Sometimes I have nightmares of being buried alive. It’s the scariest way I can imagine dying. I remember, as a child on the farm, hearing of people getting buried in granaries – they died trying to claw their way to the top as the ground kept giving way beneath them and the grain kept pouring down on top of them.

That’s how housework feels sometimes – like you’re getting buried while trying to claw your way to the top. You just get the laundry done, put the last pair of socks in the drawer, sigh with relief, and then turn to see that the hampers are mysteriously full again. Did they wear THREE outfits today while I slaved over their laundry? Dishes – the same way. You wash the last glass, drain the sink, and someone walks into the kitchen with a dirty cup.

Today was one of those days. I worked and worked, and in the end it seems I have nothing to show for it. At 10:00 this morning, the living room was clean. Now there are blocks strewn all over the floor, the couch cushions are pulled off the cushions, Tickle-me Elmo lies there waiting to be tickled, and the books, newspapers – well, you get the picture.

Same with laundry. I got it ALL put away this week – a considerable feat for me. The very next day, the girls started complaining about running out of clean underwear. I wanted to cry. That’s one of those things that nobody prepared me for – how much laundry takes over your life when there are five people in the house.

Marcel spent a good part of the day cleaning out the garage – trying to get ready for winter when the car takes back its rightful place in the garage, and the bikes are relegated to their hooks on the ceiling. Same thing there – everything is in order, but by tomorrow, there will be things strewn about again.

We have gotten rid of trailers full of clutter in this house in the last few weeks. We have cleaned and purged and cleaned and purged some more. Clothes, toys, shoes – even some kitchen items. Probably at least 25 bags or boxes of stuff have been carried away. Every closet and every dresser in every bedroom has been purged of stuff that never gets worn or doesn’t fit anymore. And yet, you’d never know it. While we made trips to Goodwill, it seems the stuff left behind threw a party and invited more clutter to fill the empty spaces we’d created. It’s multiplying!

Today I even went as far as hauling 2 boxes of books to a charity drop box. Books! They don’t leave this house easily, believe me. But sadly, though it took me considerable hemming and hawing to commit to giving away those books, all that work resulted in clearing only enough space to fit all the books that didn’t have room in the bookshelves before. In other words, as soon as we buy another book, it will have to sit on top of the bookshelf and cause more clutter again until we purge more to make room for it. Or buy more bookshelves. Sheesh!

Oh, I know, it’s probably not as bad as it seems. Yes, I do realize that things are getting better, and at least it’s a little easier to put away the laundry now that the dresser drawers are a little more empty. But somehow, it still finds a way of spilling out and cluttering up our spaces.

Some day, I just want to clean up this house, and then look around 24 hours later and notice that it is STILL CLEAN!

Perhaps I shouldn’t wish for that too soon, though, because that will mean that my kids have grown up and moved away to their own homes. I guess I’ll just have to grit my teeth, forgive them their messes, and appreciate the richness they bring to my life. If only their richness didn’t come with so much STUFF!

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