Aug 21, 2010

Rule #4: Cleanliness...It's Next to Godliness!

From the book:

"Make sure the house is spotless before he's due to arrive home . . . Your house should be sparkling by the time he sets foot in it!"
OK, they've really "gone to meddlin'" this time! My house is NOT spotless by the end of the day. Then they insinuate that is should be Sparkling? I'm not sure I've ever gotten to that level.

Then I remembered that I'm doing this series because I want to challenge myself. So, I will pick the book up out of the trash and reread this Rule and see if I can come to terms with it.

How can I do this? It certainly should be possible to do as I have only one child who's not little any more and I'm home all day. Of course, it's partly BECAUSE I have a child and I'm home all day that the house is not "sparkling!" We make messes, we eat, we do activities. Minor chaos ensues.

I decided to rise to the challenge, think a bit and I've come up with the following:
  • DECLUTTER. I have done a lot of this. I find that having surfaces relatively free of objects and everything having a set place makes cleanup FAR easier than it has ever been in the past.
  • Have an afternoon routine in place that involves said child so that things are returned to their places before we get to the supper prep.

Visually, doing the above removes the "unsightly" things. But what about the "sparkling" part? Attaining that means I'm going to have to bring out the big guns.

I determined that my husband walks into the living area and can see the dining room and kitchen from there. I will call those three rooms the "entry rooms." With that in mind, I will do the following to spiffy them up which will help me on my quest for "sparkling:"

  • Dust the entry rooms every day. (I'm feeling a bit faint.)
  • Run the vacuum in the traffic areas of the entry rooms every day. (Is it hot in here?)
  • Set the table before starting dinner. (I think my pulse is racing.)
  • Clear away the supper prep articles, leaving just the meal itself cooking. (Thunk. "Mama? Are you okay?")

My mind is reeling from what I just wrote (and from the face-plant to the floor.)

These tasks are not unreasonable things to do, but, really, are they necessary? No, I would say that they are NOT necessary. Would my husband even notice that things are cleared away and dusted? Cleared away and neat, yes, dusted, no.

SO, should I go the extra mile on this one? I've certainly gotten through 25 years of marriage without this extreme. But, is there a reason I shouldn't? Is it possible that it will add to our enjoyment of our home being a haven for all of us?

I think I'll "give it a go" and see.

Related Posts:

How all this started.
Rule 1: A Wife's Duty
Rule 5: A Happy Homecoming
Rule 3: Put Your Best Face Forward


Packrat said...

Roxanne, bluntness here again. Coming from a family where my grandmothers, mother, and aunts were super women, I can guarantee that these things are unreasonable. Why? Because to have the house sparkling when the husband walks in means that you (woman/women of the house) 1. become slaves to the home and the people in it and 2. become "harridans" until everyone is trained not to step out of line for one second. The child/children get(s) banished to another room. The animals no longer can come into the house. Any projects started have to be put away. ETC. ETC ETC.

Do you wish to live that way or do you wish to live and enjoy time with your child and spouse?

It isn't unreasonable to have the place "picked up", but ...

Sorry, but I personally think the book needs to stay in the trash.

Roxanne said...

Packrat--You are always welcome to be blunt!

I'm pretty sure I'm in no danger of going to the extreme. I tend to be a bit lazy!

I'm using the tips in this book to help me evaluate places where I can bring more peace and joy into our home. If something doesn't do that, it's OUT of there!

My husband in no way is requiring any of this from me. In fact, he doesn't know I'm even experimenting with these ideas! If I decide to do something and then chuck it because it's not working for me, he just goes with the flow.

Though the book is about making the husband happy (according to the title), I'm actually looking at it from the viewpoint of increasing my own happiness which will then flow to my dh and my ds.

I'm a LONG, LONG, LONG way from "sparkling" in the housekeeping department--believe me!

Please don't take what I'm writing about as a path to the extremism you had to experience. Take what's useful and fun for you and the rest is just so many words.

You're awesome! Thanks for feeling comfortable giving your opinions. I really do look forward to reading what you say.

If someone is in the same boat that you were, your words (and my responses) might help them to see a more balanced way to apply what's useful and ignore what's not.

K Quinn said...

Your side comments are cracking me up. My mother remembers her mother (grandmother) getting ready each day before my grandfather came home. My aunt just remembers my grandmother ironing. Said she ironed A LOT!

Roxanne said...

K Quinn--What side comments? (Ha!)

I just incorporated the 15 minutes of getting ready into my written schedule today. I'll see how it pans out this week in reality. I'm actually a little excited about taking the time to myself to "spiffy up."

The Extreme Sparkling(TM) tip has also been included in my schedule. You know what I discovered??? My 8yo can dust and vacuum the entry areas and set the table while I tidy up the kitchen! That means that I'm adding only, like 4 minutes to my efforts.

I am looking forward to seeing how this works out over the next couple of weeks. I know it will be good for Son as it gives him an opportunity to contribute to the pleasantness of home. It will be good for me as it will feel like things are in order with very little effort.

It will be good for husband because we home folks will be in a more "welcoming" mood when he arrives.


Anonymous said...

Sparkling? Home?! Pass me the smelling salts.

I love to have a clean, clutter free home; but I'm with you; I don't know that it's ever seen sparkling. Frankly, it doesn't see neat and clean as much as it should, so my goal here would be to work on having things neat and clean when hubby comes home.

Schedule-wise this should be super easy for me to do because after I get home from work I usually have between 3-4 hours before he comes home from work.

Every day I tell myself I'm going to pick one or two small areas and get them all back in order and cleaned up. But I always seem to get sidetracked with a million little things.

This week I think I will tell myself those little things can wait 10 or 15 minutes while I neaten up our few "key areas" which are the kitchen floor, mudroom floor, the kitchen table and countertop. None of these things take much time at all and the floors actually only need attention every 2 or 3 days.

weenie_elise said...

okay, clearing the supper prep dishes whilst you go is actually something my husband taught me - he learned it when he worked at McDonald's - use it, clean it, put it away... which actually can apply to most things and is very sensible.

the other thing i try to do "before he gets home" is just tidy away all the things lying around so it looks and feels clean, even if it isn't quite

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