NaBloPoMo Day 3: I despise the phrase Super Fling Boogie, Fly Lady.

Our house is not clean. Seriously. (That’s why you haven’t been invited over for dinner or coffee.)

Our house is very small. We have more stuff than storage space for that stuff. And I know we need to either look inside ourselves for some motivation to release Stuff, or else we need one of those television crews to come over and humiliate us into The Disposing of The Stuff.

We have lived here six years, and we haven’t yet hung anything (except for a few photos here and there) on the walls. Our family room carpet is disgusting, and we haven’t yet been able to find the cash to rework it.

With all of that said, I’m supposed to be making a video of our bedroom sometime in the next seven days. I’ll leave it at that, because the ideas stirred up in your imagination are surely more dazzling (and Marvin Gaye-ish) than what is actually taking place.

I’m feeling surprisingly shamefaced.

I guess I just need you to tell me that your place is a dump, too. Or, better yet, motivate me to step away from the kids, the computer, the knitting, the muffins, the whatever, and Beautify. I dream of entering a fresh-smelling house with zero clutter, clean carpets, and kids who eat anything I put on their plate. Right now I’m 0 for 4. (My mother-in-law just returned my copy of Sink Reflections. That stinkin’ bright pink book has been screaming and following me around the house spiderwalk-style for the past 48 hours.) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

52 thoughts on “NaBloPoMo Day 3: I despise the phrase Super Fling Boogie, Fly Lady.”

  1. we’ve lived in our house for 6 years too, and have a grand total of 7 things hung on the walls. that’s counting all the rooms except my son’s—the walls of his room are covered. we keep saying we’re waiting till we do the Big Renovation to hang things up, but really….like we couldn’t just take the things down and put them back up again? it’s not like we want to superglue them to the walls.

    and i can’t even talk about the clutter. so much clutter.

    that there bright pink book looks evil…..

  2. The clutter. It is killing me. I want to take a giant garbage bag and a blindfold and dispose of it all but then things will be missed. Maybe? GA! Do you ever have the start over fantasy? Just walk away and start all over? No? Just me then. Hm.

  3. We have also lived in our home for six years. I don’t want to talk about the walls. And I don’t want to listen to my mom talk about the walls, either.

    We manage to keep most of our clutter piled into a single room. We call it The Office when we are speaking to other people. To each other my husband and I call it The Crap Room. Don’t go in there. Seriously.

    My advice? Throw things away. Lots of things. Just get rid of it. You’ll be surprised how little you miss it. I do this once or twice a year. But it always manages to build up again…

  4. Aaaaah!! Us too! Small house + many small boys + too much stuff = disaster most of the time!

    I always say that it’s nothing a small explosive couldn’t clear right up. Let me know if you want to go in on a case of dynamite.

  5. Our house is almost always a mess. Even just after the cleaners come and make all the piles tidy and clean all the surfaces they can find. Plus we haven’t hung anything.

    But you know what? If you invite people over they tend to be so impressed they don’t care! I learned this from my husband, who doesn’t particularly notice the mess.

  6. Okay – I have a lot of ways I could commiserate (small house, 5 people, 5 animals, 20 families worth of JUNK) but I have a uniquely disgusting trait to share instead.

    We have a line of gray filth/hair at animal level on every public access wall in our home. (Our animals arent allowed in the bedrooms.) You can see it here:

    I actually even photoshopped some to make it disappear a little bit – in real life? It’s way more gross.

    Feel better now?

  7. Oh yeah. My house is a pit. And it’s not because I’m not working at it… the mess is just faster than I am. And more agile. And kind of mean.

    We have a garage that has never, will never actually see a car. Because whatever you AREN’T seeing in my house? It’s out there. And there are mice in them thar piles.

  8. Dude, Not only is it a dump, my whole post yesterday (NaBloPoMo stakhanovism round mine, oh yes) was about how unutterably squalid it is. It’s like, beautiful synchronicity about our shitty houses! I’d link to it, but I’m too pigshit stupid. Go see. House looks like crap.

  9. I have the same Stuff problem. If I had to make a list…
    general art miscellanea
    stuff i can’t even categorize
    more stuff.


  10. My place is a dump. My husband is a computer bits and misc tool hoarder of the worst degree. He can probably rebuild an entire ford bronco with the tools that he keeps mostly in our dining room, if only we had a garage or a yard, because sadly we live in a small condo, and he hasn’t quite figured that out yet.

    Also we DID rip out our gross carpet and put down nice wood laminate, but haven’t finished any of the trimwork or room transition pieces. It’s been over 2 years now.

    And finally, everything is covered with dog hair.

    So there. You are not the only ones waiting for horrified british housekeepers to come in and start pitching things out.

  11. I have zero excuse (single, childless, live alone) other than laziness, packratism, and crafting ADD (which is probably not a real thing but it’s mine). My apartment has more crap crammed in it than several houses could comfortably hold. I have a storage closet that you can’t open the door for fear of getting squashed (a la any number of cartoons).

    Imagine how bad it would be if there were more of me?

  12. Hi, remember me, the introducer of the Flylady? My house is still a pit, too. You are not alone, you are not alone, you are not alone. :)

  13. what is this stuff on walls that you speak of? I vaccuumed the other day and had to clean out the vaccuum bag IMMEDIATLY AFTERWARDS. And it was a brand new bag when I started. urgh.
    I blame the child personally. Even though I know it’s because I’d much rather take a nap than mop the floor.

  14. The only time our NJ house was spotless was the 2-3 hours before our big Christmas party, and the two weeks we had it on the market before we sold. That’s about it.

    The only times our SC house has been clean since we arrived are just before we moved in and the 2-3 hours before our big Christmas party last year. I am hopeful that it’ll be that clean again before THIS year’s Christmas party, but I don’t have the money for a cleaner, so it’s looking doubtful.

    Also – pictures? Hanging all over the house, but not in our master bedroom. We have one lone 6×6 painting that is only up to cover the large nail the former owners left behind. We were too lazy to pull it out.

  15. I moved in with my roommate in August. There are at least 6 boxes still in the living room waiting to be unpacked. Yet these boxes are opened because I have needed at least one thing from them so these boxes sit opened yet unpacked in the living room. Also-When I unpacked my spice/baking stuff and tried to combine it with my roommates spices I found the the roommate had beef bullion with a best if used by May 1979…um yeah.

  16. I’d tell you that I’m a bit slob-ish and that my flat needs a good cleaning and de-cluttering but I’m trying to fool the readers of my blog that I’m not such a slovenly pig.

  17. My place is so cluttered it makes me want to cry. Since the Twerp is only 4 months old that means we are surrounded by neglect-o-matics (johnny jump ups, exosaucers, swings, etc) that take up an entire room to themselves. I had someone over today and they literally could not get to the door without rearranging the furniture as they went.

    Not to mention that we are potty training so I am pretty sure that every inch of my house has pee on it.

  18. you are supposed to CLEAN??? When did that start??
    No really, I am the worst house wife ever. I think it is coming to the point I am going to have to get a job or actually clean … and it is a toss up on which way I go with that.
    One wall in the living room has these huge sepia tone flower pics, because we could never decide on artwork we like. The other main wall has original stuff, mine and his and hers (the 6 year old)
    My floor is nasty and covered in toys …
    you are not alone! Never feel alone. June Cleaver was just a character on TV …

  19. Thank you! It helps to know that we are not alone! I swear sometimes my ego (I don’t know what to call it) works ~overtime~ assuring me that I, and I alone, am the only person incapable of keeping a clean home. I *sucked* when I was a stay at home mom and I’m even worse now.

    Having said that: I still maintain that your home should, in the words of Oprah, “rise up and greet you when you walk in the door”. Wouldn’t that just feel great?

    I’m going to keep plugging away. Because the thing is – I deserve a clean home and you can too!

    Good luck!

  20. My Aunt once said, “I am so proud of you. While I would have shut myself up in the house making the baseboards shine, you are out enjoying life with your family.” She then brushed the pile of rubble off the couch and sat down to have a coughing fit from all cat hair and dust in the air.

  21. I certainly have lived in my share of dumps, but finally, with one kid in high school, and one kid moved out, and everyone working and a housekeeper once a week, we are somewhat under control.

    BUT, I have a 10 year old dog with bladder issues, so our carpets border on nasty. Well, they don’t border…they are there, even with our own steam cleaner that is used almost daily.

  22. Pshaw I say to all you young and whiney short-timers!

    Try 30 years in the same house, two boys raised and gone (but not their stuff, oh no, not yet their stuff!) how many pets over time? (insert extended pause for deep thought) Let’s see, that comes to 6 dogs (not counting the one we had to return after it clawed and ripped its way through four bedrooms, all living areas and the leather interior of my car in the first 24 hours) 5-8 cats, 2 rabbits, 2 guinea pigs, 2 turtles, 2 hamsters, (there was one point at which my more sensible half said “unless you want two husbands, this trend had better kick into reverse real soon, woman!” ) & 1 iguana (don’t ask).

    And remember — houses here in California don’t have basements or attics (more’s the pity)

    I’ll see your so-called “clutter” and raise you one euphemistically labeled “laundry room” plus seven closets and a three-car garage!

    So there!

  23. Ours doesn’t clean itself either, dammit. My excuse is fun, though! Wildly implausible, yet 100% true: my husband was a fund manager with a branch office in our home until 2006. You may or may not be aware of how much paper is generated in the managing of investments.
    A LOT.

    Then he quit that to be a professional magician.
    You may or may not be aware of the volume of books, manuscripts, props, costumes, and STUFF used in the art of legerdemain.

    Not to mention the kid, and his devotion to Little Plastic Shit.

    I have almost no interest in cleaning. I do spend time occasionally organizing, systematizing, and flinging. (And Salvation Army-ing.) I have given up on a clean house, and will be happy with one that is not dangerously unsanitary, and helps, rather than prevents, the doing of things we actually want to do.

  24. you’re adorably cute.

    my house is perfect, fp; get over it. i have no boxes (30+…or so) around, waiting to be unpacked (after 10 years, mind you!). i have no cat hair NOR (ney, NOR!) on the couches nor carpets. cat puke?! ha! i scoff. (what cat puke? ::covers eyes::) my house is clean (said like the poltergeist woman)!


  25. 2 adults, 4 jobs, 2 cats, 1 fiber business, 1 pack rat, 2 crafters, 2 formerly avid readers, 1 bedroom apartment with country hearts wallpaper in the kitchen. Yeah, even my family isn’t allowed to come over.

  26. I have a 2 bedroom ranch. We were supposed to be here for 5 years (starter home) next week it will be 9 years. Like Rachel we were avid readers, 1 business run out of house, 2 children, two huge dogs, two tall adults and only 1 closet!!!!!!!! I also have huge energy envy. I envy everyone who has the energy to keep house because I.have.none.

  27. Earlier this school year, I took on the Fly Lady and cleaned my kitchen sink every morning. Know where that led? I was happy about having a sink without contagion, yet still couldn’t walk thru the family room due to piles of kid this and kid that. And no one admired my clean and shiny sink, go figure.

    After 10 years and 3 kids in this house, my goals are simple: kids clean toilets once a week, tubs get cleaned every 2 weeks (still working on that one), clean clothes on most of us daily, an attempt at home cooked dinners most nights and getting all kids and required papers to the right place on the right day at the right time. That last one is a KILLER. My house, it is a total embarrassment. My kids, on the other hand, seem to be fairly happy. Life gets in the way of so many things.

    We have all been there or are there. Take heart, you are NOT alone.

  28. I’m not here to motivate. I’m here to join the Dump circle; I live in a dump and it is out of control. We have the same problem – small house, nowhere to store stuff, lots of kids, zero decorator skillz/dezire.

  29. Me too! I have piles of clean laundry in the living room and an ornate system of organizing my clothing on my bedroom floor. Stay away! I know where everything is, most of the time. Thankfully, people are NOT coming over tonight so I don’t have to clean up my fabric scraps and patterns that all over my sewing/guest room.

  30. I live in an apartment by myself, so I don’t have too much trouble with clutter, but I do feel pretty guilty that my place isn’t more “decorated.” I’ve lived here almost a year and a half, and I still have 3 large open-but-unpacked boxes in my bedroom (like McKenzie above). There is not a damn thing on the walls in my living room, and my decorating consists of: 2 decorative candles, a sheet I put over my ratty armchair as a “slipcover,” and a blanket that hangs over the back of my broken metal WalMart futon.

    Since I’ll probably be moving to go to grad school in less than a year, I figure, why put any more work into the apartment now? I’ll just do a really good job with the next place! (Ha!)

    Also – I’m doing NaBloPoMo this month, too! (Although I’ve been reading you for a long time now, just never commented). Keep up the good work!

  31. Dusting is a losing and useless proposition, vacuuming when the goldfish are crunchy, make the dh clean the toilet b/c I don’t have to look at it to use it.

    I have a few things on the walls, but 3 times more that need to be hung. At least you can sit in any seat in the living room and see the television. The last time I was at my parents house (over ten years ago) if you sat in the recliner or on the couch, you could see the tv, but from the other chairs–not.

    @ Zoot: I have the same problem (with less hair and at child’s hand level)
    @ Sonrie: Are you me? With a bit less yarn, that’s my list, exactly. Maybe replace yarn with coupons that I have *every* intention of using
    @Jean: I love you.

  32. You are not alone. We moved into our house 4 yrs ago when I was 7mo pregnant, which put a damper on the initial organizing. The basement is now clutter central, and we could really use somewhere for the toys to go.

    I’ve started keeping paper bags and garbage bags near the closets, so I can toss in donation items as I find them. That’s helped a bit.

    I’ve also had the urge this week to lay tarps out on the lawn, pull everything out of the house, and start over. Must be the weather and knowing we’re going to be stuck inside for the next 6 months. Maybe I’ll try tackling the laundry room this weekend? Gulp.

  33. My house (well, downstairs, anyway) is very clean right now because we hosted a party on Friday. Normally, that is not the case. We had friends over for a couple of beers the weekend before and before they arrived I told them that the carpet was dirty, the dishes needed to be done and there wasn’t a tidy space, but that I wanted to see them anyway. It bothers me to have people over when things are a mess, which they usually are, but it bothers me more to avoid the opportunity. This enlightened way of looking at things is very new, by the way, and still very hard for me.

  34. Oh, do I hear you. That stinking book has been following me around for FOUR YEARS now. I’ve read it, and reread it, despite not being able to stomach the idea of worship time and blessing hours and whatnot. My house hasn’t changed a bit – and neither have I.

  35. OMG! Do you know how broken I am? I am supposed to be cleaning RIGHT NOW! 8 minutes ago, I put the baby down for her nap, and told myself I’d clean for 15 minutes. And here I am. How did that happen?!?!?! I seem to be suffering from blackouts from interneting too much.

  36. I had movers come two years ago and move me back to St. Louis. They packed up the stuff into boxes and I moved it here. I didn’t realize how cluttered things were until I was explaining to my mom and friends why there were hairbrushes in the living room box, yarn in the kitchen box and a little bit of everything in the bedroom box. The office boxes were comical. I think I scared the packers.

  37. Hi Angie,
    This has nothing to do with your post, but I’ll try to bring it around. I believe I saw Jeff in line at the polling place this morning…plus I think I was just behind some neighbors of yours because Jeff acknowledged them and said something like …”(indistinguishable) was here at a quarter after 5″. I was sure it was him. So, that got me to thinking about you and how close you live and that you and your lovely family need to come over for dinner (since you’re not having anyone over to your place). I’ll see if I can get Carole to cook up something splendid. It will give me motivation to clean my own house. Let me know!

  38. (how much do you love us fellow slovenly pigs today?! we should unite in our respective pigpens.) (actually, i guess that’s what we’re doing in this comments thread.)

  39. My house is a dump too. Plus I have 2 dogs that continue to keep it smelling odd. I’ve tried to follow Fly Lady {ok, i signed up for their emails}, honestly, that whole program is a little too cheerful for the cynical place i’m at with house cleaning.

  40. This is exactly what I needed. Thank you.
    We have SO MUCH STUFF.

    Plus, we’re remodeling in the hopes of selling so I currently have particle board counter tops in the kitchen. Also, various floorboards need to be replaced because they have old termite damage and have cracked. And the tractor broke down so now the yard is a disaster too.

    Gotta go. I’m sneaking some boxes of my husband’s crap to goodwill in a few minutes.

  41. We just moved from a 3-br townhouse, that we’d lived in for six years, to a 1-br apartment. Many boxes aren’t and won’t be unpacked, because we hope to be out of here in less than a year. Several rubbermaid tubs full of yarn and some boxes are in my little corner of the bedroom, with enough space between them and our footlockers against the wall for the dog to use as a fort when the drunks yelling in the alley scare her too much. Our kitchen is so small that we cannot open the dishwasher while someone is sitting down, and we have four too many chairs, which are wedged between the too-big table and the kind of broken refrigerator.

  42. Our apartment is relatively big for Brooklyn. However, there’s a catch. It has 1.5 closets to be shared by 2 adults and 1 4 year old. And one of the adults is a completely pack rat. We both work and have 2 cats. And since we refuse to spend what little time we all have together as a family CLEANING our house is always on the verge of utter disaster. The only time I care is when one of the various piles of miscellany threatens to collapse or when I leave for work covered in cat fur (who wants to be the resident crazy cat lady).

    However, the 4 year old is in a fancy private school and all of her friends’ homes are like something out of Domino. Viking Ranges and free range bamboo flooring. Contrasted with our Rubbermaid and 20 Year Old Futon chic, it’s a bit startling. Which makes me think we might want to raise our standards to at least Ikea level fairly soon…

  43. You know I’m in the same boat, only maybe even worse (do you have a basement? I do not, and I can gripe about that in a hundred different ways). I’ve hired someone to help me. She makes me part with stuff, and in someways that makes me hate her. But she works cheap, and, after one session, there is a corner of my world that I’m actually proud of.

  44. I have learned much from this thread. My children are grown and gone, my husband and I live alone (no pets). A few years ago I discovered FlyLady, and my house is decent for the first time in my life. I have always thought, “Just think what my life would have been like if I had had FlyLady years ago, even when my kids were small, what a lovely, spacious life we would have all had!”

    But reading this thread (hi, Angela!) makes me realize the sobering truth: there is nothing that would have made my slovenly (yet enjoyable) ways different when I was young. If I had had this thread, however, I might have felt less guilty about “the way I was.”

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