Author Topic: Friends coming to help clean - how much 'hosting'? ... :/ Update #19  (Read 15648 times)

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Mental Magpie

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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.

To you* they are different things.  To me, decluttering/picking up/organizing/etc all fall under the word "cleaning".  I could be cleaning out my car and be only getting all of my school books out of there, or I could be cleaning the bathroom and be scrubbing the grout with a toothbrush, or I could be cleaning the spare room and be getting rid of things I haven't used in years, or cleaning my closet and getting rid of old clothes. 

Again, I agree with your last two comments, but I do have a caveat.  When you're in that much that much pain and see your house slipping by beneath you, depression is an easy place to which to go.  Getting emotions to a healthy place is not easy when you're depressed.

*and obviously others here.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

Lynn2000

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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.

POD to this, especially the last paragraph. The OP may have been talking to people about this for months, but it seems like they still didn't have a clear idea of what SHE needed to have done, and she didn't give them much additional direction while they were actually working on it. I doubt they came in with the intention of upsetting the OP or throwing out her valued possessions out of malevolence, so clearly they just didn't understand what was needed.

Maybe it's more a communication issue than anything else--the OP said she didn't know how to tell them what she wanted at the time, and she also is reluctant to communicate her needs clearly to her DH and kids. Maybe some wording suggestions for how to be "firm" without "nagging" would be useful?
~Lynn2000

Sophia

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I do not think she misled them.  As she said in a recent update, she tried to tell them on multiple occasions the extent of the problem.  She now thinks her warnings about the amount of clutter, might have been interpreted as "throw everything away".  I think her warnings got filtered through their personal bias and something that might have been "I need to warn you, that we have a great deal of clutter on the floors" turned into "I would like you to throw everything away" to the cleaners. 

Red1979

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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.

To you* they are different things.  To me, decluttering/picking up/organizing/etc all fall under the word "cleaning".  I could be cleaning out my car and be only getting all of my school books out of there, or I could be cleaning the bathroom and be scrubbing the grout with a toothbrush, or I could be cleaning the spare room and be getting rid of things I haven't used in years, or cleaning my closet and getting rid of old clothes. 

Again, I agree with your last two comments, but I do have a caveat.  When you're in that much that much pain and see your house slipping by beneath you, depression is an easy place to which to go.  Getting emotions to a healthy place is not easy when you're depressed.

*and obviously others here.

I think there is a difference between light picking up and stacks of trash.  The latter does not fit into regular cleaning.  It is decluttering and organizing. If you notice the bulk of posters here seem to also see the important distinction.

I think very light picking up would be considered "cleaning' but if you have so much trash with your own personal items mixed in and all over the floor it most assuredly moves from simple cleaning to decluttering.
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Mental Magpie

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We'll have to agree to disagree.  :)


I also agree with Sophia.  I think something got mixed in translation.


Lynn2000's suggestion is a good one.  The first I can think of is, "I'll tell you once.  If I have to tell you again, it's being taken away."  Saying something twice is not even close to nagging.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

jaxsue

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Lynn2000's suggestion is a good one.  The first I can think of is, "I'll tell you once.  If I have to tell you again, it's being taken away."  Saying something twice is not even close to nagging.

This. Kids know how far they can push us. If we give them 1001 chances to do something we ask, they will take them all.

Teenyweeny

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I definitely think there was a miscommunication.

It really depends on exactly what the OP said to the ladies.

For example, if I offered to clean a friend's kitchen, and they warned me it was bad, I'd go prepared for a sticky floor, dirty oven and hob, some dirty dishes, dirty counter tops, etc.

I wouldn't expect that the floor would be littered with objects. I also wouldn't expect to have to round up dishes from around the house, or to find stacks and stacks of dirty dishes. Basically, I'd expect certain 'prep' to be done so that I could still do the heavy stuff.

Of course, if a friend couldn't even do the prep, I'd take on that job, but I'd need to be specifically told that. I wouldn't expect it.



TootsNYC

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yes, but even if I didn't expect it, I wouldn't throw stuff away--AND take the trash out where it couldn't be found again once something was missing.

But then, I live with clutter in my own home, so I know that worthless stuff can be mixed in w/ useful.

Mental Magpie

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yes, but even if I didn't expect it, I wouldn't throw stuff away--AND take the trash out where it couldn't be found again once something was missing.

But then, I live with clutter in my own home, so I know that worthless stuff can be mixed in w/ useful.

I wouldn't either.  If it isn't mine, I have no business deciding its worth.  Even if Dark Boyfriend has a stack of papers and mail a mile high, I don't through it away unless I ask him first.

There is also no dish too dirty for me to clean  :D
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

Instantkarma

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The OP said that her children throw their trash on the floor.  how much of this trash were the friends obligated to go through to figure out what was important enough to keep? im sorry but if its mixed in with trash on the floor i would have to assume it was all trash.

jaxsue

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The OP said that her children throw their trash on the floor.  how much of this trash were the friends obligated to go through to figure out what was important enough to keep? im sorry but if its mixed in with trash on the floor i would have to assume it was all trash.

And there is no reason the children - even the youngest - could not have pitched in to pick up what is obviously trash.

doodlemor

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OP, your husband and children need to take on much of the responsibility of the house.  You are not *nagging, * you are just asking for what is good and proper.   

There is another aspect to this situation which will sound frightening, but I feel that it needs to be said.  Perhaps DH needs to think of this.  I apologize in advance if you find this issue disturbing.

I don't know exactly how messy your house was before the super clean up.  Here in the states, and I presume in many countries, children can be removed from a home if it is so dirty as to be deemed dangerous to their health.  I don't know exactly what the standard is, and I'm not trying to get into legal issues - I have just seen this happen. 

Perhaps DH should realize that unless he *mans up* a bit and does his duty that someone may contact the authorities.  Maybe that would be motivational.  It's ridiculous to think that you can do everything around the house without more support from your DH.  If you and DH present a united front the children will be more compliant.

lowspark

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To you* they are different things.  To me, decluttering/picking up/organizing/etc all fall under the word "cleaning".  I could be cleaning out my car and be only getting all of my school books out of there, or I could be cleaning the bathroom and be scrubbing the grout with a toothbrush, or I could be cleaning the spare room and be getting rid of things I haven't used in years, or cleaning my closet and getting rid of old clothes. 

Again, I agree with your last two comments, but I do have a caveat.  When you're in that much that much pain and see your house slipping by beneath you, depression is an easy place to which to go.  Getting emotions to a healthy place is not easy when you're depressed.

*and obviously others here.

Yeah, I can see that. Even though I'm one of the ones who says picking up & cleaning up are two different things, I, too, will say "clean up" often when I mean "pick up". For example, I might say to my husband, "the housekeeper is coming tomorrow, we need to clean up this room" when what I mean is that we need to get it picked up.

But! Here's the nuance that I don't think you addressed. In the situation of the OP, when friends are coming to help her clean, I really don't think that they expected to be involved in the picking up aspect of it. And to use your examples, had the friends been coming to your house, which of these would you actually expect, or even want them to do:

- cleaning the bathroom and be scrubbing the grout with a toothbrush
- cleaning the spare room and be getting rid of things I haven't used in years
- cleaning my closet and getting rid of old clothes

(I copied these phrases directly from your post.)
I'm guessing only the first one. You wouldn't want them making decisions on things in your spare room or your old clothes.

But in effect, that's what the OP did. She put them in a situation where they felt like they needed to make decisions on the things on the floor, and inevitably, they made some wrong decisions.

Mental Magpie

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To you* they are different things.  To me, decluttering/picking up/organizing/etc all fall under the word "cleaning".  I could be cleaning out my car and be only getting all of my school books out of there, or I could be cleaning the bathroom and be scrubbing the grout with a toothbrush, or I could be cleaning the spare room and be getting rid of things I haven't used in years, or cleaning my closet and getting rid of old clothes. 

Again, I agree with your last two comments, but I do have a caveat.  When you're in that much that much pain and see your house slipping by beneath you, depression is an easy place to which to go.  Getting emotions to a healthy place is not easy when you're depressed.

*and obviously others here.

Yeah, I can see that. Even though I'm one of the ones who says picking up & cleaning up are two different things, I, too, will say "clean up" often when I mean "pick up". For example, I might say to my husband, "the housekeeper is coming tomorrow, we need to clean up this room" when what I mean is that we need to get it picked up.

But! Here's the nuance that I don't think you addressed. In the situation of the OP, when friends are coming to help her clean, I really don't think that they expected to be involved in the picking up aspect of it. And to use your examples, had the friends been coming to your house, which of these would you actually expect, or even want them to do:

- cleaning the bathroom and be scrubbing the grout with a toothbrush
- cleaning the spare room and be getting rid of things I haven't used in years
- cleaning my closet and getting rid of old clothes

(I copied these phrases directly from your post.)
I'm guessing only the first one. You wouldn't want them making decisions on things in your spare room or your old clothes.

But in effect, that's what the OP did. She put them in a situation where they felt like they needed to make decisions on the things on the floor, and inevitably, they made some wrong decisions.

Probably just the first, yes, unless I had been telling them for 4-5 months how much of a mess my house was.  It really depends on what the OP told them, I think.  I don't think she necessarily put them in that position, though.  They could have just as easily made the decision to ask her what she wanted, but they didn't.  I think that was the wrong decision.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

Oh Joy

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I think this comes down to communication (rather than our OP's family dynamics or household choices).  We had talked at the beginning of the thread about providing a list of chores for the helpers to choose from.  I think that would have been helpful in this case, provided the task is 'ready' to be executed...such as vaccuuming the floors when the clutter has been cleared away prior to helpers' arrival, or making consolidating floor piles into the corner next to the couch part of the task.

Our OP could have been more specific in her explanations of what kind of messy and what kind of cleaning she was talking about with her advance warnings, especially if these people haven't seen her house before.  The helpers, upon hearing the type of work to be done, could have then decided whether to continue to extend the offer, and also been more specific in clarifying their directives before starting work.

The (modified) expression of 'the road to eHell is paved with good intentions' can certainly be applied here.