Thursday, September 24, 2009

Using a home

I've mentioned before that I'm a collector. Of stuff. Not just any stuff, of course -- really valuable stuff. Stuff like empty sour cream containers, broken egg shells and bread butts.

For example, some person might finish off a pint of sour cream and throw the container away. I finish off a pint of sour cream, wash the container out and store it in my bathroom for starting vegetables in my basement the next spring.

Some people throw egg shells away. When I crack open an egg, I carefully put the shell into an old coffee can underneath my sink, to dry and be crushed into tiny shards of calcium. A handful of calcium shards gets poured into every hole that is dug in my garden for tomato transplants.

Some folks would throw out the butt ends of bread, since hardly anyone likes to eat them. I lay the butt ends out on the counter top, flip them over after a few days until they are completely dried out, run the dried bread through my blender and store the bread crumbs in a mason jar for meatloaf and casseroles.

You get the picture.

I've also mentioned that my house is a mess. Or rather, very very cluttered.

This is why, when I know that people will be visiting my house, I (actually, hubby does most of the grunt work) spend about two days cleaning. Because at any given time I will have a stack of empty sour cream containers in my bathroom, bags of broken egg shells under my sink, layers of drying bread butts on my counter. Plus boxes of canning jars on the kitchen table, a bucket of vegetable scraps for the chickens, cups of fermenting tomato seeds, a buzzing dehydrator full of apple rings, a pitcher of clabbering milk, bunches of drying herbs hanging from the ceiling, piles of unread mail next to the phone, mountains of unfolded clean laundry on the dining room table, and scattered childrens toys and books on the floor.

Sometimes I envy the clean, sterile, antiseptic homes of others. Then I realize that the reason my house is constantly cluttered is because my house is constantly in use. Most folks don't USE their homes. They just hang out there. When I cook dinner the chopping board is out, the sink is busy washing or draining various things, two or three stove burners are on and the oven is probably hot. Other folks just pop something in the microwave and call it a day.

So I've decided to stop feeling guilty about my messy house. And if you come over to my house unannounced you'll be very welcome, but please watch where you step and be prepared to move a tray of tomatoes before you can sit down. Oh, and could you carry this bucket of food scraps out to the chickens for me?


Erin said...

Your home sounds lovely! I struggle with keeping an obsessively clean and organized home, all while being truly "in use"! I envy those who can relax a bit and let things go for days at a time, since I know it is because their families are getting the attention they deserve. I am trying, though, and with each month I am finding new ways to cope with a bit of disorganization and still be able to relax at the same time! Funny, it never bothers me in other peoples' homes, just mine!

Frustrated Farmer Rick said...


I have long since given up on a tidy home and am just aiming for less dirty and disorganized.

Mama Pea said...

I grew up with five wonderful aunts (all my mom's sisters) in the same hometown. Two of them kept houses that were absolute disasters. One was always unhappy that she was so disorganized and never seemed to accomplish a thing. The other one's housekeeping looked much the same but amid the piles of dirty dishes in the kitchen, were loaves of bread and cookies fresh out of the oven. The sewing machine on the diningroom table was strewn with piles of fabric but there was also a darling dress just finished for my cousin. The livingroom was torn apart but it was half newly painted.

You get the idea. Just because it looks like a tornado recently ripped through your house doesn't mean it's not happy and healthy.

Live and enjoy!

miSz tUna said...

I think I'll enjoy being in your home :)

Jo said...

Erin -- I envy clean homes, you envy messy homes. Aren't we silly! :)

Hi Rick -- Less disorganized is an aim of mine too. Actually, what I'd dearly love is a huge walk-in pantry just off of my kitchen. You can never have too many shelves.

Hello Mama Pea! Yes, I'd feel more guilty if my house was messy AND I wasn't getting anything accomplished. Although, I do have those days too from time to time. ;)

Hello Hazwani -- As I would in yours!

Karen said...

I would never call my house sterile, but homey. It is always clean, but often bits are messy. My house is an extension of myself. For the areas that I can control (not my girls' rooms!) it is organized. I must admit to being a bit of a control freak. I am organized in most things that I do. My clean house gives me joy and a peaceful spirit. I only clean it once a week, and enjoy the fact that friends can drop by (and usually do!) unannounced and my home is clean, warm, and welcoming. Each of us has different priorities and if I had your schedule of canning, collecting, and making, my house would be totally trashed!!!I couldn't do it all! I would hate that though, including all the stuff you seem to enjoy doing! You are way more ambitious in ways totally alien to me! So, you mess with foodstuffs and I'll mess with organizing and we're both happy!!! We may be two extremes in many things, but we both love what we do and these things give us joy.