There is a paper clip on my floor, by the red cabinet. It has been there for over a week. It was there before I vacuumed, and it was there when I had finished. A little circle of dog hair has attached itself to the silver piece of wire lying quietly in the corner. I have called it Paul. Paul, the Paper Clip.
I wonder how long he will be there, and if he prefers the floor to the magnetic cube where he used to live. How did he get there? Is there a pile of papers scattered around, missing their link, or was he holding onto the packet of coconut that I opened last week? Should I be concerned that I have given him a name, or briefly thought of drawing him a funny picture, and attaching it to him for company?
Things, if we leave them long enough, become part of the decoration. Good and bad, they start to blend into the background; we see them, but somewhere along the way they stop making any impact, and we just accept and ignore them. Laundry and mail piles seem okay, fresh cobwebs morph into dusty strands, and cracks in the paint are shrugged off as just another thing that we don’t have time for.
I think, this tends to happen more than we like to admit. Unfortunately, housework, and keeping up a home, doesn’t stop. It is a constant, fluid in the most mundane way, and something that can overwhelm us when left to its own devices. It doesn’t get smaller, it grows and moves whether we want it to or not. Some plan for housework, and others, just wait; hoping it will take control, and fix itself. I like to do it when I am in the mood, which is a bit of a vague plan; relying on emotion does not always make for a clean house. It does, however, mean that when I am in the mood I get twice as much done in half the time, but, when I’m not, well, that doesn’t move the vacuum cleaner very far.
Whatever your housecleaning strategy, sometimes it is good to take a look around, and see if you have ignored too many things. If you have, it’s okay, we all do it, but now and again, if you find yourself thinking of Paul, the Paper Clip, it might me time to clean up a little…
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