Dust If You Must…

Dust if you must
From http://myhoneysplace.com

Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better,
To paint a picture or write a letter,
Bake a cake or plant a seed,
Ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,
With rivers to swim and mountains to climb,
Music to hear and books to read,
Friends to cherish and life to lead.

Dust if you must, but the world’s out there
With the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair,
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain.
This day will not come ’round again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
Old age will come and it’s not always kind.
And when you go and go you must,
You, yourself, will make more dust.

From Inspiration Peak

Family playing outdoorsFrom Making Family Bonding a Priority

* * *

I grew up under the despotic rule of cleanies. Everything was supposed to be pristine, tidy and clean 24 hours a day 7 days a week just in case a neighbour or a friend would come for a visit unexpectedly. There was no time or space left for life, smiles or laughter. Everything was completely cleaned out. Expected unexpected neighbours and visitors never came either…

Don’t feel sad, woman from the 1950s! TaskEasy will clean your house for you!From Pinterest

The family I got married into turned out to be completely opposite. It was full of characters, as clearly reflected in their houses.

Messy house


It did not take long for me to realise that the only way of keeping the house clean was by banning from entering the house anybody genetically related to that side of the family (including my own children). Hm, that was not a good solution, was it?

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After a while we worked out the threshold of messiness that our family can tolerate with the whole family sharing efforts in keeping the house somewhere above that threshold. Our house is clean enough to be healthy and messy enough to be happy, with lots of games, giggles and fun. 🙂

My house is clean enough  to be healthy and  dirty enough  to be happy.
From http://www.rottenecards.com

If you have some super neat freaks in your family, give them a hug and point out to them that:

  • Alexander Fleming was teased by colleagues for his disorderly desk. He kept everything – notes, slides, test tubes – in case he had a new idea or noticed a change. He was clearing his desk in 1928 when a dot of mould in an old petri dish led to his discovery of penicillin. May be, your clutter will lead to a world-changing discovery too?
  • a study by researchers at Columbia Business School found that people who kept a neat desk spent 36 per cent more time looking for things than people who kept a “fairly messy” desk. Filing and retrieving things from files takes precious time.
  • Albert Einsteins’s untamed hair signified his attitude to neatness. “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?” he declared.

[Einstein.bmp]From http://bp1.blogger.com/

But look at tidy people in history and who do you see? Dictators, secret policemen and oppressors. Hitler was known for his love of neatness and order; Mussolini kept an immaculately tidy desk. Saddam Hussein’s guards have told of the former Iraqi dictator’s obsession with cleanliness – he washed his hands after every handshake.

Besides, what if burglars break into your house? Surely, you would not want to make it too easy for them. 😉

My house isn't messy. Those are just obstacles I've put in place for any burglars that try to break in.


A good obstacle course might also help your family to stay fit 😉

Funny Family Ecard: Our house is not messy, we just like obstacle courses.
From http://www.someecards.com/

Last but not least, if your super-freaky-neat-in-laws come for a visit, reassure them that your house was super-freaky-neatly clean… last week. It is such a pity that they missed it 😉

From pinterest

If you are a neat freak living in a messy household, don’t despair. Ignoring the problem won’t work.  You’ll need to face it honestly, but respectfully.

Instead of constantly nagging about everything that needs to be done, identify the chores that are most important to you. For example, if you are most concerned with the living room looking presentable, ask for your spouse’s help in keeping the room clear of shoes, clothes, junk mail, etc. Don’t forget to explain why 😉

Go easy on yourself and your family. Take an objective step back and ask if your average guest would really notice that the baseboards haven’t been dusted recently.

Don’t forget to enjoy life. Allow yourself to relax with your spouse or get out and do something fun. Looking back on their younger years, few people will say, “If only I had spent more time cleaning.” 😉

And don’t worry if you never have that amazing feeling when you got to bed knowing your entire house is super-clean. Neither do I 😉

From http://www.faithfilledfoodformoms.com



40 thoughts on “Dust If You Must…

  1. My dust bunny killed my cleaning fairy decades ago!

  2. hellenmasido says:

    Oh I love that poem at the top! First time I read it was on VOICESNET and this post was a pleasant reminder! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. hellenmasido says:

    P.S next time someone pesters me about my “fair untidiness” I will tell them “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?” 😀 cheers!

  4. My Light Bag says:

    Love this post. I’m exactly like you – I was brought up to perfect neatness (definitely a Russian thing) and then coupled into a family who aren’t scared of disorder. I’m still getting used to it but I’ve learnt to ignore certain things left around the home by my partner. Instead, I show gratitude whenever there IS order and make sure I’m living up to my own standards no matter who’s around. This post made me laugh and I loved the poem.

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Glad that you liked this post. I was also always puzzled by that typical Russian thing of being so focused on what neighbours might think with no room left for your own opinion, life style or standards. Glad that you are living up to your own standards – that’s the key, as well as appreciation and gratitude. Loved your comment. 🙂

  5. chinks says:

    Mine is completely opposite. I grew up in a fairly messy home and my in laws love immaculately clean home.

    Loved the poem. It helps me not to feel guilty in keeping my house not-sparkling-clean as I am expected to.

    • Otrazhenie says:

      That’s even harder, as usually it is easier to deal with your own family than in-laws. Glad that you liked this post. Have a guilty-free week with lots of fun and smiles 🙂

  6. This is a perfect post to read at the beginning of the weekend! I’m off to do something fun—the dust can wait for another day.

  7. mgert123 says:

    Living in Texas dust is a must. It’s kind of an orange color and it never goes away. So living with it is just the best way to enjoy life. Love your post.

  8. This has to become my new bible; I am a life long neat freak. However, I always had the house cleaned by 10am and then joined in with the children’s games. Great posts.

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Gosh, to get the house cleaned by 10 am? What time were you getting up? at 1 am? 😉

      You are an awesome mum. Hope your children will always appreciate everything you’ve done and are doing for them and your family. 🙂

      • Thank you. My eldest son is 48 and the youngest is 40 so they no longer live at home. We only live in a modest 3 bedroomed semi so complete weekly clean of changing bed linen, vacuuming and dusting only took 4 hours. I say took because now I’m older it takes a lot longer. The daily clean only took a couple of hours as it didn’t involve moving furniture, or changing and washing bedding and towels. Once I’d done my daily clean it didn’t bother me if the rooms got a bit untidy, but anyhing messy like spilled drinks or dropped food I’d remove pretty quickly. Keeping their hands clean was essential and saved a heap of extra work, so as soon as they’d finished their chocolate or painting, I’d wipe their hands before they moved onto the next game.

      • Otrazhenie says:

        You are so wise, Carole, and so practical. 🙂

  9. Art Mowle says:

    This is brilliant. Job well done 🙂

  10. nymuse88 says:

    This post put a smile on my face 🙂 (see?). I am a messy person and this is something my mother and I tend to fight over when she sees my living area. I really do have a hard time finding my stuff more when it’s clean then when it’s messy. However, I do want to get a little more organized, if anything so I don’t stub my toe in the morning. 😉

  11. gilanisumbal says:

    Ohhh u made our lives so easier……like i tell my mom that let it go the dust can wait but moments don’t 🙂
    Love the post

  12. Reblogged this on New Author -Carole Parkes and commented:
    This is an interesting post. I’d be interested in what others think about this subject. Are you neat or messy? Maybe you are somewhere in-between.

  13. I’ve reblogged this post.

  14. Love it! My husband jokes that our home was clean before I got there…..I joke back that he didn’t have anything to make a mess with

  15. PookyH says:

    Our house is a bit of a jumble – I just much prefer to have fun than keep things spick and span. I am also a big believer that a dirty child is a happy one. The girls did ‘bum painting’ (like finger painting but, well, with bums, the other day!)

    • Otrazhenie says:

      My kids used to do ‘bum painting’, ‘back painting’ and ‘full body printing’ when they were little. Very fun way of developing body awareness. Dirty child is a happy child – totally agree with you on that 🙂

  16. therapyjourney says:

    So true! Yes, you’ve really put it into perspective! No-one on their death bed says “if only I had done more dusting in my life instead of being with family, exploring the world, having fun and learning new things!” I like the fact about Fleming and his old petri dishes, without his disorder we would have lost millions of people to disease. And Einstein’s observation is totally true – I hear it all the time that a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind but of course, if you flip it around it’s so valid! I will go easier on my partner when he’s being messy. Like you, it drives me crazy, well, not any more I hope! Tidiness is a form of OCD!

    On the other hand, I’m not in any way obsessive, I just hate it when I can’t find something, it really drives me crazy, then you have to go and buy a new one. It’s sort of disrespectful to your possessions you’re lucky enough in the Western world, to own, to leave them in a disarray.

    I’m torn. But meh. Good post. LOL

    • Otrazhenie says:

      Loved your comment, especially your point about being disrespectful to your possessions. Yes, that’s something that can drive me crazy – lack of appreciation and disrespectful attitude, as well as wastefulness. I’m a very frugal person 🙂 . The ‘threshold’ in our family is based to some extent on these concepts – appreciation, respect and using resources wisely.

      Thanks for your insightful comment 🙂

      • therapyjourney says:

        always such a struggle isn’t it! Yes I agree with your qualities that you hold dear. One day it will be like that in our household….

  17. satzie says:

    I’m sorry for the late comment.
    Loved the humor.
    I also liked your words “Our house is clean enough to be healthy and messy enough to be happy”.
    Though i find my stuffs messy often, I prefer perfectness and i always intend to appreciate messyness as well. Tidynesess and messyness – I see them both as something like different styles of Designing/Art. Both are to be cherished and enjoyed, and they fall under same category.
    Unity in Diversity.
    Good Post Otrazhenie 🙂

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