Let's Talk House Cleaning...

So I've heard/read a few sayings lately about housecleaning, and I wanted to share them and see if you had any thoughts or responses to them. I think they are all interesting, though decidedly different, perspectives on housekeeping.

"If the shelves are dusty and the pots don't shine,
it's because I have better things to do with my time."

"Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing
is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing."

~Phyllis Diller

"Keep your home clean enough to be healthy,
and dirty enough to be happy."

"The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes."
~Agatha Christie

"Cleanliness is next to Godliness."
~The evil stepmother on Everafter, among other sources

So, pick one or two and share how it either supports or flies in the face of your "philosophy" of house cleaning, eh?

(And if you're a really great housekeeper, share a few tips as well, so those of us who are, ahem, less "gifted" in that particular area can learn from you!)


Anonymous said...

I like #3. My grandmother always said "If there's no dust under your bed, you're spending too much time cleaning."


Momala said...

I believe I most agree with #3, although in practice I'm probably closer to #1 or #2. Which means I'm not as diligent in my housework as I'd like to be.


Polly said...

I think in my heart of hearts I'm #5. But I am closer in reality to 3 or 4. I *Love* housework when I can do it and think lofty thoughts. I also LOVE things clean and organized. But I also don't spend all my time cleaning and organizing, nor am I compulsive about it--I try to have standards, and conscientiously try to keep them lower than they are naturally. it's a challenge.

Mom Of Es said...

I can most relate to #1 through #3. I would love for my home to be super clean and organized. But with an almost 5 year old and two one year olds, it never stays clean for long. When we moved into our home four years ago, my husband's aunt gave me a wall hanging that has a poem on it. I read this poem every time I start to get discouraged by the chaos in my house. The poem goes: "Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow.....for babies grow up we've learned to our sorrow. So quiet down cobwebs; dust go to sleep. I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep."
I guess I don't really feel all that guilty about my house not being tip-top because I am spending all of my time with the kids and my husband. I don't even notice the craziness until my mother-in-law comes over. Her eyes are as wide as saucers as she looks around. My house isn't "dirty" messy, we just have more stuff than our house can hold, so we have lots of clutter. I am working with the FlyLady website, so maybe I'll get better!

Catherine R. said...

Though I don't have kids yet (don't I start every comment on your blog that way? : P ) I have thoughts and methods on housecleaning. I was thinking yesterday about how much I hate dirty dishes and nasty kitchen counters, for example, because I was standing there doing dishes for the 3rd time that day. I let my hatred of those things motivate me.

My hatred really reached an apex when I lived with 7 roommates in a house where everyone was a lazy pot-head. The kitchen was a constant source of serious distress and potential life threatening disease due to lack of cleanliness. When I see an empty sink and clean counters, I just feel better about everything. My mind can work better when my home is clean. I can't say I truly enjoy cleaning but I enjoy having a clean environment so much that I get mad at mess.

Now, I know people can take this too far but I think taking it too far is not as bad as letting it get really filthy. I went over to my friend's home a while back, who has lots of kids (I don't know if that's why). When I went to use the bathroom I was so grossed out I could barely eat the food she had prepared...it was really bad in there.

That brings me to my other basic standard of cleaning. Bathroom and kitchen are the 2 easiest places to get grossed out, so if you have to pick 2 places to clean, those are, by far, the most important.

Doesn't the bible say cleanliness is next to godliness? I feel like I am rambling.

michelle t said...

#3 but truly I used to obsess and judge myself over how clean (or not clean) my house was. Then a wonderful Christian mentor told me, just be sensible not perfect. So, #3 fits that to a tee. I'm also partial the the Agatha Christie one. I do tend to daydream during my chores.

darci said...

My fridge magnet--

life is too short- I actually used to scurry around in a panic cleaning and throwing things in closets before company came..and if my husband dared to wrinkle the couch pillows...lol! now i HOPE i'm a happy medium..no one's getting sick from my house, things are kept fairly tidy, but it's definitely lived in, and it's the kind of house you always put your feet up on the couch or coffee table. :)

Tracy said...

#1 and #3. I think they go hand in hand. Priorities have to be straight. Family comes first. Sometimes that means playing, and sometimes it means comforting a sick person. Sometimes though, things have to be done. My secret? Enlist the children as young as possible to help. And teach them to do their job well, working as unto the Lord. This takes a long time at first, but I'm oh so glad that each one of my children can complete any job I've assigned them to with no help.

Mrs said...

It will have to be #3. You cannot relax in a cluttered home, but being a slave to your home is no fun, either. Balance is key! I never wanted guests or children to feel like they couldn't sit down without messing something up.

However, I also don't want it full of dirty dishes and in dire need of vacuuming!

Welcome to our home. We LIVE here!

christy said...

I have one to add, can't remember where I picked it up. "Homeschooling and housecleaning are mutually exclusive, you can one or the other, but not both."

#1 is definitely me. However, there's no stopping me, once I get started.

Brenda said...

I have a sign that says, "Doing housework is like stringing buttons without an end knot."

It does feel that way to me...but it is also how I show love to my family. Phyllis Diller is kind of right--but that doesn't mean we should do nothing.

The biggest 2 motivators for doing housework for me are: #1 to make husband a nice place to relax at the end of the day and #2 to teach my daughters how to keep their own homes one day.

Daycare Girl said...

I like #3 best. The one I used to quote was "Organized people are too lazy to get up and go look for things."

But that was defending my pigsty of a college dorm room, and I'd really like my house to be a little better organized than that. :)

mattnbec said...

I'm definitely closer to the top. My grandmother says something similar to #1 - "A tidy house is the sign of a wasted life". Of course, I'm sure she (like me) would like to be more naturally tidy, but I do think there's some truth to her point, like the poem mom of Es quotes.


Cat said...

#3 would probably fit me best. I'd like to be better at this, but it is certainly a challenge when you tend towards being messy and then add 4 children into the mix (a homeschooled 7 YO down to a 5 MO), along with many beloved pets and a husband gone more than a year at a time.

Pam said...

I used to be a #5 and have learned that #3 is a better life for me and my family; less stress for everyone.
I want my kids to remember our home, not me always cleaning up and making them work at perfection. Life is short and they will all move out eventually, my house will stay clean then. And I will miss the mess.

CappuccinoLife said...

I'm also #3. :)

I need tidiness and order for my sanity, but only in areas that I can actually see or have to touch on a regular basis. Plenty of dust under our furniture and on top shelves, but the floors, kitchen, and bathroom are usually reasonably clean.

Christine said...

I really like #3. My mom is a packrat and messie (love her, though!!) and my grandmother is a neat freak who put herself in the hospital 2 times when pregnant with her 3rd because she wouldn't stay on bedrest--she just had to clean! I fall somewhere in the middle. My kitchen is always clean, my bedroom isn't, the laundry is usually up to date but I don't dust very often. So, I usually put time with the kids and hubby ahead of cleaning,unless we're having guests! I'm happy (most of the time) with the balance I strike.

4kids&luvit said...

I have to agree with Agatha Christie. I stopped running the dishwasher (except when we have company) about six months ago. I do my best praying and praising when I'm washing dishes. Sometimes the kids help and we have some great conversations! I learned this from an older woman who to this day has a very open, great relationship with her grown daughter because of "dishtalk."

Anonymous said...

I also like a clean, organized home. I have found that if my floors and kitchen counter are clean, it makes me feel like the whole house is. Also, having places for all the toys and having children who know where those places are makes clean-up quicker and easier. A picked-up house also seems clean even if it really isn't!


Claudia said...

Yes, I guess my philosophy about housekeeping is #3 and I agree with Emily's grandmother. Even though I'm a grandmother, I usually have better things I want to do. Like blogging??

Anonymous said...

Somewhere I saw, "Good mothers have filthy ovens, sticky floors and happy kids."

I have way too much clutter in the house, and it does get me down sometimes.

However, I'm so glad I don't have one of those immaculate homes where children's friends are not welcome. I know someone who grew up in a house like that, and it was sad for him never to be able to invite friends over.

Laurie B

Jess said...

Well, I should answer this one too. :) Though I sometimes feel like #1 and #2, my house probably falls in the #3-#4 range. Mostly the #3, but I've found lately that doing dishes does give me great blogging-brainstorming time!

As for your question, Catherine, quote #5 is not from the Bible.

I just did a quick search of the word "clean" in the Bible... mostly it talks about ceremonial cleansing of the OT (usually in regards to food/offerings). Sometimes it refers to a clean heart or clean hands (implying freedom from guilt). There is one interesting verse that any bald (or balding) husbands out there should appreciate, "When a man has lost his hair and is bald, he is clean." (Lev 13:40) :-) There's a bit about how to deal with mildew in Lev 14. Isaiah and Ezekiel both give implied instructions about cleaning wounds and cleaning newborns.

In Matthew 23 (and Luke 11), Jesus uses dishes as a subject for a parable, so we can derive that doing dishes is OK. ;) In John 13, He approves baths. :) And Revelation makes it clear that we'll be given bright, white clean clothes in Heaven... so I think laundry is OK too.

But yeah, no "cleanliness is next to godliness" in the Bible.

Which is good, because I wouldn't stand a chance for sanctification if that was a significant part of it. I have gotten better about this aspect-- and like someone else said, I try to make sure that my table, my kitchen, and my bathroom are clean, so that when people come over, they can relax and enjoy the meal/our time together.

But I don't sweat every dust bunny or dish by ANY means. I just try to keep on top of things and not let things pile up too much. (As I've mentioned before, having larger groups over to our home 2 times a week really helps us to stay on top of this.)

Fun comments! I've enjoyed hearing from you guys!

Joanna said...

#2. Good grief, where do I start. I don't feel we have too many toys and we work pretty darn hard at teaching our daughters that they must help with the cleaning up around here. I think the problem is that since they have so few toys and they read a lot their imaginations get the better of them and in 10 seconds flat after I've had them clean up one mess, they have gathered another mess into the same area so they can pretend and play or whatever. I'm a pretty good housekeeper when I'm not pregnant, but a terrible housekeeper when I am. I think that I use #2 as an excuse to slack off. I'd like to be more like my mother, but it ain't happening. She was only pregnant twice though. My house goes through cleaning withdrawal every other year, faithfully.

Sarah R said...

I think I fall into Number 1. Last night, instead of cleaning the bathroom, I packed up my children and went to the mall to walk around. Trust me, those dishes were still there when I returned!
For my children (I have three, oldest is 12, youngest is 9) they have two responsibilities per day. They each have to make sure their room is presentable (no food in rooms, able to walk in there, swept floors, made beds, toys put away) and they have one public room of the house. Today, Missy has the living room, Tiger has the dining room, and Bucket has the hallway. I rotate them during the week and my house is always clean. No one person is overloaded, and I don't panic when people "stop by" now.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Hi Jess! I particularly liked quote number 3. I'm a new wife, and have A LOT to learn about housekeeping. I try to keep my expectations realistic. After all, I don't aspire to own a show-place. I just want a normal, cozy, reasonably clean home, which is welcoming and inviting to all those who live in it or visit it.

Terry said...

I try to live #4, but the reality is closer to #3, which isn't so bad, no? Many days #2 feels like my permanent home with a toddler running about.

Domestikate said...

I got a chuckle out of #2... so true. However, growing up in a home on the filthy side, it has taken me years to acquire and learn skills to keep my home somewhat tidy and livable. So, now I am a proud #3. At times I have been a #4. I tape scriptures right above my sink (for memorization) and have a cd player to listen to Christian messages while I work. I wish I could say this comes naturally... *sigh* it's a lot of work for me, but aren't we all God's work in progress?

I came across this quote last night. I thought it sort of fits in with this topic:

"Thank God every morning when you get up that you have something to do that day which must be done, whether you like it or not. Being forced to work, and forced to do your best will breed in you temperance and self-control, diligence and strength of will, cheerfulness and content, and a hundred virtues which the idle will never know." ~Charles Kingsley

Amy Jane (Untangling Tales) said...

My favorite quote about housecleaning is this:

If your house is really a mess and a stranger comes to your door, greet him with, “Who could have done this? We have no enemies.”

Phyllis Diller

I can fit any house-cleaning description or philosophy, depending on the season (or maybe where I'm at in my cycle?). And through all that it's still amazing how much the state of my home affects my self-perception.

Domestikate said...

After I typed the above quote by Charles Kingsley, I realized I had no idea who the guy was... so I looked him up. I really like the quote above , but can't really stand by his theology as a whole (Darwinist, Universalist). So just to make a disclaimer, I don't support the entire views of the aboved mentioned. :)

Sorry to get off topic... continue.

Laura said...

#2 for me! For my sanity, I need my house to be clutter-free and if my floors are dirty I feel as if the whole house is falling down around me. I am a neat-freak by nature but have been trying to relax more and enjoy life with my kids instead of worrying about spilled juice and piles of toys lying around!

MaryBeth said...

Up until I got pregnant my house was a definite #5...since then its been a very different story. Morning sickness and exhaustion have left me not even really caring (this is a shock). My hope is that when this little one comes along I can strike a balance somewhere between 3 & 5.

Mom said...

I think #3 has always fit me pretty good, as you can agree with, I'm sure! I've never been an exceptional housekeeper, but I keep things "kept up" and "in order" as much as I can. I have worked outside of the home most of my married life, and so when I get home at the end of the day, there is little time left to clean, and then on the weekends, by the time I turn around, it's Monday morning again! ha! How's that for some excuses?! ha! But, with me, it will hit me, and then I take off and focus on cleaning the kitchen or the bathroom or vacuming or whatever needs to be done at the time, and I also have a VERY helpful husband who takes up more than the slack for me! So, we do pretty well in that department, but . . . please don't bring your white gloves when you come over!

Polly said...

I have to add this. I'm not a perfect or even *great* housekeeper but my house is pretty clean nearly all of the time. Clean enough. Anyhow the tips I would give to anyone who wants to improve are:

*a place for everything, everything in its place (avoid clutter!!)

*develop a routine (flylady has a nice system--I've taken hers and tweaked it to suit my needs) and then do the routine

*don't get bogged down by perfectionism. housework is meant to make the house clean, healthy and enjoyable. not to have spotless everything, everywhere. set a standard that keeps things in good working order and tidy anc clean, but that is not so high you constantly fail. my housework routine serves me, I'm not a slave to it. but doing it keeps things where they should be.

I think too often people think it's either/or. But I've learned from my grandmother that one can have a clean, neat house without doing housework all the time. That's the key for me!! :)

Angela said...

I really like to clean. It used to unnerve my mother to no end to see me polishing knick-knacks in the midst of the utter chaos that was our home. That said- I have come to realize her anguish at my nicely polished and fingerprint free glass, when the real problem was a lack of organization. She was a working mom and as a result we never had time to clean except on Saturday- which to me was the worst day of the week. All I ever wanted was to play outside on the only realy free day of the week I had, but I never got that chance while still a child. I always envied my brother who did nothing but play (he was 6 years younger than me). My mother's mother had worked outside the home as well and as a result her house was chaos too. It's just not a skill I learned until I married, and I learned it (and am learning it) from my Mother-in-law- who is terribly organized but not very much on cleaning. I"m finally starting to have some balance in my housekeeping, and that's nice. I don't feel like a slave to it, but it's orderly. I have family members whose houses are so nasty my children won't use their bathroom or even ask for a drink of water not matter how hot or thirsty they are while playing there. Since the scripture calls us to hospitality, I figure we'd better have a comfortable and inviting house- one that you're not afraid to sit down- for too much or not enough order and cleanliness.

Ashley said...

i looked, and i don't think anyone has brought this up yet, but there is a great website to help you organize your housecleaning and deal with your procrastination and perfectionism tendencies! it has totally changed my house-keeping life. www.flylady.org you must go check it out!

~Tami said...

#1 sounds like me. I want a clean house, and spend too much time making cleaning routines, but never follow through.

Penny said...

I would have to say that clutter is my biggest problem because we don't have a huge house and it has taken me a long time to just let go of "things". I still work with this. Beyond that, I'm a 1-3 gal. I had to be #5 growing up and I was the only kid, so I think I have just rebelled in my adulthood, but that's not really healthy, so I should probably keep working at it until I find the right mix. I want my home to be inviting, but it feels like that Phyllis Diller quote that someone posted about who would do this and not having enemies. I actually lol'd!

Amy© said...

Several years ago I was having a hard time coping with some things that were going on in my life, and I just focused on my house. I think I was trying not to focus on what was happening in my life at that time. My house looked like something out of House Beautiful. But it wasn't someplace anybody felt comfortable. I want my house to be organized and clean. I don't want people to be afraid of it, though! I can live with some dust, or some things out of place. But I can't live with sticky anything, or dirty bathrooms or a dirty kitchen. And I want my children to learn "there's a place for everything and everything in it's place". I've finally found my middle ground, and it's a good place. :D

Amy© said...

Oh, I also should have said that #3 is probably closest to my "style" now. And I love the sites www.organizedhome.com and www.donnayoung.org! I use those sites to print out printables for my "household notebook". The notebook idea came from organizedhome. My notebook is a lifesaver! In addition to household printables, Donna Young's site also has some great homeschool printables, including some great stuff for those of us who use Apologia Science!

Meagan said...

The most encouraging thing I've seen is a godly mother and wife with a continually tidy and clean home. She is constantly throwing things out and has people over without prior notice, without getting into a tizzy about a chaotic home. She is a wonderful example to me, especially since I've seen/heard many a h.s. mom testify to the importance of children to the neglect of the home.

Mandi said...

My tips for keeping the house clean.
#1 Make a simple list of things to do each day like Mon: Vacuum Tue: One Load Laundry Wed: Dust. Even though each day you have many other things to do the list will help you have a place to start and a simple sense of accomplishment even if you don't get much else done. #2 Get rid of stuff all the time. Give it away. Don't buy more. If you don't have it, it doesn't clutter. #3 Enjoy the messing-up process. If the kiddos pull all the pans out of the drawer under the fridge rejoice in their joy. It's easier to clean if you're not frustrated by the mess.
These work for me. I've got a baby and a toddler and I work 60+ hours a week (the kids go to work with me) but this keeps both work and home relatively neat.

Jennifer said...

Cute quotes ;) Actually I love to clean my home! And! for those of you who don't there is a great book out, I've linked to it on my blog... www.RenewingHousewives.blogspot.com