Sunday, 13 May 2007

The Chaos Theory Behind Springcleaning


EVERY once in a while the Marigolds and the feather duster come out here at Chez Disarray. And yes, I am talking about spring-cleaning, not some weird sexual practice for which certain men pay good money in Soho.
The picture, by the way, is not of me, although she does bear a remarkably close resemblance to me .... apart from her age, height, weight, hair, legs, eyes, mouth and figure.
I am, unfortunately, caught by the CHAOS theory (as mentioned by http://piginthekitchen.blogspot.com in a previous comment) - that's Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome because your house is too messy.
When the CHAOS theory really starts to take over, I begin my assault on the mess.
It always starts the same way - an excess of energetic zeal that sees me empty every single cupboard in the kitchen onto the floor. Then I go through every item, one by one. I find a good half dozen bottles with half an inch of congealed sauce in the bottom, then there's the cereal packets with their handful of damp flakes, the jam with its blue furry coating, herbs and spices that have given up the ghost and turned grey, and ingredients for exotic (exotic being a euphemism for gut-wrenching) dishes I have only ever cooked once.
Do I really need four chipped mugs when I have three perfect sets of six, not to mention the teaset with its dozen cups and saucers? Who do I think is coming to tea - the Band of the Grenadier Guards? I wish.
Other rooms yield receipts for household appliances I can't ever remember buying. Whatever happened to the gizmo for vacuum packing left over food? Not that there was ever much call for it, most "left over food " going in the waste disposal that is my gob. The toy box (for visiting nephews and nieces) is a grim amputee ward of dolls with one arm, teddies with one eye, a couple of headless chickens and, hiding at the bottom, a knitted spider with five legs. There are books without endings, lorries without wheels and complicated games without instructions.
But all this pales into insignificance compared the chaos that is my attic. The dearly beloved mother's once gave me a pile of his old toys, including a Spirograph (remember them?). I tried to dump them, but he rescued them with an accusing look in his eyes. Of course, it's just a load of old tat in my eyes, priceless childhood memorabilia in his.
Hiding behind one box, was, I swear, a Japanese soldier who didn't know the war was over. Kato and I have now become firm friends - he has taught me origami and ikebana and I have taught him the ancient British arts of ordering takeaway pizzas and swearing at the television.
Last year I cleared out a pile of old books, some bags of old clothes and curtains and various broken bits of equipment, including an old video player. Would you believe it? Two days later the dearly beloved asked where it was as a friend of his thought there was a spare part he could salvage to mend his own video player. I had to admit that it had gone to the dump.
He was not best pleased... and I was unaware he knew so many words that aren't in the Bible.

7 comments:

Gorilla Bananas said...

Ma'am, you've got to take charge of your home and stamp your personality on it. Throw out all the unecessary junk, slip into one of those maid's outfits and invite the Band of Grenadier Guards over for tea. That would be a good start.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Bless you for mentioning me! My husband accumulates crap by the side of the bed. He has always done it, and every time we move I parcel it up into a box which is labelled 'crap from over the years' and it moves with us. One day he'll have fun going through it!
I wonder if your home is as messy as mine? I blame the kids, when they are all at school (4 years to go?!!&*$), THEN i will no longer have CHAOS
Pigx

Miss Understood said...

I just love a good spring clean. The trouble is, once I get going, all my possessions start quaking in their boots. Well, they would if they had any.

Mopsa said...

My excuse - spring has practically gone and the battalion of uniformed chaps are busy training on Dartmoor. The dust whorls on the floor can meet up and create a soft fuzz carpet. But I would like to borrow Kato - he sounds damn fine.

Chip Dale said...

I don't suppose you have that address in Soho handy... Just for the cleaning services, you understand?

herschelian said...

There is a US website called Flylady which tries to help people like you!

I have tagged you! see my latest blog post.

River said...

The thing I hate about such clear-outs is even without buying new stuff, there is just as much to clear out again next year.
Where does it come from? Do my neighbours enter my house while I'm out and stuff my cupboards with their useless tat?
I've seen that flylady site and she's demented. What's the point of "cleaning" your sink by hiding the stuff in the cupboard under it? In my house the under sink cupboard is full of detergent, brushes and scouring pads.