Sunday, March 01, 2009

Cleanliness Is Next To Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

I've been wondering a lot about what is normal, in terms of tidiness, in the houses of other people with small children. I am kind of a neat freak, but I am not a person who relishes wasting literal HOURS of my day if there is no point to it whatsoever. And that is kind of how the picking up the house routine at the end of the day is beginning to feel. I still believe the actual CLEANING serves a purpose, that purpose being to help me feel in control of my environment even on the crazy days. So I will probably try to stick to the schedule I currently operate by in regards to actual household chores (that being, Mondays: dust, Tuesdays: vacuum, Wednesdays: clean bathroom, Thursdays: mop and dry dust main areas of house again, Fridays: dust mop the bedrooms and vacuum living room and den again.)

But its all the OTHER stuff that's killing me. The kitchen that needs swept up every day, sometimes every HOUR, the toys and general detritus that seem to just follow the kids around the house, the stacks of laundry waiting to be put away, the dog food that gets scattered around the utility room every time Fonzie eats. Tidying sometimes feels like a losing battle. I'm beginning to think I should just seriously leave the toys alone unless they're in my way for vacuuming. But on the other hand, does that make it difficult for the kids to play? And for me to function? I remember being little and, having let the playroom go from pleasantly messy to absolute chaos, feeling the urge to run away and play outside rather than even face it. So I don't want to create THAT kind of situation for myself, either.

What do you all do about tidiness? Is there a system in place, or rules about picking things up before bed? Bear in mind that my kids are young enough that only one of them is at all capable in terms of picking up after herself. And she'll do it, when asked, but more often than not I skip that part of the routine in favor of doing it myself- in a tenth of the time- once she's gone to bed. Is that a bad habit? Or do you do that too?


jen said...

I only sweep/vacuum once a day or every few days. Yes the floor is disgusting but there are bigger things around here.

I learned a long time ago that if I didn't push toys around with my feet or the front of the vacuum or mop, that I'd never vaccum or mop.

I also make it super easy to organize the toy room. Bins with stuff in them and ocd children who get upset when anything is out of place. They wont' do it themselves, but keep pushing her, because the day you can sit on the couch and direct her? is a good day :)

If the kitchen is clean I feel ok about things.

Mimi said...

I go around the main living areas of the house and pick up scattered toys every night after the boys go to bed. If I try to tidy up when they are awake, it is a sad, losing battle.

I vacuum when they are awake because they think it's fun to run around like maniacs and yell when I'm doing it. But mopping has to be done when they are asleep, because they just get into it and make a bigger mess.

But we've learned to live with a whole new level of un-cleanliness, because there just aren't enough hours in the day to keep everything really clean. Little kids can totally mess the house up way faster than it can be cleaned.

Tess said...

The only thing I really can't leave in terms of mess is dishes in the sink. Other than that, I'm pretty much square.

Uh, not that you were soliciting comments from people SUCH AS MYSELF, or anything. Oh, and I will put up with downright SQUALOR, as long as I can't see it (e.g. under the couch).

LoriD said...

We have a separate playroom that gets tidied up sporadically. It's out of the way and I don't have to look at it. For the other areas of the house, we try to do the one thing out at a time rule so that there's no big clean-up at the end of the day. Things still get untidy throughout the week, so we do tidy-up Fridays where we set the timer for 30 minutes, put on some loud music and everyone works to get the place back in order. It's a bit of a game.

Jess said...

Um, we are already messy and we don't even have kids or a dog yet. We hardly vacuum though I am vigilant about keeping the kitchen clean. Once we have a dog we'll have to vacuum more often, I suppose.

d e v a n said...

If I can only have one clean room, it's the kitchen. The sink and countertops/table have to be clear and then I can breathe. I hate when the floor is dirty too, so I sweep often but mop 1-2x a week.
The rest of the house is alright. I love the play room because I can put all the toys in there and shut the door! Magically makes the whole house clean! hehe

clueless but hopeful mama said...

The taking one thing out at a time is helpful to keep things from getting out of control. And if I'm going to be picking things up for Zoe I've started telling her that I'd prefer she had a bath and I'll help her out by cleaning up the toys later. That way she doesn't think magic fairies just appear to do it for her.

But mostly what helps? This flickr group.

Joanne said...

I have to sweep the kitchen floor once or twice a day because my one year old is all over the place and it's disheartening for me to see her eat a piece of day old cheese from the floor. I also got a shark for the downstairs (which only consists of the livingroom and kitchen) because I find it easier to use than a broom and dustpan - that is, the one year old can't get into it as easily. My son is autistic and HATES the real vacuum - like he hates the sight of it - so I have to use it when he is at school and also when my daughter isn't napping so ... it can be a tight schedule!

I don't have a schedule like you do for the dusting, bathrooms, etc., but I sort of wish I did. I like semblance and order and - well, have none of it anymore. :)

Kelsey said...

You are better than I am and I'm afraid you'll never be able to come over to our house because it must be filthy compared to yours! I clean whatever gets so dirty I can't stand it anymore- that's my system.

Incidentally, my mom drove herself and us crazy trying to keep the house spotless when we were growing up and I seriously think there was a psychological toll for all of us. It's probably okay to let some things go.

Astarte said...

It depends what day of the week it is. During the week, I generally tidy up the kitchen and clean things up while the kids are at school, in between doing errands and volunteer stuff. In the spring I vacuum a lot more frequently, and in fact when we had a house with carpet it was every day, because of the dog fur, but normally it's once a week or so. Sometimes it's more if I decide to split the house into sections, since we have four full stories that need to be done and frankly, that's a LOT of vacuuming.

When the kids were tiny, I did a lot of the cleaning up if it was nighttime, but if it was during the day I made them help some.