I always have this idea in my head that most European homes look like an IKEA catalog spread - nothing on the floor, everything in it's place, and very little "crap" around - our place really only looked like that in the weeks before our belongings arrived from the States.
|Our stuff, minus the "stuff" - circa August 2012|
I continue to have this stream-lined, Swedish inspired look in my head, though I know my friends' homes generally look like mine, which is to say "lived-in." Especially when you have a kid, or continue to act like a kid, the "projects" and other signs of human existence will continue to spread throughout the house. As long as you occasionally stem the grown and they don't start breathing and thinking on their own, you're probably fine. I accept this reality and continue to live in it, but I always have that nagging feeling that I probably haven't done enough.
|That pristine coffee table top? Yeah... it's a table with space, so I put junk on it now.|
At least my compulsion to see things in rainbow order keeps crayons nice in the pack.
|That totally clear floor? There's usually 2 or 3 separate projects taking up the space now.|
When the landlord comes around, I feel an extra need to have things look "presentable" and manage to find and clean things that probably wouldn't matter and would never be noticed. That dust accumulating behind the washing machine? Get it! Some stray laundry detergent on the shelf inside the cabinet? Wipe it up! And since the landlord is wonderfully prompt, that also means that I generally have less time to complete my ridiculously long, and continually growing list.
I do the bouts of manic cleaning to myself, and I am fully aware of it. I occasionally get the feeling that I should make myself some sort of schedule and do certain tasks on certain days to generally eliminate some of the stress of big-wave cleaning... but then I think, "Meh, why bother?" I usually have some sort of project out that I'm working on, and I'm only going to drag it back out. So if the landlord is only coming around once a month, I think I can withstand a day's worth of heavy cleaning to fake my way into looking like I'm preparing for an IKEA photo shoot - though I'll still wonder in the midst of it why I didn't just do it before.