Monday, September 22, 2008

Ruth Truth #7: housework is never actually "done"

I have an announcement.

After more than three decades on this earth, I have come to the realization that there is no completion date for any of the household chores. My dishes and laundry will be done approximately when I am dead.

I guess most of you knew this already. Not me. I have spent years unsuccessfully trying to "get caught up" on the housework.

These past two weeks, while I was keeping my blog posts short and sweet with all those useful tips, I focused on cleaning and organizing my house. While doing so I became aware of a couple of reasons why my home tends to become a disaster area.

1. I live with three small children and two dogs.

2. I totally resist routine, repetition, and ongoing projects.

My kind of projects are those with a beginning and an end. When you are finished, you pat yourself on the back and move on to something fresh and new.

In contrast, keeping a house clean is the ultimate ongoing, repetitious project. When you finish all the laundry, you move on to...more laundry. You can go to bed at night with a sparkling clean kitchen, and by 10:00 the next morning you've got a sink full of dirty dishes, crumbs on the table and spilled milk on the counter.

So now I'm trying to reconfigure my brain and find ways to remind myself to consistently, constantly, chip away at these daily tasks without the expectation of ever being completely caught up. For instance, when I turn my computer on each day, an alert pops up telling me to start a load of laundry. Honestly, without this reminder, I could easily go a few days without thinking about laundry.

If you have any suggestions, helpful books or web sites, etc., I'd love to hear about them. Obviously I need all the help I can get.


Helen E.M. Wright said...

We used to get a pizza for a meal EVERY weekend. Now, I make that meal and use that money for a cleaning lady.

Yes, I am a SAHM with a cleaning lady. She comes for 4 hours every two weeks and it has made such a difference in our life it's not even funny!

Cristina said...

How true. You hit the nail on the head. When we're dead indeed. That puts things in perspective.