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How do get your entire family on the same page with keeping the house neat??

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Particularly your spouse??

I LOVE having a neat, clean, organized house. But it's not just a preference, it's a *need* for me to function. I cannot function in chaos, and that means when everything gets too messy, I have a HORRENDOUS time (physically & mentally) getting it back into shape.

I'm very much a clean-as-I-go person. If I cook dinner, everything but the final pot/serving dish/whatever is washed by the time the meal is ready. If I read a book, I put it back in its place when I take a break. If I get the mail, I sort through & discard/file it immediately. DH is the polar opposite. He's willing to (and does) do a ton of clean up around here, which I really appreciate, but the accumulation is what gets to me. I can't stand 10 piles of mail spread throughout the house & completed projects mixed in with DS's art supplies. I hate the pile of dishes and messy counters when he's done cooking (but boy do I appreciate him cooking!) You get the idea...

So what to do?? How to reconcile two opposite (but equally valid, I guess!) cleaning styles?? How do you function when things are a mess? I absolutely CANNOT cook if there are more than a few dishes in the sink, because then I can't clean up as I cook (never mind draining pasta or whatever...) and so then DH picks up more of the burden of cooking & we get stuck in a vicious cycle. I have no idea what to do with all the piles of mail (weird, I know, because I can sort the daily mail easily, maybe it's a mental block!) I guess I'm like that with everything I do, not just cleaning. Anyway... any ideas? Or is this just something we have to suffer with for the rest of our lives??
post #2 of 11

I certainly don't have the answer, but I'm right there with you! Dh is, for lack of a better word, a slob! He tries to help me out, but I honestly think he just doesn't see the messes, at least not the way I do. When I see a mess, I feel anxiety. Dh feels...nothing...complete apathy towards it.

 

One thing that has helped me was making a "to do" list for him. I struggle with it because it feels a little condescending or something making a chores list for a full grown person, but so far it's the lesser of the 2 evils.  Everyday before he goes to work, he does the dishes and a few other things. He has a few things he does when he gets home, too.  We went back and forth quite a bit while making the list but we finally found something we both agreed on. I think the routine helps him!

 

But also, I think compromise has to come from both sides. I married him, clutter and all, and it wouldn't be fair for me to make his life (or mine) miserable over a few socks left on the floor or misplaced scissors, kwim?

 

The most helpful thing I've ever heard on this subject was a story I read on a blog a few years ago. It was by a woman who had a husband who constantly left the can opener out on the counter. I guess he ate canned soup every day for lunch and never put the opener back in the drawer. She was always nagging him about the can opener and felt very put upon that he wouldn't or couldn't remember to put it away. Well, the husband passed away from cancer, I think it was, and needless to say, the can opener wasn't left out anymore. The wife was writing this story, and at the end she said the hardest part of being alone was knowing that nothing in her house moved unless she moved it. She said she would give anything to see that can opener laying out again. 

 

So sad, right?! It certainly puts things in perspective. I remember this story whenever I'm feeling stressed and overburdened by dh's clutter.

post #3 of 11

I got a divorce but that is not everyone's answer. : )

 

I hope someone can help y'all.

post #4 of 11

I have to have clean to function.  Have. To. 

 

By nature though, I am quickly a slob- as soon as things start getting messy I shut down. It took me most of a decade to learn that I have to keep on top of it to be functional. 

 

DH doesn't get it. My oldest child doesn't get it.  The toddlers obviously don't get it- but I can deal with their mess.  it's the mess from the people old enough to know better that I can't stand. 

 

Once I explained that the space I am in has a HUGE impact on my emotional well-being my husband made an effort to help out and to pick up after himself. My daughter though?  Ugh.  Well, she's a hurricane.  She also will lie and scheme to get out of doing chores.  It's a point of contention in my family.  I am actually in the middle of a pretty long battle to get her to see the value in respecting the home she lives in, and to see the value in respecting the needs of people around her.  I can't chase her around cleaning after her all day.  I just can't.  She needs to figure this out and do it without it having to be a daily battle, but I have NO idea how to make that happen. 

post #5 of 11

Can you find his clutter spots and put a basket there?  That way you can take his stuff from that area/room and dump it in his basket and he can deal with it later and you don't have to look at it.

That's what I've done.

post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristyMarie View Post

Can you find his clutter spots and put a basket there?  That way you can take his stuff from that area/room and dump it in his basket and he can deal with it later and you don't have to look at it.

That's what I've done.


This is what I do, too. My husband empties his pockets out on his nightstand and doesn't do anything else with the junk that accumulates. Piles of receipts, scrunched up paper towels, change, business cards, laying all over the place. It's a nightmare! So I put a basket there. It's still a pile of junk, but at least it's not spread out all over the place.

 

Occasionally, I get frustrated and box all of his stuff up that he's left laying around. If he doesn't look for any of it within a certain time period, I go through and throw away anything I think is junk. That may sound harsh, but he is a serious pack rat, and our house might look like an episode of Hoarders if I didn't do this!

 

post #7 of 11

i have to contain my husband, diligently. 

 

if it gets to be too much, i put a pile on his lap.

post #8 of 11

Ditto. I'm not a *clean* freak but I regularly reach a breaking point if things are too *messy*. I have created places for everything. Pieces of paper (the worst!) which dh and ds leave lying around go into piles in certain places. Just having a place for odds and ends really helps me. An incredible help in my case is that dh has his clothes in our 3rd bedroom and that has evolved into being the room where I can just toss anything that is his that's lying around. THAT room is a disaster area but I can just shut the door and figure that is *his* space. I also have an area in the basement that I consider *his* and I toss stuff there as well.

 

Baskets are a god send! lol

 

We have things like the can opener issue too. DH is terrible about when he opens a package of food in the kitchen the wrapping/lid/whatever just gets left on the counter. Heaven forbid he *put it in the freaking garbage*! I don't know what to do about that... lol But at least those things do have a place that I can slip them back into. I usually console myself with the thought that he does most of the cooking so I consider cleaning up the kitchen more my job.

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by katiecat View Post

 

We have things like the can opener issue too. DH is terrible about when he opens a package of food in the kitchen the wrapping/lid/whatever just gets left on the counter. Heaven forbid he *put it in the freaking garbage*! I don't know what to do about that... lol But at least those things do have a place that I can slip them back into. I usually console myself with the thought that he does most of the cooking so I consider cleaning up the kitchen more my job.


So it's not just mine! I can't understand why my husband will open something and leave the wrapper ON THE COUNTER, right above the trash can!! (We have one of those trash cans that slid out from the cabinet.)

post #10 of 11

I don't know, my husband and I are pretty tidy people.

 

I am a bit more of the "I must clear the magazines and remote controls off the coffee table" than he is, but he is more  "I must swab down the kitchen floor almost every night". My DD (15) is pretty tidy and will tidy her desk and room on her own initiave. Our DS, though....(13)...

 

One thing for DS is we gave him a location and box for his wallet, keys, & phone. We remind him to tidy up or clean his room (in fact, we need to do it this weekend.

 

We do have a chore-chart for the family.

 

re: your situation - What does your DH think would be a good solution? Is he aware that you think this is a problem? 

 

Minor idea about your DH leaving a mess when he cooks. Could you re-divide the work and say that whoever cooks must also do the dishes & he cooks half the time and you cook half the time? Then you can cook and clean-as-you-go and he can be Mr. Hurricane in the Kitchen, but it doesn't matter, cause he cleans it up afterwards?

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skreader View Post

Minor idea about your DH leaving a mess when he cooks. Could you re-divide the work and say that whoever cooks must also do the dishes & he cooks half the time and you cook half the time? Then you can cook and clean-as-you-go and he can be Mr. Hurricane in the Kitchen, but it doesn't matter, cause he cleans it up afterwards?


I think it's the procrastination that gets to me... that would work if he cleaned up right away but he'll cook a meal and leave the mess until he's up to cleaning it (I get it, I don't always feel like cleaning either!) but then the next meal comes around and I can't function so he has to cook again. I feel bad that a lot of the load is falling largely on him and I feel equally bad for still being annoyed about it when he's doing so much of it!!

I like the basket idea many of you suggested...

I do need to discuss this more with DH -- unfortunately, I tend to bring it up when we're in the middle of a disaster, really I need to wait 'til we have time to talk & he won't take it as personally. Somehow he tends to end up thinking all problems are HIS fault when most of the time (including with this!) it's me & my hangups that I need help coping with!!
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