I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. Personally, once it’s done it’s done and I am now deep into my post Christmas clearout. Like a woman about to give birth, my internal nesting instinct and desire to cleanse my house of any unnecessary clutter, has kicked in and trust me we have clutter in abundance.

How did it come to this? After the serious upset of a house falling through, followed by 6 months of searching in every county bordering Leitrim to find ‘mi casa’, Mick and I finally agreed on building a house.  The site we bought already had full planning permission for a house we liked the look of, so it was the perfect option.  

Where was
Dermot Bannon
when we needed him!

Living in Leitrim we were able to build a 2,000sq foot house on acre of land for much the same price you would pay for a sun-room in Dublin.    I was never madly house proud, but I invested lots of our hard-earned cash into knick-knacks and storage solutions to make the house look pretty. 

I did of course forget to budget for a cleaner to dust all this shite!

When Saoirse and Patrick were small, I bought one of these cute little signs that say:

Excuse the mess, our children are making memories.

Within a year, whilst trying to make his sister remember not to play with his trucks, Patrick threw the sign at her and it smashed to pieces.  Probably not a bad thing as the only memories they will have are of me regularly screaming like a fish wife that “I’m sick of this, the place is a pig sty, I’m putting everything in the bin!” I have now moved on to a much better sign, which says:

Excuse the mess, we live here!

Although I gave up my paid part time job earlier this year, to stay at home, as a Mum and as carer to Patrick, I now consider that to be a full-time job in itself, without being a cleaner too. 

I put more diesel in my car now, than I ever did travelling 120km round trip to work in Sligo, three times a week.  As I am now chaperone and driver for every appointment and social club my children attend each week, which goes into double figures between the three of them. So there literally is no time for cleaning.

As Leitrim is the only county where land is sold by the gallon, our beautiful acre of land has now become a swamp, Heidi, the dog loves, to run around in and then re-decorate my house with the resulting mud.  

Heidi getting ready to mop my floors

My children don’t seem to know how to put stuff away and I am yet to act on my threats of never buying another toy, t-shirt or bag of crisps ever again if they won’t clean up.   It is true, our modern day life does not support a tidy house and I certainly cannot afford a cleaner and even if I could, Mick would not agree to it. 

Every few weeks, I suddenly become the Wild Woman of Borneo and stomp around the house chastising anyone in view, telling them if we don’t get a handle on the mess then I will go mad(der). 

My – “why is the popcorn all over the floor and not in your mouth” face

I then make a valiant effort to reorganise every cupboard, drawer and basket we own, filling twenty bin bags to be deposited in various different locations, re-cycling bank, skip and charity shop. 

One of the biggest problems is that I actually used to manage a charity shop and 75% of our current clutter has been purchased in there.   Because, obviously it was too much of a bargain to leave behind.  Mick warned me every week, no more crap. It’s not a bargain if we don’t need it, but every week I sneak the bags in past his rolling eyes.

Those valiant efforts always start with such vigour and vim they would likely to win my village a tidy towns gold medal.   But they quickly fizzle out as soon as something distracts me. 

Apparently, Autism and ADHD are genetic, and there are no doubt Patrick’s poor attention span challenges come from me.  I have the attention span of a newt.  The slightest thing will throw me off task, old photos in a drawer, a funny video in a Whats App message (and the forty replies that follow), organising the kids summer clothes, even though its not even January!  I am a total disaster! 

Generally, the phrase “I’ve started so I’ll finish” only ever applies to me, if we’re talking about a packet of chocolate hobnobs. To give you a supreme example, I cleaned Mick’s car a few weeks ago, and every day I chastise myself as I walk past the car mats that I took out to hoover.  I never actually hoovered them, but they are now sitting outside on the un-returned plastic chairs we borrowed from our neighbours two years ago, waiting to be put back into the car.  That task is constantly delayed by the fact they get more and more saturated with each passing rainy Leitrim day. 

However in the lead up to Christmas I spent many hours sorting washing and a ensemble of other ‘stuff’ (aka crap) in my washing baskets. A whole hour was in fact dedicated to the pairing of socks.

This is all part of my annual December ritual and, in the post-Christmas, year end apocalypse that is my house I am once again, attempting to bring in the new year with some semblence of order and serenity. I consider this time very well spent, and indeed an exercise in self care, because clearing the crap means:

– I can now see my bedroom floor again.
– I no longer run the risk of breaking my ankle, as I navigate the maze of baskets, shopping bags and randomly scattered shite, when I go for my wee at 4am.
– My children can no longer scream at me I have no……/where is my…..? In the chaos of last minute preparations for……(fill in the blank.)
– I have now located the safe places, so many of my valuable/important forms/items etc have been located since Halloween. Turns out they weren’t that safe after all!
-I can go to bed 5 minutes earlier tonight as I no longer have to scoop up all the neat little piles I have on bed, back into the baskets, only to start the same process all over AGAIN tomorrow!

I highly recommend this people, it is part of your pursuit of happiness. But if my new zest for life in a tidy home, wanes as expected by mid January, I have found a lovely new sign for my wall which state:

Excuse the mess, but my children are feral little creatures

and I’ve lost the will to give a shit! 

Honesty is the best policy!

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