A few weeks ago, there was a story on the front page of our local small-town paper that grabbed my attention. It was actually a very sad story that I won’t go into but one particular paragraph stood out to me. Due to a suspected crime, the sheriff’s office had searched the home in question and the newspaper article reported on what was discovered during the investigation.

It read: Investigators noted the grass was very long on the property, the inside of the residence was disorganized, and the kitchen sink was full of dishes. Rooms in the residence had clothing on the floors, toys on the ground in many rooms and in general the house was in a disorganized state.

When I finished reading I glanced up at the dirty dishes on my kitchen counter and thought, “Uh-oh, at any given time, especially if the grandkids are here, this could describe my house – sans the grass situation.” Now before you get the wrong mental image of what my house looks like, we do try to keep it as tidy as possible, and it’s clean. But there are days the dishes don’t get done in a timely manner and the dirty clothes find their way onto the floor of my bedroom instead of the hamper at the other end of the house. Hey, it’s a LONG walk down the hallway when you’re tired.

I know all of you type A people are making a mental note NEVER to come to my house, but really, just call ahead, I’ll get it in shape before you arrive. I can do it! But if you find a closed door, do not open it! Deal?

After reading this article, however, I’ve changed my ways. For instance, these days, at least 99% of the time, the only dishes you’ll find in the sink have been left there by someone else. I’ll not name names.

And at the end of the day, I now head to the hamper at the other end of the house no matter how tired I am. I look at John and say, “I’ll be right back. I have to get these clothes in the hamper. You know, in case the police show up.” Because seriously people, I don’t ever want there to be a story in the paper about my untidy house!

The added tidiness is nice – time-consuming, and sometimes exhausting, but nice. But let me tell you this, all rules go out the window when the grandkids come. If there are toys on the floor, so be it. Houses with kids should be fun, not overly tidy. But don’t worry; I do make them clean up at the end of each day. You know, in case the police show up.

For the record, I have long subscribed to this theory: “Creative minds are rarely tidy.” – John William Gardner