Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tue Pose a Question

Confessional: I am a crappy housekeeper. I've got a whole book written in my head about that very sentence. I loathe this facet of myself. Maybe some of you who have a clean house don't understand the gravity with which I use the word loathe. Loathe, as in to feel disgust or intense aversion for; to abhor, deplore, despise, hate, or scorn; to regard with extreme dislike and hostility. Yes, loathe.

Don't we all want to look like a shiny new penny... not the corroded green, sticky, can't-tell-what-year-it-is penny that screeches under the wheel of your grocery cart? I think the answer to that is yes. That's why we women wear makeup, right? To show the shiny-penny side of ourselves? Well, I'd rather go out without makeup a thousand-and-three times than have someone come into my house when it's really messy. It makes me anxious. It makes me near hyperventilation. It makes me feel like I am going to vomit. If one's mind could go to jail for assault on themselves, my little brain would be locked up for life, lifting weights while it quietly awaits the electric chair. It's that bad folks.

I grew up in a messy house and I haven't yet learned the ways of good housekeeping. I'm trying to ease up on myself because I'm doing the best I know how with the arsenal my childhood equipped me with. So... the question(s) I'd like to ask, which I have no answer for (as noted above), is: How do you keep your house clean? What is your routine? Do you have certain chores on certain days of the week? How do you enlist your children in these duties without a big 'ole nasty fight? Is there a specific time of day you clean, or is it all the live-long day?

My dream is to learn how to love myself, regardless of the state of my house. That is the goal. I'm pretty sure, because of the severe intensity of my feelings around this matter, that it is a deeper issue than just a clean house or a messy house, but I haven't yet dug in that dark corner of my mind to uncover what that might be. Until I am ready to get out the pick and shovel, or jack-hammer and backhoe as the case may be, maybe I can pick up a few pointers from all of you, my lovely friends. :)

18 comments:

bv said...

The FlyLady does a great job of helping you get clean and organized a little bit each day. She is your free online coach, cheerleader, and fairy-godmother for decluttering and organizing your home and life! www.flylady.com

I did this for a while and it did help me and my mind felt more clear as well. Check it out....I think you might really like the ideas/routines she suggests. It's also an online community of sorts.

I am so looking forward to cleaning now that we have downsized. I think my little Clancy Pants needs to stop being so hard on herself!!!! The whole loathe situation makes me sad. Despite that I love that you:

a) are self aware
b) desire change
c) willing to be vulnerable by putting it out there to others

It's like you are your own little AA group and you're just cruising through recovery. Now if you could just drop those 'loathe' feelings and keep in mind that people love you because you are Clancy.

bv said...

I am officially diagnosing you with CHAOS - Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome

http://www.flylady.net/pages/welcome_main.asp

and here's the cure

http://www.flylady.net/pages/get_started_1.asp

XXXXOXOOOOOXOXXOX
dr bv

MERRIANNE said...

i know what you mean! :-)

i can't stand a messy house. I try to keep mine clean all the time just in case someone comes over. PLUS, i can not sleep at night if the house is a mess.

i used to LOVE cleaning...
now
i LOATHE cleaning.

but i do it anyway.... cuz if i don't ...i'll go crazy!

just pick one room at a time {to get started} and do one room a day. Once every room is really clean, the general daily maintanence is a lot easier ♥

good luck!

Kaci said...

Ugh me too! I hate hate hate cleaning always have.

Clancy in Idaho said...

Actually, I don't hate cleaning. I sort of like it. I just don't know how to stay on top of the little things everyday and then they turn into big things. That's when the assault begins. I'm wondering what people do on a daily basis to keep their house clean. Like it or hate it, they do it anyway. What is it that you do, oh people of the world who stay on top of things???

Clancy in Idaho said...

And one more thing to clarify... loathe was not used in the sense of me loathing cleaning. (see above comment) By loathe, I meant the self-hate arrows I target practice with when I suddenly "see" what I've been living with for all this time when someone comes over. Suddenly I "see" what I just ignored before. And then the loathing comes. Not for the cleaning, but for me, who has let it get this bad. Make sense?

Rachel Chick said...

Well, I'm generally an all or nothing type gal. It's all clean or it all chaotic. (big surprise, huh?) but mostly, I just try one room at a time - throughout the house. If I can get myself up early, it actually helps too - as I can do laundry really well with only half of my brain running. --- Also, having a "place" for everything. Kids don't really help much --- at least not with a lot of screaming! :) - but if I help them get their room cleaned up before they go to bed at night, it helps the next day go better. (Sorry, Clancy, I know I'm just rambling!) For me, it's something that I'm training myself to do, all the time. I've learned that I've got to do better at picking up after MYSELF before I can harp on my kids too much. And as far as that goes, it's a matter of JUST DO IT. No magic tricks there.I'm learning each day to stop saying, "I'll do it in just a second." Just do it now.

(And as far as your self-loathing. I really think that I can relate. However the problem for me isn't that I'm worried about anyone ELSE seeing it . . . it's just me. When I see it, I start to have anxiety attacks. I think most of the time I choose to ignore it, but it's always there. I'm struggling too. :) Organization help a lot, but mostly, I just have to make myself stay on top of it.)

Kristin said...

Wow! I'm not the best person to answer this. My house stays relatively clean, but not deep clean. I haven't vacuumed since, well, since before Ginny did it for me. That's about when I cleaned toilets too. However, I keep my house tidy. And that's a task that's pretty much constant. I deal with the kitchen and dishes while Noah is eating.

My best advice though would be to get Ginny to respond. I think she is amazing at this and would probably have some good advice (including on the kiddos, since mine aren't that old yet).

Good luck!

P.S. I loathe the fact that I'm not much of a cook, so I understand a little how you feel.

Kristin said...

P.P.S. I LOVE Britta's comment! Here here! I echo her words... we love you for being you and don't care what your house looks like. ;)

Maria Hart said...

The kids are on break, so I have a few minutes to add to good advice already given. Keeping things TIDY is a huge help in getting things CLEAN. I expect the kids to clean up after themselves, and after years of training (even Keller), they are very good and consistent. They take their dishes to the sink. They put their clothes in the appropriate hampers. They know how to clean their rooms, and what I am checking for. If I have to pick up their toys, they go in the garbage... obviously this is a threat that has been followed up on multiple times because the kids know I am serious when I say it. That said... you have to have "drop zones" and places that don't need to be sparkle-y all the time. Our basement family room is that place for keeping some toys out indefinitely. I have drop zones by every door, places to put purses, backpacks, shoes, etc. Most of our stuff is either in the closet by the front door or on a shelf by the garage door. I also find that having the T.V. in the basement does wonders for keeping the front room clean: it becomes a conversation/music area, not a recreation area. You have a huge opportunity ahead with your basement remodel. You will be amazed what moving your family room to the basement will do for your "perception" of clean/tidy. Also, if I were you, I would create a "drop zone" by your back door and use that as the main family entrance. You have easy access, a great breezeway there and it would be easy to recondition your kids to come in that door instead of the front door. That moves most of your shoes and jackets away from the front door, and again, improves your perception of clean. As for actual cleaning... do a little when you have time. I don't have time to overhaul my house, mop my kitchen, deep clean the oven, etc., but I do have five minutes to clean my bathroom. A little at a time goes a long way. My kids love washing the windows and dusting. It isn't done perfectly, but they are helping. My husband cleans the downstairs bathroom, I do the upstairs. Divide and conquer. I don't nag him to do his bathroom, and he doesn't nag me. It gets done, we're both grateful. I don't clean on a schedule because life happens and schedules go out the window... and then the kitchen never gets mopped. I do it when and as I can throughout the week. Some weeks are better than others, but the collective effect is a relatively clean house. Also, I am far more critical of how clean MY house is than anyone else is. President Uchtdorf said it best... we tend to focus on what is lacking instead of what was accomplished. I see the dust and fingerprints all over my piano, you see a cozy room ready for a good chat. We're both right... but the latter is certainly healtheir.

Polly said...

My comment was a flippin' novel and totally went off topic, so you can read my ramblings over at my blog...
http://pollyquietandcrazy.blogspot.com/2008/09/place-for-everything-and-everything-in.html

Polly said...

maria hart is full of perfect ideas! rock on. I totally agree with what she said.

beth s. said...

One thing we have fun doing is a five minute cleanup before bed. All of us, not just kids, run around as fast as we can and clean up anything we see. The kids get a kick out of seeing Darrell running around like a madman (and of course he'll exaggerate it if it helps!)so there's not usually any whining or moping to go with it. It helps the next day start off better. another thing that helps me, and is sometimes a curse, I think was already mentioned is only touching something once. I used to be really good at just putting things in a pile to put away later but I just tell myself it takes less time to do it right then and I spend less negative mental energy because I don't have a pile to look at and despise. It's a curse because on those moments I just add it to the pile I KNOW I'm only halfway cleaning and then the mentalness, despising, loathing feeling starts to creep in. It's a good thing our lives aren't defined by just one moment or another but by the whole at the end, and certainly not by whether we were good housekeepers. But I do recognize that good housekeeping aids in the homemaking and our ability to feel the spirit in our home.

Carmy said...

My dearest love... i would like to share some insight with you:) I as well...grew up with a messy house all the time. i mean it was clean often, but we had such a little house with way to much stuff in it that it was always cluttered and hardly ever organized, and because of that...i can hardly stand clean organized houses...lol funny huh? One of the biggest reasons i love mom and dad's house so much is that it's not perfect and it's not spotless all the time so it feels much more like home. so i just want you to know that I think it's okay not to have the most clean house all the time because it feels more like a home...to me anyways. And all those freaks that keep thier house spotless all the time everyday 24/7...
well they are freaks

hahaha just kidding:) love your face! ^_^

Nicky said...

I don't have kids, so I can't help there, but I am a big believer in clean as you go. Put one activity away before getting another one out. I am proud to say that today the 15 month old I watch actually cleaned up her books before she got out her blocks - without me saying a word! So I must be doing something right. I also can't go to bed with a messy kitchen, (but I think that is my own issue)so I always clean it as part of my bedtime routine.

As far as bathroom scrubbing - I just do it right when I see it needs it. Alex has caught me scrubbing the shower while I was in it! And as soon as the toilet needs a scrubbing - it gets one. It only takes a minute.

I also cheat a lot. Method wipes and my Roomba are my best friends.

BTW - Did Carmy just call me a freak? ;)

Travis said...

My Lady and I have set up a system of chores for ourselves. We time each daily chore set to take no more than 30 minutes. Sometimes we can fit 2 or 3 things in that 30 minutes. She has her things she does, and I have mine.

And we do the chores as we move through the week. And the house stays clean.

I'm a lousy housekeeper as well. My mom was one of those who cleaned the house so well that it looked like no one lived there. I rebel against that, but this system of chores does work for us.

I think the key is not to overwhelm yourself with trying to do it all at once. That can take hours out of a weekend and really can be too discouraging. Try to set aside one or two things to do every day and see if that helps you get into a nice rotation.

Denning Domain said...

Oh dearest Clancy pants... we are kindred spirits on this issue. I want a clean, organized house 24/7 but for some reason i just can't stay on it. It is one of my biggest desires, yet my worst struggle. Lets just switch off and come and clean each others' houses once a week. I much prefer to work at other peoples' houses. I do know you are great at folding laundry.... ha ha! Katie uses flylady and loves it. I tried it for a day, does that count? you and i are the very creative, spontaneous, fun loving type. We don't want to hold ourselves back from anything fun that might come up so we are always ready to be on the go... Come over to my house right now and you will feel like a million bucks! I love ya girl. We are in this together.

Ginny said...

been working on this one in my head for a week now...just read the comments already given for the first time and don't really feel like i have much to add. maria hart and i seem to live similarly. toys are the kids and therefore the kids' responsibility. i don't fold clothes. i wash and separate and the kids put their own clothes away (ok, not Ry and Ty but the rest). laundry days are monday and friday (with occasional extra loads other days). the kids have semi-weekly chores (vacuuming, bathrooms, dusting) that will likely be moving to daily chores when i get my behind in gear. i have a husband who goes crazy in a mess, so that definitely helps (both in him doing plenty and me getting things nice before he gets home because i know he likes it). the kids clean up many times a day, and always before meals and bedtime. i basically don't do any pick-up (except in the office, since it is all grown-up stuff).

it really is amazing what you can do in a minute. what do you do while the microwave is heating something up or your kids are eating lunch (and you actually want to enjoy your meal so you aren't eating yet)? load the dishes or unload the clean ones. clear off and/or wipe down the counter. just yesterday while i was heating my leftovers for lunch, i was able to run downstairs, unload the dryer, switch the wet clothes from the washer to the dryer and dump the laundry on my bed, all before the microwave finished. no wasted time. (oh, and putting laundry on our bed makes sure it gets taken care of that day, which helps.) got ten minutes before you have to go somewhere?? sweep a floor, scrub a toilet, etc.

have I rambled sufficiently?? kristin gives me far more credit than i deserve! like i said, not a whole lot to add. the deep cleaning doesn't happen as often as i'd like (partly because i really don't enjoy it) and optional chores are pretty much off my list. (why on earth would i try to keep my full-length glass windows free of fingerprints with five young kids??) removing losing battles makes the war seem more manageable for me. i am also of the freakish (thanks, Carmy) clan that likes to do things in chunks. a little bit every day is way better in my mind than a whole lot in one day. subsequently, my entire house is never really deep-clean at the same time. by the time the bathroom floors get scrubbed, the kitchen floor needs it again! oh well!!!

oh, and the drop-spots, touch it once, and "everything in its place" theories are pure gold! ok, novel over...for now.