Friday, February 11, 2011

Fake-Tidy: The new trend in interior design.

Absent again... 4 months this time! Appalling really.
More on where I’ve been another time, right now I’m inspired.

And it’s thanks to a blog I found in the new member list on Blog This (linky to the right).
Emma from Emma's Brain has written a great post on not doing housework, complete with photos of her top three half-arsed attempts to clean. (You know, shove the clothes in the wardrobe and quickly close the door type stuff.)  Check it out, but don't forget to come back here to receive my words of wisdom on the practice I like to call 'fake-tidying'.

Oh great, your back. Thanks, now I can start my real post. Here's another title to make it seem more like a beginning:


Fake-tidying is definitely one of my fortes.  I may even be the world's best (or should that be worst?). In a house of two Aquarian's it's actually suprising that we do anything at all. But in an effort to keep up appearances (and keep having guests) I've found many shortcuts through the years. Too many to fit into a comment on Emma's Brain, so I've written a whole post. Its a long one too, so bare with me.

Here’s a few of my best ideas (worst habits?):


Problem: Wardrobe door won’t close anymore, too many clothes shoved in. There’s also a big shoebox about halfway up that is stuck awkwardly on a fallen coat hanger and the coat hanger is clinging for dear life to the twisted strap of an old cocktail dress (I think its the dress I wore on NYE 1999, but I can’t be sure)

Said box and coat hanger are causing frequent avalanches and any attempt to remove either item could prove to be life threatening.

Solution? Move the bed to another room. I chose the lounge room, and now regularly experience the joys of watching TV, eating dinner and entertaining guests all from the comfort of my bed. My clothes are also much happier now they’re free range.

DODGING DIRTY DISHES: (contents may be offensive)

Problem: Dirty dishes pile spreads from the sink across both benches and has started to work it’s way onto the floor.
Solution? Now for this I have many, listed here in order of preference/frequency:

1. In the early days of the dirty dish cycle, there is relatively no offensive odours and by restacking the mess into neat piles, its possible to clear enough bench space to cook a meal. I then wash all the dishes I need to cook and serve, plus enough for the next night, and before you know it I’m back on the couch/bed enjoying a tasty meal. Resting is justified because the kitchen is in a slightly better state than before. That counts as housework right?

NOTE: Not really a suitable method if you have guests for dinner, but if its done every second night the kitchen remains operational. Plus, from here it’s possible to pass the kitchen off as tidy in next to time by following method 2.

2. A similar method to Emma’s follower Sarah, who hides the dirty dishes in the oven. Now my oven isn’t big enough for ALL my dirty dishes, but my cupboards are empty.... Wow, look at all that instant bench space!

NOTE: This is the preferred option when you have guests, however it’s best to ensure none of them try to help you cook or serve.... they probably shouldn’t even enter the kitchen.

3. For when method 1 and 2 have failed and you’re past the point of overshoot (no going back).

This would be a good time to point out that no-one has ever gotten sick from eating at my house, ever. And it’s really only gotten this bad a few times, honest.

*Key indicator that step two and three have failed*
You walk in the kitchen and something is smelling really funky....
*sniff* it’s not the bin.... *sniff* it’s not the fridge,.... OHHH, gross there it is, that green fuzzy stuff coming from that pile! Uuughhh, what is that? Last weeks Chicken Pie?

This level of filth is going to require careful planning to minimise the health risks and in some cases financial damage.
Rinsing and washing is no longer an option. The tiny chicken-pie spores are smarter than you think and will quite often take flight when they sense their impending doom.
It is also imperative that the pile does not get separated in any way.
No unstacking, no taking off lids, nothing. The smell that has only started to creep out the sides of the cluster will be a whole lot stronger upon contact with fresh air, and it will linger in the house for DAYS.

The stench from an advanced culture (when the spores evolve enough to build cities and form governments) can be so potent that it may even follow you to work (I suspect by this stage its an organised attack by the spores defence force,  deploying their teeny-tiny Weapons of Mass Destruction). Proceed with caution, we are yet to learn the extent of their powers.

The offending combination of crockery, cutlery and cookware must be removed from the house as one complete unit. Clear the path from the kitchen to the door, and remove all children, elderly and animals from the vicinity. Hold your breath, pick up the pile and don’t stop walking until you’re outside. If the contents of the filth are not valuable, throw them straight in the bin. Otherwise you will need to hose them down from a distance and see if anything is salvageable. (I still have one pile out back that no amount of hosing could clean, so I left it out to get some air, sun and rain. About a year ago.)

Still with me? Good, this ones my favourite...


Problem: You want to tidy up but every shelf, bench and corner is cluttered with bits and pieces that have no real 'spot'. Things that you might need one day, but not in the foreseeable future. Like batteries that may or may not be flat, magazines that you might want to read again one day, old Internet modems, spare parts for the old fish tank, you know, crap.

Solution? (Now patent pending on this one, I’m sure its a money maker.)

Step 1. Find an empty box, crate or any form of receptacle. Size and shape is irrelevant.
Step 2. Fill it with the crap.
Step 3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until all crap is adequately contained.
Step 4. Make yourself a cup of tea/coffee (or why not pour a glass of wine, this is hard work!)
Step 5. With your chosen beverage in hand, channel your interior designer and wander the house in search of good spot for a new table.
Step 6. Stack the boxes right were you would like your new table.
Step 7. Grab a bed sheet and throw it over the pile of boxes.

Voila! A new table!

Who needs Ikea? I have so many of these awesome tables that I’m down to a two sheet rotation on my bed.

My proudest monument stands taller than me and spreads pyramid-esque to a base of 2m x 1m. It has a solid foundation of good quality moving boxes, still waiting to be unpacked from when I moved in 2.5 years ago. Over the years, more boxes, a few bags and other odd items have been slipped quietly under the sheet and no-one is ever any wiser. I think my group certificates from 2009 are under there somewhere, too. I was in a rush that day.

So there you have my top three bad habits and household secrets exposed. And that's only the tip of the laziness iceberg. I feel so dirty..... ashamed even... but strangely liberated. Maybe Emma and I will be the catalyst for a new trend in acceptable household hygeine. The next Martha Stewarts...

Now for some comment love:
Will you use any of my techniques?
Have you ever done the similar?
Do you have other tips of your own?
Or perhaps you have your own household nightmare and would like my expert advice?
Any one want to come for dinner?


  1. WOW. When's your book coming out?
    I'll so buy it, and I bet I read it more often than the Shannon Lush one I have.....

  2. Wow indeed, just had to google Shannon Lush, and then realised immediately why I've never heard of her.
    I am the anti-thesis of Shannon Lush.
    She really is doing well for herself, but I wonder, with her busy schedule of publishing, tv appearances, talk-back radio and 'restoring fine arts in 27 different mediums', when does she have the time to clean her home? I'd love to know if she has a cleaner... lol :)

    Btw, the next topic in Fake-Tidy is definitely going to be stains...

  3. Fake Tidy, I love it! I feel a bad housekeeping manual coming on.....
    Great post :)

  4. My Ex-MIL once gave me the Shannon Lush books for my birthday. This guide is far more user friendly. You shoul have your own TV show!

  5. I felt like you were writing about my life.

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  7. You are awesome...I really think you could be my mirror twin....

  8. Those Shannon Lush books recommend:
    1) Cleaning your broom with soap and water every time you use it
    2) Washing your pillows once a week

    These suggestions are both so ridiculous that I suspect she is taking the mickey of us all.

  9. OMG, washing pillows once a week? How often should we be doing the pillow cases? Daily?
    And the closest I have ever come to washing my broom is using it to sweep up broken glass without mopping up the liquid said glass contained before it was dropped. I'm sure its been water once or twice...


Comments make me happy :)