Thursday, September 06, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Different...

A departure from the normal format...

Although, around here, who's to say what's "normal" anymore??? :)

Molly of MommyCoddle has a very interesting post today in which she essentially poses the question "How Do You Shop For Groceries?"
I really enjoyed it - both thinking about my own answer to that question, and going back and reading the answers from others.

But it got me thinking further: I think I've got the grocery shopping thing down. At least, I've got a system that works for me, although I suspect that it would have a more sane woman shrieking at just the thought of having to follow my involved process.
If you're at all interested in the way an undiagnosed OCD goes grocery shopping, you can read all about it in the comments section at MommyCoddle.
(And let me just say, preemptively, that all I'm saying is that this is what works for my crazy-ass self. The key is to find what works for *you*. Which will be, obviously, far less insane...)

However, you know what I don't have down? Not even the least little bit???

The. House. Cleaning. Thing.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I come from a long line of women who have always had someone "to do for them." My mother never taught me to clean, but how would she have known? Her mother never taught her, and so on.
Sadly, the mantle of privilege didn't get handed down to me. And so (alas!) I must largely do for myself.

Which is fine.

Except I suck at it.
I can "clean" a room, and 45 minutes later - it doesn't really show. I particularly struggle with dust...
Oh. My. Word. The dust in this house.

So - how do you do it? Do you set one day aside and pound it all out? Do you divvy it up, and if so how? Is Monday "laundry day", Tuesday "tidy and dust", Wednesday "vacuum and mop"? Or is it more: Monday "Living room", Tuesday "Dining Room", etc.

Before I became a "Trophy Wife", the house was a pit. Plain and simple. I wasn't here, so I didn't much care. But in the year that I've spent at home full time, I've gotten pretty good at tidying. (The never-ending-decluttering project is helping with that.) But if you look closely, the tidy surface is dusty. Or sticky. Or - bonus! - both.

I tried the big old honking Martha Stewart tome. I got it from the library and marveled for the full 28 days I was allowed to keep it at its mighty 752 pages. But it had absolutely no impact on my meager cleaning skills....
(perhaps I should have done less marveling, and more reading????)

So - genuinely interested here - how do you do it?


Hockey Mom said...

try If you can get past some of the religious overtones, she has a lot of helpful, simple steps.

Hockey Mom said...


normanack said...

Oh man, I've tried so many methods -- I love the flylady's basic tenets but I'm just too darn lazy.

I tend to wait for an (admittedly rare) cleaning frenzy that seems to descend out of the blue.

But don't take advice from me -- I'm a housecleaning failure.

autum said...

Have company over. That's a sure way to get my cleaning machine in high gear. Otherwise, I have no method. I thought by now I would but I'm beginning to think if at 39 I don't, it isn't going to happen. I did try the flylady thing once and it's a great plan if you can stick to it. I couldn't deal with the 75 email reminders you get every day though.
Dust!! I live in the land of dust. Really, the dust bunnies that accumulate in the corners around here, are bigger than the dogs. Where does it all come from and how is it possible to even breath the air that contains so much dust?

Chara Michele said...

I actually tried the flylady plan for awhile (although I did not subscribe to the emails, because lets face it my email inbox is full enough already). I wasn't so great at sticking with it, although I plan on trying again someday! :)
To be completely honest, I am not that great at getting stuff really clean. Picking up and giving a surface clean, sure I can do that. If I try really cleaning though, my husband usually steps in and fixes the mess I made:)

beki said...

I certainly don't have any method. I clean when I can't stand the filth any longer, which is pretty constant with the three little tornadoes at my house. PLEASE don't look at my toilets, tubs, or in any corner because you'd be disgusted. I wish I had a method and a plan.

TinkerBlue said...

Just read all tbe comments at Molly Coddle. We get milk and bread from costco once a week, and fruit and veggies from the grocery store probably twice a week. We are working on eating what we have, we used to throw out a lot. Then we'll start menu planning.

Cleaning - usually once a fortnight. Prompted by the shower being gross, then I clean every room. Takes a full day, and by he end of it I hate housekeeping and swear to do it more often. Never happens.

Laundry - when we run out of clean clothes.

rohanknitter said...'s my dirty little secret. I have help. (shhhhh... don't tell) The fabulous Judith comes every other week for four hours and gets the place clean - your basic dusting, mopping, vac, clean the bathrooms. I keep things pretty tidy, but if we've let it slide, having Judith come forces us to pick up - like I tell the boys, she comes to clean, not to pick up their toys or put away my laundry. In spite of Judith, with a farmer, 3 boys and 2 dogs, as you can imagine I do plenty of cleaning myself. The main floor of the house gets vac'd every 2-3 days. It just needs it that often. (kitchen, mud/laundry room, den, eating area, great room, bathroom.) At least one of those days I will also mop the hard floors. The main bathroom gets a ton of use so it also gets cleaned every couple days - but it takes me maybe 5 minutes to wipe down the toilet, sink and mirror. I also dust once a week. The upstairs bathrooms get cleaned every week (one week by Judith, the next by me) and often I don't need to vac. upstairs on Judith's off week. Here's what really works for me: I keep a list of jobs that only need to be done a few times a year, and while Judith is here cleaning , I tackle one of those - cleaning the curtains, cleaning the fridge, etc. It helps me get some deep cleaning done that otherwise I might not get around to. The beds always get made, and I don't leave dishes in the sink overnight. (too depressing in the morning) The kids have been trained to pick up after themselves, toys not being played with get put away. (well, unless it's a carefully contructed lego city know) Here's a book suggestion for you:
"Is there life after housework" by Don Aslett. Not so many pages as Martha and very practical.
I don't know if all that rambling was the least bit helpful but there it is! : )

laeroport said...

My house is a pit. It's the working all day thing. And I mostly don't care either, until I can't find something I need. I am really good at crisis cleaning. You know, "we're having a party tomorrow, so I'd better get this stuff picked up and pretend we own a vaccuum."
I don't know how people with small children can keep a house really clean. And in my own defense, I learned my housekeeping skills from my mother too. Our house was always a pit growing up.
Good luck!

Debbie said...

read your grocery shopping post and it sounds good to me. Yes, it is a lot of work to start but can't be that bad now that you've got your system in place.

Flylady as everyone says. I pick one side of the room and move clockwise. Also try to pick up an item to move to it's correct place whenever I leave a room.

Rebecca said...

oh no. i can't offer any input into how to be a better cleaner. uck. maybe: get rid of everything so there's less mess to clean up? at least, that's what i'm thinking about these days.

oh, and the best excuse for never going near dust or mold or cleaning solvents of any kind is: I have allergies. i really do. so ian usually cleans the tub. he loves running the vacuum. about the only thing i do is laundry and emptying the dishwasher. sometimes i help with the trash, too.

luckily he grew up in a clutter, imperfect house with a working mother (and father) and so he doesn't mind so much our hovel of disarray.

but, i think that a special day for a task would be a great way to divvy it up. like do wash on mondays and bake bread on tuesdays.

will be glad to see how you decide to manage!

oh, and we don't have much company over, ever, so that helps with the low expectations. but then once or twice a year we bust our butts off trying to get things company-ready.

Alice said...

I can't help you here, though I wish I had some good advice. I tend to put off cleaning until I get the "urge" (which isn't often), or until we have company.

I wish I could be one of those people with a clean house all the time, but I've given into the fact that with a toddler and a husband that is never going to happen...

capello said...

first of all -- get your freaking ducts clean (if you have them). you're probably laughing right now but those things breed dust.

i have this thing i buy every year, it's like seven bucks. you print it out by weeks, it tells you what chores to do each day. it really rocks. if only i'd follow it.