The Care and Feeding of Humans
July 8, 2010, 11:47 am
Filed under: daily

Hi, my name is Katrina, and I don’t blog much.

Also, I’m a slob. A recovering slob, that is.

Per the request of a certain twitter friend, I was not only inspired to return to my blog a little more frequently, but also discuss how to manage slobby tendencies.

Do you follow your family members around picking up after them? Do you come home on Friday nights and wonder what happened to the delightfully neat and clean house you had on Sunday? Are you just as much at fault as the rest of your family? Most importantly, DOES IT BUG YOU?!

Then I have some tips for you. These were strategies my mother used to deal with my father and I, habitual shedders of trash, junk, books, dishes, and other miscellanea.

1. Throw it out. No, seriously. If it’s someone else’s, and they’re leaving it where it doesn’t belong, throw it out. If it it’s important enough to be saved, it’s important enough to be put somewhere that it won’t be lost, torn up by the dog, or stolen by elves. My mom would throw away permission slips, knowing full well that they were important. It learned me real quick to hide important stuff from her. But remember: there have to be safe zones. I was allowed to keep my room a pigsty as long as I kept the door closed, and didn’t spread it throughout the house. Everything else is fair game!

2. Regular purges. How much stuff do you really need? Really? Do you need to save the photocopy of the reading you did at your grandmother’s funeral, or can you just mark that page in your Bible that you already have? It’s the same thing! Do you need to save every little scrap of paper, every ticket stub, every receipt starting at the first date with the person to whom you will marry? I don’t think so. Go through your storage areas, your clothes, your drawers at least once a year and pitch stuff that serves no useful purpose anymore. The less you have, the less you have to pick up and the more places you have to store things you do use. If you have children with too many toys, entice them to purge their toy boxes by letting them keep the proceeds at a yard sale. Money talks, baby.

3. Form an over-developed fear of spending money. If you don’t buy things, you don’t have to pick those things up.

4. Go through the mail every day and sort as needed. This is my biggest issue: I let junk mail pile up and then BAM. Where did my dining room table go? Also, junk mail piles are actually living organisms, and have been known to consume pieces of mail that are very important. Best to sequester the important mail immediately.

5. Do the laundry as often as possible! My biggest issue with keeping things orderly is laundry. I don’t mind DOING it, I just forget to do it. And then I really dislike putting it away. It sits in the laundry baskets, and then because there’s clean laundry in there, where does the dirty laundry go?! On the floor, of course! And suddenly we can’t find the bedroom floor. I’ve been working on doing at least 2 loads of laundry a week, and then I make Kevin put it away. It seems to help.

7. Leave cleaning supplies out in view. I guess this wouldn’t work if you have wee ones who are tempted to drink them, but I started keeping the bathroom cleaner, sponge, glass cleaner, and paper towels next to the sink in the bathroom. Not only do they take up enough space to prevent other things from accumulating (tiny, tiny, TINY bathroom) but magically they seem to get used fairly regularly. Not by me, either. I can only assume by the elves. The same ones that steal important mail, perhaps? They are confusing buggers.

8. Pay attention, this is the important one: ten minutes every day should be spent tidying. Loading the dishwasher, wiping down counters, going through the mail, picking up sundry items and putting them away. Then it’s easier to want to vacuum regularly because you don’t have to spend an hour picking up the house JUST to vacuum. I still work on this one. And sometimes those 10 minutes are spent tidying my garden, which needs the same level of care.

The other big idea that my mom instilled in me is that if you are a neat freak, and the other person is not, the neat freak is responsible for keeping the house at the level that pleases them. It’s not fair to get angry, or to force them to do things to your level when doing them at all is good enough. There have to be ground rules (things outside of safe zones will get thrown away, dishes must be put in the dishwasher, etc), but no one else is responsible for meeting my standards other than me. I simply refuse to spend my free time following around someone else and cleaning up after them. If they manage their own clutter, I can set about washing baseboards and dusting.

And since I have a hard time meeting my own standards most of the time, it’s only fair to take responsibility for those standards.


6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I love you. So much.

Comment by Burgh Baby


Comment by potpie

Best blog post I’ve read all day. I need to bookmark this…

Comment by mamaphan

I love the part about being a “neat freak”. I’ve got to lay off the hubby. Thanks for the advice!

Comment by L. Eleana

I love it! I often let laundry sit in baskets and have thrown away kids toys they wouldn’t clean up. But I like the idea of safe zoned and other places it gets thrown away. Thanks for the ideas! And thanks to burghbaby for twittering the link!

Comment by Roxy

[…] pester people into updating their blogs. See, she bugged BurghPotPie into updating. And oh, what an update it was! Seriously, go read it. There are some amazing suggestions, many of which will be […]

Pingback by When Cleaning Just Isn’t Your Thing « Phanatically Speaking

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