Cleanliness, housekeeping, excess.

05 Mar

My parents (I almost said my mother, like it was only her responsibility even though both parents worked outside the home…but that’s a post for some other day when I’m feeling more political) were never great at home maintenance in terms of house cleaning. Cleaning was something to be done in binges before company came over (or for whatever other reason), but we never really got in to a weekly or even monthly cleaning routine. I did have some friends with weekly chores. One friend even had a weekly cleaning time that she would participate in with her whole family, everyone doing their part to keep the house clean. I somewhat kept my room as tidy as i wanted it to be, but never actually cleaned as in dusting or vacuuming.

This makes it sound like our house was a pit of dirt, which it wasnt. Somehow cleaning happened but it was never really on a regular basis and I wouldnt be able to begin to tell you who did what and when. Part of that, though, is due to my inability to remember much of my childhood. (Again, a post for another time and another mindset.)

With that as my cleaning background (and other aspects of my personality factored in), it’s been somewhat difficult to break myself of the idea that if I start cleaning one small part of the house, I must continue until all dirt is irradicated from the premesis. I would clean before an event like hosting a party, then try to convince myself that I could just do little bits here and there to maintain cleanliness. Then I’d let myself get so overwhelmed by the prospect of it that I would do almost nothing until I scrubbed whole rooms at a time.

This might not be news to anyone but me, but the idea that I can sweep the kitchen floor without first clearing and scrubbing the counters and without then mopping said kitchen floor was somewhat of a revelation. I would do dishes and laundry, but anything more house cleaning-like seemed like it had to be part of a massive undertaking. It turned into a vicious circle of avoiding cleaning all the things until I had to clean all the things because our house was a mess which reinforced my belief that cleaning meant only cleaning all the things.

Having a kid was probably the solution to my “clean all the things” problem. She spills things or drops crumbs on the floor so we clean those up as needed. I rarely have time and energy at the same time to clean all the things, to scrub a room or multiple rooms from top to bottom. I starting to feel ok vacuuming only the parts of the living room carpet that are visible. I starting to feel ok just sweeping the kitchen. Making tiny moments of time here and there to do a tiny bit of cleaning is not so overwhelming (and is also a blog post for another time, as I’ve recently written out a monthly cleaning and meal plan that’s been going not horribly for the first week or so). It’s manageable. Actually doing it is another story, as is figuring out how to work in longer bouts of cleaning. Baby steps, yes?


Posted by on March 5, 2012 in food


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3 responses to “Cleanliness, housekeeping, excess.

  1. Courtney

    March 5, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    I have some friends who have found fly ladies ideas about cleaning helpful. We have a service come in every 2 Weeks for the deep cleaning because I just never manage to get to it, and the state of the house has a big impact on my mental health. I know I am incredibly fortunate that this is even an option for me. I am disorganized and completely overwhelmed by homemaking, as a general rule, but I think this us great

    • Courtney

      March 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm

      Phone cut me off. I have terrible executive function skills, so anything that involves planning and follow through is challenging. My current goals involve more cooking and getting us.outdoors more. Ready for.Spring!

    • foodbabymama

      March 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm

      I think a big part of it was figuring out what cleaning is important to me (what I want to have done daily or at least every other day or so) and what’s not as important (if it doesn’t get done for a few days/weeks, I’ll live). I was in this weird mindset that I had to have everything clean all the time, but there are definitely things I can live with being not as clean as other things. I *think* I’ve gotten a good system of daily/weekly/etc. cleaning tasks, but I don’t want to toot my own horn before I’ve tried it for a few weeks at least. Also, if I don’t write everything down, it’s lost, so part of the plan is writing everything down on a calendar so I can see “oh, today is tuesday, so I’m supposed to vacuum and cook chicken for dinner” or whatever. It definitely is cutting down on the mental energy I’d been giving to such tasks.


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