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What stops you from having a neat house? - Page 5

post #81 of 119
I live in two different places, one messy and one cleanish. I'd say that the problems behind the messy one are:

- Too much stuff. - Badly arranged storage, largely resulting from too much stuff.

- A lack of example and training in systematic housekeeping. My parents were lousy housekeepers.

So I'm learning some improving housekeeping habits, but so far those habits are very strongly dependent on "a place for everything", and with so much stuff, I don't have an easily accessed place for everything.

But you asked a general question, as to what keeps people from being able to have a neat house. Often, the causes are mental processing issues. I don't mean that people are lazy, or don't care, or any of that. I mean things that stem from good characteristics - from a good work ethic, from a desire to do a good job, from a desire not to be wasteful or sloppy - but that go too far and end up paralyzing people.

Below, I'm talking about other people having these issues. I want to emphasize that I'm not doing this from a position of superiority. I have my own housekeeping and mental/processing issues, I just don't happen to have the ones I describe below. (I think.) And I'm not saying that housekeeping issues are all about processing issues. They may be about health issues, or special needs children, or living with a stubborn or even deliberately-passive-aggressive slob, or living with a hoarder, or a bunch of other things. I'm just posting about the processing issues.

- Perfectionism. This seems to be the biggie, the one that utterly, totally paralyzes progress. Perfectionism causing a cluttered house seems counterintuitive, but it does cause it.

One reason is that it often leads to "do it perfectly or don't do it at all." Sometimes this means that every action, however small, must be done _perfectly_, without the slightest flaw or error or even the slightest chance of a flaw or error. In my mother's case, this means that she can't just go in a room, pile up the papers that are scattered over the flat surfaces, and dump them in a box to file later. It means that she has to deal with each and every sheet of paper as she picks it up. Perfectly. Without any chance whatsoever of error.

So she picks up an investment statement. That must be filed. In the file cabinet. Perfectly. In a filing system that doesn't yet exist. So she needs to create a filing system. Perfectly. One that correctly anticipates every category. One where she'll never, ever go back and say, "You know, those five categories should really go together, and this category should be split into two." It must be perfect on the first try. And to make it, she has to clear the stuff already in the filing cabinet drawers. Perfectly. Filing everything she finds. Into the filing system...that doesn't exist. This is everything that she must do before she can handle _one single sheet of paper_. Imagine that the second sheet is a recipe - now she has to reorganize her whole kitchen.

This sounds like an extreme case, but I assure you that it is true of my mother, and my mother has only a moderate case of this problem. My mother was not only unwilling to stack those papers together and move them, she had a great deal of trouble even comprehending the idea.

In the past, I've told my mother to pick up a stack of newspapers and dump them in a box that was at hand - something that should take perhaps five seconds. It took her about ten minutes, in spite of all the time pressure that I could exert, because she simply _could not_ imagine, and act on, the idea of just picking up a stack of papers and moving them without going through each one and making individual decisions about them.

In the case of the papers on the flat surfaces, I couldn't even get her to _understand_ the idea of piling up and moving the papers en masse until I told her to imagine that there was a flood and that nasty creepy unsanitary water was making its way toward the papers, that the water would engulf them in seconds. That finally caused the "click" and she was able to _try_ to snatch up the papers quickly. Even then, there were repeated protests of, "But that's the...but I should take care of that...but...". I had to tell her, over and over and over and over and over, "It doesn't matter. It's about to be soaked. Just pick it up."

You can see how a moderate case of perfectionism would utterly, totally stall my mother's housekeeping efforts. Even a very mild case can cause paralysis. If you're OK with giving the bathroom counter a quick swipe every time you brush your teeth, it'll get cleaned pretty often. If you feel that you're a total slob if you don't clean counters, floors, cabinets, and toilet every time you clean anything in the bathroom, you'll seldom clean anything. If you're OK with carrying two toys upstairs every time you go there, and leaving the other toys until the next few times you go upstairs, you may stay somewhat tidy. If you feel that every time you tidy you should put away _everything_, you'll wait until you have time, and you may never have time.

So perfectionism often doesn't allow you to perform a small task in a small amount of time and go on to another related small task later. That small task is almost always an incomplete task - imperfect. And often the small tasks aren't part of a big concrete plan, so a small task might end up being the wrong task - for example, maybe those toys that you took upstairs should really stay downstairs, because someone was coming over for a playdate. Again, imperfect. And as far as I can tell from my mother, these tiny imperfections that I would consider harmless - less than harmless, because I wouldn't even notice them - are a _big scarey deal_.

I can easily see how this would result in a total housekeeping shutdown when kids come - without kids, you'll often have time to do the whole job from start to finish, so your need to do it that way doesn't hamper you too badly, or perhaps it doesn't hamper you at all. With kids, you'd have to do everything in tiny snatches of time, so you could never do it "right" without interruption. In the past, I think that Mom often put the kids in a playpen for long periods so she could get her work done, so, again, it was possible to do it all and do it "right". These days, playpens are pretty much out of fashion, and without them, doing housework in snatches of time may be the only way to do it.

Another story about my mother: As a kid, I once heard her lamenting that she didn't have time to make her bed, so I made it for her. It wasn't perfect. She still didn't have time to make it. So she _unmade_ it, pulling all the covers out. She didn't criticize me; this wasn't a way to make me remake it perfectly. I think she was even apologetic about unmaking it. This is as clear a demonstration as I can imagine of someone who feels that it's better not to do it at all than to do it imperfectly.

It's easy to think that people with this kind of perfectionism should just 'snap out of it'. But it's just not that easy for them.

- Problems with sorting and categorizing

Some people have trouble with sorting and categorizing things. This was already mentioned in this thread, with the description of how a half-read book is different from just a book, so it doesn't belong to the same category.

As another example, let's go back to those papers, the ones that my mother must put away absolutely perfectly on the first try. Here's a bank statement. Maybe it should go with bank statements. But it's the bank statement that reflects her purchase of a computer. So maybe it should go with the paperwork from the computer. But it also reflects some small investment returns. Maybe it should go with her investment papers. But it's also this month's bank statement. Maybe it should go in "current papers". But it hasn't been balanced yet. Maybe it should go with her checkbook. But it has a really great picture of the state bird, because that's part of the bank's logo. Maybe it should go with pictures.

To me, a bank statement is a bank statement. I have no trouble assigning it a primary category, and if I want it for one of those other purposes, I'll go get it from the bank statement folder. To my mother, the primary category is not at all obvious - she doesn't know which one to pick. And since the category isn't obvious now, she knows that it won't be obvious later, so she won't know where to find it later if she wants it. The situation is full of ambiguity. No matter where she files the statement, it might be a mistake. And remember the perfectionism? A mistake is a big, hairy, scary deal. A mistake is horrible. So it's safer to just leave this bank statement right here, "where she can see it", and just put off this huge decision.

So let's move on to the recipe. It's for a birthday cake. So maybe it should go in Holidays. But it's a dessert, so maybe it should go in Desserts. But it's Aunt Jane's recipe, so maybe it should go in Family Recipes. And it's in Aunt Jane's handwriting, so it should go in Family Papers. And she made it for one of her kids' birthday parties, so maybe it should go with the cards from that birthday.

In fact, see how I originally called this thing a "recipe" and I made that a subcategory of "papers"? I assigned it a category and subcategory without even thinking about it. I don't know if my mother would call it a "recipe" - it's just a piece of paper with some information on it. Or is it even a piece of paper? Since it has family handwriting, is it a family heirloom? Can my mother even clearly distinguish a piece of paper from a coffee cup? I don't meant that she doesn't know what they are or what they're for, I mean, can she effortlessly categorize things into "papers" and "dishes", or does she get all scrambled up with "family heirlooms" and "new stuff" and "stuff I carried in my suitcase during my trip Back East in 1982"?

For the purpose of decluttering, "papers" and "dishes" are the useful, functional categories. But I think that _she doesn't know that_, not quickly and easily and effortlessly. Or maybe even if she does know that, her mind is all cluttered up with, "That's the coffee cup I used when I had Mary Rose over for lunch." When I categorize things, no details about them clutter my mind - I can effortlessly switch from "category thinking" ("let's stack up these papers") and "object thinking" ("That's that funny postcard from Cousin Sue.") I don't know if my mother can do this, or if all the object details are constantly distracting her.

Again, my mother's problem is moderate - not extreme and not mild. But, again, even a very mild case of this would be paralyzing. Cleaning the house requires _constant_ categorizing and subcategorizing and recategorizing. I usually do this effortlessly, with only an occasional realization that I've miscategorized ("These T-Shirts that I never wear but keep for sentimental reasons are souvenirs, not clothes, and shouldn't be in the main closet.") If I had to actually think about this, I'd be paralyzed too.

- Problems with decisionmaking and priorities

I think that this is sort of a version of "problems with sorting and categorizing", but relating to intangible things. Imagine that my mother's kitchen is covered with stacks of really old papers, to the point that she can't cook. In my case, I would say that those papers are old, and it's unlikely that I'll need anything from them soon. Keeping those papers really handy is a relatively low priority. On the other hand, being able to cook in my kitchen is a high priority. So I'll make the decision that I'll box up those papers and deal with them later, so that I can cook today.

Again, my mother doesn't see those priorities. She can't "sort" the high priority from the low. She has trouble seeing that cooking is more important than going through three-year-old papers, that washing the dishes is more important than cleaning behind the kitchen trashcan with a toothbrush, that getting her laundry done is more important than going through the charitable solicitations that she's received.

And in the case of the three-year-old papers, of course to even frame the facts that I'm basing the decision on, I have to be able to form categories. I've categorized the whole snowdrift as "three year old papers", while she may not even be recognizing the category "papers", but instead seeing each and every individual paper based on its own merits.

Decisionmaking and priorities is also an issue with throwing stuff out. At the most extreme, many people can't distinguish garbage from valuable items. I remember seeing a TV show about a hoarder who had to struggle, _hard_, before she could throw out a used band-aid.

Again, the extreme version of this is easy to see. But even a mild version can slow you down, and when combined with the perfectionism, which makes it a horrible big deal if you make the wrong decision or choose the wrong priority, it can again paralyze.

- "Out of sight, out of mind"

Many people, including my SO, have trouble remembering the existence of stuff that they can't see. I recently put several four-packs of drinks away, filling the available storage for that category. (Category! Again! See how handicapping a lack of categorizing would be?) They had been lined up on the counter. I know that I need to keep an eye on my SO now, because with those things out of sight, they don't exist any more, and he will think that he needs to buy more.

The same is true of bills - if he hasn't paid it yet, he wants it to stay out where he can see it. Books he's going to read - he leaves them out so he'll remember them. Clothes he's going to wear - it really annoys him when I hang up his coat. And so on. Having stuff stashed away is uncomfortable.

-----------------

Again, sometimes these traits are very strong, and they may lead to major hoarding. But even when they're mild, they would make housekeeping _much_, much more difficult. If you combine that with any other challenges, then keeping a neat house may be essentially impossible. The solution isn't will power, or working harder, the solution is more likely to be recognizing these processing issues and working directly on them.

Crayfish
post #82 of 119
I think I'm just lazy.

I don't have the energy to do even the basic things these days. it's a miracle I can get dinner cooked and us fed. and honestly? right now I don't even care.
post #83 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crayfish View Post
I live in two different places, one messy and one cleanish. I'd say that the problems behind the messy one are:

- Too much stuff. - Badly arranged storage, largely resulting from too much stuff.

- A lack of example and training in systematic housekeeping. My parents were lousy housekeepers.

So I'm learning some improving housekeeping habits, but so far those habits are very strongly dependent on "a place for everything", and with so much stuff, I don't have an easily accessed place for everything.

But you asked a general question, as to what keeps people from being able to have a neat house. Often, the causes are mental processing issues. I don't mean that people are lazy, or don't care, or any of that. I mean things that stem from good characteristics - from a good work ethic, from a desire to do a good job, from a desire not to be wasteful or sloppy - but that go too far and end up paralyzing people.

Below, I'm talking about other people having these issues. I want to emphasize that I'm not doing this from a position of superiority. I have my own housekeeping and mental/processing issues, I just don't happen to have the ones I describe below. (I think.) And I'm not saying that housekeeping issues are all about processing issues. They may be about health issues, or special needs children, or living with a stubborn or even deliberately-passive-aggressive slob, or living with a hoarder, or a bunch of other things. I'm just posting about the processing issues.

- Perfectionism. This seems to be the biggie, the one that utterly, totally paralyzes progress. Perfectionism causing a cluttered house seems counterintuitive, but it does cause it.

One reason is that it often leads to "do it perfectly or don't do it at all." Sometimes this means that every action, however small, must be done _perfectly_, without the slightest flaw or error or even the slightest chance of a flaw or error. In my mother's case, this means that she can't just go in a room, pile up the papers that are scattered over the flat surfaces, and dump them in a box to file later. It means that she has to deal with each and every sheet of paper as she picks it up. Perfectly. Without any chance whatsoever of error.

So she picks up an investment statement. That must be filed. In the file cabinet. Perfectly. In a filing system that doesn't yet exist. So she needs to create a filing system. Perfectly. One that correctly anticipates every category. One where she'll never, ever go back and say, "You know, those five categories should really go together, and this category should be split into two." It must be perfect on the first try. And to make it, she has to clear the stuff already in the filing cabinet drawers. Perfectly. Filing everything she finds. Into the filing system...that doesn't exist. This is everything that she must do before she can handle _one single sheet of paper_. Imagine that the second sheet is a recipe - now she has to reorganize her whole kitchen.

This sounds like an extreme case, but I assure you that it is true of my mother, and my mother has only a moderate case of this problem. My mother was not only unwilling to stack those papers together and move them, she had a great deal of trouble even comprehending the idea.

In the past, I've told my mother to pick up a stack of newspapers and dump them in a box that was at hand - something that should take perhaps five seconds. It took her about ten minutes, in spite of all the time pressure that I could exert, because she simply _could not_ imagine, and act on, the idea of just picking up a stack of papers and moving them without going through each one and making individual decisions about them.

In the case of the papers on the flat surfaces, I couldn't even get her to _understand_ the idea of piling up and moving the papers en masse until I told her to imagine that there was a flood and that nasty creepy unsanitary water was making its way toward the papers, that the water would engulf them in seconds. That finally caused the "click" and she was able to _try_ to snatch up the papers quickly. Even then, there were repeated protests of, "But that's the...but I should take care of that...but...". I had to tell her, over and over and over and over and over, "It doesn't matter. It's about to be soaked. Just pick it up."

You can see how a moderate case of perfectionism would utterly, totally stall my mother's housekeeping efforts. Even a very mild case can cause paralysis. If you're OK with giving the bathroom counter a quick swipe every time you brush your teeth, it'll get cleaned pretty often. If you feel that you're a total slob if you don't clean counters, floors, cabinets, and toilet every time you clean anything in the bathroom, you'll seldom clean anything. If you're OK with carrying two toys upstairs every time you go there, and leaving the other toys until the next few times you go upstairs, you may stay somewhat tidy. If you feel that every time you tidy you should put away _everything_, you'll wait until you have time, and you may never have time.

So perfectionism often doesn't allow you to perform a small task in a small amount of time and go on to another related small task later. That small task is almost always an incomplete task - imperfect. And often the small tasks aren't part of a big concrete plan, so a small task might end up being the wrong task - for example, maybe those toys that you took upstairs should really stay downstairs, because someone was coming over for a playdate. Again, imperfect. And as far as I can tell from my mother, these tiny imperfections that I would consider harmless - less than harmless, because I wouldn't even notice them - are a _big scarey deal_.

I can easily see how this would result in a total housekeeping shutdown when kids come - without kids, you'll often have time to do the whole job from start to finish, so your need to do it that way doesn't hamper you too badly, or perhaps it doesn't hamper you at all. With kids, you'd have to do everything in tiny snatches of time, so you could never do it "right" without interruption. In the past, I think that Mom often put the kids in a playpen for long periods so she could get her work done, so, again, it was possible to do it all and do it "right". These days, playpens are pretty much out of fashion, and without them, doing housework in snatches of time may be the only way to do it.

Another story about my mother: As a kid, I once heard her lamenting that she didn't have time to make her bed, so I made it for her. It wasn't perfect. She still didn't have time to make it. So she _unmade_ it, pulling all the covers out. She didn't criticize me; this wasn't a way to make me remake it perfectly. I think she was even apologetic about unmaking it. This is as clear a demonstration as I can imagine of someone who feels that it's better not to do it at all than to do it imperfectly.

It's easy to think that people with this kind of perfectionism should just 'snap out of it'. But it's just not that easy for them.

- Problems with sorting and categorizing

Some people have trouble with sorting and categorizing things. This was already mentioned in this thread, with the description of how a half-read book is different from just a book, so it doesn't belong to the same category.

As another example, let's go back to those papers, the ones that my mother must put away absolutely perfectly on the first try. Here's a bank statement. Maybe it should go with bank statements. But it's the bank statement that reflects her purchase of a computer. So maybe it should go with the paperwork from the computer. But it also reflects some small investment returns. Maybe it should go with her investment papers. But it's also this month's bank statement. Maybe it should go in "current papers". But it hasn't been balanced yet. Maybe it should go with her checkbook. But it has a really great picture of the state bird, because that's part of the bank's logo. Maybe it should go with pictures.

To me, a bank statement is a bank statement. I have no trouble assigning it a primary category, and if I want it for one of those other purposes, I'll go get it from the bank statement folder. To my mother, the primary category is not at all obvious - she doesn't know which one to pick. And since the category isn't obvious now, she knows that it won't be obvious later, so she won't know where to find it later if she wants it. The situation is full of ambiguity. No matter where she files the statement, it might be a mistake. And remember the perfectionism? A mistake is a big, hairy, scary deal. A mistake is horrible. So it's safer to just leave this bank statement right here, "where she can see it", and just put off this huge decision.

So let's move on to the recipe. It's for a birthday cake. So maybe it should go in Holidays. But it's a dessert, so maybe it should go in Desserts. But it's Aunt Jane's recipe, so maybe it should go in Family Recipes. And it's in Aunt Jane's handwriting, so it should go in Family Papers. And she made it for one of her kids' birthday parties, so maybe it should go with the cards from that birthday.

In fact, see how I originally called this thing a "recipe" and I made that a subcategory of "papers"? I assigned it a category and subcategory without even thinking about it. I don't know if my mother would call it a "recipe" - it's just a piece of paper with some information on it. Or is it even a piece of paper? Since it has family handwriting, is it a family heirloom? Can my mother even clearly distinguish a piece of paper from a coffee cup? I don't meant that she doesn't know what they are or what they're for, I mean, can she effortlessly categorize things into "papers" and "dishes", or does she get all scrambled up with "family heirlooms" and "new stuff" and "stuff I carried in my suitcase during my trip Back East in 1982"?

For the purpose of decluttering, "papers" and "dishes" are the useful, functional categories. But I think that _she doesn't know that_, not quickly and easily and effortlessly. Or maybe even if she does know that, her mind is all cluttered up with, "That's the coffee cup I used when I had Mary Rose over for lunch." When I categorize things, no details about them clutter my mind - I can effortlessly switch from "category thinking" ("let's stack up these papers") and "object thinking" ("That's that funny postcard from Cousin Sue.") I don't know if my mother can do this, or if all the object details are constantly distracting her.

Again, my mother's problem is moderate - not extreme and not mild. But, again, even a very mild case of this would be paralyzing. Cleaning the house requires _constant_ categorizing and subcategorizing and recategorizing. I usually do this effortlessly, with only an occasional realization that I've miscategorized ("These T-Shirts that I never wear but keep for sentimental reasons are souvenirs, not clothes, and shouldn't be in the main closet.") If I had to actually think about this, I'd be paralyzed too.

- Problems with decisionmaking and priorities

I think that this is sort of a version of "problems with sorting and categorizing", but relating to intangible things. Imagine that my mother's kitchen is covered with stacks of really old papers, to the point that she can't cook. In my case, I would say that those papers are old, and it's unlikely that I'll need anything from them soon. Keeping those papers really handy is a relatively low priority. On the other hand, being able to cook in my kitchen is a high priority. So I'll make the decision that I'll box up those papers and deal with them later, so that I can cook today.

Again, my mother doesn't see those priorities. She can't "sort" the high priority from the low. She has trouble seeing that cooking is more important than going through three-year-old papers, that washing the dishes is more important than cleaning behind the kitchen trashcan with a toothbrush, that getting her laundry done is more important than going through the charitable solicitations that she's received.

And in the case of the three-year-old papers, of course to even frame the facts that I'm basing the decision on, I have to be able to form categories. I've categorized the whole snowdrift as "three year old papers", while she may not even be recognizing the category "papers", but instead seeing each and every individual paper based on its own merits.

Decisionmaking and priorities is also an issue with throwing stuff out. At the most extreme, many people can't distinguish garbage from valuable items. I remember seeing a TV show about a hoarder who had to struggle, _hard_, before she could throw out a used band-aid.

Again, the extreme version of this is easy to see. But even a mild version can slow you down, and when combined with the perfectionism, which makes it a horrible big deal if you make the wrong decision or choose the wrong priority, it can again paralyze.

- "Out of sight, out of mind"

Many people, including my SO, have trouble remembering the existence of stuff that they can't see. I recently put several four-packs of drinks away, filling the available storage for that category. (Category! Again! See how handicapping a lack of categorizing would be?) They had been lined up on the counter. I know that I need to keep an eye on my SO now, because with those things out of sight, they don't exist any more, and he will think that he needs to buy more.

The same is true of bills - if he hasn't paid it yet, he wants it to stay out where he can see it. Books he's going to read - he leaves them out so he'll remember them. Clothes he's going to wear - it really annoys him when I hang up his coat. And so on. Having stuff stashed away is uncomfortable.

-----------------

Again, sometimes these traits are very strong, and they may lead to major hoarding. But even when they're mild, they would make housekeeping _much_, much more difficult. If you combine that with any other challenges, then keeping a neat house may be essentially impossible. The solution isn't will power, or working harder, the solution is more likely to be recognizing these processing issues and working directly on them.

Crayfish
________

wow crayfish !! very well put~!~
post #84 of 119
So you think anyone who has small children/babies are just making excuses? Perhaps there's a chance that children are...different? Maybe your kids aren't an excuse but for many, they are.

Come to my house. Watch the trail of destruction that follows my two. They are 2 and 3-- 18 months apart and have the craziest ability to just mess things up.

I work from home. I have the two kids. I try my best, but between being tired/exhausted all the time and dealing with them...well, messy happens.
post #85 of 119
A combination of laziness and a three year old and a pukey cat and a husband who is a hoarder. The baby has nothing to do with it.
post #86 of 119
Homeschooling.

The kids are home 24/7.

The last time that I was home alone, it was November of 1999 when I had the stomach flu and my mother took my kids out for a bite to eat.
post #87 of 119
OK popping back in for an update ~ my house is not neat but is CLEAN, aside from a sink of dishes to wash and one load of laundry.

Still single,
still have two kids,
now with a FULL load of classes
and more hours of work
and getting things in line to transfer to a 4-year come Fall Semester.





If I had more time I'd organize better so moving wouldn't be a hassle, but I just don't have the time. It's driving me nuts, but I'd rather keep my class performance top priority rather than dedicate more time to maintaining perfect standards of neatness...
post #88 of 119
What stops me from having a neat house? I don't like cleaning and tidying and de cluttering. It's boring.

And I don't like our house. We never should have bought this house, my heart isn't in it.
post #89 of 119
this is me-

Quote:
We have a clean house.
But, it would be less cluttered if I did not put emotions on objects
but lately Im really getting better..
My house is clean and not all that cluttered.. just a few closets are left to purge
post #90 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by journeymom View Post
What stops me from having a neat house? I don't like cleaning and tidying and de cluttering. It's boring.

And I don't like our house. We never should have bought this house, my heart isn't in it.
_________________

OH -- that is sad ... Do you have an option to possibly sell and find a home that suits your better?

post #91 of 119
dishes in the sink, a pile of stuff to list on TP, toys out, glitter n' glue on the kitchen table...

4 things keep me from having a clean house right now. PPD DH DD and DS
post #92 of 119
My husband, mainly. If he goes out of town for work and I clean everything up, it stays clean until he comes back. Within an hour of his return, there's a trail of destruction around the house. I can see exactly where he's been just following it around: open cupboards, dropped mail, stray socks, etc.

With the toddler at least I can make her help me clean up (usually). Him, nope, no luck.
post #93 of 119
What stops me?

morning sickness, 2 kids, 1 dog, 3 cats, in 600 sq feet and a dh who REFUSES to help out.
I am not superwoman and I cannot keep up.
post #94 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by journeymom View Post
What stops me from having a neat house? I don't like cleaning and tidying and de cluttering. It's boring.

And I don't like our house. We never should have bought this house, my heart isn't in it.
Oh journey.


post #95 of 119
Well right now I'm hyperemetic, and moving, really at all, makes me vomit. Bending over twice to pick up two toys would have me retching in the bathroom for hours, so all the pick up is for my partner when he gets home. He doesn't care as much, and besides has to do all the kid care plus take care of his sick, pregnant wife.

But you work now, right? When I work my house is so much neater. The kids aren't here all day to mess it up! They can make such huge messes so quickly! I do just hate to do laundry, so that gets put off, but for the most part it's that I can put all the toys back in their place, and 20 minutes later it looks like I haven't cleaned in months. The rest of it- clean floors and bathrooms- hardly takes any time compared to picking up. But that's not what makes a house look clean, really.
post #96 of 119
I hate dishes, probably because when I was growing up my dad would holler about "do those dishes, you do those dishes right now, etc". I hated it then, not because it was hard work (although I do think sticking your hands into food-n-bacteria soup dishwater is NASTY); I hated it then because dad made such a huge issue over it. He literally judged me on how my chores were done. He'd complain that "These dishes taste soapy," or that "Something around here stinks" and he'd go running around sniffing things until Mom and I cleaned anything he thought might have an odor. BTW, Mom and I kept a VERY clean house, no one else ever tasted soap or smelled something nasty.

Also, I hated dishes because they were "the girl's job." Dad made my brother do dishes a few times... but whenever my brother complained, Dad let him off, and told ME to wash those dishes. I hated that.

Nowadays, my house is pretty clean. I do go into "psycho cleaning mode" whenever my dad or grandmother (who is just like him) are coming over. If they don't smell bleach they think you're a hog... my grandma actually comes over and washes my dishes if I didn't get the chance; she says she can't stand the smell. Makes me feel great...

So my dishes often go unwashed for 2-3 days. My husband doesn't complain, and the rest of the house stays pretty well neat and tidy.
post #97 of 119
Thread Starter 
I am the OP. This thread is almost a year old so I was very surprised to see it resurface.

To me "neatness" has very different definitions from person to person. I can have some toys out in the living room, my usual stack of books on the endtable, my hand lotion and drink cup. However, stacks of old newspapers, or piles of laundry drive me batty. Lived in doesn't have to be a cliche for messy. Lived in means having things around you that adds comfort and happiness to your life. ie books for me are like air. I gotta have them and lots of em. Many people look at them and say donate them all. NO WAY. However, if I allow them on every surface in my home they would cease to give me happiness, only annoyance. I think it is a check and balance system between OCD level its gotta be neat and complete mess. If you have small children your home simply isn't going to look like it did prechild. It is no longer your home, it is their home too. They have to have toys, books, playclothes, etc. The key is to find balance between their happiness and your sanity. I have three sons, all born within 5yrs, who are homeschooled. So yes I know of which I speak in having lots of small kids at one time and having them here 24/7. Yes mamas it will get easier as they get older and are able to help, and don't have as many toys. But it will always be a constant process, there is no end.
Also to those with terrible morning sickness, ill children, etc all you can do is your best. If that is feeding your babies, changing diapers and rocking them all day then that truely is your best. The house can wait til another day. Another day you will pick up and clean up, but not this day. And that is OK.
Quote:
But you work now, right? When I work my house is so much neater. The kids aren't here all day to mess it up!
Hempmama-who are you directing this to? I missed something.
post #98 of 119
Quote:
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. That is usually an excuse for an underlying problem.
Um, the underlying problem for me comes down to basic physics. It's the entropy of the universe!

See the Merriam-Webster definition of entropy:

a: the degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity b: a process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder


I'm only partly joking. Sure I could have a spotless house if I sat my kids in front of the TV or denied them the pleasure of playing. But I think a little bit of mess never hurt anyone, and someday when I don't have toddlers tearing up the house faster than I can clean up behind them, we'll be neater.

Until then, we're not really dirty or piled high with clutter. But there might be crumbs under ds's chair, chances are the beds aren't made, and mind you don't trip on the toys!
post #99 of 119
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Sure I could have a spotless house if I sat my kids in front of the TV or denied them the pleasure of playing. But I think a little bit of mess never hurt anyone, and someday when I don't have toddlers tearing up the house faster than I can clean up behind them, we'll be neater.
I agree that a little bit of mess never did hurt anyone. refer to post above, as we cross posted.

My statement you quoted is a small portion of what I said. And I do stand by the statement. Having a child is no excuse to live in a total disaster. A total disaster is not toys in the living room, sippy cups, etc. I'm talking about stacks of dirty dishes, piles of dirty clothes, etc. Usually there is underlying reasons behind living that way. At one point my boys were 6, 3 and 1 so I understand very well what toddlers can do to a home. I'm talking about what adults do to a home. Or at least I was a year ago
post #100 of 119
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I hate dishes, probably because when I was growing up my dad would holler about "do those dishes, you do those dishes right now, etc". I hated it then, not because it was hard work (although I do think sticking your hands into food-n-bacteria soup dishwater is NASTY); I hated it then because dad made such a huge issue over it. He literally judged me on how my chores were done. He'd complain that "These dishes taste soapy," or that "Something around here stinks" and he'd go running around sniffing things until Mom and I cleaned anything he thought might have an odor. BTW, Mom and I kept a VERY clean house, no one else ever tasted soap or smelled something nasty.

Also, I hated dishes because they were "the girl's job." Dad made my brother do dishes a few times... but whenever my brother complained, Dad let him off, and told ME to wash those dishes. I hated that.

Nowadays, my house is pretty clean. I do go into "psycho cleaning mode" whenever my dad or grandmother (who is just like him) are coming over. If they don't smell bleach they think you're a hog... my grandma actually comes over and washes my dishes if I didn't get the chance; she says she can't stand the smell. Makes me feel great...

So my dishes often go unwashed for 2-3 days. My husband doesn't complain, and the rest of the house stays pretty well neat and tidy.
Thank you for sharing this. That is exactly what I was aiming for with this thread when I started it. You have a clear and valid reason for leaving the dishes sit a bit. That was my question "what stops you from having a neat house". Not to say your house isn't neat, you know what I mean.
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