Friday, July 21, 2006

Clean Sweep

A few days ago, while shoveling a path through the junk piled up in front of my washing machine, I wished recklessly for the Clean Sweep team to come to my house and just help me get rid of everything. "I need someone to help me!" I thought desperately to myself.

On Friday, my help arrived - in the body of an 18 year old, who was supposed to be watching the Tominator so I could clean. The Tominator was, of course, asleep when my helper - let's call her "Maria" - arrived. She was eager to help. I was eager to let her, since I had company arriving on Saturday.

Now, to be clear, my house wasn't in that bad a shape. Sure, there were tufts of dog hair on the carpet, and a few things out of place, but it wasn't overrun by stacks of paper or anything. So maybe Tom's car was in the middle of the floor, and his set of Playschool Peek-a-Blocks were scattered around. His Waffle Blocks were piled in a corner in a fluorescent green milk crate that looked horrid with our decor. But really, it was nothing a quick dusting and vacuuming wouldn't fix.

Maria had other ideas.

"Goslyn," Maria said to me in her best drill-sergeant voice, "You really need to organize this stuff. You have too many things sitting out! I will get to work on it."

I can't complain about her work. She busted her behind and reorganized and condensed all of the Tominator's toys so they now fit neatly in the little baskets under my coffee table. She dusted and vacuumed and even did the baseboards.

Around dinner time I offered to take her home, but she insisted on staying because she hadn't yet cleaned my back porch, which was a complete disaster. Pretty soon, she had that looking like a new space as well. She had taken all the little bags of potting soil I was stashing behind the recliner and combined them, so that I could take that one larger bag to the garden shed. She cleaned out my collection of plastic grocery bags and frowned at the pile of paper recycling stored under the library table.

"Goslyn, I can't do anymore with this stuff here," she sighed. "I guess I'll have to quit until you get more organized."

What they don't show you on Clean Sweep is how completely embarrassed the people are when all their stuff is taken to the curb and gone through - with most of it ending up in the garbage can. They producers edit out the parts where the happy couple is frustrated and angry at all these people who come in and criticize the way the couple keeps house.

I know I should be thankful for the help, but how embarrassing to be taken down a notch in the cleanliness department by a teenager. So I guess the moral of that story is "be careful what you wish for ... you just might get it."


Chilihead2 said...

LOL. When I was 18 I couldn't organize anything, let alone someone's house.

Heather from One Woman's World said...

Oh if only it weren't so dang hard to deal with letting go and organizing our stuff.

jessica said...

I love "Clean Sweep". I've actually used tips from that show to help inspire organization in my own life. I'm not sure how I would handle being critiqued by a teen though. Sounds like you handled it well :) And hey, at least you got a clean house out of it!

Heth said...

Can she come to my house next? I have some serious oganizational issues.

Don't be embrassed, some people are just more organized than others. I always joke that it's not my spiritual gift.

Jess said...

Hey, your house was really lovely for said company!

If it makes you feel any better, when we went back to clean our old apartment on Monday evening, I was totally appalled by how gross things were. I rock at organizing, and yet my baseboards and windowsills had been sadly overlooked for some time, it appears. And I don't have a rambunctious one year old as an excuse, either.

Judy said...

I'm okay at organizing.

I just cannot KEEP it organized!

Once I get it done, I want to pull the velvet cord across the doorway.

But, OH, the plans I have!

(when is maria free again? is she willing to relocate? how much does she charge to keep quiet about what she's seen?)

Stephanie said...

I always have wanted one of those Clean Sweep teams or What Not To Wear teams come to my house. But I know that even though eventually I would be grateful, the whole process would be horribly embarrassing and uncomfortable. Hooray for having someone help you clean, but I think I would have had to wait outside and read a book--out of earshot of those disappointed sighs! :)