Keeping the House Clean

When I retired, I told people I’d finally be able to keep my house clean. (I also said I’d be exercising more. 😲) I was so wrong – about both!! Why did I think I’d like housecleaning any more now than I did when I was working? Some things just don’t change.

I’m generally a neat person. I don’t like clutter (don’t check my office/sewing/crafting room) so even if my house isn’t spic and span, it’s at least presentable. And Tim’s pretty neat as well.


Today, I did some cleaning. It was the last thing I wanted to do, but how long can I put it off? I focused on the bathrooms and the upstairs floor. You know, the stuff that tends to get the dirtiest – and shows it.

I didn’t by any means stretch myself but it felt torturous. All I could think about were all the other things I’d rather be doing with my time. It’s almost 3:00 right now, and I just got out of the shower. Not my favorite kind of day.

Sure, I spent some time on my iPad and I’ve had tennis on since I got up. But I also walked two miles outside and then tackled the cleaning. I’ve been thinking about what to write all day and since this was weighing on my mind, it seemed like the perfect time. Maybe I’m just in a bad mood today?

The everyday stuff

It’s bad enough that I have things to do every day. Make the bed, wash dishes, straighten up, empty the dishwasher, water the outside plants this time of year. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but it does keep me from getting to the things I love to do the most. Plus, it seems like the same old thing all the time.

I worked with someone years ago who once said she hated washing dishes because she was just washing the same ones over and over. I know how she felt!! There was one week when I swear I washed the same skillet every day. Ugh!!

I like having a clean house. There’s the rub. To have a clean house requires effort. And how clean is clean? I’m sure my house wouldn’t pass my mom’s clean test. But I also know it isn’t filthy.

I could be cleaning something every day. If I was doing a great job, I would be. I’d be tackling those deep cleaning jobs with ease. It’s just not calling to me.

The bigger jobs

A few weeks ago, I did try to take care of one of those jobs – the oven. Tell me how a self cleaning oven doesn’t get clean? (That’s another blog for another day.) Anyway, I worked my butt off, using a non-chemical approach, and accomplished next to nothing. The bottom of the oven looks great, but the sides are still bad. How does the oven get that way?

Not only is there inside stuff to clean but plenty to do outside as well. The windows should be washed. I’ve been trying to clean the sliding glass doors for weeks now, but the rain won’t stop so I haven’t bothered. I should sweep the front porch at least once a week, as well as the deck. I need to pull weeds daily.

A cleaning strategy?

Some might say, clean a little bit each day. That sounds good in theory but if I’m going to get hot and sweaty, I want to do it all in one day.

I do all the laundry on Tuesdays. I actually don’t mind doing laundry. I can do other things at the same time. Plus, Tim’s idea of doing laundry is putting things in the washer and then forgetting about them!!

I should think of house cleaning as exercise, right? Well, as you know from this post, exercise isn’t my favorite thing either. I think I’ve figured out what it is. I don’t like getting hot and sweaty!! Some people say it makes them feel so good. Uh, uh. Not me.

Like today. I’m still hot from my shower. It was impossible to cool down. I don’t call that a refreshing shower at all. But I digress.

I’ve been intending to keep a cleaning log, so I know how long it’s been since I’ve done a certain task. I’m almost afraid to know!! I was thinking it might motivate me if I knew it had been three months since I cleaned out the fridge. And I’m talking deep clean here, so don’t judge me!!


The other problem is living with a cat, although we can tell a difference since we went from two to one. Evidently, Mickey was the one who got cat litter stuck in his paws because we haven’t seen that around lately.

Brutus can’t help that he gets white hair everywhere, especially this time of year. And I know I don’t help much because I like to pet him which only makes it worse.

I have to admit, I shed almost as much as Brutus. I have lots of hair and I lose lots of hair every day. So, I can’t completely blame Brutus, right Tim?

Last summer, we got an iRobot (we named him Buster) that works great at picking up hair. It’s amazing, and almost embarrassing, how much it picks up. I should run it every day. But I don’t.

Brutus doesn’t like it and in order for it to do a good job, I have to pick up everything, including chairs, that are on the floor and close the doors of the rooms we don’t want it to vacuum. It’s almost easier to just run the vacuum myself. We should run it every evening after dinner, when we all go downstairs anyway.

It never ends

I tell myself I didn’t retire to clean all day. I’m hoping it will be easier once Tim retires. Some of the bigger jobs are easier and quicker when two people are working on them.

But the need to clean will never end. I can’t even think about hiring someone to do it. That just seems silly, since I have the time. However, it’s clearly not how I want to spend that time.

I think it would be easier if I didn’t feel guilty about it. Like when Tim gets out the vacuum. Why do I feel guilty? He lives here too. But I do. It’s as if I’ve failed.

Or when I clean and he notices the one thing I didn’t do? That really gets to me.

Tim thinks I’m a messy cook. Actually, I’m not. I clean as I go. But chopping and working with various ingredients can mean a few things hit the floor. Who cares if I’m a little messy. At least I’m cooking!!

I think I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to this. Tim has never said anything that should make me feel bad. In fact, he’s so good about saying, there’s always tomorrow!!

Our home is comfortable

I choose to think our home feels “lived in”, as in comfortable. It isn’t one where you’re afraid to sit or do anything because it’s too perfect. I never want anyone to come here and not feel at home.

Our house may not be the cleanest in the world, but it’s a nice place to be. I just have to accept that it will never be spotless. And not feel guilty about it.

How about you? Are you a clean freak or more like me?

15 thoughts on “Keeping the House Clean”

  1. Living with a packrat makes keeping clutter free a challenge! I’ve given up on that dream of a clutter free home. I am not one to worry about cleaning. But I did find the easiest way to clean windows! Norwex clothes -the purple window cloth is amazing! I only use water, wet the gray cloth, rub the window down and polish with the purple cloth – easy! No streaks, no windex! And no, I don’t sell Norwex- just a satisfied customer, I guess!

    1. I have some of those Norwex cloths but always forget about them. I will give them a try because who doesn’t want easy???

  2. I try to keep our “public” areas as neat as I can but our offices are pretty messy and the master bedroom isn’t always picked up. And, you know what? That’s just fine. I always prefer a neat/clean/clutter-free house, but how realistic is that, considering there are other, more interesting things to do? I’ve have also thought about creating a cleaning schedule, but it never lasts beyond a day or two. I don’t think either of us will be on our death beds regretting the time we didn’t spend cleaning.

    Btw, I’ve tried to subscribe to your blog by email a few times, but it doesn’t seem to work. I keep getting a message saying “Oops.. Unexpected error occurred” when I submit my contact info.

    1. I know I won’t regret it on my deathbed!! As long as my house is neat and reasonably clean, I’m happy.

      I’ll see what I can find out about subscribing. I’ve had other recent subscribers so I wonder what’s going on. Thanks for letting me know!!

    2. Janis – Try subscribing again. I deleted and then added the widget back so maybe it will work now. I tested it and it worked for me. If you still have trouble, email me at [email protected] and I’ll add you to the list myself.

  3. When we downsized, I let go of the cleaning ladies. It’s a smaller house, only 2 bathrooms (instead of 5… yes 5), mostly wood floors. So I cannot complain, as I am choosing to do the cleaning. I am not a clean freak at all. In fact, I’ve only done a deep clean of the fridge twice in 5 years. I didn’t realize it was something to d regularly! And windows… once every other year. Luckily hubby shares doing dishes, and does most of the laundry in fact! I know – he’s a marvel.

    1. It will be interesting to see how much my husband picks up once he retires. I may have to assign him a few things!! I have no idea how often one should deep clean their fridge. My philosophy is, do it when you can’t stand it any longer!! Is that bad???

  4. I have a sneaky fear that I will become like my mother as she aged–sublime y uninterested in the state of the house. Having the occasional AirBnB guest motivates me! I’m sure u your home is just right.

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence!! I tend to need a special occasion to get motivated to clean, so it’s good to have one of those every once in a while!!

  5. For years, I have followed tho I do none of what she proposes. I am certain that I will follow her schedule “when I retire.” Could I be wrong??? LOL

    1. If you’re anything like me, you are wrong!!! I hope you do better than I have. I’m going to check out this flylady. What do I have to lose??? 😉

  6. I am with you, Linda. I. Hate. Cleaning.

    I figure that we are not eating off the floor or the furniture so as long as things are reasonable, it is good enough. Don’t be too hard on yourself, Linda!!

    1. Yea, I know we’re doing ok. If I were still alone, I don’t think it would bother me as much. Plus I would have less house to keep clean. But I’d rather have this!!

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