I’ve been trying to be a little more helpful around the house lately. But I have this problem: once I get started cleaning, I have a hard time stopping. Doesn’t sound like a problem, does it? Here’s the rub: the more I clean, the more aggravated I get. Let me explain by example.

Today avivahg asked me to clean the kitchen while she was at work. I wound up cleaning the hall closet as well. Amongst the rampant jumbled clutter and multiplying dustbunnies, I found such gems as:

  • a set of chess men, given to me by my in-laws, spilled on the floor, at least one broken. No one had bothered to clean them up.
  • A gift bag, containing some Passover supplies, two unopened tapir candles in a paper towel tube, some arts&craft supplies, and some unopened mail.
  • A magazine and an envelope of photos in amongst the gloves and scarves.
  • A large plastic bag containing nothing but a pair of small plastic clothes-hangers.

This happens whenever I clean. I find completely random items everywhere. Frequently I’m at a loss as to where to put them, setting me off on little tangential side-quests which in turn lead to new discoveries. I guess I’m anal, but this drives me straight up the pole. Why couldn’t these things have been put away in sensibe places in the first place?

The net result is, by the time I’m done cleaning I’m usually in a foul mood. This never used to happen when I cleaned my own place. Then I’d end up tired but happy. These days cleaning just makes me angry. Today when she got home I proudly showed the work I’d done, and then proceeded to guilt-trip her.

This needs to stop, but I don’t know how to not be annoyed by this stuff. It makes me feel like no one in this house gives a shit about organization or taking care of other people’s things, or about how much harder it makes my job.

Any suggestions?

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  1. Hmm. I’m the same way when it comes to cleaning. When I have my own place, I don’t stop until I’m literally panting, sweaty, and exhausted and half the house is clean and half is not. When I was living with my ex, Leigh, last year in our apartment, it felt like HIS apartment and he never cleaned anything up at all, especially the bathroom. Ugh, I don’t want to talk about it.

    Anyway, I’m not sure about suggestions except that I hope that you listen to good music while you’re doing it, which helps me focus a lot. I tend to pay attention to the music and just do the job without thinking too much about it.

    I hope that helps and if it didn’t, it gave you a bit of encouragement to keep trying.

  2. honestly? i just deal with it. no one responds to me when i ask questions, wonder wheere something is, wonder how something got broken…

    the list of roommates (only 4, really) that i’ve had over the past years has taught me one thing – the “i don’t know” ghost never disappears. and no one cares, if it’s not their stuff.

    but really, i get that way when i clean too – tracking randomly around placing something i found in a weird spot where it should possibly go, finding something thee and taking it elsewhere, etc… annoying, but at the same time i feel better about it because there’s the illusion that i cleaned MORE than i really did…

  3. *dies laughing*

    Welcome to the world of being a J-type, dear.

    Now you know how I’ve felt all my life. It’s the reason I adore cleaning my room, but hate cleaning the rest of the house. You’re surrounded by people who simply do not put things away. They just leave them. You don’t know why, because to you, it makes perfect sense to put them away. But others don’t think like that, for some reason.

    All I can say to you is, if they don’t want it clean, you can’t force ’em. In fact, they’ll get really resentful if you try. Cause trust me, I tried. I have brought my pack-rat of a mother to tears with it. *halo*

  4. I am so there with you, man.
    I either don’t care and don’t try to clean much, or I have to turn into an ogre because noone else here gives a shit how awful it is.

    It might help if I had some cooperation form Jules, but as soon as I get on a kick, she avoids me, and then comes back to me later telling me that making the kids hate me isn’t a good thing.

    I’m clueless.

  5. As a side note, however, there is a chance that I might get my *own* room in the new place, adjoining to Jules’. I will finally be the master of my own domain again if that happens.

    I fantasize about it now….uncluttered, organized, minimalist….

  6. mmm… not easy…

    I’m lucky, because for all of her crazi esfp’ness (classic performer), my partner gets way more obsessive about cleaning than i do… it gets to her first and so it is never hard for us to find motivation to clean…

    In any case.. in order to try to stay on certain tasks–make yourself a detailed list of what you want to get done–and do only that.. stuff that doesn’t fit into the list.. (like if you are cleaning the living room and you find this stuff…) then keep it in one pile–and then you can solve that later when everyone is there–kids and ….

    of course.. I find cleaning by myself often to be frustrating (unless it’s cleaning the bathroom)… thus, we often have group cleaning here… its a lot better to get the kids involved (of course, you have to have support here) because THEY NEED to learn how to clean up after themselves also.. it is an aspect of basic common decency and self-discipline.. which anyone will need later in life…
    as for how you get them to do it.. we just state that it has to be done.. they get specified tasks (their own rooms are a give–as are all of their possessions that are strewn about the house (unless they want me to clean them up–and they know that I clean up such things with a garbage bag..)–and then extra things, like cleaning the bathroom or washing the walls–sometimes get money for them (buck or two)… If they’ve never cleaned the bathroom before,then you might have to show them how.. do it with them the first couple of times–but afterwards, they generally get it.. and you only have to inspect afterwards… (our kids are 12, 10, and 9–and all of them have been cleaning like this for at least 1.5 years…)

    hope this helps!

    remember, back in the good old days, kids were pretty much considered slaves–so treating them as actual members of a household who do have responsibilities like everyone else isn’t too much to ask of them…

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