Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.



Once upon a time, I bought the Better Homes and Gardens book Making a Home (subtitled Housekeeping for Real Life) because I've never been a homeowner before and I wanted to make sure I was educated about what kinds of things (maintenance, cleaning, upkeep) a homeowner needed to attend to in order to keep their home well maintained. It's the kind of book that encourages you to make several cleaning lists (daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal!) that includes in your ideal "to do" list items like Monthly: Clean oven and refrigerator; sanitize refrigerator drip pan.

Their Spring Cleaning section lists a number of chores that without a book I never would have thought to undertake: Have pillows professionally cleaned, wash or dry clean rugs, dust or wash window blinds, wipe out cabinets and install fresh shelf paper, vacuum cooling coils under or behind refrigerator, wash windows inside and out (including storm windows and screens), flip and rotate mattresses...

I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing these kinds of chores done. Unfortunately for me, I just don't have time to do them. I've often thought I would actually enjoy being able to manage my house full time; I would hate to be a housekeeper for someone else ("Oh my god, that lazy Nicole failed to dust the top of the refrigerator again!") but to be in a position to do for myself? My little project manager heart does a flip to imagine being able to schedule carpet cleaning, to know that I've rotated the mattresses and changed the sheets, that my gutters are clean, my garage swept, my light fixtures free of dust and dead insects.

Of course, you would never know that I harbor these fantasies to actually look at my house. I've never actually changed the air filter in the stove vent, or replaced the water filter in the fridge. I'm far more likely to be checking the Green Ronin message boards or working on some company-related project than freshening my linens or contact papering my cupboards. I can't remember the last time the kitchen floor received more than a cursory Swiffering. It's a pretty good weekend when I can get a couple of loads of laundry washed/dried/folded/put away, dishes done, recycling taken care of, and the living room vacuumed.

This weekend, for the first time in ages, I wasn't traveling, sick, or just plain weary. I finally removed several large boxes filled with packing peanuts from a corner of the living room, finally put away the boxes of Christmas decorations in the attic space of the garage, and basically started paying attention to the house around me more than making sure the family has clean clothes, clean dishes and food in the fridge. As long as I'm working full time, the only driver in the household, taking care of all school- and Kate-related duties, I'm never going to fulfill my desire of running my household with precision. However now that spring is practically upon us, I look forward to shaking off some of the winter funk that has settled around us while I wasn't looking.

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Blogger DariDonovan Says:

I'll be honest here, if a person did ALL the things the books and magazines suggested, you would be cleaning 24 hours a day, lol. You would never get to eat, sleep, etc. When I was much younger I use to think I had to do all those things to be a good housekeeper. It took me about a month to realize it was insane to think any one person could keep up with all that. So now, I divide those "extra" chores in a way that I still have some energy. I do some every season but never all of them too close together. Good luck!

Blogger Nikchick Says:

It's certainly true that once person could never sanely accomplish the things laid out in this book! On the other hand, it does remind me that I should get around to changing the unseen filters in my household vents and appliances once every seven years or so, heh heh.

Blogger S. Camille Crawford Says:

Hi Nikchick,

That was a funny read... because last year I didn't take my Christmas decorations to the storage locker until July! LOL... I get about as much done as you do, and similarly, I would love to have a sparkling clean house at all times, but I too prefer posting comments or surfing stumbldom to following lists of chores. I guess I'm just terrible at Getting Things Done!

Enjoyed finding your blog. Thanks!



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