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I clean up for you. Do you clean up for me?

Can we get honest about housekeeping? Idon’tlikeit. I wish I had a habit of picking up after myself every day but I never cultivated the practice. While my parents begged/nagged/threatened me through childhood when it came to neatening up my room, I never really rose above “fire hazard” on the cleanliness-is-next-to-godliness scale.

When I visit my peers’ homes, they are so tidy! And I have never assumed anyone else is a last-minute-cleaning-freak like me. I just figure they’re better at managing their homes than I am. So when people come into my apartment, I worry about being judged. I cringe when I see someone unknowingly sit in cat hair on my couch, and visualize opportunities to sneak a lint brush over their buttocks before the end of their visit.

Jim barely blinks at such a thing. After 7+ years of marriage, he still thinks I’m nuts when a casual guest calls to pop by and I run around shoving piles behind closed doors, tossing out orders to him (“Did you change the guest towels? Is there cat food on the floor? Pick up your socks!”).

I should give myself a little credit: My mess is more controlled than it used to be. It helps that we’ve de-cluttered A LOT of stuff that we no longer need/use/wear. Therefore, it doesn’t take me long to conjure the spell of neatness. It takes me 20-40 minutes to clean up enough for a casual guest to come over, but it can take several hours to clean for overnight/weekend guests. Is that normal?

One room that always gets the shaft is my bedroom. We always keep its door shut because we don’t allow the cats in. Our own little “oasis” gets the short end of my already short cleaning-stick. There are always piles of (clean) laundry I haven’t put away and a small pile of (um…not-so-clean) laundry next to Jim’s side of the bed. I rarely make the bed anymore because I jump out in the morning and hit the ground running. I’m embarrassed to do this (Jim’ll probably freak out a tiny bit if he sees this) but I’m going to take a picture to show you what it looks like right now. I’m not even going to clean up for you.

Messy bedroom

At least you can see the floor. That's a sign of maturity, right? Although the fact that my drawers aren't closed all the way looks like I left the room in a hurry. On top of the dresser to the left: Bathing suits, a wig, sample bottles of olive oil, jewelry, deodorant, mismatched socks, receipts. I wonder if my to-do list is under all of that.

It’s my goal (notice I’m not making a total commitment here) to clean up the room and make it feel a little more special by the end of my crazy busy week. I go out of my way to put my best foot forward for guests, why shouldn’t I treat myself to the same respect?

The only downside: if I can actually maintain a neater home, my mother and father will pass out in shock.

And a blurb about our appearance at the Women in Comedy Festival in Boston:

Robyn Okrant (Living Oprah) & Cathleen Carr (Two Girls For Five Bucks) lead a cavalcade of comics down the aisle for a hilarious and frank discussion about marriage. They will be joined by Giulia Rozzi (MTV, Stripped Stories), Myq Kaplan (Last Comic Standing, Conan O’Brien), and Maria Ciampa (WICF).

If you’re in the Boston area and would like to see us live, we’d love to meet you in person! Thursday, March 11 at 7pm on the ImprovBoston Mainstage. Click for tix and info. Boo-yah!

Your comments

  1. cathleen says:

    I will be cleaning for your arrival. I’ve already set aside brain space for this weekend to strategize how to make my apartment appear spotless to you.

    • Robyn Okrant says:

      i did the same for you! i even worried about the organization inside my fridge and the ripeness of my fruit. wtf is wrong with us? i don’t care if your place is neat…as long as i don’t stick to the furniture, i’m not picky. x

  2. Susie says:

    My creative grandma used to shrug and say that creative people are messy. Tidiness is totally overrated in my opinion. As long as you aren’t a hoarder, who cares? I know tidy people who are exceptionally boring. They have nothing of interest on display in their homes, have no evidence of any ongoing projects or even any reading material available anywhere in their living space. But by golly, their dishwasher is loaded and the laundry room is neat as a pin. I like my living space a lot better.

    • Robyn Okrant says:

      Susie, I am always suspect of a home without visible reading material. I don’t care if it’s War and Peace or the Reader’s Digest…it just speaks the character, likes/dislikes, interests, LIFE! Of course, with books all going the way of the e-reader, I might have to get used to it.

      Thanks for writing! x

  3. even messy, your bedroom looks so much more appealing than mine!!!

    • Robyn Okrant says:

      lynn, your house always looks GREAT on camera! i think the size of our bedroom helps. it’s really big and fools us into feeling it’s less of a mess. we just don’t own enough to fill it to the ceilings. yet.

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