Monday, November 1, 2010

Housework sucks.

I posted recently about why things get messy, now I’m posting about why they tend to stay messy.

Nobody likes cleaning and tidying. It’s a chore which takes time and effort, and which everyone wishes would just do itself. It’s a bit of a pain.

For me, tidying is even more difficult than for most people. For one thing, I have no idea where to start. When I see a messy room, I don’t see messy sections, but rather I see the whole mess. I have actually been in the situation where I stood in the middle of my room, trying to get to all corners at once to tidy the whole thing, and the result was that I didn’t actually move for about a minute while my brain started crashing. It looks kind of like this:

Apple have ruined beachballs for me. Forever.

If I do manage to, eventually, pick a starting point, I will zone in on that section and tidy it to  absolute perfection. I will then step back feeling exhausted and proud of my work. I will then look around the room, see just how much more mess there is, and lose all hope of ever getting the whole lot tidy again and give up.

The other thing that makes me lose hope is not knowing where to put things while I’m tidying. There are multiple places that they could go, and there are multiple items which could go into any of these multiple places, meaning that I overload on all the possibilities, put everything that I can’t immediately sort into a new pile, and try not to think about it. This means that I will have several piles (in boxes if I’m lucky) of “miscellaneous items” which get forgotten and I often wonder where these things go. I find them again later in this pile, try to sort it, and panic again.

It’s easier when I have someone there to help, partly because things get cleaned more quickly and thoroughly. This means that I don’t get disheartened about the fact that I’ve expended all this time and energy for no apparent reason.

Clearly, I must never live alone. Or I will have a breakdown.


  1. you forgot "omg I remember this!!" and start reminiscing and being all nostalgic before realising that you've wasted three hours.

    Or is that one just me? hahaha!

  2. Celebrate the stuff you do well? Nothing wrong with tidying one section at a time... (Under some reasonable assumptions, basically that no section is permanently excluded — which can be achieved by picking one of the messier sections to tidy, or with a schedule, or using dice.)

    No point whipping yourself over a job well enough done...

  3. Sabik, you are right. And it is also easier when there are multiple people helping with it :-)

    It allows each of us to focus on a different area, and when that bit is done there isn't a whole house still left to do, because another area was done by someone else. So that is very worth celebrating when it's done :-)

    When it comes to my own room, just having someone to help me put things into piles is amazingly helpful, and I think a big element is not feeling judged for the mess, because when I do feel like I'm going to be judged I tend to ignore it and try not to draw attention to it, so it gets worse until I'm too terrified to go near it :-p

    So yes, there are many good things that are finally being done well when it comes to my cleaning methods, and I will put more focus on those :-)

  4. No worries :-)

    Sometimes you change yourself to suit the world, and sometimes you change the world to suit yourself. Hmm, that sounds like it should be an aphorism... maybe with something about knowing when to apply which one at the end. Hmm.

    (The other point that sounds like it could be changed is the one about things having multiple places — have just one place for each thing? Alphabetise the bookshelf? I don't know.)