My linen cupboard resembles a cliff face about to avalanche, my fridge is barely visible under a sea of souvenir magnets I have picked up on my travels, my pantry... well there are occasions where you can’t actually walk inside it, and any surface that items can be placed on top of, like benches or tables, are utilised. Heavily.
I imagine that if Marie Kondo walked into my house she might let out a little horrified squeal.
Watch: How to make a room look bigger. Post continues below.
And to some extent I blame Marie. I also blame the ladies from The Home Edit with their colour coded bookshelves, the ‘professional organiser’ brigade on Instagram, and Pinterest home porn. I mean come on?! Who can actually live in these homes, like properly live - with coloured foods and drinks, with pets who pee and poo, and with kids that do the same? I know I couldn’t.
While I know Marie and her tidying friends are meant to be there to help those with mess and clutter spark joy, and I know that for some people it does and I respect that, for me at least, this tidy house obsession just does the opposite. It makes me stressed, it makes me frustrated, it makes me tired, it makes me UGH.
I began feeling the pressure to have a tidy house the first time around when I was on maternity leave with my eldest child.
I vividly recall one day while catching up with my Mother’s Group friends that the topic of cleaning and tidying came up and evolved into an extensive conversation around the challenges of keeping their homes tidy. It was clearly something which struck a nerve with them and that they viewed as important.
Some would just comment on how hard it is to keep their home clean with kids, some said that they are cleaning for hours each day - vacuuming or mopping once, sometimes even multiple times, a day.
One even said that if the laundry isn’t folded and put away they get anxious because they're stuck looking at it all the time.
Initially when my friend said this, I was shocked that someone could be impacted so much by a pile of laundry.
I also wondered was what the f**k is wrong with me, because tidying and cleaning that extensively would be what pushed me over the edge, not the mess itself. I wondered why I didn't seem to care about mess like the others.
But then over the years, I heard more and more women (no, never men) making similar statements, or apologising for the state of their house when I came to visit if there was even one toy on the floor.
I’m not sure if this is really about how it makes them feel, but an unspoken expectation of what a ‘nice home’ should look like.