It’s a Spectrum of Order


houseworkThe home I lived in for most of my childhood years was not just messy, it was disaster-messy. My mother didn’t care much for doing dishes, washing clothes or anything that would resemble houseWORK. Sheets didn’t make it on my bed, bugs aligned widow sills, and even clean clothes were left in piles to wrinkle and swallow even more socks than the washer and dryer did. I grew up to be very different from her; my house is clean. What I call “Showcase Clean”. Come on over anytime, you will never hear me apologize, not even when I had two small children, worked part-time and went to college full-time. My children never had to experience embarrassment when a friend was over, or a beau stopped by. For years I was a bit obsessed about how my home looked. I couldn’t relax if something was out of place. I backed out of rooms, checking them, perusing each inch: I was NOT going to be my mother!

My brother’s home is cleaner than mine. He has bought and sold several homes in his life and I swear they look brand new even after ten years of family life. Yep, we both rebelled!

How one keeps a home reveals something about the person; for example, if a person hires a housekeeper and does nothing in-between they are rich… and they may hate housework as much as my POOR mother. Total refusal to pick up is a housework-hater!

I have found that there are six major types of housekeepers on the housekeeping spectrum. Where do you fall? It could be somewhere in-between!

1. 100% Perfection: This person keeps their home clean with  everything in its place. Drawers are labelled, pantries are alphabetized, closets are color-coded and systematically arranged. They are referred to by their “friends” as having OCD, but I promise you, that unless they are counting and/or performing pattern rituals to keep themselves from entering the seventh circle of hell, they are nothing more than neat freaks and the OCD comments are meant to sting them and soothe the sayer!

2. Showcase: 10o% perfection everywhere BUT closets, drawers and under beds. Kitchen cabinets are meant to be kept closed. Some showcase housekeepers secretly wish they could rise to 100% perfection, but they need to lighten up on themselves. The one problem they have is those drawers do need cleaning out once a year or so, but doggone it, the base boards shine!

3. In the Middle: This is the “lived-in” look. The home is clean, stuff is out but placed. It isn’t perfect but the home is clean enough and straightened up enough for any visitor. In the Middle people are calm; relaxed more accepting of their surroundings. On the negative side, some of the Middles are the ones who use those OCD comments, or the “I have a life outside of labeling my drawers” comments. Remember, this is a spectrum, the higher level of In the Middle are wonderful go-to kind of people! The couch was chosen for comfy, not looks!

4. Call Before you Come: These housekeepers have warned everyone they know could stop by to CALL FIRST! They can clean up their entire home in 30 minutes of whirlwind activity. If you show up unannounced, expect to visit on the porch- call before you come is an order…do not break it! These keepers are sometimes harried: On the go, non-stop activity that just may not have an organized direction until they are forced, like the phone call from a friend or mother-in-law saying they would like to stop by!

5. Mess with no Regrets: Most teenagers fall in this catagory. The house is a mess and if you stop by you may need to push papers aside to sit on the couch. Not once will you hear, “Sorry I need to clean” or “I apologize for the mess, I have just been so busy!” Those statements belong to Call Before you Come! Mess with no Regrets could care less. 100% perfection could NEVER stay the night (comfortably) in this home, but guess what? Yeah, you got it, Mess with no Regrets could care less!

6. The Hoarder: The end of the spectrum. Mess with no Regrets will look to the hoarder to feel they are a-okay! Many of us have seen the show about hoarders; sad and dangerous. My mother was somewhere between numbers 5 and 6.

Housekeeping is like personality. It is something that is hard to change. Teenagers who waller in the mess grow up, and since their brains are still forming they are not bound by a style until they settle. Parents can then sit back and watch it unfold.I was super-surprised when my youngest became Showcase as she was more like my mom at 16!

Personally, I wish I could hire a housekeeper, but the few times I did, I cleaned up after them, so it was pointless. Maybe I hired “In the Middles” both times?

Next up: How do you keep your hotel room? That is another day! I have to go clean some windowsills!

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