Sunday, November 15, 2009

Counter bad habits with good ones for a tidier house...

As I'm typing this, I'm watching 'How Clean is your House?'. I know I've mentioned the show before, but I think there is allot to be learned from these shows to show how quickly a house can get so out of control that it poses a health threat. Not that a bit of dirt is dangerous, but a buildup of dirt, dust and damp is. Most people who's houses are dirty say things like "I'm not unclean, I'm just untidy" or "I actually hate living in an unclean house" and "It's so bad I don't know where to start".


The problem ALWAYS starts with untidiness. Once the clutter takes over, the surfaces are unreachable and things need moving before you can clean, so things just don't get cleaned. You cannot clean an untidy house, and an untidy house is daunting! But can all these untidy people change? Untidiness is normally a result of bad habits, habits that people can't seem to change.
Photo from and episode of How Clean is your House

Regular readers of my blog will know that I have said before, I am not naturally tidy, at all... my bedroom as a child and my student flat both had at times, a floor covered in clothes/wet towels etc. So what has changed? Well, I haven't changed, I still have very bad habits, the difference now is I admit I have bad habits, and I've developed good habits to counter the bad habits. Yes, at times our house does get very untidy, especially when there's a bit of DIY decorating going on. I can sympathise with the above statements, but the secret to a clean house, really is being tidy and clutter-free. Let's be honest there is no such thing as a 'clean untidy house'. So what can be done? The solution lies in first identifying the bad habits.

Here's an example of how a chaotic house starts off.

Let's start with a clean slate and imagine I've just finished my spring cleaning and the house is perfect on a Sunday night. This is what happens.
1- Sunday night I go to bed, and leave my clothes from that day on the floor after I get into my pajamas.
2- The next morning Mr L has a shower, and leaves his towel on the bathroom floor.
3- When we get home Monday evening I leave my coat on the sofa, sit down with a cup of tea and kick my shoes off. Mr L gets home, and after dinner he too kicks his shoes off when he sits on the sofa, and takes his jumper off because the house is nice an warm.
4- Then we take the dog for a walk, and it's raining outside, so he treads through the house with his wet feet, and chews his post walk biscuit on the rug.


In only one day we have gone from a perfectly clean house, to a bathroom that has wet towel on the floor, a bedroom with clothes on the floor, a living room with a coat and a jumper on the sofas, 4 shoes on the rug (and probably their socks too) and muddy footprints along with biscuit crumbs on the rug. And this example doesn't even include the cooking in the kitchen, the toothpaste in the sink or the dog hairs on the sofa. Now imagine another five days like this passes, and you can imagine that you already have a house that feels out of control and daunting to clean. so how do we change this scenario? All it takes is a bit of time to remember to look around and see what needs doing. Here's how we can change the same scenario with the bad habits still in place.

1- Sunday night I go to bed, and leave my clothes from that day on the floor after I get into my pajamas. Just before I put the lights out, I fold my jeans that are were only worn once, and put my undies and top in the laundry basket.
2- The next morning Mr L has a shower, and leaves his towel on the bathroom floor,
I walk past and remind him nicely to hang it up and wipe the shower door down with the squeegee.
3- When we get home Monday evening I leave my coat on the sofa, sit down with a cup of tea and kick my shoes off. Mr L gets home, and after dinner he too kicks his shoes off when he sits on the sofa, and takes his jumper off because the house is nice an warm.
4- Then we take the dog for a walk, and it's raining outside, so
I put a doggy towel at the front door to wipe his feet on. The dog then chews his post-walk biscuit on the rug. Before our favourite program starts, I set my timer for 5 minutes in which time I tidy away anything that doesn't belong in the lounge, and do a quick vacuum of the rug whilst Mr L unpacks the dishwasher in the kitchen so that we can use it the next morning.
Taking time to look at what is out of place, is a great way to start cleaning. so stop feeling guilty for the bad habits, and don't get mad at your partner for theirs either. Some bad habits are so ingrained that you're better off developing a new good habit than trying to un-learn a bad habit. With your good habit in place (give it time, actions take between 20-30 days to become a real habit) without realising it you might unknowingly stop the bad habit, and if you don't, oh well, you know you'll do something about it. And once your house is tidy, well then the surfaces are quick and easy to clean, and the vacuum cleaner can glide over the rug without the risk of getting a sock stuck in it.

Have you got any bad habits you'd like to confess?

Have a great weekend!
x

6 comments:

Steph said...

it all does tend to get on top of you so quickly. i suffer from this problem, especially living on my own. if i leave something out that makes a bit of mess, who is there to see it?! well, i've spent the best part of the weekend trying sort things out at home. it feels SO much better once it is tidy and organised but i know it won't last!!

Florence and Mary said...

This post certainly makes sense!

Watching Kim and Aggie at work makes you realise how bad some people are - I just couldn't imagine it!

I think my worst habit is leaving cups of tea around my bedroom!

Victoria xx

Susan S. said...

Hey there...just popped in and am enjoying reading your blog. Althoug I don't have a spouse or room-mate....if I don't pick up after myself right away, things get unorganized.
My lesson learned....don't throw everything in a cupboard, closet or drawer...eventually that storage place will overflow and then you've got another problem on your hands. Happy Fall Ya'll from Houston, Texas!

A Decluttered Life said...

Hi love the post. My hubby always says to me that he knows what I have done in a day as I leave a trail!. I wasnt aware I did!. Sometimes I put things away other times I dont. I must say since i have decluttered its easier to keep tidy.
Sounds like you are some good ideas
x Dom

Mamma Lalla said...

I love this!!! Baie dinge het verander my ou dogtertjie....waar is Hanri wat gese het "if you don't like my room, close the door and then won't see it". Maar goeie raad!!
Liefde xx

Laura said...

I can't watch Kim and Aggie because it is so disgusting. Imagine letting your home get that bad?!
Yuk. We all have bad habit but still....yuk!
Anyway I love your blog, I will stop by again to read more of your tips.

Thanks
Laura x

A note on perfection

Many of the posts featured on this blog are about doing household chores the correct, or so to say perfect way. My intention is not to make readers feel that the way they are running their households are wrong. So if making the bed, or ironing shirts in a certain way doesn't fit your lifestyle, do not feel guilty about it. But by learning the correct way of doing things it might just come in handy for those times when special guests are staying, or when you need to iron that shirt perfectly for a job interview. So enjoy the learning, but skip the guilt and LOVE your homes. x

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