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What stops you from having a neat house?

post #1 of 119
Thread Starter 
Do you ever wonder what is the true reason people don't have neat/clean homes? If you get down to the heart of the situation. I know one of our mom's admit her depression literally stops her in her tracks of being able to function at times. Others grew up in a spotless, don't touch anything world and are rebelling. Others grew up in filth and don't know better. Others are simply lazy and don't do it. Others work long hours and can't get it all done.
I just don't buy into the "I have a baby and can't get anything done" unless you have a very ill child/high needs child. That is usually an excuse for an underlying problem.
Even when I was little and my mom had to work 2-3 jobs to keep us afloat she kept our house clean and picked up.
I am just curious of each of your "takes" on this. I guess I want a better understanding to develop more compassion for folks in the situation.
post #2 of 119
Being tired/exhausted.

And having a baby does = not getting anything done. No sleep at night makes mommy sleep whenever the baby does during the day.

Also those brand new baby days pass so quickly that I just want to hold the baby and soak in every minute. Thus nothing gets done in the house
post #3 of 119

Before I had children my house was neat

Originally Posted by mommaof3boz View Post
I just don't buy into the "I have a baby and can't get anything done" unless you have a very ill child/high needs child.
It didn't have that unlived in look but it was very neat!

When I had my first child things got messier. I had time to keep the clutter down but I never had time to clean the fridge out as often for example. I learned to live with a sticky fridge for longer than I used to.

Fast forward to 4 children and the house is presentable but again jobs like cleaning the layer of dust and grime off the ceiling vents isn't done regularly. We joke at the cobwebs that form!

I homeschool my children. Having children definately made my house messier. (For the record my firstborn is an Aspie and my fourth is HFA...) I am just too tired to clean as thoroughly as I used to because I have children. My DH is a CPA who works very long hours. My children do their share of helping to maintain the house.

Some people do a better job of keeping their homes clean.

My DH has a sister who is a slob who would get her house on tv it is so bad! Yet my DH is not a slob. Can't blame their mom for it!

Debra, homeschooling mom of 4 ages 10, 9, 7, and 45mos
post #4 of 119
Oh, I think my 3 year old has SOMETHING to do with it!

Well, I can HAVE a clean/neat house, I just can't keep it that way for too long. Hee hee.
post #5 of 119
Let's see... for me it's mostly the decision-making process. I'm a "categorizer," and it's very hard for me to make decisions about where things should go and what "category" they should be in.

I think I read about this concept on a hoarding website somewhere: she'll take a book off the shelf and start reading it on the couch, and then get interrupted. Where does she put the book? Well, now it's in a new category of "partially-read books" and therefore doesn't belong with the others on the shelf anymore. So she just leaves it lying out on the couch. When you add this mindset to every single thing you get out, it's understandable how it could cause a mess!

I've had to re-train my thought processes, because mine is a very well-ordered, logical, and perfectionist nature. It used to really bother me when something from one mental category crossed over into another one -- like if my husband put my half-read book back on the shelf, for example -- but though it has been hard, I've been able to loosen up a bit.

Then there's the problem of not having enough storage space and not having the house laid out well. There's also the problem of my having a bad back and bad knees, and so can't bend over very easily to pick things up off the floor... which happens to be where much of our clutter lands.

Those are some of my reasons. I'm working on them, but it's a very slow process!
post #6 of 119
I think the fact that we are never home has alot to do with it!! We are always out of town for drs appointments or doing some sort of runing around/errands drs appointments, etc. We tend to walk in dump everything where ever we find a place and then dont bother with it again...lol
post #7 of 119
Well, the kids of course!

I was messy before kids though, I'm actually neater now, though the house may not be. I do more picking up, etc than I used to.

For me, its like the OP described. I have mood swings, I'd really consider them more energy swings. Sometimes I'm up and gungho and other times I just don't want to do anything. So, when I go into a slump, the house becomes a pit, because with kids it doesn't take long for that to happen.

Too much stuff is another factor - with too much stuff, its easier on that down slump to build up a bigger mess, making it harder for me to overcome on the upswing. It also impedes having a place for everything. With too much stuff, when I pick something up, I don't know where to put it, because where it really should go is probably something I never use. The stuff that is never used stays put, so its always the stuff you do use that you have no place for, and of course since you use it, its hard to conceive of getting rid of it.

Having too much stuff also impedes me from really organizing, taking the time to figure out what the best place for each thing is (cuz of course it has to have *a* place first, then you can figure out where the best place is!) - the best place for a thing is very close to the place where it would naturally end up if you weren't being mindful, so its easy and little effort to put away.

Oh, and MDC is the real root cause, cuz I could overcome all the rest if I didn't spend all my time here!

ETA - I think I was so messy as a kid and earlier life because I was rebeling against my mom who was always yelling at us to clean our rooms, blaming all the mess in the house on us (despite the fact that we are all gone now and her house still gets plenty messy...). She failed to realize that a lot of the mess was created by the excessive clutter (and she was a big part of creating that) - and that as kids we were incapable of getting past the overwhelming stuff that filled our rooms. We didn't know how to get rid of anything, and there was too much to keep neat. My room would literally be so messy you saw no floor, and the place was a foot deep in toys and stuff. I felt so overwhelmed by it, I didn't know where to start, the task was so daunting I gave up, and was essentially punished for that. This is a big part of why my kids rooms are kept very empty. I ask my daughter to pick her room up every day, but there is so little in there, its never a hard task, never takes her more than 5 minutes at its messiest.
post #8 of 119
We have a clean house.
But, it would be less cluttered if I did not put emotions on objects.
Like I need to sell my sons toddler bed, he never slept in it but I have a hard time getting rid of it.. why, I dont know?!: And then stuff like his old clothing, toys and all that kind of stuff I dont want to get rid of because I have memories with each thing..
post #9 of 119
Right now, it's because I have a compressed nerve root, so I can't physically do much without being incredibly sorry the next day (or a few hours later). I want to save very single ounce of lifting/moving ability I have for my babes. I can function just fine, but when I start to get a flare-up, I have to drop everything absolutely unnecessary in order to not be flat on my back. If you saw me out around town, though, and then saw my house during my flare-up/messy house times, you wouldn't have a clue that I was in chronic pain and would wonder why the hell I'm so lazy. I cover it very well.

Also, there are moments when I do let the work slide on days when it's out of control in general. If Henry is being three-in-your-face and Benton is teething and extra fussy, I remember that cutey poem about how the dust bunnies can wait, because the babies can't.
post #10 of 119
My reason is this. I need time to myself to do things that I enjoy. I also work at home. So when dd is sleeping I go on the computer, read, have a bath, work outside, have a nap,eat, do my bookkeeping, or at night watch T.V. I also have the excuse that we live in a small home and putting toys away or cleaning the kitchen may wake up the sleeping child.

We also have a small home so 3 things on the floor has the house looking messy. Three things on floor takes 3 seconds!!!

I also find that I keep the house cleaner when dh is working. I hate having him sit around while I clean the house. He dislikes a messy house more than me but his actions wouldn't tell you that. He is helpful though with cleaning the kitchen.

Well on that note. I am off to have a rest I will pick up a few things on the way but won't pick up the whole house
post #11 of 119
The simple answer: I hate cleaning/straightening up. There are so many things I would rather be doing and then the task becomes overwhelming. A museum quality house is just not important to me. It would be nice but it does not rate high enough on the scale for me to 100% change the habits of a lifetime.

I do feel overwhelmed with clutter and I have been trying to downsize our stuff. I have had some small successes and I am clinging to them desperately with the hope that I will be able to maintain them for the long term. If I can just keep that spot on my dresser clear for longer then a week then I will feel up to tackling another spot.
post #12 of 119
My first answer was that I have a 4 year old and a 1 year old and therefore no time to get anything done. Then I read the whole OP, and I guess I'd say that, yes, I COULD have a clean house if that was my biggest priority. If my whole day basically revolved around keeping the house clean, I could probably do it. But that's not my biggest priority. There are a lot of things I find more fun and interesting than housework - working in the vegetable garden, taking the kids hiking or berry picking or wading in the river, reading, cooking - well, basically everything else in the whole world. I'd rather have an interesting life than a clean house. Ideally, I'd have both, but you've got to admit taking care of a baby or young child does take some time. I find it takes enough time that I have to give up other things.
post #13 of 119
Well, i could blame it on the kids (4 and 2 and one on the way), and they so definitely contribute to the mess, but the real reason is that I never really learned how to keep things organized and clean. My mom kept the house REALLY clean when we were little, but some of that slid as we got bigger, and I fell into some of the same habits -- like piling papers and things and having a 'junk room'. These habits die hard, but I'm trying.

Motivation is another barrier. When the kids are asleep (no naps here anymore ), I am tired and not up for doing much besides watching tv or surfing the net. Luckily, Dh and I are both ready to kick the clutter out with a new babe coming and him going back to school in the fall, and we are using his week off to do it!

At least in my house, it is amazing how fast a room acan go from looking really good to looking like a disaster area. SOmetimes the kids go through and scatter things like a tornado, but it also happens in the kitchen, and that isn't them. It is discouraging to see all the hard work you did to get it looking nice to be undone so quickly.
post #14 of 119
After 8 years I can actually say that I'm doing pretty darn well with keeping the house picked up!!

The reasons why my house used to be messy (and I still struggle with these things sometimes):

*My mom was/is a hoarder and her house is a disaster. I never learned how to clean and organize.
* Too much stuff. I've been doing a LOT of de-cluttering over the past year and it really makes a difference on how clean I can keep the house.
*Attitude. I have found (for me) that keeping the house clean requires a LOT less effort than letting it go to heck and then having to spend hours cleaning it up. I really try to keep on top of things now and I honestly spend a lot less time on housework.
post #15 of 119
there are certainly varying degrees of clean and neat! I know when I go to my friend's house (who by all terms has a CLEAN and NEAT house) I am slightly uncomfortable. I really really enjoy having the type of house that nobody is going to worry about messing up, leaving tracks on, leaving rings on the furniture, etc. It has all been set up to avoid these types of issues. Spills, "whatever", footprints "whatever", dog hair gets swept up, but not every day. I would say most people would walk into my house and say, hah, you can be messy here and it's okay, but nobody would say, ewwwww, doesn't she ever clean up? There's relatively no clutter because I hate to dust, so nothing to dust, and everything has a home, but sometimes it's not in its home. The furniture and floors are all washable (leather and wood), so puke, spill, track, mess away and I will not freak out, and I might not even clean it up (well, depending on substance) right away. If it's snowing or rainy outside, I never wash the floor since the dog will bring in more when I finish, etc.
post #16 of 119
My house is often neat and clean... until ds wakes up or starts playing or eating. Food falls, toys are being played with. If I wasn't home the house would be spotless. I am pretty clean and organized, but my house can be trashed in a matter of an hour. :
post #17 of 119
Lack of motivation.

I know that I can keep my house clean. Sometimes I do a very good job at this. At other times, I allow other things to take priority over my home. For me, most often the other things are spending time on the computer or working on household/craft projects.

It's all about priorities.
post #18 of 119
Thread Starter 
Don't get me wrong I am not saying the right after having a new baby you should have a neat/clean house. NO WAY. Trust me, I went WOHM 5 weeks after 1st child, and 6 weeks after second (and a csection to boot) and 6 weeks after third. I felt like getting myself out of bed and to work after being up at night was a feat in itself. I am talking more like once they are sleeping at night, napping during the day. I am not talking about pristine, museum houses, with no toys etc to be seen. I am talking about dirty floors, tubs needing scrubbing, piles of laundry. That sort of thing. How long does it really take to mop a floor? Or scrub a tub? Not long. If those basic things aren't getting done it would seem there is an underlying problem.
Sometimes I spend time online I should be throwing in a load of laundry or sweeping the floor. Yes this is important to me, but after taking the poll on how long you spend online a day 2 hours seem HUGE. That was more what I was getting at. Is it because of poor time management? Is it lack of concern? Family history? My house is actually clean and mostly neat. The typical toys, afghans on couch, socks on the floor to me are normal. Just interested in your thoughts. This is not a judgemental thing AT ALL!!!
post #19 of 119
Good question:

For me it is: too much stuff, too many kids and too much time on the computer.

Seriously, I am ferociously decluttering becasue the more we have the more we have, the more time and effort it takes to keep the house looking decent.

I am also learning that having 4 kids, my house will never be as neat as my house growing up since I was an only child.

Computer - well, I do need time to "reboot" myself, so I plan to read some every day and get on the computer. However, I find myself staying on too long and not getting anything else done.

Lately, I have been focusing on achieving balance in my life.
post #20 of 119
I get the baby/toddler excuse. I'm often very tired from caring for my son. He loves to take things out of containers and spread them out. Some days I pick up the bookshelf 3 or 4 times. I can feel overwhelmed with that and just let it go.

My biggest problem though is probably having too much stuff.
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