Monday, August 8, 2011

How clean is YOUR house?

I've often wondered over the years how other women keep house. I only have my mother's habits as a guide (at least, the only one I'm conscious of) and apparently my memories are very vague and colored with teenaged inattention to detail. I've concluded this because what I remember is mostly that our house was almost always perfectly spotless and that we (children) were required to do a ridiculous amount of slave labor on a DAILY basis to maintain this impossible and unnecessary standard of cleanliness.

Now that my children are getting older and participating more in the slave labor work of keeping house, I have realized that most likely this memory of mine is... let's say... biased, and mercifully draw the veil on my 14-year-old immaturity.

My routine (based loosely on the way my mom always did it) is:

Daily-- the house and decks are tidied at the end of the day before J gets home from work, the dining and kitchen floors are vacuumed and the dishes are washed before I go to bed.

Every-Other Day-- The kitchen and dining floors are mopped and the bathroom is "wiped down" (ei; counter-tops, toilet, mirrors)

Weekly-- Every Saturday, in preparation for the Sabbath, we do major yard work (mowing, weeding, raking, whatever is needed) and clean the whole house-- dusting, mopping (we have laminate floors, so everything gets mopped), bathrooms, garage. My goal is to spend all day Sunday sitting around in a clean house, enjoying the smell of lemon oil and not making anyone do anything.

Now, the real reason I'm asking is to reassure myself that this is an adequate schedule and that the fact that my house rarely (if ever) actually looks as if it receives this kind of regular care is due to the "time of life" in which we currently find ourselves. That is, can I blame the perpetually untidy and crumb-laden state of my house on the kids, and not on my own inadequacies as a housewife?

In addition, I'm wondering if this clean-the-whole-house thing that eats up our entire Saturday is really the most efficient way to do things. The thing is, I can't think of any other way to actually have a Clean House (all at once), since the kids... well... live here. If I didn't do it all in one day, it would never feel like a Clean House.

I'd like to hear y'all's routines and/or suggestions and (obviously) reassurances that you've seen my house (or know me well) and I am, indeed, a more than adequate housewife.

And please, don't anyone mention Fly Lady. I might scream.


Brooke Chao said...

I'm going to be painfully honest here. I get the dishes done, counters wiped and the table wiped and kitchen floor swept most days. Vacuuming is done when we have company coming, or notice it needs doing (and Alvin generally volunteers for that duty). Bathrooms are cleaned when we have company coming over (usually once a week), or when they get dirty enough that one of us goes - "Ugh, we need to clean the toilets." Laundry gets done often, but gets folded when someone runs out of underwear, or one of the kids claims to have no more [insert clothing item: shirts, shorts, etc.] I do not, nor have I ever, ironed clothes - we do perma press, and always have. I just hang stuff up when it comes out of the drier. Dusting gets done when it's bad enough to really notice on a sunny day (or we have a special company, or some big gathering coming over).

So, if it makes you feel any better, you're a much, MUCH better housekeeper than I am. ;-)

Brooke Chao said...

I kind of had a different upbringing. Like you, I did the lions share of the housework, but our house was NEVER clean. It was always such a mess that it would take at least a week's notice to get the house even close to anything resembling company clean. So I guess my standards are a *little* different (although oddly, and painfully, my mom was a perfectionist about how we girls did chores). My view is as long as I can keep things clean enough that we could get the house fairly company ready in 30 minutes to an hour, we're doing eons better than my upbringing. For me it's more about maintaining a minimum standard than trying to obtain perfection every day. Thankfully Alvin agrees. We're more about "clean enough" than having a spotless house. And like you said, there barely seems to be a point when it's just going to look the same at the end of the day. Besides, my kitchen floors are probably older than I am and don't look clean even when I scrub them on hands and knees (which is how I do clean them, when I clean them). LOL

Herb of Grace said...

Oh my, no! Never let it be said we did the lion's share :) As I mentioned, that was simply my 14-y-o version of the story... My mom definitely did the lion's share herself!

I envy you your lack of ironing requirements. J has to wear a freshly pressed shirt and slacks to work five days a week. That's a boatload of ironing, let me tell you! Laundry, also is and achille's heel of mine :( You'll notice I didn't mention it in the post. That was deliberate. Judah's often forced to go commando the day I realize we reeeeeally need to do laundry.

Becky said...

My mom had an entire efficiency cleaning routine that she had us girls put into effect so that we could learn to "keep house". I don't remember what all it entailed...

I will say this, mopping happened once a week on a good day. Vacuumming happened every other day (at best) and only because my mom hates dog fur everywhere. And now, as life is even crazier than when we were little, mopping happens when company comes. :) You are waaaay ahead of the game!

Susannah Forshey said...

I'm much more of an "as needed" or "as forced" house-keeper. I actually have to reign in my instinct to pick up everything as soon as it touches the ground. You shared a room with me for 20-odd years. If I can't see the corners in a room, it's time for an overhaul.

Laundry, I have an obsession with: I can't stand to let it cool down. I *have* to fold it when it's hot. Of course, this is partly due to the unusual place it take up in our house. Our "round" hallway. Out of the dryer, into the hallway....and everyone steps over it until it's done. I HAVE to do laundry. I rarely let it go overnight without being folded and put away.

I do have a weird thing about actual CLEANING. I don't vacuum more than about once a week. *guilt* Yeah...Ben usually notices it before I do. And then offers to do it. Toilet are the same way. When I start to notice the scum is when the faucet goes from shiny to grey-ish and blurry. Then I splash some water on it, and polish it with T.P. HA!! I'm much worse about clear space, though. I have to have surfaces cleared and things put twice a day. To be comfortable with toys lying around I had to recite a mantra, "Embrace the mess. Embrace the mess." It was hard. But I am learning to step over the Stuff until 4 PM, and then it's time to clean up for Daddy. :)

Anna Banana said...

I plead the fifth. I remember my mom's house being tidy all the time. Painfully so. She claims she wasn't as good with the "clean", just the tidy. Eventually she hired a housecleaner as her one luxury (she worked full-time). Our house, however, at any given moment is not clean, nor is it tidy. I don't have much of a system beyond doing things when absolutely necessary, or when they annoy me enough to do them. Except dishes. But wait, I pleaded the fifth. I wasn't supposed to tell you all that. You win, hands down.

Hosanna said...

I'm like Susi.... I usually only do cleaning when I have to.
However - I don't have kids living here; just occasionally visiting. So I have entire rooms that only get entered once or twice per month; if that.
With Kevin working out of the house, and it's just me dirtying things up, I generally wash dishes and sweep the kitchen floor once a day; vacuum our living room and foyer once a week (Maybe), scrub the bathroom once a week (maybe), and absolutely keep up with the laundry on a daily basis; which mostly consists of Kevin's dirty sweaty work clothes.
PET HAIR is a huge problem for me; since we have five cats and a dog living in the house.

Rachel said...

I mostly try to keep the house cleanish all week - every night do dishes and after kids are in bed do a quick clean up so we start the next day on the right foot. I also try to keep laundry caught up so it never gets to the 8-10 loads to fold and put away stage (I really hate it when that happens!).
The main difference I see is that I don't want to make Saturday my main cleaning day, so I do all that on Friday. Saturday is just a maintenance sort of cleaning day, that way all is done and cooking is all prepped for Sunday. I agree with wanting Sunday to be the rest day, so I don't cook or clean on Sunday. But I do try to do as much of prep for Sunday on Friday as possible. That way Nathan's day off isn't taken up by my running all over the house cleaning and him having to work the whole day as well. We have a day for family fun and I do what clean up is necessary for Sunday to be clean.

Herb of Grace said...

Rachel, that would be my ideal, but I don't seem to be able to KEEP the house clean through Saturday when I do the main cleaning on Friday. The first time the kids go to brush their teeth I pretty will have to re-clean the entire bathroom. Toothpaste EVERYWHERE. But I would prefer that-- for the same reasons you mentioned.

Herb of Grace said...

Susi, I remember. Ah yes, I remember. I don't know why we didn't just realize at the time our different strengths and agree to divide the work strategically. Immaturity, I suppose. The amount of time I spent nagging you to sweep UNDER the bed, for pete's sake, when it was your turn to vacuum... And I'm sure you still have "fond" memories of all my "piles" ;)

Herb of Grace said...

Since you confessed, Anne, I will make a confession, too. I have SUCH an obsession with shiny faucets, that I actually clean other people's bathroom faucets when I use their bathrooms. *blushes*

I know. I'm weird. What can I say?

Polly said...

At WEC we have signs commanding everyone to use their hand drying towel to dry and polish the sink every time. This might work after all your kids learn to read.


Herb of Grace said...

Polly, i love that idea! Brilliant!