Author Topic: Friends coming to help clean - how much 'hosting'? ... :/ Update #19  (Read 15864 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Teenyweeny

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1664
I think the important thing to remember is that these people came over to HELP. This means that they were (probably) acting with the best of intentions.

This means that the stuff they threw away was either accidentally thrown out, or could have been legitimately mistaken for rubbish.

I think it's time for the OP to sit her family down, and say:

"You know the other day, when those women came to help clear the house? Well, it turns out that they accidentally threw out some of our things, because they were on the floor, so the ladies thought they were rubbish.

You guys know that I can't do as much tidying as needs to be done to keep this place in order. That means you all need to help me out. We don't want to lose our precious things because we can't take care of them."

Then, the family could create a chore chart together. And plan a fun reward too. Like, if the house is clean and tidy on a Saturday evening, you'll all have a special board game night, or a movie night, or something. If it's dirty, you have to spend that time cleaning instead.

That should at least keep the house presentable enough.



Martienne

  • Formerly yello.cape.cod
  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 593
I haven't really been responding because a lot of this is both stuff I know and stuff I've been working to implement since my last round of PT made me better able to be up and around. It's not that I don't know how to turn things around. These things take time. The sorting of the toys that I mentioned has been one step in this. Another is the fact that, again as I mentioned, I'm needing to get over the idea that my family will see me as a nag if I keep after them about things.

I'd like to bring this back to the etiquette of dealing with the situation.

I think these ladies were in the wrong to just haphazardly throw everything away like that. But honestly, you were in the wrong to put them in that situation to begin with.

I guess I have a hard time understanding this. After having multiple conversations about my situation over the last 4-5 months, I  assumed the multiple offers of help were genuine. Is this one of those cases where they were only offering to be polite and I shouldn't have assumed they meant it? I tend to take people at their word.

The friend who arranged this is coming back on Friday with a different friend who "likes to organize". Should I call them and cancel? The purpose of the visit was for them to help me figure out better arrangements of things like bookshelves to actually be helpful. There's no more mess to be dealt with after Monday.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2012, 12:09:23 PM by Martienne »

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30829
I have never met silverware that could not be cleaned. i can't imagine throwing out everything in an area without some conversation about how to know whether these things were important.

I think the ladies went overboard.

And I'm sorry, Martienne, that this experience has been so painful, instead of being the big lift you expected. That's got to be doubly bad.

I do think you goofed, though. I think you should have asked your children to pick up things from the floor before the ladies came so they could focus more on cleaning, or simply to safeguard the important things from the floor. If you didn't have enough time to get ready, you could have asked for a rescheduling.

I'm sorry it was a painful learning experience. Maybe you can make it work for you if you don't focus on how wrong they were, and instead use their reaction as a tool to motivate your kids to pick up their stuff.


To get back to the etiquette--it's important for all of us tor realize that speaking up and saying, "I'd really like it if you would XYZ" is NOT a criticism. Saying to them, "Oh, I hadn't realized--are you just throwing stuff out?" would have been fine.

Or to say, "you know, let's have a strategy session here about this--I'm afraid my children's things rae going to be thrown away" is acceptable.

Sometimes when people are doing us favors, we think it's a gift and that we should just shut up and take it the way they want to give it to us. But that's not the case.

Favors can politely be declined if they create more trouble than they're worth and they absolutely can be guided.

I think your hesitancy to do that is like your hesitancy to insist that your children pick things up, etc.--you fear what others will think of you. (hey, welcome to the club!)

But I think that if you are proactive and speak up RIGHT away, while it's still in the "oh, this is a mistake, I bet you want to know" mode, and not in the "now I'm pissed off" mode.

Red1979

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5040
  • it's only a paper moon...
    • Subscription Therapy
I haven't really been responding because a lot of this is both stuff I know and stuff I've been working to implement since my last round of PT made me better able to be up and around. It's not that I don't know how to turn things around. These things take time. The sorting of the toys that I mentioned has been one step in this. Another is the fact that, again as I mentioned, I'm needing to get over the idea that my family will see me as a nag if I keep after them about things.

I'd like to bring this back to the etiquette of dealing with the situation.

I think these ladies were in the wrong to just haphazardly throw everything away like that. But honestly, you were in the wrong to put them in that situation to begin with.

I guess I have a hard time understanding this. After having multiple conversations about my situation over the last 4-5 months, I  assumed the multiple offers of help were genuine. Is this one of those cases where they were only offering to be polite and I shouldn't have assumed they meant it? I tend to take people at their word.

The friend who arranged this is coming back on Friday with a different friend who "likes to organize". Should I call them and cancel? The purpose of the visit was for them to help me figure out better arrangements of things like bookshelves to actually be helpful. There's no more mess to be dealt with after Monday.

I think your friend who is organizing is more prepared for the type of environment you described.  Someone being asked to "clean" because someone is on bed rest might expect a lot of dust, a pile of dishes, maybe a not so fresh toilet--but they wouldn't anticipate stacks of trash and toys on the floor.  What you describe sounds a lot more like hoarding than it does like just being messy/dirty.  I think posters are responding to the fact that it sounds like you put someone there to do a some dusting and vacuuming into a decluttering/organizing situation.
 
An organizer on the other hand expects to see lots of clutter and is there to help you organize it and get rid of what you don't need.

However if you still have a lot of trash mixed in, you might want to warn the organizer.

And to be frank, it doesn't take that much time to do these things.  If you have the kids pick up their toys and put their trash away *every* time there will not be a giant stack to go through.  If toys need to be sorted, you have your DH get a couple cardboard boxes.  Put all the toys in one and then sort them into a "keep" and "give away".  There's no reason for them to be on a floor and mixed in with trash and other items.

--Red
"Pause you who read this and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, which would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day."

www.subscriptiontherapy.com - "I used to have issues -  now I have subscriptions"

jaxsue

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 10229
Earlier in the thread you said there were lots of papers to be organized. That's something that you could do before your friend comes with the organizer because it can be done while sitting down. That way you could sort into file/keep handy/throw away. That would save lots of time.

Does your DH make you the heavy in all of this? He claims to not know "how" to clean and didn't want to be present when the ladies were there. Is he also hands-off when it comes to training your children? He's their parent as much as you are, and it's unfair to make you feel like a nag when he has a hand in all of this.

Drastic changes won't come overnight; that's why I said "baby steps" in my previous post. The flip side is, if things continue as they are, the situation will only get worse.

Teenyweeny

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1664

I think these ladies were in the wrong to just haphazardly throw everything away like that. But honestly, you were in the wrong to put them in that situation to begin with.

I guess I have a hard time understanding this. After having multiple conversations about my situation over the last 4-5 months, I  assumed the multiple offers of help were genuine. Is this one of those cases where they were only offering to be polite and I shouldn't have assumed they meant it? I tend to take people at their word.

No, I'm sure they meant it. But, if I offered to clean for an incapacitated friend, I'd come round expecting to clean. Maybe some decluttering, but I'd expect that at least the floors would be clear. And really, once they ARE clear, it takes ten minutes a day of everybody pitching in to keep them that way. Once Monday comes, and everything is clear, I think you need a sit-down talk with your kids, to implement some kind of daily routine so you can keep on top of things.

As regards future occasions, I think that what you should do is ask for 'trash' bags to be brought to you before they are thrown away. Then you can rescue anything you need to, and it shouldn't impede the progress of your workers.

"Oh, before you throw anything out, could you please bring me the bag first? The kids aren't that great about picking up after themselves, and I don't want anything of theirs to accidentally get thrown away."

It's far better to handle these things in the moment. After the fact is no good at all, because there's nothing you can do about it then, and both parties are just left feeling resentful.



lowspark

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4027
What I meant was what I was trying to get at earlier in that same post. If I volunteered to help someone clean up their house in a situation like this, I'd expect to be cleaning. As in mop floors, clean toilets, tubs & sinks, vaccuum, dust, etc. I would not expect to be decluttering or picking up. But I can't mop the floor if there is garbage and toys and other things strewn about. In that case, I have no choice but to pick up first and then mop.

Well, once you put me in the position of having to pick up, then I've either got to ask you on every single item or I have to figure that everything is either to be kept or trashed.

That's why when my housekeeper comes, I pick up everything the night before. I can't ask her to make a judgement call on whether that magazine I left on the coffee table is something to be kept or trashed. Or the note I wrote down to remember something. Or the mail I went through (or didn't). Etc.

So we're talking about two different things here.
1. Picking up
2. Cleaning

You can't do the cleaning till you've done the picking up. And what I'm saying is that you shouldn't have put these ladies in a position to have to pick up. That should have been done by you (meaning by husband and kids as your proxy) before the ladies came. Even if it meant shoveling everything into a box or a closet or wherever and telling the ladies that those things were off limits.

wheeitsme

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4006
I haven't really been responding because a lot of this is both stuff I know and stuff I've been working to implement since my last round of PT made me better able to be up and around. It's not that I don't know how to turn things around. These things take time. The sorting of the toys that I mentioned has been one step in this. Another is the fact that, again as I mentioned, I'm needing to get over the idea that my family will see me as a nag if I keep after them about things.

I'd like to bring this back to the etiquette of dealing with the situation.

I think these ladies were in the wrong to just haphazardly throw everything away like that. But honestly, you were in the wrong to put them in that situation to begin with.

I guess I have a hard time understanding this. After having multiple conversations about my situation over the last 4-5 months, I  assumed the multiple offers of help were genuine. Is this one of those cases where they were only offering to be polite and I shouldn't have assumed they meant it? I tend to take people at their word.

The friend who arranged this is coming back on Friday with a different friend who "likes to organize". Should I call them and cancel? The purpose of the visit was for them to help me figure out better arrangements of things like bookshelves to actually be helpful. There's no more mess to be dealt with after Monday.

I think that their offers of help were genuine.  But it seems unfair to "blame" for throwing out some things that meant a lot to you for sentimental or frugality reasons when you didn't seem to give them a "heads-up".  I have a china squirrel that my grandma gave me when I was little.  It has been broken and mended and there is still a piece missing.  The real fur tail is so old and loved that some of the fur is gone.  In short, it could be mistaken for trash if it was mixed in with a pile of trash.  And that's why it's put somewhere where it could not possibly be mistaken for trash.

These people came in expecting to help clean up trash and clean your home.  I'm at a bit of a loss as to why they would throw out silverware, but all those other bits and pieces mixed in with trash on the floor and around the house?  They came looking for trash, so that is what they saw.  And you were so overwhelmed that you didn't give them the "heads-up" or speak to them about it before they took everything to the dump.

I think you should still let your friend and her "organizer" friend come over.  I think you can let her know that because you were so overwhelmed and things were so messy and disorganized that when everyone came over to clean, some things you valued were lost.  I wouldn't ask or expect to be reimbursed, but I'd let her know.  Maybe if they do this for someone else, they might approach things they come across a little differently. 

And perhaps they can help with organizing so that it is harder for things to be disorganized.  So often people think everything needs to be set up and organized the same way for everybody and every household.  But sometimes switching things up and doing things a little differently helps different people.  Like those fancy shoe hangers/racks don't work for me.  But a cheap bookcase that I can just dump shoes on whatever shelf does.  I can see them, and it's a lot quicker and easier for me.  Cork squares on the wall that I can pin papers I need to get to, because it helps if I see them, and if they just get piled up on a surface somewhere I forget.  Stuff like that...

jaxsue

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 10229
You can't do the cleaning till you've done the picking up. And what I'm saying is that you shouldn't have put these ladies in a position to have to pick up. That should have been done by you (meaning by husband and kids as your proxy) before the ladies came. Even if it meant shoveling everything into a box or a closet or wherever and telling the ladies that those things were off limits.

I agree that there is a difference between tidying up and cleaning up. I'd be a bit put out if I arrived, ready to clean, only to find that I had hours' worth of picking up to do. I realize others may not have the same definition of "cleaning," but that's why being clear up front is the best policy.

MasterofSquirrels

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1963
  • hi.
your initial question was a good one.
You provided or tried to provide a nice lunch for these ladies. You were told that it would be good to have cold beverages and even some music to help the process.

All that is great advice.

Where I belive you were wrong, is the level of cleaning needed, you say you warned them, but, what was the warning?

Normally, I would say, speak to the ladies about the lost items, but, the level of cleaning that I suspect they did was above and beyond what they expected. So, I wouldn't say anything. I would just thank them from the bottom of my  heart, and hope they will be willing to help once the babies arrive.

You have a friend coming over to help you organize. That is wonderful, have the friend come. If there is nothing left to organize, Friend can show you some tricks, set up a system, or whatever.

You need to communicate though. These people want to help you. They want you to succeed, they want you to feel better. You have to talk to them, you have to tell them what you want too. You can't not say anything, then complain later about how they did it wrong. Your silence implies acceptance.

Red1979

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5040
  • it's only a paper moon...
    • Subscription Therapy
You can't do the cleaning till you've done the picking up. And what I'm saying is that you shouldn't have put these ladies in a position to have to pick up. That should have been done by you (meaning by husband and kids as your proxy) before the ladies came. Even if it meant shoveling everything into a box or a closet or wherever and telling the ladies that those things were off limits.

I agree that there is a difference between tidying up and cleaning up. I'd be a bit put out if I arrived, ready to clean, only to find that I had hours' worth of picking up to do. I realize others may not have the same definition of "cleaning," but that's why being clear up front is the best policy.

I think it's a lot like asking someone to help you move and having nothing boxed up when they arrive. You'd added on a lot of extra work that the people didn't necessarily agree to do.
--Red
"Pause you who read this and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, which would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day."

www.subscriptiontherapy.com - "I used to have issues -  now I have subscriptions"

jaxsue

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 10229
You can't do the cleaning till you've done the picking up. And what I'm saying is that you shouldn't have put these ladies in a position to have to pick up. That should have been done by you (meaning by husband and kids as your proxy) before the ladies came. Even if it meant shoveling everything into a box or a closet or wherever and telling the ladies that those things were off limits.

I agree that there is a difference between tidying up and cleaning up. I'd be a bit put out if I arrived, ready to clean, only to find that I had hours' worth of picking up to do. I realize others may not have the same definition of "cleaning," but that's why being clear up front is the best policy.

I think it's a lot like asking someone to help you move and having nothing boxed up when they arrive. You'd added on a lot of extra work that the people didn't necessarily agree to do.

Exactly! You put it much better than I did.

stargazer

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5469
You can't do the cleaning till you've done the picking up. And what I'm saying is that you shouldn't have put these ladies in a position to have to pick up. That should have been done by you (meaning by husband and kids as your proxy) before the ladies came. Even if it meant shoveling everything into a box or a closet or wherever and telling the ladies that those things were off limits.

I agree that there is a difference between tidying up and cleaning up. I'd be a bit put out if I arrived, ready to clean, only to find that I had hours' worth of picking up to do. I realize others may not have the same definition of "cleaning," but that's why being clear up front is the best policy.

This.  I agree if I came to clean, it would be mopping, scrubbing, dusting, etc.  Not "shoveling" though literally "trash" on the floor (your words) vs what is important but might look like trash to someone else.  I don't understand things like how the amigurimi turtle came to be thrown out or almost thrown out if it was irreplaceable and in the corner of the living room where the kids were keeping the toys they wanted.  It should have been easy to tell people "leave that corner alone - that is the toys the kids are keeping".  The tea kettle set probably should have been in the same area if parts were scattered. 

It sounds like you already have your hands full and with two more on their way, I'm afraid you do have to get over the fear of looking like a nag.  The kids are old enough to help and certainly old enough to know trash doesn't go on the floor.  They can help getting lunches ready.  Or fold laundry.  Clean their rooms.  Etc.  Even the little ones usually enjoy getting in the spirit if everyone is pitching in.

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5462
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
After 4-5 months of talking about the situation, I should think those ladies knew what they were getting into.  Repeated comments about "I came to clean, not declutter" are semantics and are disregarding what the OP said.  If she was talking to these women for 5 months before the offered, I would think they'd know what they were getting into.

I agree with Red1979's last paragraph, but only to a point.  No, it doesn't take time to start implementing rules, but it definitely can take time to work up the courage to do so (even the OP said she is trying to realize that asking for help doesn't mean she's nagging).
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

Red1979

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5040
  • it's only a paper moon...
    • Subscription Therapy
After 4-5 months of talking about the situation, I should think those ladies knew what they were getting into.  Repeated comments about "I came to clean, not declutter" are semantics and are disregarding what the OP said.  If she was talking to these women for 5 months before the offered, I would think they'd know what they were getting into.

I agree with Red1979's last paragraph, but only to a point.  No, it doesn't take time to start implementing rules, but it definitely can take time to work up the courage to do so (even the OP said she is trying to realize that asking for help doesn't mean she's nagging).

Cleaning and decluttering are most definitely different things.

Cleaning is required in every household regardless of whether the person has only one chair and a bed in their entire home.  Decluttering means that there are too many items in the home and things need to be removed, thrown away and organized in order to make the space appropriately useable. The terms are not interchangeable in any way.

While it doesn't appear the OP had any intent of misleading the generous volunteers, she unknowingly did.  It's important she understand the distinction so that she can get the help she needs from the right people (i.e. the organizer to help with clutter, the church ladies for cleaning).

I also think that when you are a parent, you don't have the luxury of taking time.  If your kids need guidance or discipline you need to be there immediately to intervene.
--Red
"Pause you who read this and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, which would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day."

www.subscriptiontherapy.com - "I used to have issues -  now I have subscriptions"