Miserable Tidiness Vs. Happy Messiness

Photo Credit: Juliet James from http://www.sxc.hu

Want to be a true idle parent? Embrace the messiness and shun the soul-sapping focus on a tidy home. At least that’s what Tom Hodgkinson says in his book on Idle Parenting.

And trust me, we’ve tried. I try to force myself not to worry about the thin layer of dust accumulating in the living room. I let myself leave dishes on the counter when my mother-in-law visits. I tell myself over and over that an exceptionally tidy home is one that discourages children to be comfortable and play where they please. I’ve let the stuffed animals sit on the stairs for days at a time. I’ve ignored the heap of plastic dishes in the bathroom sink where kids have been playing. We’ve avoided tearing down the tower of blocks or the train track at the end of the day.

But alas, MJ and I cannot completely turn off the neat-freak sides of our personalities. Both of us enjoy having everything put away. For us, happiness is simply not messiness; it is a home that allows you pass through the rooms without falling over a fort or putting your hand in something sticky. I can hear MJ in my head right now, “Everything in its place and a place for everything.” Groan.

There has to be a compromise somewhere. Is it possible to be more relaxed about the house while the adults remain happy, and well, sane?

I think I’ve figured it out. It’s kind of obvious, but it didn’t really occur to me until this month. As I’ve waged war on our ‘stuff’ this month, I’ve been throwing out, giving away, or selling things. It started with the small things – the Kinderegg toys, the seasonal erasers (seriously, why do we even have Valentine’s Day themed school supplies?), the bouncy balls that you get out of a machine with a quarter. And I’ve moved on to bigger things – I got rid of 15 stuffed animals the other day and several pairs of shoes from the front door. With less things around, the less of a mess there is, and the easier it is to clean up.

This might be a no-brainer to some of you, but it has really made an impact on me. Consider having eight crayons in the house versus the usual 80 or so children’s writing and colouring tools. Eight will always be easier to clean up than the 80 items that always seem to get dumped out of the storage box.

Less stuff. Less mess. Happier parents.

7 Responses to “Miserable Tidiness Vs. Happy Messiness”

  1. 1 real estate 7 June 8, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Foreclosures are at an all time high throughout the country.
    We are a Ruby on Rails development company that has been leveraging its phenomenal superiority for somewhat some time, to create and deduce cutting-edge request for paid job for our clients.
    With a little effort, you can obtain materials to
    build this type of container garden for free.
    If the loan is secured by your residence, the interest is generally tax deductible.
    The modern commercial lease will normally address landlord and tenant’s responsibility
    for accidents and personal injury, casualty, damage to the building, and eminent domain. I thought I should make
    sure, though, so when she put all four hoofs back on the ground,
    I checked her saddle to make sure the cinch wasn’t too tight and to ensure nothing was poking into her.
    Thus pets which don’t scratch the furniture and floors and are
    not hairy are usually fine with landlords. Often in the movies you see a person get a ‘great
    tip’ and run to buy up that stock and make a fortune.
    The ground lease includes a 30-year initial term with two five-year option extensions after which the site reverts to the District.

    Additionally, chasing down the point person who handles short sales within the lending institution can be problematic and time consuming.

  2. 2 Toni September 4, 2013 at 6:56 am

    You can find actually a great deal oof particulars like that to take into account.
    That could be a great level to deliver up. I supply the ideas above as normal inspiration however clealy you
    will find questions just as the one you bring up the place crucial thing can be used in trustworthy
    good faith. I don?t determine whether best practices are located round issues prefer that,
    but I’m certain that your particular job is clearly identified as a reasonable game.
    Each youngsters feel the influence of simply a moments pleasure, for most of their lives.

  3. 4 zabudowanie July 24, 2013 at 3:10 am

    Simply wanna input on few general things, The website style
    is perfect, the content is really great. “Earn but don’t burn.” by B.

    J. Gupta.

  4. 5 gardening Stations June 21, 2013 at 5:07 am

    great post.Never knew this, regards for letting me know.

  5. 6 sharon May 10, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    I agree! I just moved to a new home with my daycare. Before the move I enjoyed getting rid of stuff but still alot of boxes came with us. Most of my daycare toys have remained in boxes and cleaning up when the day is done is so fast…maybe I should purge some more 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to Tortoise on the Loose and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 42 other followers



Inspiration for free-range parenting or simple living

2011 Canadian Weblog Awards

%d bloggers like this: