Edit ModuleShow Tags

Cleaning House

Parental indiscretion


Published:

Spring cleaning illustration

About a year ago, I developed a habit of perusing the Home Décor category on the social media site Pinterest, looking for unconventional decorating ideas, maybe some cool furniture for our backyard.

Instead, I got a massive complex.

Pinterest was the gateway drug to home-organizing blogs, in which freakishly organized people show off profound creativity in the most mundane realms: pantry ordering, laundry room beautification, and closet organization. They’re doing unnatural things with shower-curtain rings and towel racks, picture frames and crown molding, Altoid boxes and nail polish—items that, conscripted by these obsessive-compulsive geniuses, find meaningful second lives.

It’s no small irony that, as I sat marveling at the ingenuity on display, I had disorderly boxes of files and office supplies and other detritus piled up along a wall of my bedroom nearly a year after we’d moved into our new house.

"Pinterest was the gateway drug to home-organizing blogs."

I finally vowed to be the change I wanted to see in my house. On the theory that it takes three weeks to change a habit, I set out on a 21-day organizing challenge for me and the kids. (My long-suffering, already organized husband didn’t get his hopes up; it’s not the first time I’d made this pledge.)

Struggling against sloppy genes (yes, I’m blaming nature) and armed with a year of education from those detestable bloggers, I devoted three days and many trips to Home Goods, Target, and Ikea, designating a place for everything.

I lined the laundry room wall with hooks for backpacks, jackets, and purses so they wouldn’t be plopped down in the living room. I bought a console to hold office supplies and reordered the linen closet, storing sheet sets in their pillowcases like a pro. I designated a basket for absolutely everything—dog accessories, mail, supplies of all kinds. I hung a magnet board and message board to keep track of the kids’ school papers, permission slips, etc.

Next, I just had to reprogram my fellow congenital slobs. (It’s genes, I tell ya!) I resorted to bribery—every day they kept their rooms in order, without being told, they’d earn a dollar.

The organizing challenge wasn’t without problems. My son had two consecutive panicked Sunday nights after he forgot about his homework all weekend (out of sight, out of mind) and I dropped the ball on several things I feel sure I wouldn’t have if all my papers and books weren’t tucked neatly away.

But knowing where the Scotch tape is when a gift needed to be wrapped and the stapler when I printed documents for a client felt like tiny miracles. People dropped by unexpectedly, and I welcomed them right in without even a twinge of shame.

After 21 days of constant nagging, we got the common areas under control. I’m doing twice-daily sweeps through the house to put things in their places. My kids have earned $0, but they came darn close a few times.

My laundry room is worthy of having its photos pinned on Pinterest. I won’t, though; I don’t want to make slobs feel bad. After all, they were born that way.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

From the Archives: Best of San Diego 1996

A good old-fashioned roast pegged to our past issue

San Diego Gets Its First Brick-And-Mortar Joie

The brand is known for breezy blouses and dresses

Celebrating Women: Vicki Mealer-Burke

Qualcomm’s chief diversity officer knows how to listen—and say yes
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Jason Mraz Is Growing Coffee on a Farm in Oceanside
    We spoke to the musician about all the whys — why food, why farming, why Oceanside, why coffee?
  2. San Diego's Best Restaurants 2017
    The top tacos, chicken wings, seafood, burgers, kid-friendly eateries, breweries, and more
  3. San Diego Fourth of July Guide 2017
    Celebrate Independence Day all weekend long with fireworks, festivals, parades, drink specials, and more
  4. The Man Behind San Diego's $26 Billion Company
    Will Illumina's new hotshot CEO be able to lead the San Diego genomics giant into the complex world of clinical care?
  5. Celebrating Women: Shanna Missett Nelson
    Like a good dancer, the Jazzercise president has mastered her balance—of career, family, and life
  6. The Oceanside Revolution
    The North County city has gone from an all-but annexed coastal town by Camp Pendelton to a thriving bed of culinary and artistic success.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Go Ahead... Ask McMillin!

At McMillin Realty, we are encouraging you to bring us your real estate questions. We will answer these questions….. for free.

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

9 Reasons You Need a Better Barber

Get the look and service you deserve at this East Village salon

Enter a Drawing You Could Actually Win

There are more than 1,700 prizes in the Dream House Raffle
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags