Why is your own mess so much less annoying than other people’s mess?

Sylvanian beekeeperAs a single mummy I spend a lot of time tidying things. Not cleaning so much – I don’t really like chores that involve getting my hands wet – but that general sorting and moving piles of things around the house.

It drives me absolutely mad.

It’s not that I don’t like tidying, or even than I have a low tolerance for mess, it’s just that I can’t bear picking up other people’s stuff, over and over and over again. I could have a room full of my own crap and then Belle will leave a nail varnish on the table and I want to scream.

Things I cannot bear:

  • Clothes left on the bathroom floor
  • Empty cups left anywhere at all
  • Things generally got out, played with, and then just left wherever they are
  • Fruit yo-yo wrappers left on the sofa when the bin is right there for Christ’s sake

As you can see, the theme is generally stuff left places.

I don’t even think it’s the stuff itself, as my own gubbins doesn’t bother me so much, it’s the expectation that stuff left will just miraculously be tidied up by some sort of housefairy with nothing better to do that flutter around the house tidying up after people.

It’s not even that I haven’t made my feelings clear. “This isn’t some sort of bloody cafe,” I will spit harshly at Belle as she wanders away from yet another empty cereal bowl, yet my bitter remonstrations appear to fall on deaf ears.

“These Sylvanians need to go up to your bedroom,” I ask, calmly.

A day will pass. A pale brown bear in a beekeeper’s outfit stares mockingly at me from the kitchen counter, surrounded by miniature jars of honey.

“These Sylvanians are still here.” 24 more hours tick round the clock. I could take them upstairs myself, but then Belle will win.

“Please can you take these Sylvanians upstairs,” I ask again, a slightly manic edge in my voice.

“Yes!” Belle will reply. “You don’t need to go on about it.”

Another day passes and the beekeeper continues to stare. I know he is laughing inside his plastic, furry body. In my head it’s the beekeeper’s fault when I snap.


“God,” says Belle, stomping up the stairs with the beekeeper as loudly as is physically possible, “you only had to ask.”



  1. 16 September, 2014 / 11:30 am

    Oh yes, I’m with you here. In fact I don’t mind general piles of things, but people (read OH mainly) leaving glasses on the side, or bowls/spoons in the living room, or rubbish on the work surface above the bin, or clothes left all over the house. Then I get comments that the house needs a clean.

    I hate, detest cleaning as it is (and our house being on a farm gets grubby quickly, plus lots of cobwebs), but at least I don’t tend to bring the muck in. But it’s pure laziness not putting items in the bin or clothes near the washing machine etc. Even N is trained better than the OH! And he’s been getting worse over the years.

  2. 16 September, 2014 / 4:49 pm

    oh my goodness! yes…. I HATE the kiddos mes.s.. don’t get me wrong, I’m not ocd and I’ll take any excuse to not do the housework… but their stuff all over the floor drives me cuh-razy!

  3. 16 September, 2014 / 6:47 pm

    What about communal kitchen space in the work place. Holy Hanna that drives me absolutely beserk! These adults, not in their own home, expecting that soemone else will clean their coffee mugs, lunch dishes, and silverware. We even have dishwashers in our office, so they only need to rinse, and place in the dishwasher as the weekly kitchen fairy assigned that week will run the load a couple times, but there are always days when the sink is just heaping. It isn’t even just isolated to a single person or two. Sore spot-sorry for the rant, but as a non-neat freak, if it bothers me, it must really be annoying to the tidy people. I would bet a buck or two that these same people shirk their kitchen fairy duty when it is their assinged week.

  4. 17 September, 2014 / 9:11 am

    i agree, it’s funny how you can put up with a bit of your own mess, but others’ can send you into a (sometimes silent) rage! i’m quite easy going when it comes to a little bit of untidiness, but things like not putting something into a bin when it’s RIGHT NEXT TO YOU is a bit much for me.

  5. 17 September, 2014 / 9:34 am

    Hahaha! Laurence and I have this all the time. We are both messy but each convinced that the other is messier because we have different ways of being messy. And obviously, the other person’s way is worse.

  6. 17 September, 2014 / 9:49 am

    Haha I am so messy that I don’t think I even notice other people’s mess over my own!! What does annoy me is that Matt claims to be tidy though when he is just as bad as me! x

  7. Suzanne
    17 September, 2014 / 12:25 pm

    I offer to help Ed tidy his toys but remind him that if I do it I’m using a bin bag. Things then generally get shoved out of my sight (but not strictly put away). Oh, and apparently it’s my fault if he doesn’t put rubbish in the bin because I forgot to remind him!

  8. 22 September, 2014 / 10:00 pm

    heehee – loved this blog post and can relate so much – argh pet hate – clothes on the bathroom floor and empty glasses – feel your pain

    Laura x

  9. 23 September, 2014 / 4:38 pm

    LOL. This is my husband’s complaint. He doesn’t know why I have blinders on as I walk around with some of the kids’ things sprinkled on the floor. lol

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