Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Clean Freak

Our refrigerator has never looked as clean as it does right now. That’s because there isn’t very much food in it – and, believe it or not, I’m sort of happy about that. I cleaned it out last week to make room for the 80th birthday/Father’s Day celebration food and we haven’t restocked yet. I’m kind of digging the emptiness of it.

Yeah, I don’t really like looking in fridges that are so jam-packed that you can’t find anything – including the jam. And, when you actually do find something you’re looking for, more than likely it has become a weird science experiment. In my single days, when I used to run across containers of mystery food featuring fuzzy green mold, I would usually throw the whole thing out – container and all – which explains why I was always searching for containers to put leftovers in. Good thing there are two of us in our household now. Leftovers don’t usually stick around long enough to get to the moldy stage.

I love cleaning out stuff. But then I also like re-filling the empty space. Yep, I’m a little strange that way – what can I say?

It’s like my closet. I’m thrilled when I clean it out and donate clothes that I no longer wear (or the ones I have to iron before wearing, thus those particular articles of clothing never appear in public). Once I’ve gone through the purging process, I’m happy. And for one brief, shining moment my organized closet resembles one of the model closets in an ad for closet re-organization.

But then, of course, I then proceed to fill it back up. But I mean, really, who can live with just five pairs of shoes? Or – like in those ads – three blouses, a couple pairs of dress slacks, a few jackets and an odd skirt and dress? There is so much empty space in those closets, they could do double duty as guest rooms. Provided, of course, your guests don’t mind sleeping amid your dress slacks and five pairs of shoes.

I always wonder about those people who can live with very few possessions. Sometimes I wish I were like them, but I really like my “stuff” around me. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not one of those hoarder types who keep every single toy they ever received as a child or every magazine or piece of mail or newspaper ever delivered to their house. I don’t have to maneuver through “aisles” in my living space – or worse – live in a domicile so packed with junk that you can’t sit on the couch or eat at the dining room table.

The other week I found myself in the rare position of being in charge of the remote, which basically means that Vince wasn’t home. There I was happily flipping channels when I stopped at a show on Style Network called “Clean House.” O.M.G. I was utterly shocked and appalled!

That particular episode featured a family who couldn’t use the living space in their house because there was so much “crap” in every room and on every surface. The mother on the program had something like SEVEN sewing machines lying around. (Vince can’t get me to buy even one sewing machine so I could possibly fix a hem once in a while.) And the father, who had some sort of online sales business, kept boxes of every sort in just about every room in the place. And most of them were not broken down, so there was a LOT of space taken up by empty boxes piled nearly to the ceiling. He also owned half a dozen guitars – and the guy doesn’t even know how to play the guitar!

And, yes, I’m sort of guilty of the same thing. I admit that I own a guitar, which is sitting in the corner of my living room. It was handmade especially for me. And, no, I don’t know how to play it. But I couldn’t get rid of it. On the other hand, I also wouldn’t keep collecting more guitars to clutter up the place like this guy did. If I owned more than one, I’d make myself take lessons so I would know how to play and people wouldn’t think I was weird for owning a fleet of them.

Vince came home sometime during the middle of this program and wondered why I was watching it. He kept saying, “What is this show?” Mostly, I think, because he wanted to regain control of the remote so he could flip back to CNN. But I didn’t hand it over to him. I was feeling a little like I feel when passing an accident on the freeway. Sorry for the people involved and relieved that I wasn’t one of those in the middle of it. And a little curious about how it was all going to end.

And perhaps I was even feeling a little smug because never – in my worst housekeeping days – have I ever allowed my home look this bad!

On the other hand, these folks received $5,000 worth of renovations and free clean-up of their mess while they lounged around in a hotel somewhere. (Hopefully they didn’t trash the hotel rooms.)

Maybe I should move all the junk we have stored in the garage and toss it around the living room and then call up this show to see if they’d be willing to clean and reorganize it for free? Nah. One of the downsides in allowing this show to come in with their cameras is that the inhabitants must allow their faces to be shown on national television amid their pigsty of a house. I think I’d literally die of embarrassment!

So I guess I’ll just have to continue cleaning my little abode and hope that I never answer a knock at the door to find the “Clean House” people standing there waiting to attack my mess. Meanwhile, I’m going to enjoy my clean and empty fridge.

I suspect, however, that Vince is planning an imminent trip to Costco. Sigh…

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