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I've got to do something

THis house is really awful. There are piles of things everywhere, the bed is unmade (it usually is), the floors need to be cleaned, there's too much stuff. I need to get on a system. It's making me nuts.


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 27th, 2002 12:03 am (UTC)
It is best to slowly build good housekeeping habits just as you have with your workouts. You could start by just getting in the habit of making the bed every morning. Make it part of your routine. Think about replacing a workout once or twice a week with a hardcore cleaning session for the same period of time. Set a timer and work as hard as you can for that amount of time then stop.

and here I am up way past my bedtime again...speaking ok getting into good habits...
Mar. 27th, 2002 06:30 am (UTC)
Ah the history
I have done housekeeping systems the way some people do diets (I've never been a yo-yo dieter). So I probably know as much about housekeeping as I do about nutrition, which is a lot. But the practice is the problem. And your suggestion is just what I do need to do. I have figured out I can't succeed, or am much less likely to, if I try major overhaul all at once.

I think the good news is that I am ready to go into this and maybe this time it will stick. I have shown I can succeed in fitness and that has become a habit, so why not this? Thanks for that suggestion about the one day a week. Use an "aerobic" day, even though there will be muscle-building involved.

Right now I have to make a crash effort because I am going to ask a friend to check the cats while I am in Las VEgas for a few days. She has never been inside. I've told her about it but I doubt she has any real idea. I just need to get the first layer off so it doesn't look quite so bad and so she can walk through the house.
Mar. 27th, 2002 11:41 am (UTC)
Re: Ah the history
ah...the old "clean up the bathroom...company's commin'" routine. Unfortunately that has become the core of my housekeeping efforts lately as well. I am determined to get back to where I was ten years ago when my house was always decently clean.

I have often used the trick of turning housework and yard work into an aerobic workout. It takes your mind off the magnitude of the task and gives you a smaller, short term goal that is easier to handle.
Mar. 27th, 2002 11:59 am (UTC)
I like taking the bite approach. I only look at one small part at a time. If I look at the bigger job I feel overwhelmed and hopeless. And while i work I keep looking back at what I have done.

But believe me, in this case there are going to be some of those hide-it-in-the-closet-or-under-the-bed things. THere is too much to sort out so they'll go into pillow cases or bags and wherever I can hide them (there is very little hiding space here).

Maybe you could remind me %) after i get back, to haul those bags out again. (laughing)
Mar. 27th, 2002 12:28 pm (UTC)
hide aways
You know...it's kinda funny...but I have often noticed some of the best housekeepers actually work that way. Everything looks absolutely spotless on the surface but don't look too close or the illusion evaporates. Sue's stepsister is that way. She is a total Martha Stewart. Her house is always spotless. She is always throwing fancy parties and everything is always picture perfect. And it isn't temporary. Even if you happen to drop by unannounced her house is always spotless...

just don't open any drawers, closets or cupboards...they are a complete disaster, packed to overflowing with who knows what. In reality her house is about as messy as any I have seen...she just keeps it all hidden. :o]
Mar. 27th, 2002 01:36 pm (UTC)
Re: hide aways
Yes, there are definitely styles. And my daughters exemplify two of them. Elaine is very organized. Her drawers and shelves are well-thought-out, designed for function, work well. She puts things back where they came from and doesn't overcrowd. On the other hand, she can sometimes let the more obvious stuff go. The floor needs to be vacuumed, the bed made. But her closets and drawers? Stunning. I can't get over it. She didn't get it from me.

And Mary is the opposite. SHe is perhaps more typical. She runs the vacuum around, straightens stuff out, washes the dishes, but her organizational skills are a little behind. Her kitchen cupboards have only the faintest sense of order to them (this is where I make sense in my home except that I overcrowd) if any at all. If she's in a rush things will go into a closet or drawer. It's not too bad because she doesn't have nearly as much STUFF as I have and enough room for what she has and she gets antsy so she moves or changes furniture more often.

It is funny to see how they operate. When Mary and Elaine were in the California Conservation Corps together Mary once told me how it would go with a chainsaw: Elaine would analyze the piece of wood to be cut, work out the number of cuts and where to put them, figure out all of the results before she would start in with the chainsaw. Mary would take the saw and have at it, decimating whatever was in her path. Both were very hard workers.

In housecleaning I am in the middle of my daughters. I have more organizational sense than Mary has but I let things go for way too long and end up putting anything anywhere so often that this organizational skill means little. Both of them keep up better than I do.

Mary usually offers to help me when she visits. But most of the work isn't simple housework. It's sorting, sifting, getting rid of, putting away. And only I can do that. Right now, though, there are the floors and so on...
Mar. 27th, 2002 03:32 pm (UTC)
Re: hide aways
I really enjoy housework myself. Of course this depression has killed that as well...but normally I enjoy it. I'm the type who keeps everything spotless, not as an obsession but simply because I enjoy doing it. I actually did professional housecleaning for a while. It wasn't all domestic work, though. I did commercial janitorial as well.

Sue, on the other hand, ia totally annoying. If I get into the habit of doing something every day, like making the bed, she will try to beat me to it when she is home. She tends to work this way with a lot of things...she does the thing that will be noticed the most while ignoring other things that need her attention more. If I go ahead and let her keep doing something like that she only does it until the attention is off then she stops. Then I have to get back in the habit again and it all starts over.

She is also good at dumping things on me, like she will decide to have a party, invite a bunch of people, then dump the whole thing on me. And she is the pack rat from hell. I finally threw her out of my kitchen along with 30 large boxes of Tupperware. Hey...don't get me wrong. I like tupperware and use it a lot...I just don't have a sexual fetish for it.

Sue's mom is the same way. Her house is piled with boxes of dirty Tupperware and she has a shed and travel trailer out back jamb packed with the stuff. When a piece is dirty she just throws it on the stack and heads to the nearest party for a replacement. Do they have a twelve step program for that stuff??

I get more ruthless all the time about what goes in the garbage. Your can't enjoy the real treasures if you can't find them amungst the trash.
Mar. 27th, 2002 03:43 pm (UTC)
Re: hide aways
This little thread is keeping me from doing housework...

I am pretty ruthless myself, believe it or not. I do accumulate but mostly because Ihaven't yet figured out the right place. And I keep trying to do the right thing, to recycle things properly. Meaning finding a new home for magazines and things like that. Eventually I usually just put them in the recycle bins too. But I did manage to sell a couple of years' worth of Vegetarian Times. I like that others can get some use from them.

that tupperware thing does sounds like a disorder.

I don't even buy the stuff when I go to a party. which, for some reason, I have had reason to do in the last year, twice I think. People at Pismo still have those parties. I thought they'd gone out of style.
Mar. 27th, 2002 04:05 pm (UTC)
Well...we certainly wouldn't want you to get your house too clean today :o]

Now about Tupperware...Here is an interesting deffinition from The Wordsworth Dictionary of Obscenity & Taboo:

(col.) To copulate with a female.
This is Standard English when applied to sheep, but has long been extended informally to human beings. Using an explicit metaphor in Othello (I. i. 88-9) Shakespear has Iago say to Brabantio, reffering to Othello; 'Even now, now, very now, an old black ram is tupping your white ewe'.
In all probability the surname Tupper was originally conferre on men well known for their sexual appetites.

So now we know where the name tupperware came from :o]
Mar. 27th, 2002 04:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Tupperware
We also know what happens when a thread keeps going like this. Each message gets skinnier and skinnier! But I like it.

I went downtown to see if my little camera had come in. I ordered it a week ago Tuesday and they said approximately three days. Well, it hasn't come in. The guy said Pentax is going through changes, they said it wouldn't affect deliveries but...and so it goes. It is frustrating. I could have cancelled the order but chose to hang in there. Rather silly of me really. The same camera is selling at Sears for a lot less. But I wanted to establish a relationship at a real camera store, one I could count on in the future. You know, influence.

I really wanted to have the camera with me on this trip. I get so frustrated. But this too will pass. I will be fine. I have a camera, Mary has a new digital cam, so we'll do fine.

I think I should throw out all my tupperware now that I know what it's really for. Actually I don't have much. I do have those disposable things, which I use over and over. In the kitchen.
Mar. 27th, 2002 05:48 pm (UTC)
"Sue's mom is the same way. Her house is piled with boxes of dirty Tupperware and she has a shed and travel trailer out back jamb packed with the stuff. When a piece is dirty she just throws it on the stack and heads to the nearest party for a replacement. Do they have a twelve step program for that stuff??"

Ha!! I love that. Tupperware trailer trash! I can just picture it -- all this old, rejected, cracked, food-encrusted Tupperware piled on top of rotting old junkers . . . that's a beautiful image!

Also love the definition of "tup." Always good to add to the vocabulary -- although my favorite is still the Yiddish -"schtup" -- actually hmmm -- there's some similarity there -- could it be? Was there a derivation in your dictionary?

Mar. 27th, 2002 07:02 pm (UTC)
Schtup me if you've heard this one...
Well, Wordsworth doesn't connect the two words, in fact now that I look it doesn't even have the word schtup (maybe I should write the editors) but from other things I have read, it seems that profanity is the other universal language. Many words like this are very similar in many languages so I wouldn't be at all suprised if they had the same origin.
Mar. 28th, 2002 12:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Schtup me if you've heard this one...
Kind of like tea, which is similar in almost every language. I can't understand how they could leave out schtup! Any decent dictionary of obscenity and taboo should have it (not that I've ever seen one but . . . maybe I should).
Mar. 27th, 2002 02:03 pm (UTC)
Have you considered a housekeeper? Before I was married I frequently had to resort to the under-the-bed, throw-in-the-closet approach and I've never found a way to enjoy doing housework or even find it tolerable. We have someone come every other week now for half-a-day (we have a small place). It doesn't break the bank and it prevents the awful fights we used to have over the whole issue, my husband being extremely organized -- not picky about everything but much more picky than me. I have certain chores but it's a lot easier when you think all you have to do is make the bed or vacuum once a week instead of this whole overwhelming project of having to wash floors, dust and do the whole place. If you work out the kind of time you spend doing that (and people who aren't good cleaners aren't as efficient so it takes even longer) you'll see that it's cost-effective to delegate. I will say it took us a while to find someone good but it's been totally worth it. It used to be a source of such stress for me especially on weekends when all I wanted to do was try to unstress from the workweek and this whole cleaning project would hang over my head all weekend.

I think sometimes we just have to recognize our strenghs and weaknesses and be realistic -- stop beating ourselves up over the stuff we're just not going to ever do well, even if we think it should do it ourselves.
Mar. 27th, 2002 02:30 pm (UTC)
I actually have
Yes, I have considered housekeepers. I have had them in the past. Frankly, they really hated this job. There is so much stuff to move out of the way before they can do anything and they can't do anything about the real problem, which is the sorting of the stuff. So they tend to quit on me. They make excuses but I know what it is.

My house actually has to be in some sort of order before I can get to the actual cleaning of it.

I do think that I can reach a place of peace with it. I live alone so my standards are what rule. I don't have the tension of living with someone else. I don't aspire to perfection, will be happy with some kind of medium place, and I do think I am capable of getting there, one step at a time. I think I had to hit some sort of bottom first!

I figured one thing out: I need labels. So now I label shelves and drawers a lot. I am going to continue with this because I simply don't remember what I thought was the right place for which thing. A lot of my frustration comes from not having a place for a thing and this will help with that.

I also am going to look into a web housekeeping system that is available for free. Helps you set up systems and then sends out reminders. SEems like it couldn't hurt.

But anyway! For today it is rush time. I have the kitchen floor done. Now to the table.
Mar. 27th, 2002 02:47 pm (UTC)
Re: I actually have
"But anyway! For today it is rush time. I have the kitchen floor done. Now to the table."


Yeah I'm familiar with the "stuff" problem. I take it you're a pack-rat? For me it's paper paper paper. I just have to bit the bullet and periodically weed through it and try to use the "do it, ditch it or delegate it" method. File drawers and shelves help a lot. But I hardly aspire to perfection. Actually I'm thrilled that as painful as it was while we were going through it, in the end being married has helped me to change some bad habits. That's actually the way it's supposed to work.

Mar. 27th, 2002 03:08 pm (UTC)
Re: I actually have
That's the kind of marriage I aspire to. I know I have the stuff for it (and in this case I don't mean material stuff). I can listen without defensiveness, or at least I try, and if something is a problem for the other person I can try to fix that.

As I said to striver, I know what needs to be done, I know about systems, I know about dumping stuff, I know what I need to know. I just need to do it. And I like his suggestion to take one small task and make a habit of that and then move on to the next. And to take one of my workout days a week to do the furious catch up stuff until I have it evened out. For me that sounds like a decent plan. For me. I have lived this way for a long time, and have actually made improvements over time, and I think I can make more. I know I can.
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