Do you find it difficult to get on with things when the house is messy? I know I do. I long to be one of those people that continues in peaceful productivity regardless of the world around them, but I am not one of them. It’s not just productivity either. I struggle to relax happily when the house is in chaos.
The solution to this is easy, of course. However, it’s not so easy to keep the house tidy when you have inadvertently shackled yourself to a man who proclaims proudly that he ‘doesn’t notice mess’ as though it is a laudable aspect of his character. As quickly as I clean, he scatters bits of paper, coffee cups and dirty pants. And clean pants, for that matter.
There have been times when I have deeply envied the marital life of Tim Burton and Helena Bonham-Carter, who have a house each next door to one another. Unfortunately I am unlikely to ever reach the wealthy heights of the Burton-Carters. If I loved cleaning, I would no doubt be delighted with my lot, although I suspect feminism would prevent me from allowing him to sit in his pants while I hoover around him.
Fortunately, I have a solution. I am actually very proud of the way I came up with this solution. I considered what irritated me the most about the situation and came up with something that fixed everything. I don’t wish to brag, but I have also improved the relationships of others with this solution. Are you ready?
I have instigated a cleaning evening.
I worked out that if we each looked after certain jobs during the week, i.e. I cook and deal with the clothes, he cleans the kitchen, we could do the main jobs in a single hour one evening of the week. One of the things that drove me to distraction about the previous situation was him sitting on the couch having a magnificent Saturday whilst I picked up bottle caps from the night before. If he is cleaning while I am cleaning, I am thinking less about what I could be doing instead. So, I clean the bathroom, change the bed and do the general tidying. He cleans the kitchen, takes the bins out and does the hoovering. The house is clean for the weekend and we haven’t fought!
This isn’t a solution for the faint-hearted, or someone with a particularly petulant other half. I am regularly subjected to pouting and pleading. After over a year, he still hasn’t given up hope that I might just agree to take over all the cleaning myself. The relationship is better though, and what relationship isn’t a work in progress?
Have you got a similarly lazy domestically-challenged partner? What do you do to get them involved?