Summertime and the living is easy…just not the house cleaning.

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It seems like some days you’re chasing your tail, actually I sometimes feel like the owner of multiple tails all in need of chasing.  Whilst in this state of perpetual motion, random thoughts play tag in my brain. It’s been harder this week(or two could even be three) to pin down some of those thoughts and convert them into words for a blog post. Blog Titles like ‘Judging the Nation’ and ‘Finding My Inner Cinderella’  were like will- o-the -wisps ideas never developing into anything more substantial than a few lines. I find myself surfing the ebb and flow of my somewhat low energy levels .  I’m succumbing to the daunting overwhelm of wanting to get the house someway in order before it suffers the chaos of the summer holidays. After missing yet another spring clean I fear that without some preparation the house may not survive two months of total occupation.  It has already withstood at least three weeks of teenager holidays and the demands of a LC student. A metaphorical tightening of the girders is required. It will be full to the rafters everyday within a couple of weeks, and for the most part I love this, the absence of routine, the lounging around and hopefully some days full of sunshine and outdoor pursuits.  Believe me the outdoors will be brought indoors via copious amounts of sand, grass, mud and summer treasure. Inevitably, having all the children at home will mean more work, the kitchen will be permanently on the go, personal belongings will find and occupy every conceivable bit of space and sprawling teenagers & children will occupy the rest. The  laundry will look like an even more insurmountable mountain and the socks will take the opportunity of overload to engage in conscious uncoupling. The savouring of quiet moments will be rare indeed. Though to be fair, one of the benefits of having adopted a lazy parenting style of child raising over the years means that I have a fairly self sufficient bunch of children and in spite of my parental protestations modern technology can sure fill time. I have been known to read a book from cover to cover within daylight hours whilst maintaining a predominantly horizontal position.

With this in mind I choose  the only logical place to start a clean up..the hot press(or airing cupboard). The probability of all seven even entering this room over the holidays, either individually or collectively is fairly low but  practicalities like that have never stood in my approach to housekeeping before. Our hot press is the room that our draftsperson really really wanted to be the en suite bathroom for the main bedroom, so it is a small room really . When we were building our house I had three children under the age of 5 and as I could barely avail of the showering facilities in our rented accommodation I saw no need for an additional shower that I wouldn’t get the chance to use. Arguments about the addition of an ensuite increasing the value of the house held no sway.  Our lovely little two up two down rented townhouse often resembled an industrial launderette with no functioning dryers especially in winter, spring, autumn and much of the Irish summers. Clothes and their storage was way higher on my agenda than much longed for but elusive personal hygiene.

I have never regretted our decision. Oh the joy over the last thirteen years of shoving stuff into every nook and cranny and then closing the door and running. Stuff that was going to be put away in the attic at some point,  painting gear on the floor under the 1st shelf, baby clothes that I couldn’t bear to part with on the top shelf along with throws, sleeping bags and assorted shite. The other two shelves full to brink with the laundry output of a household of seven. With gay abandon I turfed the entire contents of one shelf on my previously dressed kings size bed. No piecemeal approach for me, no half measures no turning back if I wanted to sleep in my own bed that night.

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After two hours sorting I was still left with this.

At about the two hour mark I started to flag.. strong coffee was made, children were yelled at and distress calls were made or in this multi social media world of ours,  ‘What’s App’ videos were sent to my sister and BFF. Above is a fairly sanitised screenshot out of one of my distress videos which were captioned with things like Oh sweet baby Jesus what have I started? and#whoknewthehotpresswassofullofshit. My BFF replied sanguinely “Abort…..abort MISSION” #sleepingonthefloortonight. We may be middle aged but we have mastered our hashtags. By 2219 hours I was able to send the below update. I of course had not stopped at one shelf, oh no let’s do all of the hot press.  Go ahead, be manic about this, it all needs to be re-arranged and decluttered in one go and right now. The bed wasn’t quite big enough to hold the entire contents of the hot press and the overspill landed on the floor, the computer desk, bookcases etc. With a ruthlessness that took me by surprise(there was no maybe pile) two huge black sacks were filled for recycling and two more for the charity shop. A meagre amount of souvenir baby clothes made the cut(they’re still on my bookcase). It is important to realise if you happened to witness this spectacle, there was nothing remotely edifying about this process at all. It was just like watching a possessed dervish with deranged tendencies and a foul mouth, chucking clothes from one pile to the next creating a garment flurry that wannabe ghosts would have envied. There was no zen like methodical approach in evidence, just one woman’s war on a thirteen year accumulation of material detritus.

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#Missionnotquiteaccomplishedbutcansleepinbed.

By 2304 hundred hours I was sat in my local having a cider shandy and playing a game of pool with LC student son. He won as I potted the black, having played reasonably well up to that point. As he continued playing with people less likely to the pot the black, I heaved a sigh of relief. That was it, the annual summer cleaning madness done & dusted. No blood shed and still on speaking terms with all family members. The gang got off lightly this year sometimes it lasts for days. Upon reflection in fairness, in terms of long term return for my time investment, the hot press is a good option. Putting that much effort into communal living areas..pah wouldn’t last two hours. The hot press is so organised now I think I could fit a chair and or a beanbag, plenty of spare shelf capacity for books, and with that lovely smell of clean, unironed but folded laundry it might yet become my favourite room.  It would seem that my cleaning actions have met with the sun god’s approval too. Since cleaning out the hot press, summer has arrived. We have enjoyed the most deliciously bone warming hot weather. The sea and outdoors beckon,  no time to be wasted on anything bar essential housekeeping and laundry..every throw, blanket, duvet cover has had its hour in the sun now I just have to put them away!! The hot press awaits.

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