Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bad Housekeeping

I'm a terrible housekeeper. I figured that little admission might come in handy, considering I'm about to complain about my messy house... no, not messy, downright dirty. And you know, like everyone else I hate living in a dirty house. I just can't understand how it keeps getting like this. If it's clean, I can usually keep it that way for a while, but when it gets out of hand, it gets really out of hand and usually that has something to do with my slacking for a few days. That's all it takes, a few days, and my house is a disaster again. Then, it's the snowball effect and before I know it, we're knee deep in messy. It would probably help if I had help, someone, oh, I don't know, like a husband to take up half the slack. How novel.

Now you're probably thinking that I'm either being dramatic and that it's not really that bad, or that it's the opposite and we're some kind of hoarders who need an intervention. It's really neither, but rather somewhere in between. For example, since yesterday I've run three loads of dishes and i'm not even half done. I've probably got another 5+ loads to wash. Oh, and lets not even get started on the laundry, which I would love to say stays in the bedroom, but in fact seems to gather on the sofa in the living room. Matt takes his clothes off and throws them wherever he happens to be, and that means the sofa. No matter how often I ask him to quit it, he just keep using the living room as a hamper.

While a good part of the problem is that no matter how cleaned up my house is, it never feels clean because of the clutter, the problem is also that I can't keep things clean by myself. I simply can't. Matt makes more messes than anyone I've ever met, hands down. Messes just seem to grow from him, like he's just producing the mess that surrounds his desk from the ether. Today, I picked up a dozen or so cigarette boxes, several handfuls of food wrappers, half a dozen empty water bottles, handfuls of the little papers that they put in the top of the cigarette boxes, tissues, and believe it or not, cigarette butts from times he's spilled his ashtray and not bothered to clean it up. Oh, all that and his desk is still a huge mess! Then, he uses my computer and leaves his trash all over my desk. I got up yesterday and there were ashes on my desk (as there are right now), food wrappers, and his coffee press. All strewn out on my desk. Ugh!

And it's not just his desk (and mine) that are the problem. He lets the trash overflow in the laundry room, with coffee filters, before he takes it out. Do you know how hard it is to sweep up coffee? It's almost impossible to get it all up, in fact. It lingers, in the cracks and under the dryer, and gets all over everything. Right now, there're coffee grounds all over the laundry room floor because he took the trash out and didn't bother to sweep them up. So, yours truly is going to have to do the dirty work because he refuses to see the messes, or he doesn't care, or a combination of both things--though I think it much more likely that he's just ignoring it because he doesn't care if his environment is a disaster.

I suppose I should have known, when we first got together, and his friends came over and were downright shocked that his place was clean. Well, of course it was clean! There was a time when I was a really good housekeeper, before time and messes and apathy beat it out of me. I use to care that my house was a mess, and though I still do, I'm so distracted by the thought that it's just going to look like a mess again in less than a few days, that cleaning it up seems like wasted effort I could be expending doing something else... like grading, or working on my thesis, or preparing for class, or reading a book (hah, yeah, who has time for that?!).

And really, the fact that no matter how clean it is, it never looks or feels clean is a real downer. Living in a mobile home, for quite a long time now, things are just starting to be dingy. The walls are a little tiny bit yellow from the smoke, the carpets are downright disgusting from wear and tear and time and animals, things are breaking and are in need of repair, the blinds are cracking from time and sunshine. It's just disheartening. I can't get it really clean and I hate it. But even if I did, it wouldn't feel clean because of the clutter. We have so much clutter and every time I tell myself we'll get rid of something, I can either not bear to part with it, or Matt refuses to let me get rid of it (he's a HUGE pack-rat, worse than me by a mile).

So I keep telling myself that it's okay that I don't have the time, energy, nor the drive to keep things sparkling clean right now. I work a full-time job (teaching & grading are very time consuming) and am trying to write my thesis. I don't have time to do anything I enjoy right now, let alone to do the things I have to do, like keep my house clean. Matt won't help, and though he always says he will, time has taught me that those are empty promises. I'm getting use to it. But I told him that when we move, things I will be different. That when we move, and have a different house, that things will stay clean and he promises me that he'll help keep them that way.

I'll believe it when I see it, but right now I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I impressed upon him, and myself, that if my friends and family saw my house looking the way it does now, I would literally die of shame and embarrassment. I would never be able to show my face in public again, I would be so humiliated. It's important to me that people I care about be able to come visit me. I don't want to end up a shut in who can't let people come into her house because she's ashamed. I simply cant, and moving to a new state and living in a new place is a good way for us to start over, together, and form better habits. I just keep hoping that the change will fix some of the things that're broken and that we'll be able to work together to keep things clean. We'll see.


  1. Once you're in a house that you have pride in, you'll feel more motivated to keep it clean. Plus you're out there in TX with zero chance of anyone you care about stopping by, so it's hard to find the drive to overhaul the interior of your home. It will be much different once you're in a cuter, newer-looking place in CA with your family nearby. All of my inlaws live five minutes away, and while I might let some of the deep-cleaning stuff slide, I usually have the house picked up and clutter-free, simply because I never know who's going to "pop in" at any given time. Except for the kids' rooms...those are a perpetual disaster. ;-) Your move to Cali will be the perfect time for you and Matt to develop better habits...until then, just try to grin and bear it for a little longer.

  2. You're right of course. There's really no chance anyone's going to pop in on us, which means I can let things go and get away with it. But, it bothers me. I really, really hate living in a mess and I think part of me was spoiled because my daddy is one of the neatest, cleanest, most helpful men around the house. He's something of a neat freak, which helps, and he's always willing to pitch in. Growing up, one learns that men are simply not like that anymore... at least not the ones I've tried to train. Mike was messy and never tried to help me, and Matt's quite like that. Except Matt's the messiest man I have EVER MET!!

    And, while my family can't come over, my friends never do either. My best girlfriend in town doesn't come by because she's allergic to my cat. My other friends don't get invited because, well, I don't want them to see this place and what a disaster it is. My girlfriends from out of town are too busy to come visit (though they're long overdue!). My in-laws live out of town and don't come by, either. So, no visitors. Which I'm both okay with and makes me a little bit sad.

  3. I completely understand how awful it feels to have a messy home. For some reason, us girls are programmed to NEED a clean, inviting environment. For me, coming home to a messy house instantly brings my mood down. And the opposite is also true. If I've had a rough day and I come home to a clean house, it instantly picks me up. The problem is our men don't come equipped with this same burden, so they often don't think about helping out. It's just not a priority in their world, in the same way that having a nice stereo system is not a priority in mine. The worst is when I've just slaved over the kitchen or what-not, and Clint comes home and instantly start wreaking havoc over areas I've just cleaned. It's like, really, you don't see the Windex bottle sitting there on that there clean, shiny surface I just toiled over? Grrrrrrrr.

    Sorry, none of that was comforting. Just wanted to say that I totally get it! As far as you having no visitors, hang in there--that will change once you get to Cali. Soon you'll be wistfully remembering the days where you could relax and never worry about people dropping in. Lol

  4. Well, I would have to BE a housewife, before I could be a BAD housewife. I have a husband, I expect him to help me.

  5. Let me see, being a plain housewife is more challenging than working in an office, specially if you have kids and you have no maid to help you throughout the day, You have to clean the house, cook, takes care of the children do the laundry and etc. etc.etc. so before they complain of a bad housekeeping of a housewife please check what are the workloads inside their home.. Though I'm not talking based on my own experience LOL!!

  6. Well if we don't want to have a bad housekeeping or a messy house, it's time to hire a maid.