Author Topic: Domestic messiness  (Read 2843 times)

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cabbageweevil

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Domestic messiness
« on: July 22, 2013, 02:34:07 PM »
Probably a thing discussed already on this site; but -- situation of those who live alone and can please themselves -- am thinking about messiness in the home, versus the opposite.  I am male, and live alone, and am, in American parlance (I'm British), an utter "slob".

I can very well "see with my head", the good sense in the adage, "a place for everything, and everything in its place". Not to the obsessive-compulsive ultimate: just, "know where something basically 'lives', and you'll know where you want to go, when you suddenly need it".

"With my head", I can't fault that principle; but my gut obstinately resists it, with the message that "a life where you're forever having to fuss about 'where things dwell, and restoring them thereto', ceases to be a life worth living".  In everyday terms, the worst items on which this general thing focuses for me, are scissors; magnifying glasses; and calculators -- I very often can't find where I've put / hidden / buried them, and I get very annoyed and frustrated.  As said -- re this, head and gut send polar-opposite messages.

Am I, in this, just a hopeless male, direly in need of mental readjustment; or are there others on the board who experience similar difficulties?

Carotte

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Re: Domestic messiness
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2013, 02:55:24 PM »
I'm pretty sure scissors, magnifying glasses, calculators, along the lines of a pen that works, that ruler I just saw, and the slip of paper I really need right now are objects that just don't stay in one place anyway. Mind of its own and all that, those things are always disappearing.
The worst is when, after using it you think "I'll put it here (a new place), it's logic and I should remember it easily". Then you'll spend a good half hour looking for it and when you'll find it (in that oh so logic spot where you left it) you'll wonder under what kind of drug you were to think that was a good idea.

lowspark

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Re: Domestic messiness
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2013, 03:12:20 PM »
I am, by nature, a slob as well. However, I'm living proof that you can retrain yourself if you want it badly enough. I do still tend to leave things wherever I happen to be, and my computer room is varies between "complete disaster" and "manageable mess". But I manage to keep the rest of the house pretty picked up.

The thing I talked myself into was that you don't actually have to be forever in the mode of "fuss about 'where things dwell, and restoring them thereto'". You forgive yourself for lapses and do the best you can.

First thing I'd advise is to declutter as much as possible. So much of the mess can be things you don't need but can't let go of because... you might need it some day, you paid $x for it and darned if you're going to have wasted that money, your favorite aunt gave it to you, etc. The truth is, the less junk you have, the less of it you have to keep organized and the less of it you have to plow through to find the scissors when things aren't all put away.

Next, think in terms of baby steps. Cleaning and organizing can seem (and be) overwhelming. So don't think of it as one task. The next time you have 10 minutes to spare, just do 10 minutes' worth. Clean out one drawer. Or a quarter of a shelf. Or put 10 things away. It's so hard to start a huge project but if you can look at it as one small project at a time, you can make progress slowly. No rule says that you have to get everything in order in one day.

Third, hire a housekeeper. Nothing motivates me more to pick up the stray paraphernalia than the reminder that my housekeeper is coming tomorrow. I don't want her organizing my stuff (I'll never find anything if she does!) and how else is she going to really clean if there's junk everywhere? And I certainly don't want to clean toilets and mop floors so I've got to make it so she can do her job.

Good luck. It's not easy and it's a constant struggle, but YES! It can be done!

Amara

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Re: Domestic messiness
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2013, 03:23:36 PM »
Quote
Probably a thing discussed already on this site; but -- situation of those who live alone and can please themselves -- am thinking about messiness in the home, versus the opposite.  I am male, and live alone, and am, in American parlance (I'm British), an utter "slob".

I can very well "see with my head", the good sense in the adage, "a place for everything, and everything in its place". Not to the obsessive-compulsive ultimate: just, "know where something basically 'lives', and you'll know where you want to go, when you suddenly need it".

"With my head", I can't fault that principle; but my gut obstinately resists it, with the message that "a life where you're forever having to fuss about 'where things dwell, and restoring them thereto', ceases to be a life worth living".  In everyday terms, the worst items on which this general thing focuses for me, are scissors; magnifying glasses; and calculators -- I very often can't find where I've put / hidden / buried them, and I get very annoyed and frustrated.  As said -- re this, head and gut send polar-opposite messages.

Am I, in this, just a hopeless male, direly in need of mental readjustment; or are there others on the board who experience similar difficulties?

Here's the thing, OP. Taking the few seconds or one or two minutes necessary to put things back into their designated spaces will save you frustration, physical and emotional energy, and time when you need them again. (I have two pairs of reading glasses. One I keep at work, the other is always in its case in a bowl on an end table. I never waste time looking nor am I without when I need them.) Don't think you are obsessing if you do this. You are not; rather, you are taking care of yourself.

Also, I have a good friend who was a nationally known professional organizer and de-clutterer. One of her mottos was "Never put a larger thing on top of a smaller one." In other words, don't lay a piece of paper or a newspaper down over your magnifying glass or a sweater over your keys. This alone will make a huge difference.

If you think that you are obsessing over tiny things that will frustrate you. If you think you are making things easier for yourself you are likely to keep doing those.

Good luck!

Minmom3

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Re: Domestic messiness
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2013, 03:24:27 PM »
I confess to being a member of the "everything in its place" group.  I hate hunting for things...  That doesn't mean I don't change where 'home' might be for any particular item if its original home wasn't as functional as hoped. 

It's your home.  If you like the mess, then live with the mess.  If you don't, then do something about it.  Sometimes having a structure on which to make a home for things helps enormously in giving things homes to be returned to.  If you have lots of books and not enough shelving for them, then buy more shelving of some kind.  If you have more clothing than places to put it away in, then you need to get more places in which you can put it away.  If it's because you have NEVER organized your belongings and have no clue where to start in fixing things up, you may want to call a professional organizer and hire their services  - those people have a million ideas on how to organize things and how to retrain yourself to use your new framework to spiff up your place.

On the other hand, I have never met anybody whose entire life was disorganized and messy (as long as that person had a job to go to) as work generally does not tolerate a complete mess.  If your work life is organized, you should be able to transfer that sense of organization into your home surroundings, no matter how long it takes you to work out the details.

That you posted here tells me you aren't entirely happy about the state of your home, which, to me, means you need to think about WHY it's a mess, HOW you can fix it, and WHAT your first steps should be.

Good luck!

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Judah

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Re: Domestic messiness
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2013, 03:31:51 PM »
I'm on team A Place for Everything and Everything In It's Place".  But that doesn't mean you have to be.

I must have order around me. I can't relax in a messy room, I just can't, but if the way you live works for you, why change it? If it will make your life easier, would it be worth the effort to try? Maybe, but some habits are too ingrained to change. And some things are more than habits, they're personality traits that can't be easily changed.
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Seraphia

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Re: Domestic messiness
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2013, 03:34:57 PM »
I'm not a terribly tidy person myself, and for much the same reason. My internal child is forever disgusted that I have to "waste time" doing stupid fussy putting-away-type tasks.

What helps me stay at least somewhat neat is this idea: "yeah, I don't want to have to spend umpteen hours organizing my screwdrivers. [or whatever] But I don't want to spend all my time finding them, or money on new screwdrivers [or whatevers] because I can't find them. I just want to do stuff when I want to do it."

So, I keep pens and stamps and the bills all in one area so I don't have to go through a mountain of mail to pay bills. I keep my art supplies in one box so I can paint whenever I want and not have to go to the store for more brushes. Basically, if I make cleaning up part of the task, the next time I want to do something, I can just go do it, and not have to do the fussy stuff so I can get to the important bit. Plus, it seems a bit easier to clean up when I'm already feeling good about having done what I wanted to, like made a meal or done some laundry or fixed my bike.

I still don't like tidying a lot. But it's a little easier to placate my inner rebellion with that mindset.
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Ms_Cellany

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Re: Domestic messiness
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2013, 03:37:47 PM »
I've lived with messiness all my life, and found that Flylady.net makes a huge difference. She's a little twee, but the principles are sound:

Add habits one by one.
Do things in 15-minute chunks.
The goal is not to have a clean house; the goal is to have routines that make things simpler.
Actively enjoy the visual calm and sense of peace.

My real-life example: I always hated making my bed. Why bother? It's just going to get messy again.

We now make our bed every morning (twitch the sheet back in place and straighten the comforter). Not because Beds Should Be Made and we're Messy Slobs if we don't do it, but because it makes the room look nice and keeps us from losing things in it. It's a one-minute job that gives pleasure. 
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Outdoor Girl

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Re: Domestic messiness
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2013, 05:01:44 PM »
I am an odd combination of some OCD tendencies that make me want to have a tidy, clean place but with a chronic condition that results in my 'give a dingdangity' being busted on a regular basis.

So I have one room I call my hoarder's room.  Anything I don't want to deal with goes in there and then I clean that room up about once a year when I have time, energy and inclination.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
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jpcher

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Re: Domestic messiness
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2013, 07:07:49 PM »
Interesting thread! ;D

Mostly because I'm the opposite of you, cabbageweevil. In the 3-4 years of my entire life that I lived alone (I'm now 50+) my apartment was the cleanest of all of my other dwellings. (except for the dust. or, maybe sweeping & vacuuming. okay, okay, the bathroom wasn't always polished. oh, yeah, sometimes I didn't do my dishes every day.

Fine! :P Let's say my apartment was the most uncluttered place I've ever lived in. ;)

I think that's because it was just so easy to put my own stuff away.




I'm wondering where your comment (is it a quote from someone/somewhere?) came from:

"a life where you're forever having to fuss about 'where things dwell, and restoring them thereto', ceases to be a life worth living".

I'm wondering about the quote because it took me a few years, with kids, to realize that it's much more important to go out to the park and play with your kids than it is to fuss and argue about "You didn't clean up after yourself . . . We can't go have fun until the mess is cleaned up . . . Did somebody use my sewing scissors? Where are they? . . . Who put this here? You know it belongs there!"

Who cares if the magnifying glass can't be found at a minutes notice . . . it's a beautiful day out there, the wind is kicking up. Let's go fly a kite! ;D


To me, your quote makes a whole lot of sense . . . so long as you're doing the carpe diem thing instead of sitting around being depressed that your home is in such a state.

siamesecat2965

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Re: Domestic messiness
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2013, 07:37:53 PM »
I'm a neat freak at heart, but too lazy to make it happen most of the time! I live alone and most of the time my apt hovers between reasonably neat and messy and cluttered. I have found over the years certain things make me twitchy, but also that it takes very little to remedy them.  I hate the way my kitchen looks when i don't stuff way, but have found if i take 5-10 minutes each night, i can have the dishes done, food put away, etc. and counters wiped clean. 

Same with picking my stuff up off the bathroom vanity, putting it back where it belongs, hanging the towels nicely. i've actually timed myself and can do that in under 3 mkinutes,. same with unloading the DW. once i realized this, it didn't seem to be such a chore anymore.

I also agree with working on one task or area at a time. i will do both, depending on my mood. I'll say, ok, tonight i will clear off the coffee table. Or deal with all the paper, mail, receipts, etc. and if i do it like that, i feel like i've accomplished something, and the rest will follow.

I never, however, have filth. Food gets thrown away, and ONLY in the kitchen. while i may leave dishes in the sink, they are rinsed, etc. And i clean my bathroom regularly. Never had any kind of infestation of bugs or anything else due to being filthy. the wasps in my old apt, whole other ball of wax.

Although right now, since half my closet shelf/hanging rack fell off the wall completely,. portions of my apt look like I belong on hoarders, since i had to empty half the closet in anticipation of maintenance coming to replace it.

Bijou

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Re: Domestic messiness
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2013, 12:31:59 AM »
I love to have everything in its place, nothing excess cluttering my world, a home where anyone can drop in at any time and I would welcome them with no sense of embarrassment, no glancing at the dust bunnies in the corner of the room, or noticing in horror that there is suddenly a huge spiderweb strung across the corner of the ceiling that wasn't there...or at least was not noticed... ten minutes ago and that the spaghetti sauce I dripped on the cabinet front at lunch never did get wiped up and is now presenting itself like a diva singing an aria from an Italian opera, drawing all eyes to it. 
But, alas, as some of you probably know, I am fighting a constant battle of the clutter.  Ugh.  I guess I fit the definition, too.  But not as thoroughly as my husband fits it.

Siamesecat I, too, am a neat freak at heart and too distracted by more important things (doing word puzzles, watching old movies, playing with the cat) to make it happen most of the time.  It's so frustrating.  I guess the difference between my husband and me, beyond the obvious, is that he doesn't notice things, while they weigh on me like a dark cloud. 
« Last Edit: July 23, 2013, 12:37:39 AM by Bijou »
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GreenEyedHawk

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Re: Domestic messiness
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2013, 12:52:00 AM »
OP, can I ask if you rent or own your home?

When I rented my old apartment, I couldn't be bothered to do much other than the very basic cleaning.  My place was always a mess, and to be frank, I didn't care.  The landlord barely cared.

But since I moved into Bedside Manor, which belongs to me, I find it much easier to find the motivation to keep things, if not perfect, at least somewhat organised.  The worst, messiest part of the house is probably my desk; I'm still in the habit of stacking bills and other papers in front of the monitor so I don't forget about then, and I usually have an empty bag where I will toss trash (which doesn't get dealt with anywhere near as often as it should).  I clean it...nowhere near often enough but I'm always happy when I do, and I can pretty much always find the things I'm looking for.

Also, I love to cook but hate when the kitchen is messy because the mess gets in my way, so I'm pretty good for staying on top of that in order to minimise the inconvenience to myself.  The quicker I can make supper, the quicker I can get back to watching moves/playing video games/whatever it is I do in the evenings.
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Library Dragon

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Re: Domestic messiness
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2013, 01:13:39 AM »
My home is clean, but messy.  If there is a horizontal surface it is covered with books, papers, yarn.  There is always something I would rather do than neaten.  DH is the same.  He's the only one of 5 sons who is this way.  The rest are white furniture or no pictures on the walls neatnicks. 

I do admit to having a few OCD bits.  I have a two basin sink.  Any dirty dishes need to be in the right sink or on the right counter so that I can have the left side (nearest the stove) free.  Don't ask about the sponge, rag, towel, paper towel hierarchy, it would take a white board.

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Stormtreader

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Re: Domestic messiness
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2013, 04:56:00 AM »
I have to admit, im a complete slob down to my bones.

I try to keep the amount of "stuff" I own down to a minimum - no knicknacks because I know I wont keep on top of the dusting and a dishwasher so stuff doesnt sit in the sink. I was better when I had a housemate because whats acceptable for me is embarrasing for someone else too see, but when its just me it just seems like a drudge. I think its that feeling of pointless repitition in that if you hoover today or not, youll still have to do it tomorrow so todays doesnt really achieve anything (even though I know of course that its achieving things being better TODAY which would be nice)

The only thing that seems to motivate me really is to watch "Hoarders" because they had to start somewhere and maybe I should pick up those clothes.....