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This is, like, not exactly news to those who know me. OTOH…I hate a dirty house. I hate chaos around me. I have a fairly sensitive nose and I hate stinky stuff.

I’ve struggled for years to figure why I hate it so much when I love the result so much…and have finally realized: housework requires the ability to make decisions fast of what to keep, what to throw away, where to put it…in other words…my greatest weaknesses. I have trouble making a decision what to order at a restaurant. To have a “place” for something requires categorizing it…and all too often “categories” for me overlap. A “logical spot” for something one day isn’t necessarily a “logical spot” for me another day.

In order to get rid of something, you have to determine it’s no longer useful. That’s…hard for me. One of my most developed skills is recognizing possibilities. That’s kinda part of being a writer of complex stories. It’s too easy for me to see how to put weird stuff together to make something useful or maybe just cool. What ifs are WAY too easy to imagine.

Carolyn has a similar way of seeing the world, which means we tend to get stalled out shedding stuff over and over and it gets harder and harder to do that simple pull out the vacuum or broom or duster, clean and be done with it.

The question now is…can I translate this newly realized causality into the ability to close my eyes and just toss it out?

I sure hope so.

Happy late Halloween, everyone.

16 comments to Sigh….I HATE HOUSEWORK!

  • Walt

    I suspect I’m far worse than you, Jane, despite spending an afternoon amongst busy movers chanting to my dear mother, “Don’t remember. Don’t think. Don’t sort. Just pack!” (Decide on unpacking.)

    One of my own mental traps is, “A couple hundred years ago, this would have been beyond human manufacture, and if it appeared, it would have become a family heirloom.” Like perfect glass bottles. Modern window glass and plastic bottles originated in the 1950s. How can one throw away such a fantastic object?

    Somehow it’s always easier coming up with ideas for problems presented by other people. So, here’s my idea: have a trash can, a donate bin, a cardboard box, and a space on the floor. I assume the first two are obvious; they leave the house ASAP. The space on the floor is for things you will immediately put in use somewhere, even if just on display; on the floor so they get in the way until they’re moved to their new homes. The box gets filled with the not-sure stuff: don’t think, pack; when it’s full or you’re done, you seal it and label it with the month and year (and notes if you want); if you don’t open it in a year, it gets thrown out, or sorted between trash and donate.

    I think our fundamental problem is the same: we just have too much space. If we lived on a boat (or spacecraft) we wouldn’t have the room to let things get out of hand. “Oh, what a wonderful house. Look at all the storage!” One wonders what oddities get stuffed into the odd corners of a bulk freighter; I recall a Cowboy Bebop ep on that topic.

    Now to apply this to myself!

  • WOL

    I think you’re a pack rat just like I am. You can’t bear to part with something that might be useful. I might mention my idea of “critical mess.” You can tolerate messiness up to the point where you just have to clean it up/sort it out/put it up or it will drive you nuts. When it gets to that point, it has reached “critical mess.” Not everyone has the same “critical mess” threshold. For example, my threshold is much higher than my mom’s. I can tolerate a higher degree of dusty, cluttered, disordered than she can. Part of it too is I can think of many things I’d rather do with my time than clean.

    You told me once where to find Wishu’s measurements as in making him clothes, but I can’t seem to remember where I put it. I still have some hand spun yarn I want to make him a sweater out of.

  • chondrite

    Our ‘captain’s cabin’ a.k.a. the smallest bedroom, is filled to overflowing with things I’m keeping for a yard sale. I’ve been promising myself to have said sale for over a year now, and it’s coming up on the perfect time for one: close to the holidays, when sale mavens look for the perfect knickknack to regift. Will I be able to group my poop and have my sale before Thanksgiving, or at the least, Christmas? Tune in next week.

    • I’m officially giving up on the garage sale. I might try to sell a few things on ebay and wish I could find someone to sell my comics and some of the books because I know I’m never going to get that done. We can’t get the Closed Circle stuff mailed on a timely basis. Speaking of which…it’s coming!!!!!

  • My weakness is books. I have tons of books, even books from when I went to college 45 years ago, some of them are history books, and have withstood the tests of time and other writers. I did buy a large bookcase at an IKEA store last month and it was almost immediately filled upon completion of assembly. I’ll be getting another one in the near future, to supplement the one that’s already full. (I have one shelf dedicated to Carolyn’s books, and your books are on the top shelf)

    I also donate blood on a somewhat regular basis, so there are always t-shirts given to the donors, some of them are very nice, especially the long-sleeved ones, or the sweatshirts. So, I have a ton of them in the closets.

    Magazines, papers, etc., tend to clutter up and pile on the couch, making it difficult to find a place to sit, or for the cats to lie, and they fall on the floor all too easily. Fortunately, the city has gone to a new recycling system and I have a 65-gallon recycling bin that I can wheel out to the curb instead of the small bins that I had to hump out and were exposed to the weather and wind.

    Clothes that I no longer wear, intend to wear, or no longer fit me are another downfall. If I just lose another 20 pounds, I could wear these pants, or actually button the collar of that dress shirt. Never mind that my chest size has increased to a size 42, and that most of my dress shirts were in the size 40 range and are tight-fitting now. My suits, fortunately, still fit me, and there are always times when I’ll want them. The accessories, such as the shirts and ties, take up very little room, but the shirts need to be removed and either donated, or trashed, as they’re pretty well-used, especially the white shirts.

    My father just bought a new shredder yesterday to replace the one that they had, and he’s been busy getting rid of the mountain of papers in the upstairs bedroom where they were stored. I used to do that, until my shredder stopped working and I don’t particularly want to spend another $100 or so on a decent shredder.

    My garage is full of other things that need to go, as well, and I can actually pack those things up and take them to a charity and have them recycled. I’m always worried that I’ll “miss” those things, but it seems that whenever I get rid of a bunch of things that I think I’ll miss, I find that I don’t miss them.

    Now, SOME things do NOT get thrown away. My military memorabilia, such as my awards, my certificates, uniforms, medals, and my shadow box (a display case that contains my medals, ribbons, my various rank insignia, my duty stations, and a U.S. flag that was flown over the USS Chief) are all valuable to me and cannot be replaced and would be sorely missed if something were to happen.

    • I’m really about ready to put on a blindfold and start putting books in boxes and taking them to the library. If I really want them someday, I can probably find them as an ebook. I have so many I’ve never read and every time I go through them it’s like…I really kinda do want to read this…but slow as I am, even if I began reading right now and didn’t stop for twenty years, I’d never get them read. And I really don’t want to spend the rest of my life reading. I want to MAKE things! 😀

      Clothes…oh, gawd, yes. When I got down to a happy size back when we were skating regularly and right before menopause, I bought myself quite a few things that I love. For the last several years, it’s been “I’ll give myself one more year…” then something comes up and I can’t concentrate on my eating and exercise the way I have to to shed this weight. But getting rid of them is kinda like saying I’ve given up and I refuse to do that! 😀

      Photos, artwork…all needs scanning. Tons of it. Videos need to be turned into dvd. Records converted. To do that, tho, I need to get rid of the stuff that’s just toss or donate. I don’t know why that’s so darned difficult! Computer parts, plumbing parts, electrical…We need to finish the house so I know what to ditch. ARGH!!!!!

      And some things, like your military treasures, just need to be given their proper place.

      Sheesh…I know what I need to do…I just don’t like the doing! 😀

  • ready4more

    I think you’ve nailed the hate of housework on the head. Michael and I are the same way and we have the space to really reach a highly “successful” amount of clutter. I’m depressed that the house has gotten so far out of control, but don’t have the energy to tackle the job of decluttering by myself. Michael doesn’t see the clutter and isn’t bothered by it so the house remains a horror.

    • I think that’s a huge part of the problem. Once it begins to get out of control…the sheer quantity of decisions becomes overwhelming and it’s so easy to just bury yourself in some project or work or whatever…then you have to find something, which means digging amongst the piles, or you don’t get some tool put away properly, triggering a whereizzit that turns things upside down even more. You have my extreme sympathy.

      • BTW, I sent you a link to the guitar I bought myself for Christmas. It arrived this morning, I’ve been playing it this evening and maybe my teacher will give me some more tips on how to play when I see her on Wednesday. I still play my other guitar (the one I brought with me this past summer and last year) and am taking lessons from another teacher for that style of music. The new one is a classical guitar, and yes, it’s a challenge. (I guess I should be thankful it’s not a baliset…..)

        I have a recital coming up this Sunday afternoon, where I’ll be part of an ensemble, not a soloist (yet).

  • Hanneke

    I have been extremely lucky for a little while, when my very nice neighbor lady lost her retail job and didn’t want to immediately find a new one, as she’d just had their second baby. She offered to help me get a grip on some of the mess that had been out of hand for years, that I just didn’t have the energy to start to get sorted: old paperwork, old hobby materials and tools, and the attic; in return for some help babysitting when needed, which I’d have done anyway as those are two very nice kids, and cute too.
    Working on it together was very encouraging, and gave me the impetus to get the workroom sorted enough so I can use it to work in again (instead of using the dining table because the workroom was too full of mess, the table buried under a foot of stuff).
    Alas for me, she was soon asked for a new job, and my new impetus didn’t last long enough to finish the workroom, and we didn’t even start on the attic. At least the rest of the house is OK, and I hope to tackle the remaining sorting in the workroom in little bits when I have some time and energy.
    It seems we can all commiserate on this!

  • mmberry

    At some point we have to decide it is next year. The questions I find necessary to ask myself are: does it flatter? Do I still like the length. Styles change. Is it still in style? Does it make me happy or it it just another long sleeved t-shirt I can replace for under $15? Do I have an emotional connection with this item? That’s the hardest. It should also be the smallest category.

    I lost 30 lbs this year. Do I regret parting with some stuff last year? One or two items, but overall, no. I found some jeans that should fit when I get more exercise. I honestly forgot I had them. I’ll hold my fat jeans for a year and then find them a new home. I want to be sure I won’t gain the weight back. Plus Petite, relaxed fit jeans are hard to find. I can fit into those old jeans I found in the basement, I just can’t quite button them.

    I’ve got a couple of vests that I will decide on whether or not to keep depending on if I wear them this Winter.

    While the tech was checking my furnace yesterday I went through some old books and brought an armload upstairs to donate. The furnace has died of old age and will be replaced Monday. I will spend time going through more stuff seeing what I can part with.

    Sometimes I have to go through the same stuff three times. Each time it reduces. Yarn is one of my addictions. I am about to pass on to someone some that I either dislike or will never use. I have some small leftover balls of yarn have too much cat hair,that I can’t give to a teacher; but I can use them in a striped, knitted hat. Once the hat is finished, it can be washed to remove the cat dander. Some kid will get a warm hat or scarf next winter. If it is large enough, it can be crocheted into a scarf.

    Don’t try to spend an entire day on de-cluttering. According to Don Aslet, the author of CLUTTER’S LAST STAND, no more than two hours at a time.

  • Walt

    Anent (I think I got that word from CJ, and I’m trying to burn it into my mind) all the assorted financial stuff we have to do yearly or oftener, my tax acc’t is kind of old school, cash and checks. I may have interested him when I commented, some months ago, that I would just schedule a 4th quarter estimated tax check back then for the end of the year (I get a lump sum from an inherited IRA that throws off tax calculations). Just in the last hour, I paid my DMV renewal by credit card, looked up my property tax, and scheduled checks to be sent for the two payments in December and April–all by computer. Now if I could just get my last non-automatic stuff automated….

    On a more interesting front, I think you will like this, Jane, and perhaps most here:

    I can only imagine the effect on your garden!

  • mmberry

    I have heat! Oh Lord the stuff I found and trashed while they worked! Some items I have looked at for a few years went out the door to the junk pick-up. Each and every baby step helps.

    I fully agree when it hits overwhelming, all I want to do is walk away. I just wish you all could have seen me trying to move a 39″ wide recliner through a 36″ doorway. I finally laid it on a side and got it through the door and it fell down the steps. Two neighborhood kids volunteered to carry it to the street. That chair has not been sat in for 14 years. It was collecting all sorts of clutter.

    One friend does a happy dance when she gets a space empty. Some days it is horribly hard to make the decisions and other days, it is so easy. If something can be made into a ___. Ok, do it, or give the supplies to a teacher. I untangled yarn this weekend with a pair of scissors. Those small bits will be included in my next knitted hat. Someone needs a winter hat.

  • I’m sure you’re doubly in hatred of housework after 7-1/2 days without power, and a floor that’s concave when it should be level, and a few other things to drive you crazy, plus making sure CJ gets where she needs to go until the cataract is removed.

  • ready4more

    Michael and I have cleaned two (storage/bed) rooms! It was a necessity, because my son and his girlfriend are coming for some R&R. #1Son’s girlfriend just had major surgery and will be recuperating here for a while. I wanted to have an inviting space available for them and their furkids. So #1Son’s boyhood bedroom has become an adult space and all the old pillows have been donated to a nest for two puppies (Oppenheimer and Faraday). I’ve been working on puppy proofing the yard and the rooms (living room, kitchen, dining room, library, and master bedroom, plus bathrooms) where they will have free access. Now I need to work on gifts and puppy proof decorations as well. We’ll be really crazy here with three dogs, a kitteh, and four adults (with visits by #1Daughter who will be back in town for the holiday as well). I’m hoping to get the man-cave (aka den/game room) straightened as well, but since cat-cave is in the den, we may have to designate this as a non-canine zone so that Halloween kitteh has a safe refuge. Halloween kitteh can probably put them all in their places. She certainly has cowed Pepper-mutt who will not enter the den even on a leash with a treat offered, but two rambunctious puppies may be a bridge too far. I have about five productive days to do all this before their arrival as I am having a medical procedure next Tuesday that will slow me down for a couple of days. Anyway, I hope your floor laying proceeds at a manageable pace. Let us know if more holiday donations will assist in getting heap-big strong backs to move the tanks and heavy furniture.

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