So how clean/organized is your house.... really? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: How clean and organized is your house?
You are lucky if you can open the front door! And where the heck is that broom? 27 100.00%
Clean, yes; but my idea of organized is slamming the closet door before anything falls on me! 22 100.00%
I HAVE to clean before anyone comes over; I've also got shelves know how to use them. 77 100.00%
Martha Stewart here... bring on the white glove honey!!! (okay, if anyone chooses this... snort!) 6 100.00%
other: please explain. 14 100.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 5. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 35 Old 07-21-2006, 01:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I grew up in a home that was pretty much spotless all the time. There were areas of clutter here and there but my mom was the queen of "reorganizing" so they disappeared pretty quick. I don't remember the house ever feeling "dirty."

Now, as a mother of a 2 1/2 year old and an eight month old, I am constantly stepping on crumbs and bits of paper and sticks. and when I walk barefoot in the kitchen, I always feel my feet sort of stick to the linoleum. There are always dishes in the sink, soaking from the night before (by the time the kids get to bed it's too late and too loud to do them. Obviously my laundry is never caught up with. If I get on a roll I can do 4 or 5 loads but then the clean laundry ends up sitting in the baskets and gets all rumpled up on the couch until I get it folded a couple days later. I've actually "done" the laundry a few times without folding at all because it got used up before I ever even had a chance to fold it. I really like cleanliness and neatness. It seems like I can think clearer and am more creative when there is no clutter visible and when I know exactly where to go to find whatever it is I'm looking for. Somehow I think that if I could just get "on top" of the housework it will help me be a better mother. I know how idealistic and 1950's that sounds. I also know that housework is underappreciated and never really done.

At the moment, I feel very depleted as a person and as a mother. A lot of it has to do with the fact that we have moved a lot since I became a mother and I have yet to really feel settled in our living space (and have a good flow going in our routines and daily chores). I feel like I'm constantly winging it... and failing. Am I just normal feeling like this or am I being unrealistic?

So that's why I'm asking how clean and organized your house is. Keep in mind the ages of my children.
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#2 of 35 Old 07-21-2006, 02:01 AM
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In order to make you feel better, I will be completely honest with you.

My house is aweful! That's why I lurk around here, hoping to get inspired, hoping to one day be able to get on top of things.

DH and I (no kids) moved into this apartment in March. Actually, I moved in during March, he followed a month later. It was spotless the entire time I was here alone. Now... ugh.

My laundry is piled high in the kitchen floor (where the washer and drier are), my sink is full of dishes, my floors are filthy and animal fur lines my baseboards. I never seem to have time to fold my laundry immediately- it sits on the couch or in baskets for days at a time. My coffee table is piled high with magazines and books that never seem to stop, and I can barely get to my bed to go to sleep for the piles of books in the floor.

I also grew up in a spotless house, and in retrospect, I have no idea how my mom did it.

I cuss myself daily for never being able to get on top of my housework, and I am terrified that when this baby comes it'll only get worse. No matter how hard I try to get things clean, it just never happens.... and my dining room is still full of unpacked boxes from the move. Our lease will be up before they are unpacked.

I acquired two jobs this week, one full-time, one very much part-time, in hopes of being able to at least hire a housekeeper to do what I seem unable to start.

Just wanted to let you know that you are in no way alone. Maybe we'll both pick up some kind of inspiration on this forum, and turn our homes around... Nice to meet you, in any case.

Laura, mama to Henry 01.28.07 uc.jpg
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#3 of 35 Old 07-21-2006, 02:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L J
I also grew up in a spotless house, and in retrospect, I have no idea how my mom did it.
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#4 of 35 Old 07-21-2006, 04:19 AM
 
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I voted have to clean fro company, etc..

We generally do ok, it's taken a LOoooong time for me to get a handle on things. Right now what I have in my favor is we just moved into the biggest place we've ever had, and I finally learned that those peopel I visit who don't have crap all over? They are not better than me. They had HOUSES with CLOSETS and storage, not teeny apartments where clothes are hung on freestanding racks and no room for bookcases. Laundry has a place because it doesn't build up for amonth befor eoyu find motivation to lug it down 3 stories and acros town to the laundromat. You can do it at home!
I also have in my favor the fact that after 7 moves in 3 1/2 years we just don't have much stuff left
The house was brand new when we moved in-when it starts clean and empty and we didn't bring much in, it's easier to keep that way.



making things difficult, on the other hand-ds is 2 1/2. He is a cyclone. He makes enormous messes with everything. It's been a while since we lived entirely alone, no staying w/family, no roommates. Geting into the swing of being entirely in charge and entirely responsible has been tough for me, I lost a lot of good habits. Plus it's a 2-story house, so lots of my old routines just don't work with a toddler independant enough to not want to be with me or help with housework, but is not ready for me to be comfortable leaving alone for more than a minute or so.

So if we were to have someone over? I would want to tidy up, maybe runth evacuum. If they dropped in by surprise, well, it's 'kid-mess' and anyone who would visit us understands, or at least would never complain to me


But seriously, the best hting is just not having lots of stuff in the first place. It's a lot easier to clean when you aren't trying ot clean around clutter. And closets to shove crap in are hte best invention ever int he whole wide world


ETA I think I harp on clutter because it's beenthe hardest thing for dh and I to overcome. We both grew up in houses that were generally clean enough, neither of us remembers any real *dirt*but we both remember STUFF. Loads and loads of stuff, piled high and stacked in corners and closets unusable with who-knows-what lurking in th eback, because oyu couldn't get to it. Clear open spaces make a huge difference in my mentl health, for real.
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#5 of 35 Old 07-21-2006, 07:34 AM
 
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i grew up in a spotless home. my daughter is not so lucky. lol.

let me give you a description of my lounge room right now.

the couch has two robes, an elmo plush, large blanket, random baby clothes, dh's PJs and work clothes with tissue confetti strewed all over it. the rug is COVERED in spaghetti that dd spilled everywhere (lucky it is dried -- not cooked), there are papers of all sorts and sizes that have been randomly deposited on the floor, as well as some soaps that dd found and just had to play with, my stockings she pulled out of the laundry hamper and yet more crumpled tissues. i see at few plastic bags just lying there as well as a dirty bib and about a million bird seeds on the floor (thanks to our parrot).

and i'm being kind to myself with this description.

oh sorry, i forgot to mention the passionfruit that has been randomly chucked around the place. oh, and the crumbs of food everywhere.

my toddler is also half naked (she is just wearing a singlet) and it's winter here! she has dried yoghurt all over her face.

let's not venture into the kitchen or other rooms OK? because i don't think the description would end in this lifetime.

do i win the award? i would post a picture but you know how they say a picture speaks a thousand words... i'm afraid mine will speak alot more a thousand.
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#6 of 35 Old 07-21-2006, 07:37 AM
 
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oh wait, dd just pulled out a 12 pack bag of toilet paper.

this should be fun.

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#7 of 35 Old 07-21-2006, 09:30 AM
 
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I'm in between the shelves option and Martha Stewart. My house definitely could NOT pass the white glove test. There is some clutter, usually on one part of our kitchen counter and some on the dining room table. The shelves through out the house are decent with appropriate matter (books, DVD's, what have you..). DH and I tend to pile my worn clothing next to the counter in the bathroom - that gets picked up every 2-3 days. The kids clothing automatically goes to the basket in front of the washer, but does occasionally overflow.
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#8 of 35 Old 07-21-2006, 09:45 AM
 
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I am somewhere in between the first two. Its not packed high but we're not clean either. *sigh* The decluttering really seems to be helping a lot though.

Willemsmamma, I could have written your post, btw. *hugs*
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#9 of 35 Old 07-21-2006, 09:55 AM
 
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I put the "shelves" option. I'm waaaay more organized than I am clean, alas. My kitchen floor is just plain gross right now, and the guest bedroom is about to disappear under a mound of cat hair.

I'm one of those types who had a fairly authoritarian parent and thus for years avoided cleaning OR organizing out of a kind of rebellion. I've had to teach myself to love these things for my sake and their own sake rather than because I "have" to do them.
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#10 of 35 Old 07-21-2006, 09:59 AM
 
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If you came to my house ( and I knew you were coming) you could be deceived into thinking it is 'okay', but every drawer, every cupboard is full of crap, the floors get swept every day and the dishes are done, but I wouldn't want anyone to look too closely.
I can't find anything and I often have to re- buy things that are stashed in a drawer somewhere.
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#11 of 35 Old 07-21-2006, 10:02 AM
 
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I've decluttered about 1/3 of everything in my apartment (400 sq ft) and packed the other 1/3 because we are moving (not soon enough but that's another post) so very decluttered, clean and minimalist, but not dressy enough for Martha.
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#12 of 35 Old 07-21-2006, 10:04 AM
 
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I voted other. My house is passably clean but not great. I would like some warning before someone came over but I wouldn't be upset about people seeing my house if someone dropped by unexpectedly.

My house was really not clean just a few months ago. One of my issues is that my parents are slobs. My mom is a terrible housekeeper. I grew up in it so I thought there wass nothing wrong with it.

Another thing is that the house does not have a dishwasher and I hate washing dishes by hand. A few months ago dh and I decided to choose a gift under $500 and I chose a portable dishwasher. It has made a world of difference for me. It's like I have a mental block on cleaning when there is a mountain of dishes. With the dishwasher I can wash the dishes without having to stand at the sink forever and I can put the dirty ones in there until it fills up. There is rarely a sink full of dishes any more.

The third thing is may seem silly but if you go back to #1 you would know why I have to do this. I make a point to clean house for 30 minutes every day. I don't have to do it all at once but I can and I can always clean for more than that. You can get a lot done in 30 minutes a day.

It is really hard to break my old slob habits but I am trying very hard to overcome them. I'm sure the super clean people would turn thier nose up at the idea of me considering it clean but I really know that I am doing the best I can do.
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#13 of 35 Old 07-21-2006, 05:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SarahNH
I also have in my favor the fact that after 7 moves in 3 1/2 years we just don't have much stuff left
This coming sept or Oct. will be our 6th move in 2 1/2 years... I can totally relate. I have to admit that I like the moving because I like the decluttering because it's not worth moving part. It's the getting the house set up and organized that seems to take forever (and then every time I feel like I'm just starting to get the hang of a routine around here we up and move again).


Quote:
Originally Posted by SarahNH

Clear open spaces make a huge difference in my mental health, for real.
Again, totally me! I can't think straight when there is clutter.
To my disadvantage on the organizing front is my dh who comes from a long line of hard core pack rats. I remember the first time I met his parents (at their home) and the living room was covered with junk that was concealed under quilts and tarps, yes tarps. So when I go to declutter and weed out the unused and extras I get to watch dh go through the bags of stuff I want to get rid of and pull out things he wants to keep. In his defense he's getting a lot better at just letting go. But yet I can't take the authority to get rid of his stuff because I don't think that's respectful. I'm learning to wait until he realizes that the stuff he's hanging on to really is junk and is willing to let it go.

Kids stuff is really hard for me to organize too. About 95% of the stuff we have (clothes, toys, books) are second hand, either handed down from family or from thrift stores. It seems so much harder to let go of things that you got for free than things you spent money on and realized you don't use. It's like I reason that since it was free I might as well hang onto it in case they can use it in the future (so I'll end up saving money down the line).

Thanks for all the votes so far
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#14 of 35 Old 07-21-2006, 05:38 PM
 
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Everything has a place now, it just isn't always in it. Depending on how active we've been that day and how messy the kids' chosen activities are (forts? coloring? painting? just dumping out toys and PLAYING?) it can take me anywhere from 5 minutes to half an hour to get the place in unembarrassing condition, unless it is laundry day and I have a mountain of clean laundry on my bed (in which case, they'll just get the excuse). White glove, no, but my dad is visiting on Monday and I'm not worried.

Mama, homeschooler, midwife. DD (13yo), DS (11yo), DD (8yo), DD (3yo), somebody new coming in November 2013.

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#15 of 35 Old 07-21-2006, 11:30 PM
 
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I didn't choose the Martha one b/c sometimes the bathroom stays dirty for a while b/c I hate the harsh cleaners needed in there, but otherwise my house is pretty clean. The only time it is really dirty is the end of the weekend b/c my cleaning cannot keep up with ds's and dh's dirtying together.

As for organizations, my whole down stairs is currently organized except one drawer. : And the upstair is basically organized except I would like to clean outmy drawer of the bathroom since some blush broke open in it.

I have to add though that I HATE clutter. I have always been known as the one who throws everything away. I actually used to be phobic about owning too many things and regularly get rid of almost everything. I was almost ina panic attack when dh and I bought our house b/c I didn't want to own anything THAT big (it was tiny). I have always dreamed of living in a hut with few belongings. I studied abroad in Tanzania and loved that people lived so simply. (While they of course loved my Nikes.) I have gotten better though since we had kids and now like the comforts and space we have, but still dislike clutter.
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#16 of 35 Old 07-23-2006, 01:39 AM
 
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I did not vote, as I feel I fall between "have to clean for company" and "martha stewart" (who, quite frankly, scares me a little!). I found that when we lived in the 600 square foot house it was much easier to keep clean. We had so much less stuff. Since we moved to a larger home, the stuff seemed to expand to fill every corner. Anyhow, I like to try to keep my house clean enough so if someone drops in or calls from "down the road" I am not horribly embarrased "Try" is the operative word here.

Our house was very clean when I was a kid. My brother and I had lots of chores, cleaning included. We never had toys in the livingroom or scattered around the lawn like my kids do... but still I feel my house is pretty clean now. It's not up to my mother's standards (yes, she tells me this), but no one will get worms or be buried alive by an avalance of dirty clothes.

Where are you moving to willemsmama? Far from where you are now?

The Tabbie Family; DH , DS , DD , a few :, a couple : and me.
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#17 of 35 Old 07-23-2006, 04:39 PM
 
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My situation is a bit different (one child at home, grew up with cluttered/packrat parent, no frequent moving) but I am right there with you! I function so much better as a person when the house is clean/uncluttered. Our house does not look too great right now - most rooms have clutter and I should have swept the floors a few days ago and cleaned the bathrooms LONG ago . We have a big shedding dog too. DD is going through a very clingy phase right now, which is also draining.

I wish I had answers. I did get "Clutter's Last Stand" at the library a couple of days ago and I'm almost halfway through it already. It is really helping me start to see things differently - and it's funny.
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#18 of 35 Old 07-23-2006, 04:51 PM
 
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DH and I keep a very spartan home by most folks' standards. However, we're terrible at putting clothes and needs-to-be-kept
paperwork away, so the upstairs and office basement are quite cluttery.

Our main floor is picked up several times a day and cleaned every few days, but since living with Jett the Horrible, it's still a disaster area.

So, I chose Other. I'm not sure which one really suited us.

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#19 of 35 Old 07-23-2006, 05:52 PM
 
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I posted before I read the whole OP and before I noticed who wrote it! So, btw, Hey, how are you guys!?

Then, after reading your post, well....my situation is identical...except I only have one little guy. I grew up in a very neat, organized and well-kept house. My grandmother, who raised me, wasn't obsessive at all, but it was always presentable. My mother keeps a house that looks like Better Homes & Gardens is scheduled to arrive for a photo shoot in 10 minutes. She has an area, about 1 sq.ft., on her counter where her clutter is. Her house is uncomfortably clean and neat. I feel like I can't even sit down without destroying the place.

My house, however, is just exactly as you describe your home...to a T!

There's some poem about letting cobwebs gather while enjoying your child. It's sooo true.


Ooo, Google to the rescue!
Oh, cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby, and Babies don't keep.
I also found a few variations on a funny site by an overworked mama in a household with the flu.

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#20 of 35 Old 07-24-2006, 02:52 PM
 
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I HAVE to clean for company. There is no way in heck I can keep my house spotless all the time, I dont know how people do it!!
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#21 of 35 Old 07-24-2006, 02:53 PM
 
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so we have LEGO structures all over the place, bookshelves in every room, and the children's clutter everywhere!

The kitchen is fairly clean; it has to be so we don't get sick and also with 6 people we go through dishes fast! (The floor is sticky daily but also someone gives it a quick sweep and spot clean daily).

My room is neat under the children clutter! My bathroom is clean except my 3yo is afraid of flushing so close your eyes, close the lid and flush if you want a fresh bowl! LOL!

The children's bathroom looks like a rock concert was performed in there! Wet towels, toothpaste spills, toilet paper streamers, mud on the counter, full bowl - you know that rhym (sp?) about if it's yellow and if it's brown? Well my children don't! LOL!

I remember my house being clean growing up; I helped clean! I like to clean but I get tired with so many messes and so few helpers so my house is messier! My mom says the house was messy when I was little - I just don't remember! My mom only had 2 children and we were at public school during the week so the house didn't get as cluttered.

Sincerely,
Debra
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#22 of 35 Old 07-24-2006, 03:37 PM
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My house is definitely cluttered and dirty...but we do have a clear walking path through every room and in the hallway. Oh, and my DH cleaned the kitchen floor yesterday while DS and I were at church!

We have a bazillion "projects" going on all over the house, books and toys scattered in every room, blankets for impromptu snuggles everywhere. When I see the toy explosion, I smile.

Decluttering is constant process around here. I'm collecting some boxes of books from my grad school days to donate to the university. I managed to swap two boxes of extra linens for stuff I'll need for the new baby. I went through the winter coats in the spring, so the hall closet is in pretty good shape right now.

I grew up in a filthy house with 7 siblings, a stressed-out mom and a workaholic dad who makes a mess everywhere he goes. My mom's motto was "Dull women have immaculate homes." I am proud that we do not have moldy cheese in the living room or worms under the fridge (DH checked when he cleaned the kitchen floor yesterday). DH, on the other hand, grew up with an obsessively clean mom who kept white wall-to-wall carpeting in perfect condition for over 20 years. I suppose cleanliness depends on your frame of reference. I would personally rather spend my time having fun with DS than worrying about the carpet; after all, the carpet doesn't care if it's a little neglected.

"Isn't life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?" - Andy Warhol
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#23 of 35 Old 07-24-2006, 11:15 PM
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I grew up with an anal retentive mother who kept an extremely clean house with an occasional spot of clutter but never any real dirt.

I generally need to clean for company.

I keep a relatively spartan house with some clutter that I'm trying to singlehandedly tame.
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#24 of 35 Old 07-25-2006, 01:19 AM
 
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I grew up in a very large house and my mama kept it a Better Homes and Gardens home - perfectly immaculate and distinguished guest-ready at all times.



My home is, well, cozier. For starters, it's much, much smaller. I homeschool my kids, so we're home almost all of the time - actually *using* our space. That said, I'm not the best housekeeper. I definitely subscribe to the concept of a clean house as a sign of a wasted life. I just have too many better things to do, yk?

I don't let my house get gross in the dirty sense, but I do have a clutter weakness. It's all good stuff - lots of natural, creative, open-ended toys and other useful items for my children's use, but... it's scattered all over the place.

Everything does have a place. We have lots of baskets and shelves. But unless it's put away immediately after use, well, it gets messy quickly in our tiny home.

I have a bad habit of not washing the dishes (I only hand wash) until the sink's full. I can't let it get too full, however, b/c there's not much counter space so it'll get overwhelming easily.

In some ways I think that clutteriness is innate. For example, I drilled these big metal bolts into the rafters of our living room ceiling and designed and installed an indoor playground swing set complete with interchangeable parts that hang from custom chains and carabineers such as a trapeze bar and other goodies. It's literally right in the middle of the living room, b/c that was the best way to set it up to allow for ample swinging room. We're always having to dodge my swinging acrobats. : My dp calls it the feng shui nightmare. And I put that there *on purpose*.
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#25 of 35 Old 07-25-2006, 03:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Where are you moving to willemsmama? Far from where you are now?
Sorry it's taken me a few days to reply... I've been out of town and had acess to dial - up... oh the horror!!! (I'm spoiled by my cable modem at home).

We are moving to Pittsburgh from 8 hours away in the Philadelphia suburbs
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#26 of 35 Old 07-25-2006, 03:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Past_VNE
I posted before I read the whole OP and before I noticed who wrote it! So, btw, Hey, how are you guys!?
Great! And really excited and yet dreading the impending move. Had a little bit of suspense going on for a while because of crazy bfing cycles leading me to believe there was a chance I was pg again but that turned out to be a negative, thank heaven! We are hoping it will be for the better (back to talking about the move).
I checked out Jett's pics in your siggy a few weeks back when I ran into a post you'd written and he's a cutey!!!! Sheesh... I can't believe he's 18 months already!

btw, love that website
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#27 of 35 Old 07-25-2006, 03:24 AM
 
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It depends on the day. Most of the time it's cluttered with stuff the kids get out and don't put away, or I may have dishes in the sink. If I keep up with the floors and bathrooms, it only takes me about 20 mins to put the house in order for company (not counting my bedroom-- no one sees that). I try to make the bed every day and keep things picked up but I'm not going to stress if I don't.

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#28 of 35 Old 07-29-2006, 04:34 PM
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I voted other because I am nowhere near white glove, and I wouldn't exactly be embarrassed if someone showed up without warnng -- I would probably appreciate even a 15 minute notice to pick up really quickly. Like some of the other posters, we always have open-ended projects going on -- our coffeetable has paper taped all over it so our dd can color, their are playsilks and fabric draped from the couch to the bookshelf where we were playing fort... stuff like that.

There are dishes in the sink (we don't have a dishwasher) but it isn't like, overflowing, just dishes from last night's dinner. The desk has some clutter, there is a clean basket of clothes in our bedroom that I haven't put away yet from my dh's trip to the laundrymat like 3, 4 days ago.

I spot clean every day, usually do dishes most days, spot clean messes on the floor, dust bust crushed cheerios out of the carpet, quick wipe down of the bathroom counter, sweep kitchen floor -- those type things -- usually a couple minutes here and there between playing and caring for dd... but I only really clean clean about once a week --- deep, thorough vacuuming, mop kitchen floor (sometimes bi-weekly depending on the state of it) things like that.

Our apartment is about 900sq and our daughter hardly ever is in her "bedroom" (we co-sleep and her toys are in our common area)....we only really use our bedroom for sleeping and um, other things so it doesn't get messy really... it is really our living area, kitchen and bathroom I focus on...

I'd say it is pretty clean in terms of *dirt* wise, fairly uncluttered because we don't have a lot of *stuff*... I wouldn't have people over for a party with it like this, but if someone dropped by for coffee or even a playdate I wouldn't be embarrassed.
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#29 of 35 Old 07-29-2006, 04:57 PM
 
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Wow, does this thread make me feel better!

I grew up with a mother who would vacuum up behind us as kids (while we were playing)
I had a mini ironing board/iron and a kitchen set which my dad quotes me as playing house scrubbing the "counter" while repeating:
"Make it shiny, make it shiny!" (*amazed I don't have OCD now )
They never baby-proofed their house, dishes were washed as they were used and multiple laundry loads were wash/dried/ironed per day, the kitchen floor was scrubbed every night and vacuuming was done daily.
(ok, I'm tired just typing all that! I think my mom was NUTS!)

Well, after three moves in 1.5 years, being currently "homeless" living with my parents! We don't have a lot of crap to clutter...except for my "hobby" scrapbooking stuff.
But, I am expected to keep our "space" (the basement) utterly spotless by my mother. Otherwise she comes down and just sort of looks around and than says "Poor Bobby" (my DH) like I should feel bad. (which I end up feeling : )

So I've become a clean/clutter-free freak... Oh I'm so ashamed...but it saves me some stress from my mother!

Summer: crafty mama to 2 little girls and wife to Bob
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#30 of 35 Old 07-29-2006, 05:49 PM
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You know I actually enjoy cleaning. I am not a neat freak by any means but I think a clean, uncluttered space does wonders for my mental health

I don't like cleaning when it's overwhelming (like a huge craphole ), or when it is "expected" (thankfully, it's not around here).

My mom is somewhat like yours and I feel this need to have my house super clean when she comes over which I don't like. I am learning to loosen up when I am expecting her though. I would rather have my daughter (when she gets older) remember how much fun I was and how involved I was with her rather than, oh we had a super clean house yk?
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