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Have you ever been to a house that you thought was too tidy

142 replies

nkf · 16/08/2008 11:20

I know too tidy is relative and most people wouldn't think tidiness was a problem. But I recently saw a house that was so clean and so tidy and so empty that I couldn't imagine how they lived in it with children. Perhaps upstairs was chaos but I don't think so.

OP posts:
psychomum5 · 16/08/2008 14:23

mamazon.....I have no clue about dull women and immaculate houses......I know I am often very jealous of women with immaculate houses tho.

I do however feel strange in empty houses devoid of personality, but that is me and my perseption on it, not something that is neccessarily true IYGWIM.

I do admit tho to being uncomfortable being in a house with no books......but then, I gt very very twitchy if I leave the house without a book, or if I am out without my handbag (which always has to be big enough to fit a book in). I am just a book freak I think.....

Jojay · 16/08/2008 14:28

When I was at uni I went to stay with a friend at her parents very posh house - it looked like something out of 'Ideal Home'.

They had a beautiful bathroom with a roll top bath in the middle of the room, posh double sinks and piles of fluffy towels.

I said I'd love to have a bath, and her Mum immediately rushed to the airing cupboard and brought out these threadbare towels for me to use - I wasn't allowed to use the lovely fluffy ones, they were just for show, or presumably for more high powered visitors than the likes of me!

I was gobsmacked. How rude!!! That's 'new money' for you

SparklyGothKat · 16/08/2008 14:28

I went to a house for an ann summers party, they had children (pics on the shelf, highchair in the kitchen) but there was no toys anywhere, no mess, completely tidy, no evidence of children anywhere

hughjarssss · 16/08/2008 14:28

squeaver - I love the quote 'books aren't trophies'.

I think that's how I feel, I read many different books but I don't need to display them to prove this to someone wants to make judements about me because I don't have a house rammed full of books.

Hecate · 16/08/2008 14:31

sound like my house - IF I know you're coming! Spotless, not a thing out of place, lovely and clean.

Pop in unexpectedly and Oh My God. you can barely see the carpet for toys and every surface has stuff on!

So don't think they actually LIVE like that, you know.

SNoraWotzThat · 16/08/2008 14:32

My bookshelf is upstairs (easier to get when I can't sleep at night), so you'd think I was a dumbass unless I asked you to view my etchings, or come to bed!

UnquietDad · 16/08/2008 14:32

You can get a good sense of someone from their book and CD/record collection if they are out on show.

hughjarssss · 16/08/2008 14:40

See I think some people put books out that they have never read to make themselves look more intelligent

cyteen · 16/08/2008 14:44

My dad still speaks with horror of the time he babysat my cousins at their parents' house and discovered that all the books were fake

psychomum5 · 16/08/2008 14:49

sparkly....if you came to my house for an anne summers party, you woudl feel as tho your had stepped into a show home.

until you walked into our bedroom and found all the normal clutter from the lounge hidden!!!

I often say I only plan a party to ensure I spring clean my house.

I love having is sparkly and clean and un-cluttered and I can see my shelves and carpet and the shine on the window sills.

beanieb · 16/08/2008 14:49

I don't diaplay my books to 'say something' about me. I just like books around me. My childhood was surrounded by books and I love the idea of my kids picking up books from the shelves as they get older.

psychomum5 · 16/08/2008 14:51

hugh....I have read nearly all my books (except the ones waiting by my bed), I am still not intelligent and I prove it with my denseness at times. and my friends already know that my books do not improve my mind

SNoraWotzThat · 16/08/2008 14:54

I know I have a relatively tidy house, most days not always but that's because I can't stand chaos, I feel more relaxed in a tidy house and on edge in mess and disorder. It is like constant background noise that grates me and I get upset and anxious if it's messy for too long.

I have mess, I make mess, so do my children, we have days of mess, but then I like to tidy it up, put things back, throw things away.

If I know I am going to have friends round I tidy up and make it look welcoming, not like they have stumbled into chaos and we weren't expecting them. Isn't that what most people do? That is how we grew up, that is what I know.

I don't do showroom photo shoot style approach, just keep on top of things as best I can. Surely that is normal?

nkf · 16/08/2008 15:05

I think the people who have drawn a distinction between tidiness and emptiness have articulated what I found striking about this house I visited. Most people I know have some evidence of their children and their children's stuff around in the downstairs rooms. But here nada.

OP posts:
UnquietDad · 16/08/2008 15:13

hughjarss, if that's what they do they'll soon be shown up, won't they?

hughjarssss · 16/08/2008 15:18

Its definatly true of some friends houses me and dp have been to. One of dp's work collegues said he hadn't gotten around to reading it yet when dp wanted to talk to him about one of his books, turned out he hadn't gotten round to reading most of the books he had out

nannyjo · 16/08/2008 15:22

deffo. A family house with 2 small kids. not a single thing out of place. No toys in sight nothing. my child was asked to sit on the rug not the laminate floor incase it got scratched. Sit on the blanket not the leather couch and their kids were told 'don't touch the wall' (assume for marks on the wal??)

I came away just feeling so sorry for the kids not being able to 'live like kids' in their own home and making a pact to never go again as me and my DS were made to feel so uncomfortable.

Heated · 16/08/2008 15:36

Accompanied ds to a playdate and was given the grand tour; the place was immaculate. There were a few artfully placed toys in the playroom as evidence there were two children who lived there. Her children were serenely quiet. Dcs were fed home-made muffins made that morning I've got the return playdate, toys having over-run the conservatory and beyond, dcs with no volume control, part-way through decorating & just too many bits to find a home for.

No sign of any books in her house though

bergentulip · 16/08/2008 16:05

I've read all my books on my shelves. Or, if I haven't, then DH has. About 5 are waiting to be read.

I like to have them around me, could not bear to throw any out or give them away. They are my history, tell a story (sort of), books relevant to my and Dh's degrees, novels, travel- where we've been, where to want to go..... I'd not feel like I was in my home if there weren't the books there.

Same as trinkets and things picked up on a holiday, or a gift,.... something with meaning. Cannot bear it when people have carefully placed vases in a row that all match, for example, and pictures on the walls that are the same as each other . All it means is someone has wandered into Next Home or Laura Ashley, looked for something they want to say about themselves (not what actually does say anything about them) and stuck it in a room.

We're about to temporarily move into a smaller place, and we've been discussing leaving some books in boxes in the garage for a bit, but we cannot decide on which ones!!! We want them all. 'tis very hard.

I want my children to grow up in a home where they can pick books off the shelves (as others have said) and flick through them, just absorb 'something' from having them around..... Sounds daft perhaps.

But I am going off topic. My house looks pristine for about 3 seconds, just before the door opens to guests, and then it all goes downhill very, very quickly.

LongLiveCuckoo · 16/08/2008 16:21

Yeah, I know people who can't even drink a cup of tea because they're itching to jump up and wash the cup. Their houses are shrines . I would love a tidier house, but not the mindset necessary to maintain such a tidy house.

sarah293 · 16/08/2008 16:59

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn

HappyMummyOfOne · 16/08/2008 17:48

I hate clutter and am very minimal, do I have to go and hide now

All the cd's are in the loft as now all in MP3 format, my books are read and a few kept if favourites but not on show and I dont do ornaments lol. DS has books in his storage cubes in his bedroom though.

I am a neat freak and like the place to be tidy and clean, with the exception of toys as would never dream of limiting DS's play. He is good though and will help to tidy away before bed.


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hughjarssss · 16/08/2008 18:00

Happy, you sound a lot like me

Shall we hide together!

rowingboat · 16/08/2008 18:13

I think some of the emptiness is due to the trend towards minimalism. I do remember going to friend's houses when I was small where there was a very strong smell of polish, and frenzied house-work, but there were also lots of ornaments. It's just what's in fashion.
I'm a bit too old to do minimalism, so do have what I consider 'lovely things' in my home: stones, plants, twigs, pictures, ceramics, books etc... (all out of children's reach).I think it would look like a big pile of housework to the no-stuff people though. Relativism at work again.
but I don't consider myself messy and do insist on the LO tidying up before bed so everything is back in the baskets, and like to keep things tidy. Just have a different idea about what is attractive in a home.
I admire minimalism and think it is beautiful, and have seen a lot of 'bad' minimalism which is basically not much furniture and laminate, as opposed to lovely design, simplicity and beautiful art.
I'm fairly sure that this fashion will pass soon and ornaments will make a come-back though, hee hee!

AbbeyA · 16/08/2008 18:15

I agree with you bergentulip, I can't bear the carefully placed things that look as if they come from a programme makeover! Mine have meaning and great sentimental value.
I have read every book on my shelves; the ones waiting are on a pile by my bed. I feel relaxed and happy in my home-and hope that guests feel the same!

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