A tidy home does not make a happy home

COMMENT: All agencies must to held to account for Anne Savidge’s tragic death

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Spring is in the air! At least it was, then it wasn’t... and then it was again.

You’d find more stability on a fairground waltzer than in our climate.

I don’t know if it is the changing light and lengthening days (dragging myself out of bed in the morning doesn’t seem such a challenge with a smidgen of light in the room) but I have been filled with that infamous springtime urge to clean.

I’ve jumped on it right away (I know if I miss this window of motivation it could be months before my shelves see the light through the dust again).

But why is it that as soon as you start cleaning one thing, you notice how dirty everything else is? Before I knew it, I was scrubbing grubby finger prints off the walls and shelling out a small fortune to have my carpets cleaned.

I do like to think of myself as fairly houseproud, but tidiness doesn’t come easily to me. There have been many times I have been caught unaware wallowing in a week’s worth of laundry and up to my eye balls in clutter.

But I have a friend for whom an immaculate home does seem to come naturally.

Perhaps she is just better at keeping up the facade than I am, but somehow I don’t see it.

In her beautifully decorated, beautifully scented home it seems that – from the outside at least – no stone is left uncleaned.

But here it is, perhaps the main reason that lies behind the difference; she doesn’t yet have any children.

There is something about having children that beats the ability to have a perfect home out of you. Sure, we want it deep down but it seems like an impossible feat – like winning the lottery or Bradley Cooper popping by to ask you out for dinner.

When you have children, you can guarantee that, on buying a new table, it will immediately get accidently drawn on or that your lovely new rug will at some point develop a lovely strawberry stain.

You can easily pass the time vacuuming up biscuit crumbs unaware of the new line forming right behind you.

So I eye her pristine beige sofa enviously with its lack of ground-in chocolate. Her beautiful Laura Ashley walls are free from grubby finger prints or abstract scribbles. There are no piles of toys decorating every corner.

Each room calmly speaks order – a place for everything and everything in its place would be its adage.

There are no elegant bottles of luxury bath oil in my bathroom, just piles of wet Ben 10 figures and broken dinosaurs.

For me, tidying involves stuffing toys into a cupboard that is already close to exploding – one wrong move and I could find myself buried alive by Fisher Price.

Still, I actually wouldn’t have it any other way. There is plenty of time for a beautiful home later on. And anyway, my friend is now six months’ pregnant, so I have a feeling her pristine sofa may not be pristine for much longer.