I am the “Before”

Blue vacuum cleaner

Blue vacuum cleaner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The cords running from my VCR to my TV display themselves prominently and proudly; the dust bunnies under my desk have formed a dance club; the dishes are threatening a coup if I do not get a new dishwasher that works; and my vacuum cleaner says it will not sit out any longer to fool people into thinking I am going to clean, when I actually have no intention of cleaning.

 My life is being taken over by dishes, dust and unwieldy cord displays, and one very snooty vacuum cleaner.

I am the before picture. Before the house is cleaned.  Before it is organized. Before the papers are filed. Before the dishes are done (at least if I had a working dishwasher I could hide them—my dishwasher is now a storage unit). Before the vacuuming is done.

I used to write articles for a “home” magazine. There were no dancing dust bunnies at these homes. No cords of any kind showing. The dishes were not on the counter. The vacuum was nowhere to be seen. Children were seen but not heard.

These were the after houses. After the interior decorator had done his/her thing. After Molly Maid and all her cousins had cleaned it. After the family had been ushered out, not to return until the photographs were taken.

A few of the houses that were featured had some before rooms.  Rooms where the people lived with crushed pillows and throws thrown willy nilly, and cords showing. I think we should have photographed and featured these rooms. I think I may start a magazine that shows “before” houses. What do you think—would you read it? I would in the hope that some people live like I do.

Published in: on August 17, 2013 at 8:58 pm  Comments (38)  
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  1. Dearest LouAnn, perhaps, when I finish laughing and wiping the tears from my cheeks, I might read such a magazine. Meanwhile, I think no one does “before” better than I do! Much love, my friend! xoxoM

    • then I will feature your home first!

      • And have everyone copy my unique style? Not a chance! hahahaha! xoxoM

      • I never thought of that–you could get copyright!

      • I may need patenting!

      • great minds think alike–I almost said patenting

      • And I suspect most great minds have “before” homes – we’re too busy doing something more interesting than making them “after” homes, just so they’ll go back to being “before” just as the Swiffer gets put away! lol xoxoM

      • I know – it drives me crazy

  2. How very true! You’ve painted a delightful picture of our typically lived- in homes when they reach that inevitable point of needing to be cleaned and tidied, and how maddening it is when our trusted help-mate devices break down. I could readily identify.

    Frankly, I’d love to see a home mag that would feature at least occasionally the” before ” lived- in reality, as well as the ” after” photo shoot of perfection.

    Loved your take on domesticity.


    • thanks Joan – you have seen my chaos–I have never seen yours–your house is always neat as a pin and decorated beautifully –cannot wait to see your new place–it will definitely be an “after”

  3. Yes, you should call your magazine “Reality”. It would be an instant hit. By the way, loved the pictures you created in my head of the dust bunnies at their dance club. That’s hilarious!!

    • maybe I will feature them on the cover of my mag which I was thinking of calling “Mess” but Reality is good too

  4. I think the dust bunnies under my PC table read your post…


  5. I agree wholeheartedly. While some homes I visit are ‘always’ spotless.. always have everything in place … and it is pleasant to look at, I too go for comfort and maybe things are in place today, maybe today the kitchen is spotless and no dust bunnies… but more than likely NOT… Diane

    • I love a clean house–it is hard to get there, and hard to stay there though

  6. I try to live somewhere in between “before” and “after”!

  7. Too funny Lou. Love the dance club bunnies!

  8. I can almost see the dust bunnies doing their daily Zumba classes!

    • those dust bunnies have really caught your imagination–it is not disco they are doing down there so maybe they are having Zumba classes–they have not asked me to join yet but breathed a collective sign of relief when I finally put the vacuum away

  9. I bet people love to be at your house – it would be relaxed and a great place to sit and chat.

    I have to admit that I am a bit of a tidiness nut, but it is a self preservation tactic. Our house isn’t shiny or new, but it stays neat as we use it just so I never have to expend too much energy all at once to get it in order. However, I am almost certain that the husband and kids could just as easily and happily live in squalor, if I would come around to their way of thinking.

    • I used to be more like you, but things seem to have gotten out of hand lately and I want to post signs around the house that say–if you got it out , put it away; if you can do it yourself, do not ask me to do it, and if you made the mess, clean it up. unfortunately lately I have not been following my own advice. Once the house gets clean I must go into self-preservation mode again–I warn you Heidi, do not let it get out of hand like I have- I would lol but it is not that funny

  10. I have always dreamed of living in an “after” house, but it’s just a dream! I certain like the idea of a magazine showing real people living in real messes…
    You could call it “Reality Homes and Gardens” because the lawn and garden is a whole nuther story!!!!

    • The lawn and garden are a whole nuther story–my magazine would exhalt crabgrass (it is green after all) and the natural look of weeds!

  11. Just yesterday I pulled a book off a shelf and was assaulted by dust bunnies. They’d been lying in wait for me all this time, hooligans that they are! Don’t worry. I retaliated with my vacuum.
    Take that, dust bunnies.

    PS –It’s hard to have any kind of “after” home when you have a dog. 🙂

  12. OMG I feel like you just described my house at the moment. I have been too busy doing everything but clean my house. I did tackle most of the house today as I couldn’t take it any longer, but in cleaning I make more of a mess because i pull everything out to do the job right.

    I would definitely read a before magazine. Recently I saw a magazine spread of the couple who write Young House Love. So many things were changed to make the house “look” right. Here you have one of the biggest followings for their blog that they get invited to do a magazine spread, but then the house isn’t perfect enough.

    When you have these perfect houses it sets everyone else up to feel as if they are not good enough.

    • I wonder how long these perfect houses stay perfect anywaty–we are being sold a bill of goods
      Sometimes when I clean and do not clean under and around I feel like I am only doing half a job–but half a job is better than no job I guess

      • Half a job is enough, Doing the entire job is being a perfectionist who drives everyone around them nuts. I know only too well from experience.

      • I know–I get a little demanding when my house is clean (if my memory serves me right!)

      • Too funny 🙂 My grandfather drove us crazy with his demands for spotless and things needing to be his way, my grandmother and I were much more relaxed than he was. It’s no fun to live like that.

      • it is no fun to live like that–at all

  13. I finally bought a vacuum cleaner yesterday. Haven’t had one in years. Our new flat will have carpet. Not excited about that.

  14. […] I am the “Before” (onthehomefrontandbeyond.wordpress.com) […]

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