Rosie Johnson Illustrates
Freelance illustrator

Notes from the studio (it’s a shed)

Daffodils, bunnies and huge piles of washing. It must be Spring.

Pinch Punch first of the month. March is Spring as far as I'm concerned, whatever the Vernal equinox would have us believe. That Vernal equinox is so pushy, right? 

I always feel like Spring signifies sorting shiz out. Tidying up. Shaking off the old and cold and bringing in the bright and new. 

That's all very well, but it's going to take more than a quick whiz round with the duster and an artfully placed cheese plant in our place. The house is constantly wrecked and it's becoming more noticeable. Maybe it's because there's more natural light streaming in with that there sun in the sky making the odd appearance. It's shining a spotlight on the fingerprinted telly and throwing a beam of judgment on should-be-white-but-are-curiously-speckled kitchen tiles. Maybe it's because we have children who develop hives at the sight of Henry Hoover.

I'd like to pretend we're 'too busy making memories' to tidy, but we haven't got time for memories. We're too busy making mess. 

Cat poo family time mess

There's an unavoidable Spring Cleaning vibe in the air. I keep seeing links to Konmari which, if you're unfamiliar, is a Japanese method developed by a woman (Marie Kondo) whose actual job title is 'Organisational Consultant.' Yup. 2017, people. This is where we are. I've seen some videos and the gist is folding your socks and chucking out stuff you don't need. Careful, Marie, I'm coming for your consultant's crown. Fold it up or chuck it out. Gotcha.

Periodically I try to declutter and, for a few days, I'm the new me. Clothes hung in order of colour; basket of miscellaneous items reduced to just car keys and stamps (as opposed to empty paracetamol boxes, hair clips and jigsaw pieces that we better not chuck just in case.) It never lasts longer than a week.

My default position is that of massive hoarder and I have been known to lovingly file away all sorts of useless crap with which I have formed a strong emotional bond. Not just receipts from romantic nights or scribbled notes on the backs of envelopes- that's your Hollywood/ Disney ditzy version of me. The real version once genuinely had 2 slices of processed cheese stored away alongside old theatre programmes. It's a testament to my partner's tolerance and love that he was able to find said items, laugh about them and remain in the relationship for a further 16 years... and counting. Maybe he's still waiting to hear about my special connection to a Dairylea slice. 

I'm slightly better now, in the house at least, but my work space/ shed/ summerhouse/ studio (depending on how pro I want to sound) is in a constant state of disarray. I don't like it, I just don't like tidying even more. Forget 'the morning after the night before' - if you're looking for the real walk of shame- look no further... the mug walk of shame.

That's Miso soup, not mouldy tea. But, it easily could have been mouldy tea...

We could get a cleaner. That's not actually true as we couldn't afford one. Even if we had loads of cash, which we decidedly do not, I know we'd either be tidying manically before he/she came so it'd be tidy enough to clean (!) or, after, we'd be undoing the bizarre organisation habits of a stranger.

You know when a kind, well meaning house guest does the washing up and puts everything away in the wrong place, following their own utterly unfathomable kitchen system? That's what having a cleaner would be like. The bread knife in the drawer? Have you lost your senses? The bread knife clearly goes on the magnetic strip in height order next to the neglected huge-knife-that-came-in-the-set-and-is-too-terrifying-to-use. Surely everyone knows that?! (Maybe I'm more Konmari than I thought.) 

Our friend has a fabulous term for this kind hearted but essentially unhelpful help- 'hidying up' How perfect is that? 

Hidying Up


With no hope of cleaners, no desire for hidiers and 2 small children leaving trails of destruction like malevolent slugs (is there any other kind?) I guess we're doomed to a cycle of blitzing, promising, failing, sighing, coping, blitzing, repeating. But at least we'll soon have more daylight hours in which to do it. Maybe we'll go with the Vernal Equinox after all and put it off for another twenty days. Happy nearly Spring, folks.