no. 5 – the messes I’ve learned to accept

So, here I am again in the bath pondering the messes I have learned to accept despite being a self-proclaimed clean freak. Growing up, I had this fixation on exerting control over my environment which usually manifested in cleaning everything in sight. I learned from my mother that being too sentimental could crowd one’s environment with clutter and that it was easier to release things because it meant maintaining less.

I watched her willingness to part with items each spring when we collected donations for goodwill, and I sat in awe after watching her leave behind the house and furniture she had bought after she and my father divorced. Wedding china, photo albums, the home she had devoted her time to caring for… was all transferred to my father’s care (and unfortunately, he has not been so attentive to it, but cest la vie).

Today, I look up at the three polished brass vanity light strips crowning the bathroom mirrors  in my townhouse and wonder why anyone ever decided they needed 24 light bulbs in a bathroom. Yes, 24. And no, there is currently no ceiling alternative either. It’s either the hard and hot heat of the bulbs or nothing.

After I bought the place, I adorned a corner of the wrap-around counter with a small desk lamp because its glow was preferable to what looks like dressing room lights, but over time I couldn’t bare to look at the long black cord that kept falling into the trash can. I replaced it with my magnifying lighted mirror for some time because it was a bit smaller and could put out not just one but three comparably softer lighting options. How fancy is that?

But in the end, I had the same problem with the length of the cord, and now it is hiding under the counter in the cabinet so that I don’t have to look at it either. I’d prefer not to see most of what’s in the bathroom, but life happens and life necessitates having utilitarian items at its disposal.

By Sunday, there are usually a few items that have formed in clusters on the counters and floors. And as part of my custom, I go about tidying the bathroom so that I can enter a new week of “decompression” baths with fewer interruptions to my visual palette.

Messes that are always making themselves “at home” in the bathroom

  1. Wash rags and hand towels – My partner and I use these daily and have taken to throwing them on the floor next to the tub when we are done because we haven’t troubled ourselves with buying a bin specifically for towels. Once they hit the pile, I use them to wipe out the tub each time I draw a bath. We at least have the decency to hang bath towels…
  2. Night clothes – My partner started this trend. She and I alternate getting up early in the morning and dressing in the bathroom so that we don’t disturb one another. She typically leaves an outfit folded on the counter and returns to it at the end of the day.
  3. Shoes – Guilty. More than anything else, I am likely to leave at least one pair of shoes in the corner. I almost always bring my clothing to the hamper just outside the door, but a rotating pair of shoes has almost become part of the bathroom decor. I’ve got to curate somehow.
  4. Hair – And lots of it. I have always been a shedder, and it is possibly more pronounced because I’ve had alopecia areata for a little over a decade now. I currently have a sizable patch missing above my left ear and a much smaller patch behind it. I don’t really ever think about it since I have always been able to hide it by either parting my hair a certain way or wearing it down. After seeing Alina (my partner) clean the floor though, it’s hard to overlook.
  5. Soaps, shampoos, etc. – I hate to admit this one. I don’t see a need to incorporate new items into the bath until the old ones are sufficiently used, yet it keeps happening. Part of me wants to just throw away some of them and hope that Alina won’t notice, but I haven’t been able to convince myself that thats the right thing to do…not to mention, I’m actually guilty of introducing new items.
  6. Drinking glasses – One thing I’ve learned is that when you live on the top of a three story townhouse, the last thing you want to do in the middle of the night is walk down three flights of stairs in the dark to get a drink of water. Most nights, we try to remember to bring a glass upstairs when we know we are ready to turn in. And if we forget, I have no problem refilling a glass from the bathroom tap. Alina is too good for the bathroom water, but since it’s my bathroom and I know who goes in and out of it, I am perfectly fine.

What about you?

  1. What types of messes do you keep coming back to?
  2. What have you learned to live with?
  3. Have you ever let a mess get between you and someone else?




Author: Kate Hill

Hi, I'm a 31 year old adjunct who writes in my spare time. I live with my girlfriend, her 13 year old daughter and the imaginary dog we keep talking about. I live in my head, and I like cheeseburgers. Did I mention a warm bath is a nice thing to come home to?

4 thoughts on “no. 5 – the messes I’ve learned to accept”

  1. Clothes in general are scattered in my home. I am guilty of it too. In particular, I leave my gym jacket anywhere my mind decides to leave it after a tiring workout. Guilty I am of leaving it there for some time. I might have too many shoes for my own good too, though these find improper space within my room.


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