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Cleaning Frenzy

My parents were gatherers. They didn’t like getting rid of anything, because you never knew if you were going to need it. Newspapers laid in stacks until my mom got around to making sure she’d clipped all the coupons.

Collecting is different but similar. My dad was convince his National Geographic magazines would some day be worth some money. He had a couple magazines he saved like this. We had stacks of them. When he passed, we couldn’t give them away. I grew up with a lot of clutter. The table was often the place where things went until they were dealt with, whenever that was, but when it came to holidays my mom’s perfectionistic paws came out, usually with claws bared. Her stress of needing to create the illusion of our home being absolutely spotless was hard on her and on all of us. Tension rose as orders were barked out. I remember her telling me to dust the piano, then after assessment having me do it again, on many occasions. Right on the heels of the holidays, all that clutter had to be dealt with but they were rarely ready to part with it all or even most of it. Any item that they couldn’t decide what to do with was now piled on my parents long dresser. Over time that pile grew to hide the entire mirror. If there wasn’t room there, we put it on the bed. I didn’t like the tension of this holiday tradition but I did like having everything organized. Once we were done, things settled down and we’d have great fun as a family. I still like things organized and clean. I’m sure my own kids felt the cleaning monster in me come out before family gatherings. It’s hard to change something you were taught for years. It doesn’t bother me to be in the home of a gatherer, like I said, it was how I was raised. For me, having things in place creates a sense of peace. There is no one right way to keep house but your family is more interested in spending time with you rather than checking to see if you dusted everything. Give yourself some grace to be human. The house work will always be there. Enjoy the holidays.

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