Cleanliness is next to … impossible

Okay, I want to pick your brains.  I want to pick your brains about housecleaning.

See, my normal system just isn’t working for me anymore. It’s actually no system at all, truth be told; it’s totally random, haphazard, and infrequent.  Basically, I avoid serious housecleaning until either 1) we have company coming or 2) I get so utterly fed up with the dust buffalos that I am ready to explode, whereupon I haul out the cleaning supplies in a huff of frustration at the squalor in which I live, laced with heavy feelings of martyrdom and self-pity.

This is not exactly conducive to a healthy spiritual life.

Nor is clutter, really.  For a long time, I felt that I could more or less let the housecleaning slide; after all, I’d rather read or write or play with the boys than Swiffer the floor.  But lately, I’ve been starting to realize that — for me, at least — a messy home sort of equals a messy mind.  It’s hard for me to find inner peace when the living room is chaos.  I can’t help but feel that if my immediate surroundings were a little more ordered, there would be a little more harmony in my soul.  Or something.

Part of the problem is that, between my husband and me, I have the lower tolerance for mess (I’m not saying it’s low, mind you; just lower).   This is good in the sense that he is not an obsessive neat-freak, which would be hard to live with.  On the other hand, this means that he never spontaneously decides to do anything to clean up the mess (save vaccuuming, which he seems to enjoy, perhaps because it involves cool gadgetry).   I cave first.

I don’t mean to diss my wonderful hubby.  Lord knows I wouldn’t want to do the tasks that habitually fall to him, such as preparing income taxes and disposing of anything that turns up dead in the backyard.  But I wouldn’t mind a little bit of company in my sporadic efforts to keep the house in order.

Scott has offered, at times over the years, to look into hiring a cleaning service.  I always balk at the idea, though, because of the money, and the logistics of scheduling.  And it’s not like I live in a mansion; we’re talking eleven hundred square feet, with one bathroom.  I should be able to do this myself …right?  But then, I know friends who have hired help, and they’ve been thrilled to outsource their cleaning tasks.  One friend jokes that it has saved her marriage by removing a constant source of stress and argument.  And Scott is fond of saying that sometimes, you need to buy sanity.  So maybe I should seriously consider this as an option.

Or we could try what he and I brainstormed last weekend: taking an hour, every Saturday morning, to get the whole family (even the kids) involved in house tasks.  If it’s a regular thing, and if we’re all pitching in, maybe I’ll start to feel that I’m mastering the housecleaning, not that it is mastering me.   I’m certainly willing to try.  Maybe I can even convince the boys, in the manner of Tom Sawyer and the fence, that it is really super-fun to dust the baseboards!

But here’s where I want to get your take on this messy subject.  What’s your housecleaning routine?  Is it regular, or random?  Do you outsource?  If so, how has that worked for you?  Share away!  I’m all ears.

11 responses to “Cleanliness is next to … impossible