Friday February 27, 2004

House Ordinary

Housework has never been my strong suit. I grew up in a family of packrats; my parents believed in taking a laissez faire approach to housework. The dining room table tended to accumulate mail, craft projects, and general piles of whatever; it was cleared on occasions when we had two or more guests for dinner (otherwise, the family ate in the kitchen). We'd vacuum when company was coming or whenever the rug seemed to need it.

As a child, I was never required to clean my room. My room varied between an average, fairly disorganized, child's room and the result of one of my periodic spontaneous outbursts of organization. (To my credit, those cleaning bursts never uncovered a half sandwich or anything of that nature!)

My first (and last) College room mate (actually grad school) was, to my mind, a neat freak. In a flat rented by 3 adult women who were usually in class or in the lab and thus rarely home, she decided that the flat needed to be vacuumed every Saturday morning. Once a week I would be awakened by the vrooooom of the vacuum outside my door, well before 10 am. When she suggested I take a turn some week, I reminded her that I owned the vacuum cleaner and closed the door again. After that experience, I rented one-bedroom apartments until I met my Spouse.

I'm no Martha Stewart and Spouse isn't Mr. Clean. While our house isn't exactly ... messy... you wouldn't want to eat off the floor. We try to straighten up the public areas, but if you can't deal with cat hair, I wouldn't advise you to visit.

Nevertheless, bit by bit, we've been working at becoming somewhat more organized, a tad neater and cleaner, especially in the public areas. I have found, for example, that it's much easier to maintain a certain level of cleanliness and lack of clutter than to reach that level to begin with. Thus, I've become rather compulsive, in my own way, at wiping down the kitchen counters and at washing pots and pans as soon as possible (dishes go into the dishwasher).

One thing I have noticed recently — re-doing your kitchen and dining room flooring provides an amazing degree of motivation to keep that floor (and the surrounding cabinets and countertops) clean and spot-free!

On this theme, I recently discovered a new journalling meme. Surprisingly, I discovered this one within a few days of its inception. This was decidedly novel, as I was beginning to think that I discover most memes within a few weeks of their closing down!

The meme, yclept "Homework: a household Meme" is a domestic / housework meme. Questions to date have covered such topics as "How often do you clean your bedroom?", "How often do you mop the kitchen floor?", "What's your biggest cleaning neurosis?", and "How do you divide the housework?" The most recent entry asked readers to "Tell the story of the biggest "train-wreck"-caliber mess you've ever witnessed." (Yipes; some of those stories... you're glad you weren't there!)

Carrie, the author of Homework, provides this reason for having started the meme:

Yesterday, on the phone with Alysia, I started laughing about something I'd found in my housework manual, Home Comforts. Apparently, I chuckled to her, I'm supposed to be sanitizing my trashcans every night before bed. Then I suffered the mortification of having Alysia agree with the book! Apparently, this was something I should have known.

The more I think about this, the more I wonder, and the more questions I have. Since becoming a full-time Domestic Goddess (no laughing, you in the corner), I've been curious about what habits I should have and what techniques "should be" ingrained in me already. How does the other half live, or clean?

Thus, I present HomeWork, the domestic meme. Really, I'm not expecting it to be huge or anything; this is really for my own curiosity as much as anything else. So, Wednesdays, I'll have a question; you can answer in the comments or on your own blog and leave a link. Ready?

Whether you're the type who wipes down the counters after every use, the type who sanitizes the trashcans, or the type who lets the dog lick the plates, you might like Homework. Check it out.

House Ordinary ( in category Memes & Prompts , Random Thoughts ) - posted at Fri, 27 Feb, 14:35 Pacific | «e»