Monday, November 14, 2011

the truth: it's a mess around here

one of the most disheartening things about browsing blogs, pinterest and flickr is all of the perfection and perfect styling. i don't believe that people's lives are actually so perfectly styled all the time. i do my share of cropping photos and advantageously placing things so as not to include clutter, so i'm not completely condemning it - sometimes we have a need to appear perfect, both to ourselves and to the world. but mostly, i think it's exhausting. and at times it fills me with an overwhelming sense of inadequacy, because my house is full of spider webs and bits of straw on the carpet and dust on all of the surfaces.

paper gets stacked and half-finished projects piled up. and when it gets bad enough, i go on a cleaning frenzy and tidy it all up and feel much better for a few minutes. tho' curiously, i often don't really feel that great during the cleaning frenzy, in fact, i often find that i'm fuming about all manner of little irritations while i manically clean.

probably worst of all is the "dining room." it's the main big room of the oldest part of the house (the part that's going to be torn down) and it is still (after a year) a repository of boxes of things that shouldn't be out where it's cold and damp - fabric, seasonal clothes, pretty paper, books, etc.) they actually can't be unpacked because without having the house finished, we don't have enough bookshelves or space. so it has to be the way it is. additionally, it's the only place where the dining table fits, so it also has to be there. during the summer, we eat out in our terrace and this room is only used for my sewing projects, but now that it's cold, we eat here too.

i think to an extent you become immune to it and you don't see the boxes anymore and just go about living your life, knowing that it's a sort of long-term temporary thing that you have to live with. but there are times when i look at the perfect scenes in the blogosphere and feel rather frustrated by it all. however, this is a process that we're in and it's going to take time.  deep breath.

as much as i love to cook, i'm not that big on cleaning it all up afterwards. maybe because the room itself isn't that inviting with those pink cupboards and the stained, cheap linoleum floor (why bother to try to keep it obsessively marginally clean if it doesn't show anyway). mostly, husband tidies up after dinner (he is such a keeper) and i'm grateful for both that and having a dishwasher. again, it's something that i know i have to live with - next summer the new "curry kitchen" will be in out in the end of the barn and we'll be able to stop using this uninspiring space.

but now you know what it's really like at my house.

anyway, this is the kind of truth-telling i was thinking of (not name-calling or other such nasty things - i get that out of my system on a private blog). i just don't believe that lives are styled and curated in reality the way they are in today's blogosophere.

so now, it's your turn for some truth, are you relieved or horrified?


Molly said...

Not relieved, or horrified. Or particularly surprised :)I feel I know you well enough to know you're the kind of gal who's rather be writing or making something pretty than washing your kitchen floor!
I am however sympathetic - I know how much you loved your old house's beautifully created spaces (cos I did too!) so I can imagine how frustrating it must be to live 'in process' right now!
That gorgeous table and chairs will one day have a room to do them justice like they did before, and in the meantime we (and I know you) get great joy from the beauty you're creating in that cold box-filled room!

Molly said...

and also ... I look at these pictures and I see warm inviting creative spaces, not the pink cupboards or the boxes. But that's the eyes I'm seeing them through I guess, backed with the knowledge of who you are.
I couldn't speak for any readers who come here from Elle Decor :P

Jody Pearl said...

Hahaha - we're twins!

What I especially like about images on Blogs is the bits behind the orchestrated photo because it's those messy piles of crooked left over what ever that tell you what's really going on.

I love your spaces - they're inviting, cosy, lived in - they look and feel like a home.

Yay for you for sharing!

I would love to share with everyone the water running down the inside of the front door when it rains, the sagging ceiling in my daughters room that smells like rotten cheese, the gaps, cracks, crooked & chipped walls, floors & doors but our house is a dark shack with not enough light to do any of it justice.

nacherluver said...

I completely understand and am glad and proud of you for this post. I have a family size of six. Six creative souls living under one roof. That's a lot of piles and bits and mess. I sometimes feel annoyed at the clutter and piles and my inability to keep up or others to keep it 100% but I just remind myself that I would rather have a home full of creativity than a house photo op ready. Your house represents a home where people play and laugh and create and love. I would feel welcome and at home staying with you. Thanks for sharing.

--maria said...

I look at these picture and fantasize visiting you with your sister. I want to sit around that dining room table or whatever with some good wine and good tunes.. and good dinner ;)

Corrine said...

Can you hear me smiling? I have just survived a 6 month main bathroom reno and I thought I would go mad. If you have seen my dining room while a large quilt is in progress, you know I am feeling your dining room pain. The large air compressor that had taken up residence in my bedroom left on Saturday. Truthfully, it was the first time in months that I slept well.

To adopt an older house and live through reno, one needs to be a very flexible person. I'm not. I cheated and built the house I wanted from the bottom up. As much as I loved the beautiful old houses we looked at, I knew that my nature would not survive.

So, I suppose, that is my truth in blogging for today, I have a bit of OCD. My frustration lies in the simple fact that I cannot sit down to work on projects until certain tasks have been completed. Now I am certainly not House Beautiful ready and I do not compose camera shots, except for the Tuesday teapot series. I once had a dedicated studio space, it had been designed for my needs and kept the sewing clutter in one place and organized. That is gone and I have struggled ever since.

My creative process is cumbersome but it works for me, at least until I can get studio space again.

I admire those bloggers who always have the perfect work space and well composed and edited photography, but my primary work space is now a closet. Therefore, work spills out into the dining room, husbands home office, my sitting room, the laundry room etc, etc. To borrow a phrase from the X-Files.....We Are Not Alone!

Joanna Jenkins said...

Oh yes, there are times-- many of them, that my house looks like that-- in a state of remodeling, unpacking and/or in project overload. I thought everyone's house was like, that at least sometimes.

All the perfection I see in blogland are things I thought people WISHED they had going on in their homes.

When we remodeled the kitchen a few years ago, we had a card table in the living room with a toaster and a microwave oven on it, a thick layer of dust everywhere, and a huge stock of paper plates and plastic cups, boxes and bags of food all over the place.... it was a mess and I truly thought I would lose my mind.

I swore over and over that when the remmodel was done I'd have the cleanest house on the block and NEVER live with a speck of dust again.

Ha! That lasted for about 20 minutes. Life happens. All you can do is go with it.

So hang in there and thanks for keeping it real. xoxox jj

Trina Y. said...

truly a relief to have you show us how we all really are, its exhausting trying to keep up and i love a lived in home! Has loooooots of looooooove

thank u

Lost Star said...

Fabulous! Thanks for sharing!
It's great to see that everything is not perfect! :D

My place is still the bland, boring rental it is always going to be! Yours is lived in, and beautiful in a crazy way for it!

poet said...

Your place looks great - a house where a lot of things are happening! Believe me, I've seen true chaos and this is not it. Creativity entails having stuff lying around :) I think I will join you and write about a crafting project that didn't really work out sometime this week...

SH -ic said...

recently visitors came to me ..and lots looked better.. things i didnt done for a long time .. suddenly ..looked tidied up .. shall I visit you ..jul ..thanks for sharing :))

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

Hello Julie

Your house looks great to me!

When you walk into my house you will see lots and lots of books all over the place(in every room). I hate cleaning the kitchen too and putting up clothes.

Take Care
Tracy :)

Murr Brewster said...

That dining room looks just like mine used to. And that dining room got me an entire house addition, because my husband evolved from a major slob to a neat freak and couldn't stand all my crap on the dining room table. And then since we both procrastinate, and it took twelve years to get around to putting on my studio, we ended up with two more bathrooms, a TV room, a master bedroom and a tower too. So keep piling up that table. It might work out for you.

Magpie said...

i think i love you.

i live with a neatnik. he would have a heart attack living in messiness. me, i tend towards your style.

Wendy said...

I love all this truth telling. Upon reading it I'm trying to force myself to post something I'm nervous about being judged on.

I need to remember that being real is the stuff that makes you worth reading. Getting the courage to do so is another story.

I lust after the picture perfect spaces I see posted all the time but I'll never have those. Your creative spaces actually seem tangible to me.

Kelly said...

Now I am loving the REAL... The TRUTH... THE HONEST>... BUT... I am a firm believer that the "best stuff in life isn't stuff" and since you have been professing wanting a more simple, honest life... I must say. you need help in purging your stuff... Honest doesn't mean burdened and buried in stuff... and as far as creative.. Trust me.. Clean out, simplify and reduce your clutter and stuff and your creativity will be even more focused ABD blossom!!! GET RID OF YOUR STUFF!!!!

Less and simple cultivates creativity... Just sayin" It sets you free... TOO MUCH BOXES AND PILES AND ROOMS OF STUFF!!!
Honest is one thing but too much stuff is just TOO MUCH STUFF!!!

v. said...

I'm loving this truth blog series already, Julie. Thank you so much for these posts - they're a most welcome reality in a sea of virtual picture-perfect places.

And your house looks lovely - warm, cosy and inviting, like every home should be. :)


Donna said...

Totally relieved - and right at home.
Really at home to see your Story people prints!
I LOVE Brian's work - I have a sculpture of his in my sunroom!
Thanks for the honesty!

Delena said...

I love this post as you are not trying to impress anyone like so many people strive to do which drives me crazy. I live at a place so unique and so out there that I am sure it scares the hell out of people our age. Our home is for us and not everyone else.