Wednesday, March 22, 2006

To clean or not to clean?

I do not love to clean. I do however, love a clean house, and that is what drives me to clean. It may even go beyond loving a clean house- I think I need it for my sanity. And even more than clean, I need organization. I live my life by the adage- 'A place for everything, and everything in it's place.' I may even be borderline OCD about it. I cannot stand to have even one extraneous item around the house. Everything has to be put away. I've toyed with several methods, or 'schedules' of cleaning (yet another OCD aspect, I have to have a 'schedule' for it) and I'm not sure I've yet found one that really jives with me and my life. I used to try and clean the whole house every Monday, but with an infant to care for, found the constant interruptions frustrating. If I finished it to my satisfaction it would often take until 10 pm, or run into the next day. Then I tried doing small things for each day of the week (i.e. vacuum the whole house on Monday, bathrooms on Tuesday, dust on Wednesday) so I never had a huge project ahead of me. Now I am trying to clean the upstairs on Tuesdays and the down on Thursdays. I make sure that everyday I pick up, wipe up, vacuum at least every couple of days. I just run into the problem of negative thinking- (like I do in so many areas of my life-) I think, 'What's the point? I feel like I just did this yesterday! It's just going to be dirty/messy again in a couple of days and then I'll have to do it again!' My problem is that I have a very black or white personality. I am all in, or I am all out. No gray area, no in-betweens. So I want to know on a more trivial level- what kind of cleaning 'schedule' do you keep, and does it work for you? Do you have any tricks or techniques? And on a more serious level- How do you keep from being easily overwhelmed or frustrated with the monotony of it all? How do you keep up with it and still find time to do things for you? I guess I basically just need a life lesson in balance and moderation as I have expressed before. I just really, really wish I weren't so polar in my emotions and outlook. Really craving some balance here.
*Jill and Denise- I know you are particularly good housekeepers, so I am waiting to hear from you, and all of you!

13 comments:

michelle said...

Oh boy. Now the truth comes out. (Well, those of you that have been to my house already know the truth!) I am not a good housekeeper. I think the reason is that if I cleaned my house enough for it to be really clean all the time, I wouldn't have time to do things I WANT to do, things that replenish me. So even though I want to have a clean house, I guess I don't want it badly enough to sacrifice my 'me' time. I have learned to live with a fairly clean house, or even sometimes a messy house. Don't get me wrong, I don't like it! I just need time to do other stuff! So I do laundry on Mondays, bathrooms on another day, vacuuming whenever the dog hair is driving me crazy. I pick up and clean up the kitchen multiple times a day, and that seems to take up about all the time I can devote to cleaning. I hardly ever dust (gasp!). Now you know my dirty little secret (no pun intended).

Amie said...

If I had your writing skills I could have written this same post! I love everything clean at once butlately it is overwhelming and it spills over into the next day (especially the laundry and ironing). I am thinking a cleaning day and then a separate laundry day? I am so all or nothing also....it seems at my house you can either lick the floors and feel fairly good about it or turn me into the health dept - no happy mediums here!

dpw said...

Wow! I'm honored--if not somewhat stunned--to hear that you consider me to be a "particularly good housekeeper!" As my life continues to get busier I find my housekeeping rountine has become less structured, and that drives me crazy. The bottom line: A clean bathromm is my link to sanity.

My best advice: Start teaching your children at a young age to clean. In a few years--when busy-ness keeps you running faster than you thought you ever could--you'll have lots of help. (And you're doing your kids a favor because they won't be the annoying roomate who never cleans.)

Jill said...

I don't understand the problem really, because if you have a place for everything and you actually put it in its place, then what's so messy? I can understand the challenge if you let it get gross and then want it sparkling clean because those two are extremes and would certainly cause frustration.

What helps me is to get things done before they build up. Like, I do the dishes right away and never let them pile up in the sink. This is easy to do and never overwhelms me.

I dust while I'm on the phone (the headset for the cordless is a great purchase and super helpful) then I'm doing something I like (talking) and something I don't love (dusting) at the same time.

I do a load of laundry almost every day and that way I never have a ton to do and don't ever mind doing it. (Of course, I don't iron like Amie does, otherwise I'd despise laundry day.)

I clean bathrooms once a week, often while I'm on the phone, and use Lysol wipes for the days in-between cleanings. It's manageable.

Pretty much the only times I feel frustrated and overwhelmed are when I have a ton of kids here making extra messes, or if I've let myself get behind from the day-to-day tasks so that I feel pressured to complete them.

I hope this helps, if not perhaps I need to actually hear more details to know what's going on.

Hannah said...

Wow Jill, that is inspiring indeed. I would love to hear more about your little tips...

I hate to clean and obviously don't have a place for everything, so I probably won't be too much help. I clean really fast and do a "hannah-good" job when I do it all at once and go from room to room. If I am in the kitchen I will take all the things that belong in Mya's room and then when I am in her room, I will grab all her laundry and add it to the pile, then start a load, then take care of the clean clothes and grab things from my room and so on and so forth. So I am kinda all over the house, but if I have to stop early, I feel like I made progress on each room. Mya doesn't mind this hour or so of wandering around our house either.

I try to vacuume every day because that means that I had to clear the floors of the toys/shoes and vacumming gives the illusion of a clean room in my opinion. I usually clean/straighten my bathroom when Mya is in the bath playing. It doesn't take too long and she is totally into what she is doing so that frees some time for me- hard to do with Bella right now though. I also find that if I get up and do all this in the morning, I am more likely to try to keep things clean during the day, and it feels good to have the house done in the morning instead of me thinking about it all day.

jt said...

Jill, I do pretty much what you said- I mean, I pick up every day (sometimes several times) it's just the actual 'cleaning', like bathrooms nd such that I'm trying to get a rythym with. (I really hate doing the bathrooms.) Once a week though is good to hear- that's how often I try to do them.(reassuring coming from a clean freak.) I guess I am more of a neat freak. But I do the same small cleanings every day so I never have a big job ahead of me. Maybe my house really is clean after all...

Kim said...

I'm in the same boat as you jessie...looking for a good cleaning routine. Although I have a somewhat clean house, I have no organization and I get distracted really easily. For example, I'll be headed downstairs with a basket of laundry and notice on my way there that the kitchen floor needs swept...so I sweep the kitchen floor then notice the counters need wiped off then I end up cleaning out the fridge, taking out the trash etc. All the while, my basket of laundry is still waiting to go downstairs! I think I have cleaning A.D.D. Acutally I know I have cleaning A.D.D.
However, I did notice at the grocery check-out there is an article this month in "Real Simple" about how to keep a tidy house in 15 min. a day. If you happen to have 30 minutes, they tell you what chores to add on to your 15 min. routine. I only glanced at the article while I was in the check-out but it seemed helpful. You might want to check it out.

Beatrix Kiddo said...

monotony in life depresses the hell out of me. I hate routine! This 9-6 business KILLS me.

Diana said...

I am a clean freak. I need things perfect. I do little things everyday (vacuming, dusting, picking up). I have set days to clean my bathrooms and the kitchen. When I moved to a bigger place and just had Josh it took me awhile to get into a routine. Now I have it and helps me feel good. My thought is I try to keep the house as if I were planning on having someone over. Before Kira leaves a room we pick up the mess. That seems to help too.

Robin said...

Yeah....I pretty much need help in this dept. too. Our house is always messier than yours...and we have no kids. I get picky about picking stuff up sometimes, but I really struggle with taking the time to do more than surface cleaning. So...can't say I have any helpful hints, though I do appreciate the ones that have been shared ;)

jenn said...

I love the distinction Jessie- I am a neat freak not a clean freak, even though I really, really like a clean house. But I'm not a good cleaner, just a good organizer and pickerupper. The problem for me is I live in a house with 6 not neat, not organized, not phased by the mess freaks! I feel like a clean house it just too much to aspire too. So, I move stuff around my craft room instead. :)

Claudissima said...

wow! i feel exactly like you! i think i am like you in this area. sometimes i just get frustrated. i have a almost 3 year old and a almost 8 month old and it seems like all i do is pick up their mess and clean the kitchen/living room area. never ending. however i do try to tidy up everything the night before i go to bed and like jill said try to do laundry here and there and never never leave dirty dishes in the sink...that just adds to the chaos. but i am getting excited about nicer weather because i think if i get myself out of the house at least a couple of hours, then when i get back i can do manage play (reading a book, playing a game) then it is time for lunch and then nap...so there won't be so much time to mess up what i just cleaned the day before
good luck (but no pointers on how to be a little grayer...i strugle with that too)

Anonymous said...

Where do you get all these ideas? It takes me forever to put all this stuff together and my home still isn't where I want it to be.

Thanks.
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