How are you as a homemaker? If you're good (or if you've learned), any advice for those who are not?

Luna Novem

Kingfisher
Woman
I struggle greatly with homemaking. First and foremost, it does NOT come naturally to me. I have a bit of an "absent-minded professor" personality. I'm FANTASTIC at nerdy academic stuff (which is a blessing I'm grateful for as a homeschooler), but I'm terrible at keeping my environment neat and tidy.

It becomes very all-or-nothing. In cases where my environment IS neat (just moved; just had car detailed; just cleaned for company, etc.) I can keep up on it IF I do it perfectly. But that first time where something happens (I get sick; we don't clean the car out right away after a trip, etc.), oh man, it all goes to pieces. It's like I can only clean that day's worth of mess; not more than a day. It's easy to say, "Well, just don't let more than one day accumulate", but that isn't real life.

It also doesn't help that I live with other people. It's bad enough keeping on top of my own mess, but when there are other people who don't automatically take care of their stuff... well, it just gets to be a lot.

Any thoughts or advice? Does anyone else share these struggles?
 

Starlight

Kingfisher
Woman
It’s definitely hard to feel motivated to tidy up all the time, especially after other adults, or (like you said) if you’re sick for a week and the house pretty much looks like a whirlwind went through it. Sometimes my day feels like two steps forward, one step back. Once, I washed and folded laundry for literally eight hours... ugh.

My advice would be to make a list of your household chores you need to finish from easiest/fastest to complete to longer tasks and then just go slow and steady down your list. Once you start crossing chores off and seeing progress, you’ll start gaining more momentum to complete the longer tasks. A good playlist can really help too.
 
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Luna Novem

Kingfisher
Woman
It’s definitely hard to feel motivated to tidy up all the time, especially after other adults, or (like you said) if you’re sick for a week and the house pretty much looks like a whirlwind went through it. Sometimes my day feels like two steps forward, one step back. Once, I washed and folded laundry for literally eight hours... ugh.

My advice would be to make a list of your household chores you need to finish from easiest/fastest to complete to longer to tasks and then just go slow and steady down your list. Once you start crossing chores off and seeing progress, you’ll start gaining more momentum to complete the longer tasks. A good playlist can really help too.
That's not a bad idea!
 

Kitty Tantrum

Woodpecker
Woman
Homemaking does come naturally to me, and always has. But having been sick for a few years, it's been a legitimate struggle. Not just physically, but I just haven't had the mental capacity for it either. I'm only barely getting back on top of things recently. The garage is a little messy, and the kids room is messy, but the rest of the house is pretty nice. NOTHING would pass the glove-test, but it's tidy, organized, and has a decent amount of blissfully empty space.

It didn't help that I got sick right as we were moving into a new house, with housemates (my brother and his girlfriend, and an older couple who have since moved out). For me it's all about having good systems, so a brand new environment to work with, and FOUR extra adults making messes, and NO established systems, on TOP of being sick... sometimes I didn't even try.

My biggest piece of advice for keeping a pleasing and tidy home is to learn to love GETTING RID OF things more than you love ACQUIRING things. Spaces are very often a chore to keep tidy because they have too many things in them. I've developed a finely-honed sense for sniffing out which possessions are creating roadblocks to serenity (pro tip: they're usually the ones that stay in one place for a long time and you find yourself working and living AROUND them), and I've learned that these items should be passed along immediately to someone who will make good use of them. Material attachment is bad. People can't even believe some of the things I've given away, 'cause we're poor. But, I mean, we pay a premium (in money, in time, in anxiety, etc.) to store and manage and maintain every single thing we own. If ANY of those things are making our lives more difficult instead of easier to manage, they're worth more to us GONE than in our possession.

(It's also worth noting that giving these things directly to people in your community can foster a surprising amount of goodwill.)

My next piece of advice is to get lots of shelves, and more storage bins than you think you will ever need. I'm partial to fabric bins and square laundry baskets for anything "nice." And milk crates for pretty much everything else.
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There will always be a steady stream of stuff circulating around the house, because people live there. Get a bin to shove it in.

It's all great, if it's in a crate.

Next is, as @Starlight mentioned: MAKE LISTS. They eventually become less and less necessary, as your systems become better established, but are so helpful if you find yourself floundering and unable to "just start." There was a time in my life when I didn't really need lists to keep on top of everything, but building from the ground up again, I find I am all but hopeless without them. I have a clipboard that I keep stocked with my favorite paper to entice myself to actually use it. I find that when I actually do - I get a lot more done.

Good thread! My husband has been very patient with my homemaking deficits thus far, but I definitely need to step up my game. It's a point of pride for me.

Washing dishes and cleaning the counters and sweeping the hard floors is literally my favorite thing, so I don't really know what to say to anybody who isn't jazzed about cleaning their kitchen every night. I guess I could say that I think dishwashers suck, and I would trade mine for a commercial-grade three-compartment sink with a high-pressure spray arm in a heartbeat if we didn't rent. :hmm:
 

muhtea

Robin
Woman
I don't know if this will help, but rather than getting storage bins, get rid of stuff. All bins do is allow stuff to hang around and it's just hidden clutter and I'd bet you already have at least some of those. I mean yeah, you need to store certain things (seasonal decor or whatever), but the more you can get rid of, the easier it will be to keep on top of it. No need to go full minimalist unless you want to, but most people have too much stuff. I feel like I'm always going through stuff and it makes me want to just have a bonfire with it all lol.

I consider myself a reformed slob, my family kind of made fun of adages like "a place for everything and everything in its place", but if things don't have a place, that's where mess begins. Also other people need to do their part and not expect you to spend all your time cleaning up after them like they're a bunch of toddlers - even toddlers can learn to put things away when they're done with them.

As an example, recently I've made a rule for people to clean up their dishes everytime they use them so there isn't a constant pile of dishes in the kitchen (I don't use the dishwasher because I find them silly and they just ruin everything in time, and it seems like a lot of energy just for a few dishes, not to mention the shortest cycle is a whole freaking hour - for what takes a human 10 minutes max - it literally takes less time to hand wash than it takes to load the silly thing - gay) and my 17 year-old has been given the task of keeping the kitchen tidy during the day because I'm sick of doing it so much lol. Y'all can wipe up the dang crumbs when you've had toast, sheesh.

Also you have to delegate tasks - this is something I've had to learn to do. If other able bodied people are at home and have time it's not right to expect you to do everything like a slave, that's ridiculous. I'll clear up after my husband because he works all night, but kids who have not that much to do are perfectly capable of helping. It takes a bit of time of keeping on top of people but eventually they'll get the message.

It helps me just to tell myself that this is my job and I need to perfect it. I won't ever "perfect" it all the time, but I can at least make the effort to put in a good day. Also I love my AirPodsPro, because I can put on music or a sermon or whatever and that helps me to do menial tasks that otherwise are so boring I'd rather not lol but also have it on transparency mode so I can still hear the world around me. As a bonus, it actually helps me stay focused on what I'm listening to - I've got a lot done listening to Fr Ripperger's long and interesting talks. If I just listen, I drift off or get distracted and miss half of it. Take some pride in doing a good job and doing it right.

All that said, we've just cleared up the garage (full of stuff we had to take out of storage - mostly my husband's stuff I might add) so we can park in it over the winter and now the dumping ground known as the basement needs a good tidy. It's like there's always something that's a bit of a mess, but I WILL get on top of it. Even after Konmari-ing everything in 2016 there is still too much stuff, and we don't have half what a lot of people seem to have. I have to say that there is almost nothing I've regretted getting rid of. If there is something, I can just get another one if I want it that badly, but for the most part if it's been hanging around for years unused, get rid of it! It's not worth saving things you "might want one day". The cost is greater than the thing is worth more often than not.

Well that was rambling lol. Hopefully there's something useful here!

Oh, something else. My dad especially, probably because he grew up during the second world war, is a bit of a hoarder. Always saving crap because he "might want it one day", and this is something I have had to deal with in myself, also especially having been "poor" most of my life. But in all my life I've found that even while poor you can always find what you need. Keeping too much stuff can be rooted in fear of having to go without, but going without some things isn't as bad as people think. I'd rather go without than have a house that looks like a junk shop. Not trying to diss my dad, but he keeps things like broken plates - however "nice" that thing was, it's broken now, which is the fate of every material thing, and there are plates aplenty at the Goodwill. Not sure if you have anything that level of junk, but just this is where I'm coming from. I've kept broken things for years but I don't do that anymore.

If your house is messy, it's because the people in it are messy. It requires a mindset change if it's a chronic condition. The Konmari-ing wasn't an easy sell for my husband, but to his credit he did get into it after a while and got rid of a LOT of stuff and now he seems less apt to keep broken stuff that realistically isn't ever going to get fixed. It can take years for other people to catch on and get organized, so you have to be patient. Give them areas or some kind of containment system for their mess in the meantime, so it's not all over the house.
 
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Lamkins

Woodpecker
Woman
Yes!! It doesn’t come naturally to me plus I have Crohn’s with the accompanying unpredictable fatigue. I’m also another absent minded professor type. I’ve trained myself to pay closer attention to my surroundings. The Messies Manual: The Procrastinator's Guide to Good Housekeeping by Sandra Felton has been a huge help with identifying my personal problem areas. I think she came up with the acronym CHAOS—Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome.

Something that’s made a big difference I learned from the book is to do the 5-second jobs. If I’m walking across the room and spot a dust bunny I spend 5 seconds grabbing it and throwing it away. I used to see it and think “ oh, It’s inefficient to spend the time and effort picking up that one dust bunny when I’ll be sweeping in 3 days anyway.“ The problem is by the time sweep day rolled around it had become such a monumental task I’d shut down, put it off, it‘d get bigger and bigger until it was a really big job that would wear me out. You can imagine how this created a cycle of avoidance then jumping in to frantically clean the gigantic mess only to avoid again.

I do think for us absent minded professor types it’ll always be a challenge. I have an iffy awareness of time, so it seems like about the time I sigh and flop on the couch it’s time to do something else. Some days it seems I’m constantly doing those 5-second jobs. I’m far from perfect, but I’ve made great progress. I’ve also learned that “good enough” on a consistent basis is far better than the very occasional emergency perfect clean.

So, for me the 3 things that helped me are
1. I trained myself to notice messes, clutter.
2. Several 5-second jobs add up to major accomplishments over the course of the day.
3. Consistent “good enough” is better than occasional perfection.

Edited to say I agree on getting rid of things. We gave away massive amounts of stuff. My house isn’t minimalistic, but it’s pretty close. The only place we have decor is the walls and a couple of surface glass jars of plants.
 

Kitty Tantrum

Woodpecker
Woman
I don't know if this will help, but rather than getting storage bins, get rid of stuff.
Getting rid of things is the big yuuuge rule #1, but I use bins for things that rotate frequently around the house. I have one for batteries, one for small commonly used tools, one for miscellaneous small electronics (chargers and whatnot), one for scooping up the kids' toys and belongings that end up left lying around so they're easy to tote back up to their room, one that's kind of a "lost and found" (which is great with having housemates), etc.

More like sorting bins than storage bins.
 

Leeloo

Woodpecker
Woman
My mother was a homemaker so I was taught well in all the skills for the home. I also trained as a seamstress so that’s something I use a lot in making clothes and curtains/linens. It’s also helped me do a lot of repairs on furniture and things. It’s a lot cheaper to re-upholster a couch than buy a new one.
I do prefer textile/ craft and culinary homemaking to the ‘cleaning arts’ lol. I enjoy ironing and vacuuming and laundry but other types of cleaning are not my favorite. Sometimes my husband will do dishes because he likes to clean off the dirt and grease from working with his hands.
I also work outside of the home but it makes me proud to present a nice clean house and a thoughtfully prepared meal for my family or guests if we entertain. It also makes me proud of my upbringing and glad that I was fortunate to have a traditional family and homemaker mother growing up.
 

messaggera

Kingfisher
Woman
My mother was a homemaker so I was taught well in all the skills for the home. I also trained as a seamstress so that’s something I use a lot in making clothes and curtains/linens. It’s also helped me do a lot of repairs on furniture and things. It’s a lot cheaper to re-upholster a couch than buy a new one.
I do prefer textile/ craft and culinary homemaking to the ‘cleaning arts’ lol. I enjoy ironing and vacuuming and laundry but other types of cleaning are not my favorite. Sometimes my husband will do dishes because he likes to clean off the dirt and grease from working with his hands.
I also work outside of the home but it makes me proud to present a nice clean house and a thoughtfully prepared meal for my family or guests if we entertain. It also makes me proud of my upbringing and glad that I was fortunate to have a traditional family and homemaker mother growing up.
It is nice to hear another lady who works outside the home. It is an 6:00 am to 7:00 pm kind of a day during the week for my husband and I with homeschooling and working. We also spend a lot of time putting the weekly lesson plans and learning activities together, and that is with a set curriculum workbooks.

I love anything outside so I do all the summer yard and garden maintenance and he cuts the grass. We rake the leaves as a family, and he shovels the snow.


It is very helpful giving a child chores and having an agreement in the home everyone is to clean up after themselves. My husband will pick up (moves clutter to one area) and I will organize. It took some time, but I think all the "encouragement" to keep up the cleaning has worked.
And we all spend more time in the house these days, if not outside, so everyone wants a clean cosy house!
 

LAMommy

Pigeon
Woman
A messy house is a sign of a messy mind. Instead of coming up with tricks to maintain a tidy and clean environment ask yourself why the mess / dirt occurred in the first place? Write it down in an essay or journal. Identify your problems, maybe you need help but are too busy to notice that you cannot do everything by yourself. Maybe you have too much stuff. Maybe you are lazy and wasting time online scrolling.
Here is the important thing, NO ONE CARES if HOMEKEEPING comes naturally to you or not. They only care that it gets done. Its your house and it’s your job to make sure it gets done and that’s that.
 

Jessie

Sparrow
Woman
A messy house is a sign of a messy mind. Instead of coming up with tricks to maintain a tidy and clean environment ask yourself why the mess / dirt occurred in the first place? Write it down in an essay or journal. Identify your problems, maybe you need help but are too busy to notice that you cannot do everything by yourself. Maybe you have too much stuff. Maybe you are lazy and wasting time online scrolling.
Here is the important thing, NO ONE CARES if HOMEKEEPING comes naturally to you or not. They only care that it gets done. Its your house and it’s your job to make sure it gets done and that’s that.
Sometimes a messy house is the sign of a messy mind. Sometimes it’s because a mom has a lot of young children that undo her work as she completes it. It takes many years to teach children to be tidy. I would hate for a young, tired mama to feel shamed over her efforts, because a lot of her work is invisible. Each person should truthfully evaluate her own situation and see if laziness is involved, or if it’s just a messy season.
 

LAMommy

Pigeon
Woman
Sometimes a messy house is the sign of a messy mind. Sometimes it’s because a mom has a lot of young children that undo her work as she completes it. It takes many years to teach children to be tidy. I would hate for a young, tired mama to feel shamed over her efforts, because a lot of her work is invisible. Each person should truthfully evaluate her own situation and see if laziness is involved, or if it’s just a messy season.
Like I said, you need to sit down and evaluate the situation. A lot of moms don’t realize they have way too tasks or become overly ambitious about what they can achieve in a day. I know because I was the mom that planned my day to the 5 min increments starting at 4:30 am to make sure everything got done and when it didn’t I would sit in the corner and cry.
 

Luna Novem

Kingfisher
Woman
A messy house is a sign of a messy mind. Instead of coming up with tricks to maintain a tidy and clean environment ask yourself why the mess / dirt occurred in the first place? Write it down in an essay or journal. Identify your problems, maybe you need help but are too busy to notice that you cannot do everything by yourself. Maybe you have too much stuff. Maybe you are lazy and wasting time online scrolling.
Here is the important thing, NO ONE CARES if HOMEKEEPING comes naturally to you or not. They only care that it gets done. Its your house and it’s your job to make sure it gets done and that’s that.
Yes, I agree. This is why I admitted in my original post that I have an "absentminded professor" type of personality. I 100% know I am online too much. This is the sole reason why I refuse to own a smartphone. However, when one is at home, it's easy to be online via the desktop computer. And it isn't even something I can blame on the computer. Before the age of the internet, I was reading many books during the day. I have a strong need for large amounts of intellectual stimulation. I am on the autism spectrum and I get pulled into what the autism community refers to as "special interests" (a nice way of saying "obsessions"). If I force myself to stay offline and away from books, I find myself having conversations with myself to fill that need for stimulation. I suppose I could learn how to converse with myself and clean house at the same time.
 

Jessie

Sparrow
Woman
Like I said, you need to sit down and evaluate the situation. A lot of moms don’t realize they have way too tasks or become overly ambitious about what they can achieve in a day. I know because I was the mom that planned my day to the 5 min increments starting at 4:30 am to make sure everything got done and when it didn’t I would sit in the corner and cry.
Yes. If you can get help, it’s wonderful. Or you have to learn to let some things go. I wasn’t in a position to have help, so I had to prioritize.
 

LAMommy

Pigeon
Woman
Yes, I agree. This is why I admitted in my original post that I have an "absentminded professor" type of personality. I 100% know I am online too much. This is the sole reason why I refuse to own a smartphone. However, when one is at home, it's easy to be online via the desktop computer. And it isn't even something I can blame on the computer. Before the age of the internet, I was reading many books during the day. I have a strong need for large amounts of intellectual stimulation. I am on the autism spectrum and I get pulled into what the autism community refers to as "special interests" (a nice way of saying "obsessions"). If I force myself to stay offline and away from books, I find myself having conversations with myself to fill that need for stimulation. I suppose I could learn how to converse with myself and clean house at the same time.
I listen to an ridiculous number of audiobooks (sometimes an audiobook a day). This part might seem a bit drastic but sometimes I have my hubby turn off the WiFi during the day so I am not tempted to sit mindlessly scroll.
 

Lamkins

Woodpecker
Woman
Yes, I agree. This is why I admitted in my original post that I have an "absentminded professor" type of personality. I 100% know I am online too much. This is the sole reason why I refuse to own a smartphone. However, when one is at home, it's easy to be online via the desktop computer. And it isn't even something I can blame on the computer. Before the age of the internet, I was reading many books during the day. I have a strong need for large amounts of intellectual stimulation. I am on the autism spectrum and I get pulled into what the autism community refers to as "special interests" (a nice way of saying "obsessions"). If I force myself to stay offline and away from books, I find myself having conversations with myself to fill that need for stimulation. I suppose I could learn how to converse with myself and clean house at the same time.

Have you ever done the Meyers Briggs personality test? The absent minded professor and need for intellectual stimulation (and the obsessions) are classic INTP. I‘m an INTP, and it has helped me understand my issues with housework and other things much better. The internet is like crack to an INTP!
 

Luna Novem

Kingfisher
Woman
I listen to an ridiculous number of audiobooks (sometimes an audiobook a day). This part might seem a bit drastic but sometimes I have my hubby turn off the WiFi during the day so I am not tempted to sit mindlessly scroll.
It doesn't seem drastic at all. We've done similar things sometimes. We used to shut off the internet completely every summer (before we had wi-fi). It's hard now though with a kid doing online community college.
 

Luna Novem

Kingfisher
Woman
Have you ever done the Meyers Briggs personality test? The absent minded professor and need for intellectual stimulation (and the obsessions) are classic INTP. I‘m an INTP, and it has helped me understand my issues with housework and other things much better. The internet is like crack to an INTP!
Oh, you're not joking about it being like crack. It's been awhile since I've done Meyers Briggs (and I think I've only done "unofficial" ones.) I'm not certain what I scored. I know for a fact I had the IN half of it, but I can't remember if I was T or F, or P or J.
 

Hortense

Chicken
Woman
Have you ever done the Meyers Briggs personality test? The absent minded professor and need for intellectual stimulation (and the obsessions) are classic INTP. I‘m an INTP, and it has helped me understand my issues with housework and other things much better. The internet is like crack to an INTP!
I'm the same. An INTP here. :) When I clean my house alone, I often listen to something intellectually stimulating. I have a Bluetooth earbud, connected to my smartphone, and I can listen to whatever I want. It helps a lot!
 

PVW

Sparrow
Woman
I'm an INTJ. I have a running list in my head of the things that have to be done. Once I finish the task, I mark it off and go onto the next, no fanfare. It needs to be done, so I take care of it.
 
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