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What stops you from having a neat house? - Page 3

post #41 of 119
I spend naps and preschool writing my doctoral dissertation. I do clean when the kids are home/awake, but I'd rather spend my time with them than cleaning. Our house is rarely perfectly tidy, but it's presentable most of the time. It's not gross or nasty, just not always orderly.

Honestly, I'm a little wary of people who would rather clean than read. But I realize not everybody has my tolerance for a messy house.
post #42 of 119
Man, this sounds like a cool house!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lanamommyphd07 View Post
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 #43 of 119
Oh my! I totally feel this way too!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Penelope View Post
Honestly, I'm a little wary of people who would rather clean than read. But I realize not everybody has my tolerance for a messy house.
post #44 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Penelope View Post
Honestly, I'm a little wary of people who would rather clean than read. But I realize not everybody has my tolerance for a messy house.
I would not rather clean than read. If left to my own devices, I would probably not do anything but read. The last book I read DH was ready to throw me out of the house, because I didn't do ANYTHING until I finished it. Luckily I read fast but still. I get seriously lost in books, so I have to be careful or I'll forget to eat or feed someone!
post #45 of 119
Last really good book I read, I had a rule...if it couldn't be done while I was reading the book, then it didn't get done. Luckily, I can do a lot of things while reading.
post #46 of 119
Thread Starter 
I agree with pp who said cleaning should not be a priority over being with our children. However, why can't you do both? Be with the kids and clean? My kids loved to spray the windows and wipe them. They always thought it was cool to wet mop and make patterns LOL. With the Dr Bronner or vinegar solutions its perfectly safe for them. My 12 yr old and I talk a lot while folding laundry. We all work side by side and its not bad at all. My 9 yr old wants an indoor cat and he scoops the box. If he didn't want to do that he could have left the cat in the barn. My kids LOVE to cook and bake cookies. However, they know they have to help clean up after we're done. They still always choose to make cookies. We recently stripped all our lower kitchen cabinets (with the orange non toxic striper) and repainted them as a family. I think it makes them appreciate what we have and know how hard we work for them. Now granted my kids are older than a lot of yours so I am at a much different place. No one attached to my chest LOL. Anyway, I guess the point of my rambling is (and this is only MY OPINION) I am not raising kids I am raising future men who probably will be fathers and husbands. Kids learn by example.
What steps did I take to make cleaning easier and "doable":
1. Realized Erma Bombeck was right-doing house work with kids is like stringing beads with no knot on the end of the cord.
2. Got rid of a lot of my junk.
3. Let my kids help me even when it made the work take twice as long and wasn't done perfectly.
4. Came to grip with the fact when stuff wasn't getting done it was because I was online, watching TV or shopping to much most of the time.
5. Used the 10 minute system. Grab 10 minutes where ever I could and do one thing.
6. Realized it doesn't hurt kids to have chores and responsibilities. Mom doesn't have to do it all.
JMHO Melissa
post #47 of 119
I have to admit that I have a really tidy house and it's actually CLEAN most of the time. Here are some things that help me keep things neater. I realize these aren't plausible for some people depending on your personal situation:

- We don't have a lot of "things" or clutter to collect dust. We are minimalists and I simply have very few knick-knacks.
- We also have easy to clean leather and hardwood floors.
- I'm sure it also helps that the house is neither too large or too small for us - not too large to clean, not too small to be crowded.
- When dd was really young I would have her in a sling while I did the housework in small bits and pieces. Sometimes I'd put her down with a toy and spend a couple minutes polishing all the wood in a room. So, I'd focus not on one AREA of the room, but doing one task. And make the tasks SMALL.
- I think about the fact that if I buy this item, can I use it for my lifetime or will it quickly find its way to a landfill... most of the time these things do not make it into the house.
- I have a designated system for dd's toys (which are few). She is more into writing, drawing and coloring, and board games so I don't buy many toys for her... she'd rather have a new pen.
- My family will pick up after themselves with gentle reminders, including dd. I often use "Please pick up X and put it away, then we can get Y out to play with it". I know this is a lot easier said than done.

I wouldn't say that I prefer to clean (definitely not over reading) or even really "like" it, but I've found that my life is a lot more stress-free when my house is in order. I can read a book or come here without feeling that there is something hanging over my head that needs to be done. I'm certainly not wary of people who would prefer to clean over reading. Different people have different priorities and some people do not like to read. My sister is like this. She doesn't really enjoy reading, but she likes to have her house in order, she likes to cook, and she loves taking care of her kids. I don't think there is anything wrong with that.

I don't make cleaning a priority, but I think it is part of my #1 priority, which is to take care of my family.

Anyway, thought I'd list some things that help me. My mother is in declining health and lives with us - I think a lot about the future when caring for her will take up a lot more of my time. My methods will probably fly out the window if/when that ever happens. I'm hoping to have my family on board with helping me out by then.

I've really enjoyed reading this thread. It's just another example of how different we all are and how things that work for one, can't work for another.
post #48 of 119
What stops me from having a tidy house? My husband.

I discovered this when he went away for work for several weeks. I always assumed that it was the kids that contributed to the clutter! But nope! In the three weeks he was gone, my house has never been cleaner. Sure, we had the regular spills and crumbs to clean up. But we didn't have ANY clutter accumulation at all!

This is a man who - when he gets home - leaves his shoes in the middle of the floor as he steps out of them (so they're in a perfect "one step, two step" formation), leaves his coat on the bench, instead of hanging it in the closet BESIDE the bench, drops his keys and phone wherever, so we have to hunt for them the next morning. And puts any food garbage (like packaging) in the SINK! Blah!!! I'm working on him, haha.

He says he likes the house to look "lived in." My argument is that it can look lived in without looking like a college dorm.
post #49 of 119
Thread Starter 
I am so glad this thread has been so positive. When I started it I thought Gosh I hope nobody takes this the wrong way.
post #50 of 119
For me, it's fear of imperfection. I'm such a perfectionist that I can't start a task until I know how I'll finish it. Doesn't work too well with a 2 year old and a new baby.

Also, I've never really learned how to clean. My husband laughed when I said I didn't know how to clean a bathroom. I just don't even know where to start or what to use.

I'm trying, little by little, to start something without knowing the grand scheme of things, and DH still cleans the bathroom. We're getting there.
post #51 of 119
My house is rarely really clean. It's tidy. Since I've decluttered it's much easier to pick-up quick and vacuum. I try to keep up with the dishes.

Spring is coming and we're in for a big mud season. If I can keep the mud from getting past the kitchen, I'll be in good shape.

YMMV, I only have 1 child and he is old enough to be helpful now. I'm not sure how I would do with more.
post #52 of 119
I agree with a lot of PP's....I just recently had to learn to let "deep" cleaning go-I keep things tidy for sure....sweeping, dishes, laundry and things put in their place-but mopping for real with like a bucket n mop nope not in a while-I spot clean with a washrag-I have a 3,2 and 10 month old...I just cant get it all done without being totally stressed and for me its simply not worth it.
post #53 of 119

Great tips!

I love the tips about decluttering, having the kids participate, doing a little bit here and there, cutting back on computer time, and simply accepting that everything we do will quickly be undone. I think that frustrates me a lot - that there's no end to the dishes, laundry, tidying, etc. But if I remember that it's all part of taking care of my family, which is my most important job (actually, it's my only job since I'm not working right now, haha), then I should embrace these tasks with love and joy because it's all part of creating a happy family life for all of us.

And I do think that it will start getting easier as my kids get older, when they won't require the vigilant supervision that they need now. (Baby girl is trying to climb on everything, little boy is constantly jumping off furniture when I'm in another room, and although he is a very loving, gentle brother, he always mistreats her when I'm busy doing something else.)

I can also relate to to the "perfectionist" problem - I also get discouraged and frustrated when I'm trying really hard and can't seem to accomplish anything because I'm always interrupted (somebody poops, spills, gets hurt) or my work gets undone (son dumps out all the clean, folded laundry from the laundry basket).

And there are some habits that I need to get into: I could be a lot better about finishing things that I've started, putting things in the right place immediately instead of leaving them out, and getting the kids involved in tidying up. I'm really motivated by the thought that I could spare them what I'm going through (trying to learn these habits in my early 30s) by teaching them from the very beginning.
post #54 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by mightymoo View Post
While I agree with the general philosophy behind the 'I won't look back and wish I'd worked more / cleaned more' sayings. I think my house being messy and dirty contributes to things like depression, anger and frustration in me. Having a system of keeping the house clean helps me be in a better mood and have better time with my kids. It's a matter of degrees of course. I'm not saying the clean house is more important, but not living infested in clutter is really important to my mood and ability to cope iwth the demands of my kids.

I agree with this. I wasn't implying that I live in filth or clutter that is unbearable though. I love a neat & orderly house--it just makes me feel so warm & fuzzy inside . But the extent that I like it neat is not warm & fuzzy for my kids. It means I spend a lot less time with them. So I have compromised on what actually *needs* to be done to keep us all in a sort of balance. This way I have kids who get to spend time with their mama & I have a house where we can live in without feeling overwhelmed.
post #55 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Nikki~ View Post
What stops me from having a tidy house? My husband.

I discovered this when he went away for work for several weeks. I always assumed that it was the kids that contributed to the clutter! But nope! In the three weeks he was gone, my house has never been cleaner. Sure, we had the regular spills and crumbs to clean up. But we didn't have ANY clutter accumulation at all!

This is a man who - when he gets home - leaves his shoes in the middle of the floor as he steps out of them (so they're in a perfect "one step, two step" formation), leaves his coat on the bench, instead of hanging it in the closet BESIDE the bench, drops his keys and phone wherever, so we have to hunt for them the next morning. And puts any food garbage (like packaging) in the SINK! Blah!!! I'm working on him, haha.
Are we married to the same man?
post #56 of 119

I want to dispel this myth

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahlou View Post
And I do think that it will start getting easier as my kids get older, when they won't require the vigilant supervision that they need now.
My children are 10, 9, 7, and 3 years 9 mos and they do not require less supervision than when they were younger!! In fact it was easier when they were infants and not mobile! LOL!

Sincerely,
Debra, homeschooling mom of 4 ages 10, 9, 7, and 45 mos
post #57 of 119
: They can do way more things that make more mess as they get older too

My older dc can cook meals, they prepare their own lunches and breakfasts, play sports and get dirty, wear larger and larger clothes which take up more room in the washing machine and in the wash pile, write on every piece of paper in the house, bring endless paper *into* the house start collecting their own clutter and read books which can be found in the kitchen, lounge bedroom, bed, pillowcase, car, sofa.........................

Mum to 4 - 13, 10 4 and 6 months in a very small house where everything is happening at once. No wonder its messy
post #58 of 119

Wow

In light of what some of you with older children have said, I am simply in awe of anyone who is able to maintain order in their home! Especially those who are homeschooling or staying at home with young children. When I think about how I spend my time from the moment I wake up to the time I go to bed, I just don't see what more I could do besides ignore my children and my husband! I don't know how you all manage!

This is the first time in my life when I have felt so overwhelmed and incompetent. I just never get the breaks that I need to really work on household stuff - they nap at different times (and my 3 year old often doesn't nap) and with snacks and meals and changes of clothes and outings and breaking up fights, there's barely time for me to brush my teeth and poop, much less scrub floors and wipe out sinks!
post #59 of 119
I just don't put too high of a priority on it. Spending fun time with my children is more important. Making sure they get a really good dose of sunshine and outdoor activity every day is more important. Making sure I get downtime to myself (I start to go crazy unless I take a little bit when I can) when the kids are napping is more important, because it makes me a better mom. Making sure I get enough sleep to not be really tired is more important (caffeine is allowed, but no more than 2 cups of coffee per day). So, if there's time left after all that, I'll worry about cleaning my house.

That being said, we do try to keep up with dishes and to make sure the kitchen floor stays swept and the table stays wiped. I also wipe the bathroom counters about every 2 or 3 days. Picking up clutter is done every day or two. Beyond that, it's done when we have time.

I finally decided about a month ago, too, to really look at my priorities, keep them, and to quit beating myself up about stuff that doesn't get finished as long as what DOES get finished is following my priorities, and I'm spending my time in line with my priorities.
post #60 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparkprincess View Post
.... They deserve to feel pride in their home - not be embarrassed when someone comes over, not hide when someone drops by unexpectedly.

Not to mention, I honestly feel like being reasonably clean is just a part of life. If you take off your clothes they go in the hamper, not on the floor. If you spill something, clean it up. I want my kids to see this their whole lives - for them to learn this now.

Plus, I think I said this before, taking the time to de-clutter and organize and keep the house clean is honestly a time-SAVER, not a time-WASTER. It took me a long time to really learn that, but it's true (for me anyway).



i sat here contemplating the OP, trying to find a way to defend my formerly-chaotic home, and finally coming to the realization that... i don't want to judge others BUT a rough fact for me to come to terms with is that my messy house *was* a symptom of a much, much larger problem, and that once i got out of the abusive relationship and got over my depression, suddenly i was able to let the light in, literally and figuratively! i'm never embarrassed when friends drop by now, or when a neighbor wants to stop in a chat, or when the kids have their friends over on a whim.... and i can finally even keep the door open to my bedroom without feeling crushing mortification.

and i want my kids to grow up in a peaceful home filled with open air and sunlight and friends ~ this home i have created for them over the past year ~ rather than be trapped in a cycle of chaos and disorganization.......
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