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Response: Messy Mangers

 This column brought a lopsided grin to my face. My manger is always messy and I always feel like a failure when I pick my way through piles of books, "cozy cabins' made of blankets draped over the unused exercycle, hurtling furry cat bodies and scraps of craft projects. I always compare my house to my mother's which is kept like a museum. I tend to pick neat friends who have no signs of visible life in their houses. I know that I am capable of keeping the whole house in order, but that would mean a total dedication to day long straightening up. the kids would never get to play with clay, fabric, markers, and beads. None of us would have the unquestioning love and companionship of 3 cats, a dog and a turtle. Our minds would be full of whatever the TV could bring instead of the walls of books I've collected (and the cats knock down frequently) We would be home picking up clutter instead of acting in a musical, chanting Torah in Hebrew, folk dancing, traveling on a other a life. My messy friends never have me over to their houses and I don't invite them to mine. This in one thing I vow to change. I read a sign once that said, "Have you come to see me? Walk right in! Come to see the house? Make an appointment!"--Anonymous

Hi anonymous--Your house sounds like a fun place, the kind I would enjoy visiting--Mike

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What a wonderfully comforting piece. At some point in my life I became aware that people "gossip" about people with messy houses. I have always had great difficulty in relaxing with a mess all around me...I've even had trouble thinking clearly when surrounded by disarray. Regretfully, my daughter did not have much of a childhood because we certainly could not relax enough to let her pull toys out and play with them to their fullest. I am now exercising self mind control to not make the same mistake with my he tears through my house as I write. Clearly he is a happier child than my daughter was....and looking back, it seems to me that the happiest kids who were the most fun to be with were the ones who lived in the houses that would not be displayed in "House Beautiful". Moreover, looking back and up until this day, those are the houses that I feel most welcome and most comfortable in. Anonymous....what a perfect way to express it with the "Have you come to see me?....." I love it and you can be sure that I will be shuffling through my mounds of crafting goods to create something to hang on my front door that says just that! Rena


Hi Mike, I just read this and I loved it. It was so comforting. I also read Perils of Perfectionism earlier and knowing that I am a "perfectionist" I now finally realize that the messy manger is much healthier and happier. This Web site has been a great source of info and encouragement for me.......THANKS. Kathryn




I feel like printing this column off and posting it (somewhat messily, I admit) on the refrigerator for my wife to absorb. Thank you for this column as well as previous ones I've just never gotten around to complimenting you on.


May 23, 2000

I am from the UK. Your article touched me. My house is always full of children (my own and friends) it always looks messy, but my children are neither thugs, bullies or unhappy - they smile a lot. Other kids are not allowed to play in their own gardens or houses. But isn't that what they're there for?.

Thanks for making me feel less guilty that my house always looks like the wreck of the Titanic!. At least I know the pople in it are happy.


July 25, 2000

Hello Mike Isure could relate to your messy column, I love this site, it is so neat!I am going through a messy divorce and have 4 trainanble i am sure kids! 20 to 6.I recently had to break through plaster to free a trapped hamster! But since I knew the marriage was not going to make it, things have worsened. Guess it is a loss thing, Oh well.Am Christian also,so He will make something good out of this! nice talkin to ya,

May 21, 2001

I was brought up in a house that was not only messy and full of such clutter as books, magazines and old clothing, but dirty by most people's standards with dishes stacked up all over the countertops in the kitchen competing for space with food items that were left out to parish. Let's not discuss the mildew in the bathroom. While I understand that 'messy' homes are not necessarily 'dirty' homes, I can't help but see a correlation.

I often wondered why whenever I invited friends over to my house to play, they would convince me to come to their houses instead. I later found out the reason - their parents didn't want their children playing in a pigsty. My best friend's mother even held a birthday party for me once at her house just so people would turn up. My sister and I would take it upon ourselves
to tidy the house up and wash the dishes as much as possible, but this made my mother angry and defensive. According to her, it was her house and if we weren't satisfied with its' appearance, we could move out.

I should be happy and proud that my mother didn't care what other people thought. She knew why our friends weren't allowed to come over to our house and the negative effect it had on my sister and I, yet made no effort to change. Despite appearances, the house was warm and fun with plenty of love to go around, but that was not enough to make me a happy child - as I grew
older the shame and embarrassment I had felt became anger and resentment. Eventually I gave up inviting friends over at all, relying on them to entertain me, something I continue to do 15 years on even though my house, a million miles away from that of my childhood, is a model of cleanliness and organization.


July 30, 2001

 read about people liking their messy houses, and claiming that their children are happier than other children in clean

organized homes.  Well,  Children aren't always happy in homes that are dirty, cluttered and totally unorganized.  As
children get older they are embarrassed to bring their friends home, and they long for clean, organized living quarters.

Right now, I am totally disgusted with the way my grandchildren live in filth, disarray, and chaos.  They have no respect

for other people's property, because they were never told to clean their hands when dirty, and to throw garbage and papers

in the garbage, or to hang their clothes up or at least place them neatly.  They just run through the house with dirty, muddy

shoes, walk around eating candy, ice cream or even their dinner, and they never even give it a second thought.  If this is the

way people want to teach their children, then be happy with, disrespectful, unorganized, and chaotic children who carry thes

traits with them through school and into the job market.


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