The first thing that happens after you do dishes is lunchtime.

The sink, you see, is not happy alone, empty, sterile. It spreads its unhappiness through the house, which resists all decluttering methods in a variety of ways. The shoes revolt. The dust stands up. The clutter blockades.

There’s no hope for anyone over age five attempting a reconnaissance mission. Cleaning requires armor and strategy beyond the ability of Windex and Swiffer.

It takes a Master Cleaner to clear things out: someone with know-how and courage, a strong will and a history with bleach, six kids and years of professional experience.

When the Master Cleaner shows up, hair gathered back and the old sweatshirt of cleaning glory ready, the shoes meekly find their places in the closet, the dust hides (only to be persuaded out), and the clutter is smashed into order.
*to be continued…