Week 1 in my new weekly series Slow + Steady Cleans the House

It's no secret that I am not a fan of housekeeping. "Not a fan" is an understatement :: I loathe and detest it and often take naps instead of picking up a sponge or a mop or a broom. Who wants to spend their time scrubbing toilets and wiping down baseboards when they could be doing anything else?

[How true it is.]

Of course, I'm not alone. My friend L recently asked on her Facebook page if money were no object would you hire a housekeeper or a nanny, and all the responses were a resounding yes for the housekeeper. I think most parents -- whether at home or at work -- would rather spend time with their kid(s) than have to say, "Hold on, sweetie, Mommy has to wash the windows instead of take you to the park."

Heck, even if money were an object (and, believe me, it is), I'd hire a housekeeper to come every once in awhile. The only thing stopping me is my husband. In fact, my mother-in-law has offered on numerous occasions to send her housekeeper to clean my bathroom and kitchen (because they are, in fact, that dirty!) but Rupert has pooh-poohed the idea repeatedly. (It's not that he thinks housework is a woman's job; I guess it's the principle of not having to pay someone to do something we can do ourselves. Along the same lines, he didn't like when our parents sent a gardener over to spiff up our yard. Again, I would rather hire someone to do that occasionally instead of listening to Rupert mumble about the amount of yard work there is when he could be spending time with the kids or studying.)

It's not that I'm bad at housekeeping. On the rare occasions I get around to cleaning, I do a fairly thorough and good job. It's the upkeep that I cannot, well, keep up with. And since I started working almost a year ago, the house has gotten worse. As a result, our house is in perpetual disarray. We're getting pretty close to the point where we would be a good candidate for one of those organizing shows on HGTV.

[My view on housekeeping isn't this extreme ... but it's pretty close.]

I do not jest, nor do I exaggerate, when I say the house is not just dirty, it's a health hazard (I can picture my mother and mother-in-law nodding in agreement). Every surface is covered in dust and/or cobwebs. There are stacks of crap throughout the house. And let's not even talk about the bathroom; it's like a science experiment gone awry. Suffice it to say, it would be easier to completely remodel the bathroom than try to clean it completely (at least, that's what I keep telling Rupert in the hopes of moving along our my remodeling plans). Looking around the house it is just overwhelming; I don't know where to start or what to tackle first.

Enough is enough! I've been a homeowner for over seven years ... let's show some pride of ownership here, people! So I'm starting a new project :: Slow + Steady Cleans the House. I want to take a more organized and routinized approach to cleaning the house and keeping it that way. And I'd like for you to come along for the ride. That means I need your advice and feedback. Part of my housecleaning improvement process will be to learn and to understand how other people tackle their housekeeping. I think your answers will be really enlightening and helpful to other readers as well. So, how can you contribute? For one, you can comment on each week's blog post; but the easier way will be to participate in the weekly poll.

Polls will be posted each Sunday. Results will be announced and discussed in the following Sunday's post. This week's poll is a general view on how often you clean. Not surprisingly, I'm of the "Housecleaning? What is that?" camp. Occasionally I dabble in the "Clean before company comes over" category but usually I just don't invite people into my house. I'd like to change that. Sure, I claim that I don't care what other people think but it's hard not to compare the state of your house with those of your friends' (who also work but somehow manage to keep their homes habitable).

What is your housecleaning methodology?
Clean a bit everyday.
Clean once a week.
Clean before company comes over.
Have a housecleaning service.
Clean monthly.
Massive cleaning seasonally.
Housecleaning? What is that?

Last piece of business :: in order to embark on this weekly cleaning journey (which will, by association, include organizing) I set some ground rules for myself ::
  1. As the name of the project implies, this will be a gradual process. I will not expect miracle results overnight.
  2. No matter the temptation, I will not compare myself to others. I may steal their cleaning/organizing ideas but I will not compare the progress or result of that idea-stealing.
  3. I'm doing this for the kids as much as I'm doing it for myself. I want to set a good example and teach them organizing skills so when I say, "Clean your room" they know how to do it properly and they don't ask me, "Well, why don't you clean your room?"
  4. I will not give up. Even if I encounter some set-backs (i.e., letting dishes or laundry pile up) I'll ease myself back into the cleaning routine.
  5. I am not looking to be perfect, just adequately organized and clean so that housework no longer causes me stress.
All righty, are you ready? Let's get started!


New Teach said...

Clearly you hate cleaning, as do I, and even with an occasional housekeeper there is still plenty to go around with young kids. Just hire the housekeeper, if you can at all afford it. Cut out other things if you need to -- eating out, new clothes for the kids, health insurance premiums -- just do it. If Rupert protests, then sweetly explain: a) it's cheaper than therapy, remodeling, and/or divorce, and b) all right then, he can do it himself. t

Allison said...

We run around madly cleaning right before our house-cleaner arrives. I'm serious. (We originally opposed the idea of hiring someone to clean up after us, but it has done wonders for our marriage and is cheaper than therapy...but not by much.)