Sunday, August 18, 2013

How To Keep Your House Clean: Get Rid of Your Kids

I hate to brag, but when I pee, all of it lands in the bowl. I don't hit the floor, or the back of the water tank, the wall, side of the cabinet, or even the window sill.

Also, I don't drop my toothbrush in festering pools of unhygienic liquid and leave it there until I need to brush my teeth again. I don't spray the mirror when I spit out toothpaste. I don't strew unused Q-tips across the bathroom. When I throw trash in the garbage, it doesn't miss.

Also, I don't leave food in the bathroom.

Or my suitcase on the front porch.

Or chicken on the floor.

Epic, you're thinking, but why this need to gloat?

I learned something these last eight days, when I had the house to myself, while my partner and two kids galivanted across the eastern seaboard:

When you live alone, it is easy to keep your home clean. 

Very easy.



Ridiculously easy.

The day my family left, the house was uncharacteristically spotless. It was spotless because we had a showing that afternoon. People don't buy homes that appear to be inhabited by unrestrained packs of wildebeests.

Here's what the house looked like eight days later, ten minutes before my family's return:

Clean, clean, clean. 

Those were eight busy days. I went to a movie with one set of friends, out to dinner with another set, had another friend over for dinner, successfully contested a ticket and tow in court, met three different client deadlines. I swam—twice, rode my bike, had dinner with my folks, took a walk, attended four meetings, had someone over for breakfast, two people over for lunch, read two books, prepared the house for two additional showings, watched two seasons of "Weeds." Lots of twos.

One thing that doesn't register in those eight days is cleaning. It was so easy, so effortless, it doesn't count as an activity.

So my friends with kids, if your homes are a mess, your walls look like a Red Line underpass, mildew thrives under your couch cushions, poop lines your bathtub, raccoons rot under your kid's bed, and/or your garden looks like an abandoned lot:

So what?

You don't lack discipline, good habits, or resolve.

You live with unrestrained wildebeests.

Sometimes they're even gorgeous.

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