I have this cupboard under the stairs that I’m scared to go into.
No, seriously: that thing is such a mess that the only way I can deal with it is by pretending it doesn’t exist. When I have to take something out of it, I do it as quickly as possible, and without looking around, and when I close the door, I put it out of my mind.
I’m not telling you this because I want you to think I’m the kind of person who just sweeps everything under the surface, and pretends problems don’t exist. No, I’m telling you because I sometimes worry that when I publish posts like yesterday’s one on decluttering, they give you the wrong idea: that they make you think I’m some kind of some kind of crazed neat freak – the kind of person who will freak out if she sees a spot of mud on the floor or a object out of place.
I know a lot of people think that about me in real life, too, and I know WHY they think it, obviously: it’s because of posts like the one I wrote yesterday, or the way I always clean my house from top to bottom if know someone’s coming over. And it’s true to say that I like things neat, that I get a kick out of organising things, and that I start to get anxious and uncomfortable when the house is in chaos. It’s not the WHOLE truth, though, and sometimes that troubles me a little: like when people come over, and make a huge fuss about removing their shoes and keeping their children in line, clearly terrified that they’ll mess up the house, and I won’t be able to handle it. It makes me sad to think they don’t feel comfortable in my house, because I’m actually not like that at all.
Yes, I’ll tidy the house before someone comes round, but I personally feel really uncomfortable when I’m expected to pad around barefoot in someone else’s home (Yes, Canadians/Japanese, I know that’s the “norm” for you!), so I’d never want a guest in my home to feel like they have to follow certain “rules” or walk around on tiptoe just so they don’t mess up my house. What’s more, my floors are all low-maintenance: if they get dirty, I can clean them. If your child messes up my perfectly arranged cushions, I’ll just replace them when you’re gone: it’s really not a big deal to me, and it makes me a bit sad that my love of organising things, and of minimal design, seems to encourage people to think I require a totally sterile environment at all times. I don’t.
I’m telling you this because what you see on a blog – and often what you see in REAL life, too – isn’t the whole story. I don’t intentionally set out to deceive people, obviously, but, well, you’ll never see a photo of the cupboard under the stairs, let’s put it that way. Instead, I take most of my blog photos in my bedroom or dressing room, both of which have white walls and floors: they’re the only rooms in my entire house that look like that, but I get lots of comments about how my “entire house is white!” and how people just can’t understand how I keep that entirely white house as spotlessly clean as it looks in those photos.
Well, I don’t have a completely white house, and it’s not always spotlessly clean, either. And as for the bedroom, well, I don’t know what it is that other people do in their bedrooms (er, that came out a bit weird: sorry), or to their walls, but ours is on the 3rd floor of the house, and we’re the only people who use it, so as long as we avoid rolling in mud and then pressing ourselves against the walls, it’s actually pretty easy to keep clean, you know?
With that said, as I write this, the bedroom floor could do with a vacuum, the laundry basket is full, and Rubin’s toys are scattered all over the office floor. So when people praise me for being organised (or turn their nose up at me for having different taste from them), I feel a bit guilty: almost like I’ve tricked them into thinking I’m something I know I’m not, and that if they could just see that cupboard under the stairs, they’d find out the truth.
And, of course, they WOULD find out the truth, but it wouldn’t be the WHOLE truth. No one is as one-dimensional as that. And I guess we all have our version of the cupboard under the stairs…
Skirt c/o Choies; Vero Moda sweater; French connection boots