But I’m Not a Housewife!

Domestic Bliss, Eventually

Archive for House Cleaning

The State of My Kitchen Today

 Okay, here we go. I went back and forth for quite a while about whether I could bear to actually post pictures of my dirty house. But then I read this paragraph by Rebecca Blood in The Weblog Handbook:

Weblogs Build Self-Awareness

It is impossible to write down your thoughts every day without noticing what you are thinking.

A blogger who complains weekly that she is tired of her job will begin, eventually, to enumerate the particular circumstances that make her so miserable. Writing the same thing over and over, she will confront the problems she is not addressing and be moved to make a change. Looking back, she will find a recorded, however informal, of the progress of her life.

And I realized, that’s exactly why I started this blog in the first place. To become more aware of my cleaning problem and to make changes. After all I stated in Day One that this was a self-intervention. Well interventions cause you to face your demons truthfully and to allow others to see them too. And the final reason: What do we blog readers often value about blogs? Honesty!

So here we go – My Kitchen!

Not so terrible at first sight, I think.

And now, a closer up of the sink (I’m not ready yet for full zoom). So full to the brim with dishes that we can’t even reach the faucet. The towels hanging willy-nilly from the cupboard and the oven are so not clean and fresh. That white thing is an up-turned colander in the the too-tiny dish drainer that we erroneously bought because our counter is so small. Next to it is the food processor, which doesn’t really fit in the cupboard. There are dirty pans on the stove, and you don’t even want to see the surface of it up close. I promise you.

Next, Let’s take a closer look at that little table that serves as counter space in our cute but tiny little Victorian house:

Dirty coffee cups, the paper towel roll which has no home, an empty can of soda and two empty bottles of beer. Several used coffee mugs. The Tupperware container from lunch. A bag of coffee, Nutella, peanut butter, bread, and a plate and spoon from my husbands breakfasts throughout the week. A bottle opener. Packets of soy sauce from the take-out the night before. And some dirty towels.


And in the final photo you can see our espresso machine is perched on top of the toaster oven for lack of a better place. It used to rest on those two collapsing boxes full of dishes that we have no room for that have been sitting there since we moved in because they served as counter space. On top is a wooden bread bowl that used to sit atop the toaster oven until making espresso became to difficult when the boxes started sagging.

After deciding to post these photos, I read Joy in housework? on MetaFilter. It was excellent and made me laught because that’s precisely my problem right now. I hate, dread, and fear housework. I don’t know how to do it right/well and hence, I find it incredibly overwhelming.

One of the respondents to the query posted this:

Certain behaviours can encourage more mess. Don’t put dirty crockery into the sink, it means that the sink is now mostly unavailable for other washing, and that pot you may have rinsed out now sits to the side and goes unwashed. posted by tomble at 8:00 PM on October 23, 2006

How true! Just look at my sink!

The funny thing is, I am pretty sure that I will clean up this mess tomorrow after having catalogued it in this way. I won’t clean it perfectly, but I’ll take a stab at it.


Mentors for Homemakers?!

I didn’t learn much from my mom about how to keep a home. She was a single mom working as a teacher and putting herself through graduate school, so she can’t be blamed for having her plate full. We also lived too far from extended family to gather much for the holidays. I don’t think my mom ever made a turkey and stuffing (but I did learn to make killer pumpkin pie from her). And to top it off, she suffers from Depression and as I’ve mentioned before, she is a compulsive hoarder

Here’s an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on Compulsive Hoarding:

Compulsive hoarding (or pathological hoarding) is the acquisition of, and failure to use or discard, such a large number of seemingly useless possessions that it causes significant clutter and impairment to basic living activities such as mobility, cooking, cleaning, showering or sleeping.


  • living spaces sufficiently cluttered so as to preclude activities for which those spaces were designed
  • significant distress or impairment in functioning caused by the hoarding (for all family members as well).
  • And from the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation website:

    Living spaces sufficiently cluttered so as to preclude activities for which those spaces were originally designed. Obviously, with many items coming into the home and very few going out, the clutter will accumulate. It does not take long for the clutter to spread onto the floors, counter tops, hallways, stairwells, garage, and cars. Beds become so cluttered that there is no room to sleep. Chairs become buried under clutter, so there is nowhere to sit. Kitchen counters become so cluttered that food cannot be prepared. For many hoarders, it gets to a point where there might be only a narrow pathway that connects each room, and the rest of the house is piled several feet high with clutter. It becomes impossible to use many areas of the house for their original purpose.

    So you can see how difficult it is to maintain normal housekeeping practices in that environment. My mother wasn’t a slob and we didn’t live in abject squalor, but there was no such thing as a regular routine and I’ve developed a fear of housework that extends beyond vacuuming, sweeping, basic laundry, some ironing and dish washing.

    Mopping? Toilet scrubbing? Shower and bath cleaning? Gag me!

    Counter-tops, stove-tops, dust bunnies, the depths of the refrigerator…. and clutter, clutter, clutter! The list of things I avoid cleaning as long as possible is nearly endless.

    But above all, I’m most deficient in home cooking. Or any kind of cooking.

    I plan to master all of these skills in the coming year. 

    Enter The Homemaker’s Mentor. Here, Mrs. Martha Greene and Mrs. Rebekah Wilson, who are both homemakers, mothers, and authors, offer cheap and “helpful lessons to inspire you and expand your homemaking skills.” I could kiss them!

    Unfortunately, my purse strings are a little too tight to pay even the small amount that they charge for something that I can get for free. They do, however, offer some free sample lessons, such as how to bake the perfect pie and laundry, so I’ll update you on how I like those when I read through and try them.

    And check out their Curricula for 2008:

  • Deep Cleaning the Master Bedroom
  • Sew Simple Curtains
  • Growing an Indoor Herb Garden
  • Children’s Clothing – Storage & Solutions
  • Dried Beans & More Beans! 
  • Sew an Apron
  • Family Home Cooked Meals
  • Well Stocked Medicine Cabinet
  • Crocheted Lace Edgings
  • Canning Blackberry Jam
  • A Sparkling Kitchen – Part One and Two
  • Really GOOD Home-Canned Pickles!
  • Long Term Food Storage & Emergency Preparedness
  • Pantry Principles – Organizing and Stocking
  • Sweet Dreams! ~ Homemade Pillowcases
  • Perfect PIES!
  • Laundry Part One
    Laundry Part Two
  • My kitchen – A Restaurant?
  • Apples~Apples and How to Use them All
  • Gingham Embroidery
  • Sew Simple Skirts for Mommies & Girls
  • Making a Memory Quilt
  • In a Stew! A Hearty Farm-House Meal
  • Rebekah’s Revolving Chore Chart for Children
  • Mother’s Master List of Home Duties
  • Lot’s of fun stuff there.

    See! I told you this learning to keep a house business would be fun!

    Day One

    I’m staging an intervention for myself. I’ve just turned 30 and I’m still so domestically challenged that I often just give up. I’m one of those leave it for weeks until the in-laws are coming types of people.

    And I don’t want to be like this anymore.

    Who isn’t happier when she has a clean, fresh home?

    My husband and I don’t own a home yet and we don’t yet have children. We plan to change both of those things within the next 5 years. I’m lucky to have a husband who enjoys cooking – when I’m trying my darnedest to learn to enjoy it. I want to give back to my family.

    And one more thing: I am the child of a compulsive hoarder. You may have seen the episodes about this phenomenon on Oprah. It’s just as bad as it looks. Thus, I have my work cut out for me!

    I want to learn to keep my house clean, fresh, inviting, and cozy.

    I’m 30 years old and I vow to change my domestic ways.

    It is obvious to me that if I can do this anyone can!

    So join me on my journey. Offer me encouragement. Ask me to post photos of my house so that I am accountable. Learn from my mistakes and share your best tips with me.

    As I turn over a new leaf, I vow to make journey more fun than chore – if that is even possible!