14 January 2014

Keep It Clean

I spent the entire day yesterday cleaning. It was needed with our return from the States the suitcases were half emptied and put away nicely and half exploded in places you wouldn't necessarily expect. But I turned it up a level, because the landlord was coming. We had a light socket die in the bathroom, so I sent a note to the landlord, who is always wonderfully kind and prompt about fixing things.

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.


  1. I hear that. I dream of one of those nice clutter-free minimalist setups as well! Good news is, I can report from Sweden that even here, I've yet to find anyone who has achieved true IKEA catalogue level success.

    Also, love that red bookshelf!

  2. I love clear surfaces and the Ikea catalog look - but I only ever manage to achieve it once a year, and then stuff gets in the way. I have now developed a love of plastic or wicker containers where my stuff gets put into and magically gives things the appearance of tidy! It is hard at the moment as I am not in my own home (flat sharing with Hubby's friends) so I cannot fiddle about too much, but I have done a thorough clean of our room. So far, it has managed to stay tidy!

  3. I agree and as snarky as this may seem my American mother is way neater and more organized than my Swedish mother in law!!

  4. Ohhh the catalogues are a bunch of %^&*, no one can live like that NO ONE. Well..... that is what I tell myself anyways. PS: Great look apartment, any room for me?

  5. Awesome, if the land of IKEA also looks like my place, I have nothing to fear.
    And thanks! We like the red Expedit - it's a nice functionally fun piece =)

  6. I love just throwing things in those bins, too. As long as no one opens the bins, the illusion is mastered! =)
    I'm glad you've mastered your own space, though. Keeping it up in just a room or a few rooms can be almost harder when you can't spread out as much

  7. Haha - too funny - and organization is all relative, right?

  8. I've got a spare room =)
    This place is pretty huge - we had a tiny 4 room apartment in Chicago, so I'm still a little surprised at how many places there are to clean.

  9. Tatiana Warkentin-Hammell16 January, 2014 09:29

    I was so sad when I found out that when you buy Ikea stuff you apartment doesn't magically look neat and tidy and streamlined all the time. Apparently you have to make it look that way. harumph.

  10. HAHAHAH! Ikea catalogue I am NOT. But yet, all of my stuff is from there. No fair!

  11. It feels like false advertising, doesn't it? =) If only the magically clean surfaces came with it.
    Thanks for stopping by!

  12. LOL! How does IKEA make the children's stuff look so clean in the ads? Where are the crayon marks and the minefield of small, pokey toys?


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