I have to admit to being a teeny bit OCD about keeping my house tidy. This has always been the case to a degree, but now that it's only my name on the mortgage, I'm just a little bit more so. I'm not totally obsessed but I'm forever reminded of my mum's call of 'a place for everything and everything in it's place'. This works well everywhere except two rooms. Yup, the daughters' bedrooms. I only really venture in their rooms at bedtime - what can I say, they both still like me to tuck them in - but then I find the day ending on a sour note as I survey the clothes strewn on the floor, tissues, sweet wrappers, plates (even with the no-food-in-the-bedroom rule), price tags, old plasters (eugh) and that's before we got to the hundred weight of teddies and toys in one room, and guitars, toiletries and accessories in the other.
I decided this week that enough was enough. I called a family conference and announced I was increasing their pocket money. Delight from less cynical D2 and thinly veiled suspicion from D1 (can't think where she gets her skepticism at such a young age). Then I explained the catch: We were spending Saturday morning gutting their bedrooms, throwing out all the crubbish they've outgrown to make way for more crubbish at Christmas (Crubbish is a word I developed when the girls were little and repeating everything. I'd go to say 'Look at the cr...in this bedroom'... ). Once the rooms were organised, they were to be kept that way, the penalty being the reduction of their filthy bribe (oops) pocket money. Cue rolling of eyes from both. I think my money is safe.
But they attacked the job with unusual enthusiasm and though it spread into the afternoon, four black sacks, several boxes in the loft, Cheryl Cole and Eliza Dolittle for support and a bacon sandwich or two for sustenance later and we were done. As the day progressed I had been vaguely aware of the increasing number of socks hitting the laundry basket from every crevice and bag uncovered. After they'd gone to their dads, I counted the socks coming out of the washing machine (hmm... not sure I've quite got the hang of this single, child-free evening thing.) There were 74 of the little devils in varying shade, size and length, most of them odd. I know the fashion is for mis-matched socks but how can my children have 74 socks they can afford to lose?!
I took a photo of the whole big heap and texted it to D1. She sent back "that is sooo coool!" I'm so happy she liked it, because when she and D2 get back tonight the first thing they will be doing is sorting out the 'soooo coool' heap. I only wish I could be sure the very same socks won't be cropping up in the dark recesses of their rooms in the next pre-Christmas cull.