It's still not clean

           Usually I try to keep my newspaper columns from my children because more often than not I’m letting the world know about one of their quirky habits or a potentially embarrassing story too funny not to share. But this one, I want them to see. And read. And digest.
            Every summer before school starts, we tend to go through a summer cleanup in preparation for the busy new year. Out with the old, because once activities and homework start, there is little extra time for doing anything as tedious and miserable as cleaning your room. So before school shopping can commence in this household, rooms have to be clean. Clothes should be sorted and folded, desks cleared off, closets with some sense of order.
            And that’s where this next part comes in.
            Dear kids,
            It may come as a surprise to you, but when I was a child I didn’t like to clean my room, either. My mother would demand that I do it, and seeing that I was a kid who preferred playtime over sorting socks, I wanted to get the task done with as soon as possible.
            I know you all feel the same way, and believe me, I don’t like to clean my own room now. Even as an adult. But growing up requires a good bit of “dealing with it” so you’re just going to have to get it done.
            I am, however, going to give you a few guidelines before your devious little wheels start turning and brainstorming how best you can trick me into believing that you have cleaned your room without actually doing it. I know you are thinking this, because long ago I thought it too. Your dad and I are old, but not so old that we can’t remember how smart we thought we were when we were your age. (Spoiler alert: you’re not that smart, and neither were we.)
            So please, when cleaning your room, remember these tips.
1.     Smashing your clothes into your drawers so that they close but can barely reopen does not constitute an organized dresser.
2.     Stuffing things under your bed is older than the day is long. It will never work.
3.     A pile of wadded up shirts with one layer of folded ones on the top can fool some of the people some of the time, but will never fool mom.
4.     Simply sliding the garbage off your desk and into a drawer does not count. But nice try.
5.     Hiding piles of stuff behind a few well-hung articles of clothing in the closet will earn you no bonus points.
Follow these rules, and you’ll be ready for school shopping and a new year in no time at all! And remember, if you are spending your time thinking of other ways to hide your mess, you’re wasting your time. Trust me.

Or ask your Grandmother.

Originally written 8.8.15


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