Cleaning Up

I don’t like cleaning. Organizing yes but cleaning no.  When I was living in Milwaukee I audited a class at the University of Wisconsin called “The Politics of Housework”. This was a LONG time ago but one of the things I remember about the class material was that housework is deeply dissatisfying for almost everybody due to its repetitive nature.  The housework never stays done.  No matter how earnestly you mop the floor, the dogs are going to wipe their muddy paws on it, probably within an hour.  This theory was very validating to me.

When YA was little, a co-worker asked me once how I get everything done and I replied “my house is dirty”. She laughed until she realized I was serious.  Then she laughed some more.  Any time I have a list of things to do, I can guarantee that cleaning is at the very bottom.  One of the upsides of entertaining a lot is that I’m forced to face the cleaning so my house doesn’t become a reality tv series.

With Nonny arriving on Monday, we’re in the last couple of days of getting the house clean (again). YA and I have a pretty good catalog of chores and luckily she likes to clean more than I do.  But mopping is still at the bottom of the list.

How do you get yourself to do the housework?

59 thoughts on “Cleaning Up”

  1. Husband is allergic to dust and cats, so he is very encouragingwhen it comes to cleaning. He is particularly good about vacuuming the carpets and and doing dishes. We have laminate floor in the kitchen, dining room, and living room, and in the morning when I sit with my coffee, the sun shines in tbe house in such a way as to illuminate all the crumbs and cat hair that accumulates. I have a dandy electric swweper that makes cleaning those rooms a breeze. Husband cleans the master bathroom. I take care of the others. We have a pretty good division of labor, and tgat helps.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’d be interested to know, Renee, what kind of electric sweeper you have. Also, if you’d care to share what the pros and cons are, and possibly what features to look for or avoid.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is a Riccar Steward, and I don’t have any cons for it. It is the only one I ever had. I just used the Swiffer sweeper and the regular vacuum before I got the Riccar. That was cumbersome, and meant I had a pile of debris sitting around in the corner longer than I should because I hated getting out the regular vacuum to suck it up. The Riccar is very maneuverable and is bagless.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I have a really good vacuum, a Filter Queen. I’m just looking for something that’s easy to pull out and do a quick job in between cleanings. Preferably something that doesn’t take up a lot of room and cordless.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Middle daughter bought herself a robotic vacuum when there was a big sale a few months ago (she lives with me). She gets that thing going at least a couple times a week on the main floor and maybe once a week on the second floor. I always thought that those things cost too much money but, man, I like that thing. I am physically unable to vacuum right now and daughter is too busy, so this was a smart purchase. A few times my visitors have looked around and said, “It looks so clean!” and I think that is mainly due to the robotic vacuum and the fact that the main floor is usually pretty picked up.

    This, of course, doesn’t help with things like the bathroom, dishes, and kitchen, but it’s a big help. And I no longer make myself do housework; i leave that to others. If it gets done, great; if not, oh well.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Two of the things that make me clean have been mentioned above: company coming, and sunlight highlighting the grossest messes. Also getting down on the carpet in morning yoga – I pick up small bits by hand, but this isn’t practical for a large surface area. 🙂
    Will think some more…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I do not keep a tidy house. I just don’t. It doesn’t get to “call in the local authorities” bad by any stretch, but there tends to be stuff out here there and everywhere. Husband (bless him) does most of the laundry and dishes – I think he gets some satisfaction out of the repetition of it (also, he figures I am doing most of the fetching and carrying of Daughter and related activites, housework is easy for him to pick up). When Daughter was small, my mom would arrange from time to time for her cleaning person to come to our house instead of hers (e.g., if she was going to be gone on vacation, we’d get her “Marv Day”) – it was fantastic. We have since swooped Marv up and we have him come on a regular schedule. Neither Husband or I want to spend the whole weekend on cleaning and chores, so it is well worth the expense to have someone else come and take care of a portion of it. This has also meant that I have gotten myself into the habit of sweeping through the house to take care of at least some of the clutter and “stuff” that has accumulated in the intervening days so that Marv has an easier time taking care of what we ask him to do – which has turned into a good discipline and is likely what, some months, has kept the house from descending into a reality-show level of chaos.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Husband folds and puts away all the laundry. I just keep the laundry train going and the dump the clean stuff on the love seat in the living room and he takes care of it. When my dad lived with us, he commented when there was a lot of laundry to be folded that “it looks like someone had a fight in here”. He liked things very neat and tidy.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Many of the children I work with have been removed from places where the authorities had to intervene due to filth. Those places are quite astounding for their disorder.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have helped someone move out of a house that descended into health hazard-level filth (in part due to untreated, severe, depression). One particular discovery lead to the revelation that the water had been shut off for months. Since that time, we have made sure that there are checks in place – formal and otherwise – to keep this person from falling to that level again. There have been some dips, but they are better at recognizing when help is needed – either profressionally or from someone like me coming to take out a few armloads of recycling.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. Living alone both simplifies and confounds the goal of keeping my apartment presentable. When there is something scuzzy in the sink, I can’t expect anyone else to clean it up, and of course I know just who put it there.

    So I simplify housekeeping to a bare minimum. For example, I have a serious V8 veggie drink habit. When I need some V8 do I pour it in a glass, dirtying the glass, or do I quaff it directly from the big plastic bottle? Your first guess will be correct. Now . . . extend that principle to all other aspects of housekeeping.

    That, of course, is not enough, so every other Thursday I pay Morgan to attack all the stuff my system can’t keep clean. Morgan is a sweet person who is as persistent as she is short (I’m much taller sitting than she is standing). Watching Morgan struggle to put my apartment in order is good for my soul and my underdeveloped commitment to hygiene. Ultimately, what helps me keep my place clean is my desire to convince Morgan I’m not a sleazeball.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m wondering whether the “deeply dissatisfying” nature of housework has more to do with the fact that practically nobody appreciates or values it, rather than it’s repetitive nature.

    Hans grew up in a household with a maid who did all of the tedious housework. His experiences, from childhood on, apparently convinced him that housework is woman’s work, although he’d never say that out loud. It has been a forty-year struggle to disabuse him of that notion. Intellectually he knows it’s not so, but viscerally it has yet to manifest.

    I solved the most contentious part of the problem by hiring someone to clean our house regularly. He used to think of that as an extraordinary extravagance; he’d “help” with the housework, he said. I just couldn’t get through to him, that his idea of what “helping” constituted wasn’t going to get the job done to my satisfaction. These days I think he realizes that every penny spent on our domestic fairy is well worth it.

    But I’m going to look into getting a Riccar Steward electric broom, doing yoga exercises on the floor is out of the question due to cat and dog hair.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nobody values it or it is repetitive? I’m pretty sure, PJ, that both are true. I fear that in many marriages housework is disrespected, with the irony that whoever does it is not rewarded but might even be disregarded for taking on such lowly work. Your plan is much better.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. I didn’t grow up with an expectation that I would do housework and my father didn’t engage in any either; the division of labor in a family was pretty sharply defined. I think it was my work study jobs in college as a janitor, where I was cleaning other people’s spaces and doing whatever that entailed ( some of the offices in older buildings actually had bathtubs that needed to be scoured) that instilled in me a respect for the process.

      I think very few people actually enjoy the cleaning itself. What they appreciate—what they crave—indeed, what they can’t be comfortable without is a level of order and cleanliness that only they can define. It’s rare for couples or roommates to share the same cleanliness comfort level but if you expect to coexist in harmony, you have to honor the comfort level of the most discerning partner. Each party may have particular things that are important to them and less important to their companion. Of course the worst situation is if the most fastidious partner is unwilling to contribute to achieving his or her ideal of cleanliness and order.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s why I sometimes feel that it’s better to not start cleaning. Once you start cleaning one thing or area, you see more things that need cleaning until you feel like you have to clean every square inch of the house.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I remember men of my parent’s generation who took masculine pride in their inability to perform domestic chores. They couldn’t cook, they didn’t know how the washing machine worked, they would never consider washing the dishes or cleaning the bathroom. I never considered that manly. Not being able to take care of your own basic maintenance is infantile.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. i worked with a dynamic couple in business 35 years ago who had meetings seminars distribution and group get togethers at so many locations they were never home for long
    they were organized but a little scitzo in household maintenance
    she coined the phrase “ dust keeps”
    it was life changing for me
    while mold and slime and dirty dishes don’t some things can be delegated to the bottom of the list
    i am lucky to have a ocd wife who lives to clean
    the best gift i ever gave her was the professional industrial 100 lb carpet shampooer that she uses way more regularly than you can believe, we have dyson vac with special pet hair capabilities and clorox in industrial vats for daily use.
    i am better today than i once was but please don’t come to my warehouse on an empty stomach or maybe it’s better if you come in an empty stomach. a new employee to be showed up. friday and he voiced concern about mold and allergy inducing problems
    i told him we could try and if there were issues we could create a hypoallergenic room for his needs and i would bring him a weeks worth of projects to deal with in order to keep him away from the state of less than sterile minimalist environment he must be accustomed to
    we’ll see
    i am fine with dust and have learned how to deal with fermentation on an as needed basis

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You don’t spend much time there, do you tim? If so, some health issues could be related… I mention it only after getting to know my friend A. who is extremely chemical (incl. molds, etc.) sensitive), and it’s amazing how many of her health issues are related to that.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Husband is provided housing on the reservation for the days he is there in 1/4 of a double wide mobile home. it is dusty and he has to put mouse traps out on regular intervals. I make a point of having our bed perfectly made and the kitchen spotless when he comes home on Thursday nights. It is the least I can do, and he really appreciates it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. i was really looking foreword to it until i realized that my sisters 60th birthday party was scheduled at the same time
      i saw him at the dakota with michael johnson a year or so ago and at our beloved rock bend a few years ago with eliza giljerson and lucy kaklansky.
      i remember he was on the morning show years ago and said part of his deal was to write a song a month
      i wonder if he still does?

      he is great

      Liked by 2 people

        1. He sang both of those last night, along with my favorite, “Love is Our Cross to Bear.” He did some new stuff, including “Mennonite Girl” from his True in Life CD. His between song banter was quite relaxed and funny; he has a wonderful rapport with his audience, most of whom have obviously followed his career for a long time. He played several songs on the piano.

          When I saw Gorka four years ago at some Red House Records event, he also performed a couple of songs with Michael Johnson who performed after him. I had never cared much for Johnson’s big hits, but discovered at a private New Year’s Eve party a few years earlier, what a fine musician he really was. At that party he performed, among other things, a parody of “Blue Bayou,” it was hilarious. It must have been at least a year-and-a-half since you saw them together at The Dakota Jazz Club, as Michael passed away in July of 2017. He had been quite ill for some time, although I’m aware he performed almost to the very end, even when he was on oxygen 24/7.

          Liked by 2 people

  10. The other time I clean is when re-arranging the furniture. In fact, sometimes part of the reason for the rearrange is to get that corner clean… I remember the Little House books described extensive Spring Cleaning and Fall Cleaning, where furniture would be moved, rugs taken outside to hang on the line and beat, etc. I don’t do that.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Hi–

    Dust is just a constant here. And we do dust and vacuum and clean. I always thought it was living in the country with the gravel roads and windows open. But still, there is dust.
    We have a robotic vacuum too; we call him ‘Marvin’. He’s not programmable, we have to tell him when to start, and he’ll run until we tell him to stop. which is good and bad. If he was programmable we could just tell him to to go every day or something. Course, we also have to close doors, pick up random rugs or cords, ect.

    Kelly and I take turns with dishes and laundry. We have a Dyson handheld vacuum we really like; it’s great for the fur collections along the walls. I just used bank ‘bonus points’ for a DeWalt cordless handheld vacuum and it’s great for taking out to the cars and collecting the rocks from the floor mats.

    I clean the mudroom (my bathroom) but I have a pretty high tolerance for dirt.

    But really, “Company coming” is our best motivator.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Daughter’s robotic vacuum is programmable. In fact, I think one of the 5-year-old twins somehow programmed it: every day at 4:40pm it starts up. And none of the adults here programmed it to do that.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Some years ago, I bought myself a handheld Black and Decker Dustbuster to be able to vacuum the back stairs which are carpeted. That thing was so noisy that I couldn’t stand to use it. Ended up giving it away on FreeCycle after having been used only twice.

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  12. my mom lives in a old folks co op and hosted my sisters bd party last night
    they just finished reconfiguring the party room which is a room about 40×80 that used to be full of couches and books with a small kitchen at on end with bad appliance terrible access and clostrophobic walls, they opened it up and made the stainless steel appliance, giant serving island 40% of the room. it was marvelous, my job was to keep the pizzas coming,reload the salad and munchies keep wine and beer stocked and clear away the finished dips, chips and dishes
    debbie was a cleaning machine sweeping and wiping and putting dishes into the dishwashers and emptying stuff into garbage recycle compost appropriate bins
    the evening ended and a couple people asked debbie if she was part of the building cleanup crew because all she did was clean from start to finish
    she woke up this morning and cleaned for a couple hours while i was out running errands and got our house a little further along
    she told some one there that she cleans and i cook
    i guess that is the way it’s done at our house
    she doesn’t get upset no matter how much onion or flour gets left laying around and how many pans and bowls i use she just stays ahead of me
    it drives me nuts when i’m trying to cook and she is sweeping right in my wheelhouse but how upset can you get with someone who is feverishly trying to clean up your mess

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Sorry, friends – just testing again. TB no longer appears on my inbox since it only recognizes my old, now defunct email address. Right now, I need some confidence that I can still comment through FB. So, here goes!

    Liked by 3 people

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