We also got one room cleared out and made it into a nice playroom for her little guy. I'm actually really glad for that, he has a space he can get into and relax in.
I don't know if she will keep it up or not, she actually didn't really want us to clean but we basically insisted and did it anyway...I offered to do laundry since it honestly is just thrown in piles all over the house. I figured if were cleaning we should have laundry going too, but she said no, that she would do it. I was literally tripping over dirty underwear to get from one room to the next...
So I think she is inspired, for now anyway. She said she would like some more help, but I told her that she and her DH need to do some purging first, since I am not going to decide what needs to be thrown out and kept. Once she gets the next room cleared out a bit, we will likely go back and tackle some more.
Thanks so much everyone for your replies and suggestions!
I'm glad you were able to help her some. Even if it's only temporary because it doesn't get maintained it's still better than it was. One less layer of dirt! I feel sorry for her. She has to be majorly depressed or feeling terrible for her house to be that bad.
I'm having a difficult pregnancy and we have a lot of pets. (Cats and dogs.) One thing I've done to stay on top of things when I feel too horrible to move 95% of the time is to just let one room be a mess with the door closed. I sort all the dirty laundry in there in piles, and keep the baskets of clean laundry in there waiting for me to fold them when (if) I feel well enough, I shove the clutter in one corner of the room, and then the rest of our small house is more manageable to tidy up in quick bursts of energy. It wastes a room of the house and that room looks like something from hoarders minus feces, but it's way better than the entire house being that way when you're feeling way too overwhelmed for whatever reason.
I also broke down and started buying easy cleaning supplies, like clorox wipes. I used all natural/homemade cleaners with rags or sponges before, but it was too much to maintain during this pregnancy. (Not even going to feel guilty about it right now!) Does she have simple cleaning products on hand? Maybe a basket of disinfecting wipes and stuff to keep in her bathroom would be easier to buy than a maid, if she would use them to maintain once the overwhelming layer of grime is off. (I swear my tub gets a brown ring every single time my kids bathe. They must play outside in the dirt too much!) And a hand held vacuum for the cat litter in the bathroom floor, even her 3 year old could use that. My 2 year old loves to suck up litter and fur with ours.
We got a Litter Robot litter box that scoops itself. It's AMAZING. Totally worth the cost, and it uses way less litter, and barely smells with our four cats! You just have to tie up a trash bag and toss it out every few days, and tuck a new one in the drawer under the box. It doesn't sound like her husband can be convinced enough to buy something like that unfortunately, but you never know.
I hope the doctor is able to give her some medication or recommend therapy to help her feel better.
Momma to Sweet Rosie 7/06, Lost Baby J 1/09 at 12 weeks pregnant, Spitfire Ada born 4/21/10, and Baby Boy due July/August 2013!
Aspiring urban homesteader, photographer, homeschooling momma! Blog link in my profile.
Did either the couple help out?
Considering their resistance to the laundry, I have little hope things will change. Even with the mom getting help, sounds like the dad doesn't care to make things cleaner and/or organized
So great that you were able to help her out! Personally I don't think they will keep it up but at least it's a temporary improvement.
Re: easy cleaning supplies, we have a Roomba vacuum cleaner. It is great for keeping up with our 2 dogs (1 is a mega shedder) and a messy toddler. DD is loving watching it clean lately so I have been running it frequently. It's nice that it cleans on its own and DD is amused too, which gives me a little time to do something in the kitchen or drink a cup of coffee (DD likes to sit on the couch or bed and watch it run around). They are an upfront investment and you do have to clean it out between runs but when I have to vacuum myself it seems like it never happens (between DD wanting to "help", having to drag the blasted thing up or down stairs, and getting sweaty and tired actually doing the vacuuming).
The wipes idea sounds like it would be good for her. I also second the FLY Lady suggestion, I only follow some of her stuff but some of it is super helpful. One of her things is that you can do anything for 15 minutes, that may be helpful if she gets easily overwhelmed (set a timer and only do that much!). The other is to "swish and swipe" the bathroom - just quickly wipe all surfaces and swish the brush in the toilet. I find that doing this, even with no cleaning products or anything (and frankly not even close to every day for me...) really helps, because it prevents the bathroom from actually getting dirty and then it rarely needs an actual "cleaning".
Besides depression, it sounds like your friend has some executive function issues (i.e.., taking the time to pick out furniture in anticipation of cleaning!) You sound like an amazing friend. But it must be said that this kind of behavior with friends has a short shelf-life. She needs to know that in the kindest way possible. A cycle of dramatic "rescues" is not healthy even if in the short term it makes her feel very loved. She needs to stand on her own two feet which, unfortunately for mothers of two small children, means cleaning your damn house about 10x as much as you feel like it!
You've accomplished so much already I don't want to be the one to suggest more work!! But having had friends like this in the past I sense that she may not get the message. The house is just a symptom of inner chaos that needs to be dealt with as well. Professional help may be needed.
But you, my dear, are a very good friend!!!