23 May 2008

House Cleaning!

Although you'll find our house a mess, Come in, sit down, converse. It doesn't always look like this: Some days it's even worse

I hate cleaning. There, I said it. I am a stay at home mom and I suppose one of my primary purposes is supposed to keep a clean house but I hate it. Hate it, hate it, hate it!!!!!!

It's not like my house is filthy. It's more cluttered than anything else. Sure I do let the laundry pile up, because laundry really is the bane of my existence. It just multiplies. And just when you think it's done, there's more again. At least when you vacuum, the rug looks clean for at least a few hours. Until the cat yaks on it anyway.

I have tried different systems over the years to help me keep my home clean. Flylady being the latest. I think the problem is that I am not that kind of person. You know, the kind of person that knows she will wash her kitchen floor Monday, scrub her toilets Tuesday, polish the silver Wednesday (silver?) whether it needs it or not. I clean when it needs it. If it doesn't look dirty, does it really need to be cleaned? I know those systems are meant to help one keep their house clean, so it never will look dirty. But my brain just can't wrap around doing something that doesn't need doing!

So I wait until my house is good and messy and then I clean. Begrudgingly of course. I do finally get to the point where I can't take it anymore. My DH would tell you I am a slob. I think that's a bit of an exaggeration. I am a bit of a pack-rat, that label I will accept. But I am not a hoarder. Not like those hoarders I've seen on Oprah. (Have you seen those shows? Shudder!) You can walk through my house (at least most of the time, LOL : )

I keep things because I am one of those people who worries that I may need something one day. And that day will be the day after the Salvation Army has just driven off with my stuff. I know it's just stuff, but I like my stuff. I also have way too many clothes. Most of that stems from the small problem I have varying what size I wear occasionally. Better to keep the clothes if I may need them rather than having to buy new ones again, right?

My mom was a slob. She was messier than me. So I think there must be hope for my daughters because it appears that the succeeding generations are improving. Although my grandmother was pretty tidy. She actually used to clean our house a lot. (My mom was an only child and I think when my grandmother got old, she was trying to make up for past sins.) We also had cleaning people. I actually used to clean houses myself funny enough. My mom (the slob) had her own cleaning company. We did a really good job in other people's houses. I think it's much easier to clean someone else's house because you aren't distracted by your own stuff. Or by your kids, or the phone or General Hospital.

My DH worries my daughters won't know how to keep a home tidy when they get older. He says I set a bad example by not making them clean. Hmmm, is that all that matters? Will their value be less if they like to leave their clothes on the floor and only scrub the toilets once a month?

Like me, my daughters know how to clean, they just don't like to do it. I only know a few people who really LIKE to clean house, and those people could use a little counseling IMO. I realize in life everyone has things they NEED to do, but is house cleaning really one of them. Sure you don't want to live in health code violation territory, but a few piles of laundry and dishes in the sink isn't life threatening. Knowing how to do something and having the desire to do it are entirely different things. I am sure when my girls get older, if they choose to marry and have a family, they will be more than capable of keeping their home tidy enough. For them. Why isn't what is good enough for them good enough?

Life is short. I feel the time slipping by me so fast. I have my kids home with me, at least right now. My eldest is talking high school, so I may lose her in a year. (I know, it's not like she is moving away, but she'll be gone all day!) Soon enough I will be old and my kids will be gone. I don't want to spend all my time with them right now worrying about whether or not my house is clean enough or yelling at them to clean their rooms. Looking at the big picture, does it really matter? We are all well fed, we shower and wear clean clothes, we mow the grass. I wash the floors when they are sticky, I wash the dishes when we need clean ones. I scoop the cat litter. The essentials are done on a daily basis. You may visit me and see dust on the furniture, and cobwebs in the corner. There may be a pile of newspapers in the corner and a pile of laundry on the bedroom floor. There might be recycling piling up in the kitchen and last nights dinner dishes in the sink. Will you think less of me? When I die, will it matter whether I kept a clean house? Is that what people will say at my funeral "I really liked Donna, sorry to see her go, but boy was she a slob!" Or will they say that I was a person willing to help when needed, who was always there for her kids, who took in stray animals and tried to make her small corner of the world a better place? Isn't doing those types of things more important than how clean I kept my house? I think so, and sometimes, even if it may sound selfish, what I think is all that matters.

My theory on housework is, if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?

~Erma Bombeck~


Stephanie said...

I believe that we don't HAVE TO anything, we choose to. I clean when I want and I actually like to clean but somedays I don't feel like it, so I don't.
If your dh wants it done he can do it himself!
I won't think less of you, some people really aren't bothered and it's your house.
I personally love a clean house but I don't have one very often. Six people plus pets and we are unschoolers who really LIVE in our house.

Be free my dear!

unschoolermom said...

Yep. I wish our house was spotless. It never is - even when it's clean. I wouldn't say it's dirty, but it is lived in. I just finished shampooing the living room carpet, so it looks pretty good. Now I've got to get on to the kitchen. I used to worry a lot about if the house was clean or not. I still like it to look presentable when someone comes over, but if it's not perfect - so be it.


Lila said...

My mom "taught" me to clean. I had to do some cleaning including doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen every day, and spent most of every Saturday morning cleaning, to her specifications. My mom is a good housekeeper, and she taught me how to do it. So my house should be spotlessly well kept like hers, right? Um, no. Never has been, and probably never will be. I'm just not a neat freak by nature. My house sounds about like yours...not filthy or dirty, but usually a bit cluttered and very well and comfortably lived in. We clean more when we're expecting company and occasionally when I get the urge to spend an afternoon cleaning to "catch up" on everything I've been meaning to do someday (yes, that does happen once in a while). Like you, I don't think cleaning is a trait that defines a person's value as a spouse, a parent, a child, or an individual. Thanks for expressing so well what I have often thought in my own mind :-) While we all enjoy a house that we can walk through and do fun things in, I don't think the state of the house will be what our really good memories are made up of.

Sue said...

You and my daughter have a lot in common. She helped me clean other people's houses and ours, well, sometimes there was a path through it! She married a neat freak. When they were dating, I took him to her room. I said, "This is what you are getting into. It's genetic. She gets it from me. Are you sure this is what you want?" He said he'd get a maid. I told him he had my permission to marry her.

Donna said...

Thanks for your comments ladies! It's nice to know I am not alone : )

carma said...

WOW, well said indeed! I just today had a PRM (that's a Packrat Regret Moment). My homeschool group was assembling yearbooks at my house and we needed some "autograph pages" to put in so they could sign each other's yearbooks. I realized that *just* a few weeks earlier I had thrown out a whole stack of really nice ones (printed with a border of friendship quotations) that I had kept for THREE YEARS prior. AGGRAVATING!

carma said...

Sue - I love it: FULL DISCLOSURE! That might prevent a lot of bad marriages from happening, LOL!

Deanna said...

How people choose to keep their homes is their own business but I'd be careful about assuming that those whose homes are clean "need counseling". (grin) Some of us are very much affected by our surroundings. Beauty is important to me and makes me happy. When my house is clean, tidy and attractively decorated, I enjoy being in it. When it's messy and cluttered, I'm not as comfortable.

I acknowledge that I am one of the *born neat* types and housekeeping comes easily to me, for the most part. I walk through a room and automatically straighten things or put things away, almost without thinking. I was raised by a mom who doesn't share this trait and while her house isn't dirty, it is cluttered most of the time. If she could totally relax and not care about it, that would be fine but she freaks out if someone is coming over and drives everyone nuts cleaning. I say if you don't mind the mess for your own family then you shouldn't worry about it for visitors. If you (generic *you*) think it isn't good enough for others, then perhaps it isn't good enough for your family.

I had a very dear great aunt who really had this whole issue worked out satisfactorily. She was, at best, an average housekeeper. She often said that she had "clean beds and clean food" and the rest was sort of hit and miss. She always seemed to have company and many overnight visitors. She had a large linen closet upstairs along with the three bedrooms and two bathrooms that were used just for company. She almost never went upstairs so everyone was basically on their own. Her rule was that if you wanted clean sheets, you put them on when you arrived, but when you left, you just made the bed as is. It was up to the next person to change them when they arrived. Her house was sometimes a little dusty and certainly a bit cluttered but it was warm and homey. Most of all, she was totally at peace with her standards and everyone loved her for it.

So I say, to each his own. I won't judge you for having a messy house if you don't assume my clean house is the sign of mental illness. (wink) (And I really don't spend all that much time actually cleaning; I'm just efficient and naturally tidy.) The important thing is that each family decides what they are comfortable with and then decides not to care what others think.

Donna said...

The counseling thing was meant in fun. (Although my sister is a clean freak who cleans to relieve stress and control her environment and could definetely use some counseling LOL : ) I know that not everyone who cleans is nuts. I am acually quite glad some people like to clean and I wish they would come to my house and delight themselves : ) I'm all for a clean house, I just don't want to do it myself.

Stephanie said...

Hey Donna go check out her last few entries, it's about cleaning--HA!


Silvia said...

Great post, could have been written about my house with a few details changed--we don't have cats :). I hope you don't mind, but I added your Holt quote to my sidebar, too.

Jenny said...

Hey there Donna, lots of this rung true for me as well.

We actually have a housekeeper come in twice a month. The best thing about that is that I don't scrub tubs and toilets anymore.

What boggles my mind is that there is STILL so much cleaning to be done!