Clutter-Blind

Back in the Before Times, people would stop by our house, or be invited.

Maybe they would sit awhile, have a beverage, a snack, a meal. It depended.

 Back in the Before Times I always made sure the downstairs bathroom, the one guests use, was presentable, you know, just in case. 

Now, in these After Times, nobody stops by. 

And if they do, they’re not allowed in. 

Subsequently, that guest bathroom I used to keep nice, doesn’t get cleaned regularly, if at all. 

And you want to hear something depressing? Even if you don’t use something, it gets dirty. 

How is that fair? (It’s not.) 

But it’s true.  

Even unused things get dirty. 

Case in point: The yoga studio has been closed for a year. I go into that bathroom once a week only to fill watering cans to water the plants. 

The other day I noticed the sink has gotten filmy. The water in the toilet bowl has a black rim. 

Like I said, not fair. 

Last night G’s mom rolled in. Unannounced! From North Carolina!. Omg! So happy! It’s been eight months!

The first thing she asked to do was use the bathroom.

 And suddenly I saw my space with fresh eyes. I saw my neglected bathroom.

Damn.

When you see your space through the eyes of another, you suddenly realize how profoundly blind to your surroundings you’ve become. 

Intentionally blind. 

Sometimes even necessarily blind due to the press of more important things in life than the life-altering magic of tidying up. 

That’s what happened yesterday when Charlotte came.

My house isn’t a wreck, but it’s not as clean or uncluttered as I would like it to be, or as I claim I can’t be happy until it is. 

Which, I discovered last night, is a lie. Apparently I can be perfectly happy with less than a pristine, miminalist aesthetic.

Who knew?

But last night, after a year of pandemic living, I got to see my house through another person’s eyes, eyes not blind to the wallpaper of clutter, the stains of inattention.

I saw my space through Charlotte’s eyes, which are kind, loving, non-judgmental eyes.

Did Charlotte care  that the chrome wasn’t gleaming? The mirror freshly Windexed?

Nope.

Still, I wished I had cleaned the bathroom.

So, here’s the problem: If I say I value a clean, well-lighted place, but yet there is no place to put my soup bowl on the table at lunch time, I have a disconnect somewhere.

If I say I value, a clean, minimalist aesthetic, shouldn’t my space reflect that?

 When someone comes into my space I want them to see the things I think are important. 

That’s why I didn’t like seeing what my space had become last night when the veils of Covid house-blindness were unceremoniously lifted.

It’s okay. It’s getting to be spring now. The temps got into the 50s today. G put our bistro tables on the porch. We’re ready to entertain again.

It’s time to clean. To de-clutter, to donate stuff, to purge the pantry.

It’s time to wash windows, hang lighter drapes, shampoo carpets. 

I’m looking forward to people stopping again, having a drink, a snack, a meal. I am so hopeful that those days are getting closer as more and more people get the vaccine.

It’s time to get the guest bathroom all spiffed up. Polish the chrome, windex the mirror. It’s time to be clean, un-cluttered and filled with friends again.

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