind this at all - it's actually sort of relaxing.
#2: I put a bench in my closet. This thing is such a workhorse. It's good for folding clothes, suitcase packing, sorting dry cleaning, and of course sitting on while tying shoes. Which in turn keeps all that business out of other places and I can just shut the door on it if things get out of hand.
Speaking of closets...#3: I hang my boots. Years ago, The Container Store had some snappy little boot hangers in their catalog. However, at $10 a pop, they seemed irritatingly pricey. So I found these pant hangers with sliding clips that do the same job for about $1.50 each at Target.
Update November, 2011: Well, it seems this little post has gone a wee bit viral in Pinterestland. Thank you all for stopping by my humble little corner of the blogosphere. I just wanted to let everyone know that those boots are still hanging in there just fine. (with my sincere apologies for that awful pun.) If you look closely, you can kinda see that only the insides are in the hanger clips, so if there were any marks in the boots, they'd be on the inside where nobody could see them. However, guess what? There are no marks on any of them, anywhere. Yes, I actually went and checked for y'all! I don't know if that is because I got lucky with the hangers, in that they don't really have "teeth" on the clips or not, but there you go. Happy hanging everyone!