About five years ago, Mike and I used to entertain regularly at home. We'd have people over for drinks, barbeques and the occasional dinner party. Our apartment was always clean and tidy when our friends got here and after a few dishwasher loads, clean and tidy again.

Everything had its place.

Once we had kids, all that changed. There is no "place" for most of the toys that currently clutter our apartment. There are boxes and bags of things we are meaning to return or give away, all of which will not fit in any closet. There are piles of mail and art projects and seemingly important papers/receipts/forms that will never be filed away except if we decide to throw them in the trash.

The only way I can imagine properly tidying up the place is by throwing everything out and starting over.

That includes our children.

Despite the mess, most people who see my apartment, whether they are coming over for a playdate or coming over to film an episode of the Mommy Show, think my place is relatively clean for a family of four.

Want to know my secret?

Twenty minutes before the camera crew comes over, I hide everything in my bedroom. The boxes and bags by our front door, the piles of mail and artwork on the kitchen counter, the massive amount of craft supplies cluttering up our dining room table, and the elaborate miniature doll set-ups on top of every available surface in the living room.

It all goes in the master bedroom.

I put it on the floor, throw it into plastic bins, pile it on the dresser, and line it up in short stacks along the window sill. Then I shut the door. 

VOILA! Clean apartment.

When Megan Hilty was over, being particularly gracious, she decided to say goodbye to Mazzy before she left. Mazzy happened to be watching TV in my bedroom. Before I had the chance to yell "DON'T GO IN THERE!!!!" like a scene from a D-grade horror flick, Megan poked her head in the door.

"HOLY SHIT!!!!!!!" she screamed when confronted by a scene straight out of Hoarders.

Nah. I'm kidding. She said "bye" to Mazzy and then we both pretended like she didn't see what I knew she had just seen.

Or maybe Megan Hilty is secretly a hoarder and was relieved?

That's what I tell myself at night. 

Truth is, I am not a neat person. I thought I would become a neat person once I became an adult since I assumed "neatness" was a mandatory part of "adulthood". Turns out, that is not the case. I had a few good years when I was single and first bought my apartment, but then I reverted right back to my pre-teen years once I had kids. 

I might not be leaving my entire Barbie collection on the couch or a half-finished inspiration collage on my floor, but that doesn't mean the mess isn't there. One look inside my drawers and you know I never expect to see most of that stuff again. My closet is no better. I throw shoes in there like it's a trash can.

But once the door (or the drawer) is shut, everything looks tidy.

My friend Kelley from Kelley's Break Room seems to be on my side of the tidy equation. She has recently started circulating these hilarious cleaning tips on her Facebook page. She calls them "Pinterest Tips" since Pinterest seems to be the place where everybody claims to sort their toys alphabetically and hang their clothes by color.


Do they exist offline? I'm betting not. Or maybe the people with the color-coded closets are the ones who toss everything underneath the bed. 

I'll send Megan Hilty over their houses to inspect.







Kelley, you have an open invitation to my house. You don't even have to call first.

Do you have any super easy cleaning tips? Where do you hide your mess?


You can read more from Kelley on Kelley's Break Room or follow her on facebook.

To read more from me, follow Mommy Shorts on Facebook.