So, How Clean Is Your Home?
My Rant on Clutter
Keeping a house/apartment/ houseboat/ RV /cave spotlessly clean is a tiring prospect. If you have young children or pets and/or work or are a caregiver to someone, the idea that you have a lot of time to devote to housework becomes increasingly preposterous. The more "other responsibilities" you have, the less time you have to devote to housework.
In this day and age, it is even more important to have "down time", especially if you are already swamped with responsibility.
Cleaning house can be a breeze, if your shelves, floors, counters, bathroom counters, etc. are completely empty. However, I have seen the rare home like that....mostly we all have clutter we throw into a certain closet/ room when guests arrive unexpectedly. Clutter, I believe is responsible for families needing larger and larger homes! Clutter really is what makes housework difficult.
My one complaint from my life is I wish I had not bought so much stuff!
Because everything I have, needs to be moved to clean under and around. Eventually, all that accumulation creates the need for totes, cupboards, bookshelves until my space is chock full. Unless I am "super" organized or have a fantastic memory I still spend "time" finding stuff or cleaning around it!
So Keep Up by Keeping Up
Clean what needs cleaning, keep as tidy as you can: (like put it away while you still have it in your hands...not later).
In my house, the housecleaning has evolved from a chore that is done constantly, to one which is done in rotation. I clean what needs attention when it needs attention and let the rest wait until I have the time and energy to do it.
That gives time for kitchens and bathrooms, which need cleanliness the most.
Clutter determines how tidy you can be. It boils down to buying less.
Over the years I have inherited "stuff" that is emotionally tough to part with. I have managed to keep the essence of what is important without smothering under a load of mementos.
Books Need Space and Dusting; Ereaders, Not So Much
I have always had a huge book collection and still have, but I have to say the Kindle and free ereader apps on my smartphone have saved me tons of money and allowed me to read even more than if the books were hard copy. Mind you I love, love physical books...but it is the material within that is the real meat. Now I can read and not worry about where I will store all the books in a limited space, not to mention, dusting them, not to mention taking a library on vacation!
Computers to the Rescue
Technology can help with clutter
One thing I am grateful about technology is that it is freeing me of paper clutter. Since I enjoy writing and researching (and always have), I would accumulate boxes of material before I disposed of them. Of course, I would never have the required time to get through it all and so it accumulated.
Now I bookmark and categorize material in my computer so I feel I have made a major coup on the paper. Taming the "paper monster" has saved a few trees in the process... besides streamlining my writing process and making researching so much easier!
Housekeeping has changed over generations
In my mother's day, she would stay at home and bake and clean. She had very few hobbies and no distractions like the internet! Thank goodness, I was born to a later generation!
My family had a ritual of "Saturday cleaning" followed by a sauna. The house, the kids and adults would all be squeaky clean! Saturday night we all donned our freshly laundered PJ's and slipped into our freshly laundered and line-dried sheets that smelled heavenly...so much better than the best scented fabric softeners. I remember those childhood memories fondly. I seem to remember the Saturday, but I wonder how long that clean really lasted with three kids and a dog or two in the mix?
On Saturday night, the world was spotlessly clean.
I don't remember Sunday in the same way... so invariably, dirt had made it's way back into our world!
Life was simpler then. It was a another era. An era that was more innocent and touched with a sense of magic. It almost sounds like a meditation compared to today's hustle and bustle. They never rushed around because they did not have to. Telephones were attached to walls and television had just a few stations. News were always local. Milk was delivered door-to-door.
There was a certain constancy about mother’s rituals that was very comforting. Something I have never been able to emulate.
I like the idea of a stay at home mom, but I would have been bored to be one. Most women need to work and if one wants to have a life and enjoy some of it, housework is often on the back burner of activities, simply because there are only so many hours in a day to make a living and commute and prepare meals!
There is much advice on how to do housework, but the main culprit is we simply do not have the disposable time to do it all.
The demands on our time have multiplied many times over from our grandmother's and mother's time.
I have a shortcut for all of that.
I don’t do much housecleaning!
I figure if there really is a system for doing it all, then we would all have spotless homes.
Sure you can have everything spotless, but you may give up all your sleep, never interact with your kids or husband... never have time for a lovely chat with a friend or maybe never go visit your aunt Bess…that sort of trade-off.
Over the years, I did the housekeeping more or less okay. Mind you, never to my mother’s standards, but I began to notice, she didn’t actually do it all either. I had better standards of hygiene in the kitchen. She was unaware of bacteria and virus and it’s spread. I would disinfect and scour items she would ignore. She was more concerned about appearances than bacteria!
I realized, even she, did not do it all.
I relaxed my housekeeping over the years when I realized I wasn’t having any time for myself. I always felt guilty sitting down and relaxing. My husband on the other hand, always sat down at home, while I was preparing meals and washing up. So I invested in a dishwasher. “My maid’, I used to call it!
I then realized his standard of "clean" was way lower than mine. For instance, I once let the place get progressively more cluttered to see when he actually picked up and lo and behold the place got so bad I had to roll up my sleeves and clean…he never batted an eyelash. When I asked, he said, it didn’t bother him. A light bulb went on in my head..
I began to get wiser. I would prepare supper and put the dishwasher on and I would enjoy television with him.Life became instantly more harmonious. I think it prevented a divorce and certainly a ton of arguments about sharing the work! Mind you a spouse that also does cleaning is priceless!
So what Defines a Clean House Today?
I would say, a clean house by today's standard needs to have clean cooking and food preparation surfaces and of course clean dishes and a clean fridge. The sinks need to be clean as well as the bathroom.
It would be wonderful to have the perfect home, spotless and wonderful like in the magazines. However, like much of what is portrayed in the media, it is mostly an advertisers ploy to sell us something be it cleaning products or the newest paints and carpets.
Only you can determine what mess you can tolerate. Dust is unsightly, but unless you have allergies, it can wait.
Try to not let anything get too dirty because dirt seeps in everywhere, gets tracked in and shed by pets. Smudges happen.Life is messy,unfortunately. Learn to judge when you will or will not clean so cleaning isn't an all consuming task. Think twice before adding more clutter...do you want to clean it?
Find your own cleaning standard and learn to relax about housekeeping to impossible standards. There are more important things in life...like enjoying friends and family!
So put your feet up and relax. The guys have the right idea after all!