being a mom

Let’s Clean House For The Holidays So All Our Annoying Relatives Can Mess It Up!

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152405468I have a clean house. I enjoy having a clean house. When my house is clean I feel like I can relax, I feel like I can enjoy myself in my house, and when my house looks like a garbage pit is stresses me out incredibly. I cannot chill out in a dirty house. I know how not cool this is to say, I’m a self-proclaimed feminist and what could be less feminist than housecleaning? Boooo, the man is keeping me down because I enjoy having clean countertops. That. my darlings, is sarcasm. Because you know who is even more anal and into housecleaning than I am? The man I am married to.

My whole little housecleaning scheme works a lot better because my spouse isn’t the type of guy who leaves socks on the floor or who pees anywhere he shouldn’t. He helps with the housecleaning, and he enjoys doing it. So our house is almost always presentable. We don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink because we have a dishwasher. We make the bed because we like how it looks and we like crawling into a made bed at the end of the day. We both do laundry, and my husband is actually more than happy to do ALL the laundry.

With the holidays fast approaching, your own house may need cleaning, especially if you are expecting guests that will come in and dirty up your house even more. I’m not saying housecleaning is for everyone. You may be the type of person who loves being more relaxed about this sort of thing, who finds an unmade bed cozy, who would rather eat off paper plates than wash dishes, and who doesn’t care about pet hair on the furniture. Good for you! if that makes you happy I see nothing wrong with it and people should live how they want. That’s one of the joys of being an adult and having your own home, you get to decide if you want coffee rings on your counter or piles of books on your floor – and mind you, I do love piles of books on the floor, I like a house that is clean but artfully messy, that is comfortable and welcoming but not dirty.

I have used cleaning services before. We usually feel they don’t do as good of a job as we do but now that I’m working more my house isn’t as clean as I would like. Most cleaning services will charge you between 50 to 100 dollars depending on the size of your house. You need to decide if this is something that is worth it to you. For me, I’d like someone to come in every few weeks and do the jobs I am falling behind on, cleaning behind major appliances and washing windows. But I haven’t had time to hire a service yet, so don’t look behind my refrigerator.

For those of you who want to clean your home, read on, because here are the tips that help me be the badass housekeeper I am.

Everyone Helps. Everyone. I don’t care how old your kids are, unless they are a baby who can’t even crawl, everyone else helps. Your partner helps, your kids who can walk help. You are not a maid, and repeat that after me a million times, you are NOT a maid. I don’t care if you are a SAHM and your partner is a brain surgeon, everyone helps. People do not leave their shit all over. This shit includes toys, homework, dishes, clothing, briefcases, Pokemons, I don’t care what it is, people pick their shit up. 

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  1. Cee

    November 13, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Ugh. My dad’s side of the family never had it’s boys do any chore when they were growing up. Their mother still spoon fed them almost into their tweens.
    It would fucking enrage me when they would ask me to do all the womanly stuff while those idiots were getting food airplanes by their mothers.
    It’s no surprise most of them are now grown up, still live at home and don’t even work.

  2. NicknamesAreDull

    November 13, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I love using dryer sheets for dusting my baseboards, and if you don’t have a huge house with a lot of wood, the Swiffer Bissell thing is really handy.

    We started my daughter’s chores when she was about 18 months, and now she’s so helpful. I love it.

  3. CMJ

    November 13, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Holiday cleaning times were some of the most contentious times in our family when we were younger. They usually ended with my mother saying she was never inviting anyone over again.

    • Andrea

      November 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm

      I feel your mother’s pain.
      We have a cleaning service twice a month, but I live with a bunch of guys (2 sons and a husband) that are blind (BLIND I TELL YOU!!!) to the sight of dirty dishes, candy wrappers and other assorted trash on floors and tables, overflowing laundry hampers, and unmade beds. I recently started working more hours (for the financial benefit of ALL OF US mind you) and the whole thing has gotten worse.
      I finally lost my everloving shit last night and yelled at all of them for being pigs. We had a counsel of war, and we agreed for everyone to pull fair. We shall see. But I hate it that it basically took a temper tantrum on my part for them to see they live like frat boys.

  4. alice

    November 13, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Steam mop just made my christmas list.

    I am a chronically messy person, always seeking help to be less messy. “Clothes Organization” is my greatest bane. I.Just.Can’t.

    Any tips on this? I think we’re moving my entire wardrobe to the basement, so everything can be on open shelves and hangers (and out of sight. and next to the W/D). Drawers are impossible. Not an option.

    ps: i would love a weekly Mommyish Tips for Organizing Cluttered Life!

    • JLH1986

      November 13, 2013 at 12:27 pm

      I second the tips for organizing. As for clothes I’m stuck too so if you come up with anything good. let me know!

    • NicknamesAreDull

      November 13, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      I’m overly organized, so my tips are always “well.. organize it!” anyway…

      I like to assign an area to a day. So, every Monday, I work on cleaning our desk and so on. I put things in piles: Keep, recycle, shred. I file all the keep stuff in their files, and then get rid of the rest. For the rest of the house I follow this: Do you need it? Do you love it? Does it serve a purpose? If it doesn’t meet one of those three, I either toss it or donate it. For my clothes, each season I go through my stuff and see if it A.) still fits B.) is in good condition and C.) I still like it. If it doesn’t fit, or I don’t like it, I donate. If it’s not in good condition, and I cannot darn it, it goes into my husband’s rag box.
      For meals, I’ve mentioned my binder/meals board, and some people brought up that they cannot do that, so if you’re one of those people. sorry this isn’t helpful.

      I keep a binder of recipes my family likes, and take out menus in my area. Each week, we go through the binder and plan the meals we’ll be having. Then, a grocery list is made based on that. I have a dry erase board on my fridge, and I write down the meals for the week. Then, I have a bin in my fridge and pantry to put the ingredients in for that day.

      For my seasonal items, clothing and blankets are in space bags in my linen closet, and decorations are in plastic bins.

      My closet is organized by how often I wear the item. In the Fall, jeans and lightweight sweaters are put together towards my right hand side and dresses, tank tops and cardigans are towards my left. That works well for me, but my husband prefers to have it by color and my daughter likes her closet to be organized by type. I think actually organizing clothing in a closet is personal preference

      Keepsakes are all put in a special box thing.

      My cleaning supplies are under the sink and they’re in a cat litter box. The things I use daily are at the front, and the lesser used stuff is in the back. I like to keep supplies under the sink in all the places that have space.

      For towels and bath products, I put a shelf above my bathroom door and have baskets. I rolled towels and put them there, then I put our extra products in the others.

      I hope this helps a bit

    • alice

      November 13, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      wow. you are inspiring, for sure. 🙂

      i think i’ll start with the “do i need it/love it” inquisition.

      products above the bathroom door is another great idea.

      and installing a laundry chute…!

    • NicknamesAreDull

      November 13, 2013 at 3:05 pm

      Thanks! I love to clean and organize. I feel like organizing is something that I have full control over, and that helps me deal with the things that I have no control over.

    • EX

      November 13, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      So, you see, I am really good at the making of schedules (on Monday I’ll clean/organize this on Tuesday that, etc.) and oh! my schedules are so pretty. I make them on the computer with pretty fonts and colors. Then I admire them. Theeeeeen I don’t follow them and stay as disorganized and messy as always. Any tips to help with THAT problem?!

    • NicknamesAreDull

      November 13, 2013 at 3:02 pm

      Start a reward system. If you follow through with your schedule for x days, you can go treat yourself. I know that it’s kinda childish, but I think it really helps people. I would recommend starting small, like “If I stick to my schedule for a week, I will go to Baskin Robbins and have ice cream.” then make the next goal 2 weeks (so 3 weeks from the start date) and have it be a bit bigger. Keep doing that until you feel like you’re in a routine.

    • Eve Vawter

      November 13, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      You have too many clothes. I promise you do. Everyone does, because we keep junk we will never wear again. You need to donate some. One of my have organizing tips is to every day throw away 28 things. Now, 3 of those may be boxes with one cracker in them, and a few old pieces of junk mail, and the rest may be expired coupons, but you can find 28 things. I do this a lot

    • Rachel Sea

      November 13, 2013 at 1:21 pm

      This times a million. I have so many clothes I will never wear again, but keep failing to purge, because it’s a pain in the ass, and makes me feel like crap to realize I’d have to lose weight to fit into last year’s shorts.

    • JLH1986

      November 13, 2013 at 3:03 pm

      I’ve actually adopted the whole turn your hanger method. It’s stupid but works when I change out my clothes for the season I hang everything backwards and when I switch out again if the hanger hasn’t been flipped, I didn’t wear it and it gets donated.

  5. JLH1986

    November 13, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Once a week I pick one tub/sink. Fill it up with warm water add bleach and let it soak overnight, I love bleach it makes everything smell clean (I used lavender bleach but whatevs). It takes two minutes to wipe down said sink, or since I need to shower anyway, I turn the shower on to warm up. because I do this every week, no hard scrubbing needed!

  6. Elizabeth Mangum

    November 13, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Does the Shark vacuum have bags? I love our Meile. It is so quite that the cats stay where they are when I vacuum & I’m not covered in the poof of dust at the garbage can.

  7. Tea

    November 13, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    I am a neat freak, I clean to relax and to re-orient myself to my environment when I’m stressed. I get a lot of cleaning done when I’m having disassociation issues, and I come down to a clean house.

    Spouse-guy’s preferred cleaning method is to ignore everything and hope really hard that the cleaning fairy will come. I can’t give him shleves near his desk, or things get piled on them. I actually used to passive-aggressively ignore the dishes and hope they would get bad enough to annoy him, but then we ran out of forks and everything but mugs. Now I just clean it anyway and see picking up after him as being a fair trade for him having a 12 hour a day job now. He came from a “Boys don’t do girly chores” family and can’t cook or clean, but he tries. I came from a “You like cooking, eh? That’s your job now, I don’t care if you’re 11.” Family.

    Erg, that reminds me, I need to clean the wardrobe (Yes, we really have a wardrobe) and polish the silver soon (We have silver, too. We’re fops.) The fridge needs cleaned and I’m going to pretend that orange… stuff is pumpkin soup and not something rotting away in there.

    As far as cleaning stuff goes, I use vinegar, baking soda, and Dr. Bronner’s on everything. EVERYTHING. Husband included.

    Thankfully we live too far for family to come, but our in-laws were here a few weeks ago and you could eat off my floor.

    – Tea, who is buzzing along on Assam and pain meds because he broke his toe today falling over a cat.

    • LiteBrite

      November 13, 2013 at 1:29 pm

      Upvoted for falling over a cat (but not breaking your toe because I’m sure that hurts like hell). I’ve fallen over my cat too. For as big as she is, she’s a quiet little bugger.

  8. kg

    November 13, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    This rings so true to me today. I noticed a pile of socks and underwear my husband dropped on the floor while rummaging through his drawers and I’m pretty sure if I hadn’t helpfully mentioned it to him before he left for work it would still be there now.

    Also, do not use a steam mop on hardwood! Sooner or later the steam will ruin the finish. Get Holloway house floor cleaner and thank me later.

  9. StealthGent

    November 13, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    This reminds me, I need to go through my partner’s clothes and cull the herd. Somehow he has 6 different suits , 8 coats, and more shirts than I can count, but I only own two pairs of pants and two shirts because I keep destroying buttons. Size 44 hips were not made for men’s pants.

    Also, Eve, Guess what I got 😉

    • LiteBrite

      November 13, 2013 at 1:29 pm


    • alice

      November 13, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!?!?! omgomgomgomgomgomg

    • Eve Vawter

      November 13, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      OMG CONGRATS OMG OMG OMG we need pics

    • meteor_echo

      November 13, 2013 at 5:31 pm

      All the pics, all of them. And a Livestream, too.

    • Eve Vawter

      November 14, 2013 at 5:24 am

      EXACTLY! why don’t we have these things yet? We don’t even have a name! 🙁

  10. Rachel Sea

    November 13, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    I work every single day from November first until Christmas eve, which means I am always too exhausted to clean well, and our house starts to look like frat boys live there, because my wife is a slob (I swear the worst thing you can do for your kids’ future partners is have a cleaning service when they are young). This year I decided that the epic disaster that is normally our house will not be permitted. I deep cleaned the house to the point where there is not a single surface anywhere you could not eat off (there were hours of scrubbing with a toothbrush). Except for Thanksgiving, the dishes are off limits until New Year’s. We are going to be using compostable paper plates, and cups, and there will only be one set of silverware available per person. My wife will be putting all of her laundry in the hamper, and picking up her clutter, and vacuuming twice a week, or I will actually nag her to death. I am fighting a war against her normal tendency to put things “away” by relegating them to the nearest horizontal surface.

  11. Erin Murphy

    November 13, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    My MIL varied between “you don’t need to clean, go be a kid” and “you’re not doing it right bitch bitch bitch” so my husband did ZERO house work when we got married. It’s been 7 years in the making and he’s improving. It’s my pledge that my son will know how to complete all domestic duties. He will do them even if he hates it because I’m raising a damn good partner for someone.
    PS Eve. One of my friends is in the vacuum biz. He swears by the Riccar. They are apparently so good there is no need to advertise.

  12. 4under4

    November 13, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    My dyson did the same thing as your shark with the pet hair. I love it! Also I made my husband clean the kid’s bathroom daily while we were potty training our boys. Guess who taught them to properly aim in about a week. He he, I kept telling him it was outside my area of expertise. Also baby wipes are magic, they caneven get cat vomit out of my carpet!

  13. EX

    November 13, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Oh Eve, and here I thought we had something special. But you, a neat freak, and me, a disorganized mess – it could never work. So sad.

    ETA: and, while I actually would love it if my house were cleaner and seriously do TRY to be less of a slob, my husband suffers from a disease called “dirt blindness” (by me). I swear it’s not that he’s lazy and doesn’t want to clean he just literally can’t see that things are dirty. I’ll say things like “we have to vacuum. We have guests coming.” And he’ll say things like “why? The carpets look good to me.” And he means it. Really. Even when the carpet is clearly dirty.

  14. Sam Inoue

    November 13, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    I have a super clean house, largely because I am staying home with the baby right now and get bored when he naps, my problem is clothes. I have clothing varying in size from 4-10 (in american sizing) but I needed to be signed up for an episode of hoarders so I can never get rid if it.

  15. Blahblah

    November 13, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    I am the worst hostess. As long as everything is clean enough to be sanitary, I consider my job done. If you come to my house expecting it to be spotless, you are more than welcome to clean it your damn self. But like I said, I do keep stuff sanitary.

    Mr. Blahblah’s mother was so impatient that she just cleaned for both her boys. Now they seem to think their partners will do it. I had one incident of him hovering over me telling me I was I picking up paper wrong before I threw it at him and told him to do it himself and stomped off. Which was way out of line of me.

    But he does help now.

  16. gothicgaelicgirl

    November 13, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    I’m so lucky lol my partner won’t let me clean. Like at all.
    He’ll let me wash, dry and sort dishes, put away clothes and hoover but that’s all.
    He has OCD and the three times I tried to clean the place in the way he liked ended up with me in tears and him running around flicking at (what I thought were) imaginary dust specks lol.
    Seriously, I dusted once and he came home and was like- “WHY IS THAT STATUE NOT IN IT’S PLACE”
    I said It is.
    He goes over and, no joke, moves it a centimeter then says, with a proud look in his eye- I TOLD you it wasn’t in it’s place!

  17. DeanaCal

    November 13, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    OMG I love my Shark vacuum and Shark steam mop! I am totally an unorganized mess so I wanna do the “throw away 28 things” thing.

  18. Janok Place

    November 14, 2013 at 5:52 am

    Eve, Eve, please come to my house and teach my 15 month old how to clean. Please? She’s been walking for months, come on! All jokes aside, my moms coming up today, Not Prepared. I will admit, DD knows two words that are endlessly soul crushing… “Dirt” and “Yuk” and the cleaner a room is, the more anal retentive she gets! And I’m really sure I am the arch nemesis of Martha Stewart… Where does it come from???

    The best is at OTHER peoples houses. She finds the “Dirt” and the “Yuk”, then promptly demands a wipe so she can smudge it around. I love kids.

  19. candyvines

    November 14, 2013 at 10:42 am

    I do not think I have ever cleaned behind a major appliance. And now I am too scared to.

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