23 answers

If You Say Your House Is a Wreck...

...what do you really mean?

I've been in "messy" homes where the stack of magazines on the coffee table was off-center or there were dirty dishes rinsed and sitting in the sink. I am constantly being told that my house is "not that bad" or "couldn't be that bad," but I try to assure people, it is. I don't think we would be condemned, we are not harboring any colonies of cockroaches or rodents, but it is a rare night that I go to bed with a clean kitchen or picked up living room. I am so pathetic that I take pictures of things when I clean them because it makes me happy to see things clean and tidy and I know it won't last. I'm not looking for cleaning advice, time and energy, and a bigger apartment (or at least closets) are all I really need, and my kids are healthy and happy. I'm just curious if anyone else ever says that their house is really bad, and if so, what that means to each person. For example, my sister-in-law would consider her apartment too messy if she left clean dishes in the dish drainer or a stack of folded kitchen towels on the counter. She is always trying to tell me I just have a house with small children and working parents.

Just curious! =)

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So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the replies! I sometimes feel people's homes are so much cleaner because they go into a frenzy before having company over, so that is all I see. I just finished soaking/scraping Cheerios off the kitchen floor from earlier this week and I'm soaking dishes from the past couple of nights (they are never quite done and we don't have a dishwasher). My kids are in the living room snuggled in the clean laundry they pulled off the couch and I can see that nobody put shoes away in the dresser I stuck in the living room just for that purpose (that includes me tonight). The kids are smiling though and I think the next batch of dishes is just about ready for some scrubbing. It is so hard to accept that housekeeping standards might have to drop to something I do not like, so it is really nice to read these stories!

Featured Answers

My mom's motto (and I have adopted it as my own) is "A happy home has sticky floors and noisy kids".

5 moms found this helpful

Lots of dog hair. I have two dogs and love them, but don't love the accompanying vacuuming.

And my bedroom floor is always covered with worn-once-but-can-be-worn-again clothing. I'm like a teenager like that. My husband has learned to ignore it.

4 moms found this helpful

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Having 2 school aged kids and a spouse who works odd hours and carries his "lunch" meal with him... our home schedule can be hectic/crazy. The house is OFTEN pretty...welllll.... pretty messy. Unkempt. But if I am sick for a day or two, or go out of town for a weekend or holiday, or I am just not home all day for more than one day at a time (that happens sometimes with appts, grocery shopping, errands, after-school activities, church, etc)... then the house is really a wreck. WRECK.
What that means is that in addition to the mail that can't be tossed just yet (because hubby might want to look through that mail order catalog or order a new pair of running shoes from his discount outlet New Balance flyer) that is stacked on the kitchen island, and the coffee-go-cup that has to be handwashed that I brought in from the car when I lugged in the groceries, and the socks that my son and my daughter left in the floor, and the karate gym bags the kids dropped on the floor when they walked in at 8:00pm last night with drive-thru drinks in their other hands, and the flip flops beside the dog bowl, and the recycle-able bottles on the kitchen counter that need to be taken to the garage, and the newspaper on the sofa from last night, and hubby's Tshirt he slept in on the bathroom counter, and his "perfect push-ups" things in the bedroom floor, and the change on the closet floor... in addition to all of that... There is almost a full load of dishes in the dishwasher that needs to be run, and more on the counter/sink that won't fit, the refrigerator is full of left-overs that need to be tossed, the sofa has load of laundry spread out on the back (so it won't get wrinkled) that still needs to be put away and there are clothes in both the washer and dryer, but the ones in the dryer are cold (from yesterday) and need to be warmed to knock the wrinkles out before I can add them to the ones on the sofa, and every section of the laundry sorter is overflowing onto the floor so that you can't get through the laundry room to the garage to throw out the recycle-able bottles. :(
And there are supplies stacked on the kitchen counter for 2 different school projects that aren't ready yet, but the stuff won't go anywhere else. And the newspaper basket didn't get emptied last week on time, so the recycle bin is overflowing and so is the newspaper basket. And hubby went running and finished off the gatorade I made in the 2 qt bottle in the fridge and that is now on the counter to be washed. And he just brought in his empty water bottles from the car (that need to go to the recycle bin, but they still have 3/4 of an inch of water in them) and set them next to his sweaty golf hat and left his wet/sweaty running clothes/socks on the bathroom floor between the door and the closet (where he took them off as he was walking). And I have my coupons that I save from the papers, but haven't yet clipped, stacked with some other papers I need to deal with (insurance stuff) on the kitchen island. But somebody spilled milk and wiped it up but didn't CLEAN it, so everything is sticky/stuck to the counter top.

And there are about 5 plastic cups scattered around the house in various places all with 1 inch of something in the bottom... probably water. 3 of these will be in the kitchen and they will all belong to the same person.

Why oh why did I answer this question?! Now I'll never get to sleep tonight... I still have to make something for the church potluck... and I have the recipe book out for that...

hahahahhahhahah

8 moms found this helpful

My house is a pit. I'm embarrassed to have people come in. It has been this way since my daughter (my second child - both are under two!) was born two months ago. The kitchen has dirty dishes in the sink (but no more dirty dishes than fit in the sink) and counter tops are not scrubbed, but the table is. You wouldn't know it, though, because the table is covered with mail I need to sort through and the like. My carpet was vacuumed earlier this week, but I have 3 dogs, so it isn't clean-looking anymore, with fur and leaves. There are toys all over the family room, but my living room and dining rooms are clean. The worst, though, is my bedroom. It's where all of the junk and laundry that I don't want kicking around the rest of the house goes. *sigh* I vaguely remember that, before I had kids, my house was immaculate every night when I went to sleep. I mean it. Scrubbed and shining. And then, after my son was born, it wasn't clean but it wasn't like this. I have hopes that, when my daughter is a little bigger and I'm able to put her down for a while, I'll get back to the days when I can at least get the laundry put into baskets after I wash it! ^_^

6 moms found this helpful

My mom's motto (and I have adopted it as my own) is "A happy home has sticky floors and noisy kids".

5 moms found this helpful

Lots of dog hair. I have two dogs and love them, but don't love the accompanying vacuuming.

And my bedroom floor is always covered with worn-once-but-can-be-worn-again clothing. I'm like a teenager like that. My husband has learned to ignore it.

4 moms found this helpful

I let things pile up on my dresser and the kitchen cabinet. Papers, random stuff, I let it clutter and it drives my husband crazy. I can also be pretty embarrased if people come over and I havent had a chance to pick up all the toys that have accumulated all over the living room floor....and no one but hte hubby sees the bedroom where the floor is barely seen through the piles of clothes on the floor. But at least nothing is filthy and we've never had bugs,

3 moms found this helpful

I have a 2.5 year old and an almost 5 year old and I have battled breast cancer this year. I have had 7 surgeries in the past 13 months and went through 6 months of chemo, so my house has had it's share of messes this year! All I can say is that there are some things that are more important than a messy house. I'm happy that my kids are healthy and that I am now cancer free and if I have some (okay, a lot on most days) toys laying around on the floor, then that is the least of my worries. I try to keep the dishes done (or loaded into the dishwasher) and the laundry put in hampers, so my mess is usually just toys and we have a major clutter issue with papers (kid's art they bring home from school, mail, etc.), but I try to keep the papers contained to one area of the kitchen and I figure if the toys don't get picked up at night....that's okay because the kids are just going to get them out again in the morning anyway! ;-)

My idea of a messy house is to have the clutter everywhere and I do get overwhelmed by it sometimes because I am usually a very organized "everything has it's place" type of person, but I physically was not able to maintain that lifestyle this year due to my limited mobility and lack of energy from the chemo and I think I've learned that it's okay that it's not perfect. I have a cleaning crew that comes every 2 weeks to do the heavy cleaning, so I know my house is "clean", just not very neat most of the time. It's all a season when you have small kids at home and I hope to have my "neat" house back someday when they're older, but in the meantime, we just do the best we can!

3 moms found this helpful

I always feel like my house could look better! I put the dishes away and wipe the kitchen counters every night and pick up the toys only because when I see those things in the morning it makes me want to go right back to bed. I do a little everyday (clean bathrooms, laundry, etc) but my floors are never clean. It drives me nuts and embarrasses me but between 2 kids, a hubby, and three dogs going in and out all day long and the constant shedding from the dogs it just isn't and I do sweep everyday. Also I am terrible at paying attention to detail like the blinds, scrubbing base boards things like that. Papers and books get stacked on the kitchen table most of the time till I get to them, and laundry that needs to be folded is in the living room at least two days a week. I DO spend most of the day playing with my kids!

2 moms found this helpful

Oh please.. may house is always needing to be cleaned and picked up.. We live in a tiny house, but always seem to be in the middle of a project..

I decorate homes for the for the holidays and have been working crazy hours..My husbands job is lots of hours. I went into the kitchen and the sink is over flowing with dishes, there are "to go" containers that need to be rinsed for the recycle.. our bathroom is a disaster.. My desk is piled high with paperwork and mail from this whole week..

I need to do laundry tonight, I have nothing to wear tomorrow to work with another client..

But we are happy and lucky to be so busy...

2 moms found this helpful

Right now my livingroom has an empty glass and soda can on the coffee table, about 3 months of magazines for me to look through, this weeks sales ads for the grocrey stores, the toys r us big book (two of them) and along with a stack of other store catalogs for toy ideas for the kids. Next to my couch is a TV tray with the lap top and some papers. Other than that, I just vaccumed and dusted the other day. My hubby forgot to run the dishwasher last night (his job) so now I have a dishwasher full of dirty dishes and the skillet I cooked dinner in is still sitting on the stove. My computer desk looks good right now as I can see most of the top of it! lol My back room/dinning room area table needs to be cleaned still from dinner and my kids have Thomas the train track all over the other half of the room but this is their play area. Both bathrooms just got cleaned yesterday but that won't last long! hehe My kids' rooms are kinda mess with toys and I have a clothes basket of clean clothes in my room that needs to be folded and put away from yesterday's round of laundry.

Do I call it a mess?? No. Could some of it look better? Probably but like you, I'm not harboring rodents and bugs so if a skillet sits over night then oh well. We call this look 'lived in' :)

I think your house sounds just fine and I wouldn't think anything bad of you if I came over and saw what you discribbed! If you think you would like some help keeping up with the house, try Flylady.net. She has some really good tips and breaks down 1 room a week for deep cleaning while you still focus on the rest of the house.

S.

2 moms found this helpful

I haven't read all the other posts so I don't know if anyone mentioned www.flylady.net. It's actually made a difference in how I deal with my natural messiness and overall disorganization. You should check it out. She has some pretty good advice.

2 moms found this helpful

I am smart enough to know that my house is not a wreck though I might call it that. I have seen super clean houses and I have seen truly messy houses. I might wish my house was cleaner but I know it is not truly messy.

I will have a sparkling clean house again in 13 yrs...When these messy, wonderful children are gone. = )

I do the best I can and try to give my self a break for what goes undone. I make sure bathroom is always very clean and all waste baskets are emptied before they fill up. I have a dishwasher (thank goodness) and so there are rarely more than a few stray bowls and cups. Then we generally have 1-2 rooms that are picked up (not eat-off-the-floor clean) and 1 room that is a wreck (it is almost always the basement man cave). I really could not care less about the kids' rooms. Their clutter of toys and books just doesn't bother me. I keep their laundry under control and make sure they are not growing any experiments in there and call it good.

2 moms found this helpful

My house has to be kept picked up because we have a wheelchair user. A friend came by and stuff was actually out all over the counters and in the living room. She asked if something was wrong or we needed help with anything. THEN I was embarassed. LOL She had never seen it not picked up and USED to feel too embarassed to ask us over. Now she knows we are not perfect so I hope to get invited over.
Messy means you see stuff scattered everywhere.

2 moms found this helpful

I like a tidy house--a REALLY tidy house. When my house is a "wreck" it means my floors need done and there is mail & school papers lying in two basic "hot spots" and it's been a week since the bathrooms were done.
Really, I vacuum almost every day (hairy dog) and wipe my bathroom counters at least twice per day, and do laundry (to completely empty chute) every week and I never leave a dirty dish in the sink. I run my dishwasher last thing at night & unload every morning--working that day or not.
But I will say this: it takes a huge amount of my time & attention & energy to keep things to where I don't feel wiggy about it.

2 moms found this helpful

;) Interesting! I LOVE and WANT a neat house, but with a 8 month old and 2.5 yr old, I am just happy that it is a CLEAN house. Those two things mean all the difference to me, but to some people there is none. I remember my sister making a remark to me when I said I was washing last nights dinner dishes, "My goodness, I would never be able to sleep knowing that the kitchen was dirty." (To which I secretly thought, "well then, you clearly don't have enough to do during the day, since you aren't tired at night") There are times I have laundry piled on the bed- to be put away, or in baskets in the living room to be folded. Sometimes it is all I can do to find the energy to remove my contacts at night, let alone pick up the living room. I am also starting a home business, so been working after the kids go to bed on that- so I get to bed about midnight on a good night and my typical wakeup time: 5:30am. As you might expect- not all is always in its place. But...this too shall pass. Funny what you said about time. I always say I wish for an extra day between Weds and Thurs, or just an extra 4 hours/day! ;)

2 moms found this helpful

I doubt anyone laments on their deathbed that they wish the had spent more time cleaning their house...! No, when you're old, you regret not devoting more playtime with your kids.

There is a difference between "clean" and "cluttered/messy". Most of us have clutter, but the house is *sanitary*. My daughter's bathroom is littered with bath toys; toothpaste resin might be in the sink; there's a drawer filled with hair accessories and whatnot (which I cringe when I open)--But the bathroom is sanitary: No pink or black mold. No brown ring in the toilet. No dirt ring in the tub. No odor. No musty towels or wascloths. I replace the toilet bowl scrub once a year. I disinfect her bath toys every few months.

That being said, my goal is for my children to have a normal socialization on what an acceptable level of cleanliness is... Because, whatever is the normal state of your home will be their norm. When they leave home and are living as young adults, their room/apartment will be slightly worse than whatever their norm is (e.g., whatever they were used to growing up). So, you want your home to be in a state that sets their norm to an acceptable (as in, healthy, functional) societal expectation.

I know a few people who agree (with their spouse) to both spend 30 each night on tidying up/cleaning the house before bed. They all say it helps keep everything manageable--and it keeps the weekend housework from talking the entire day. I haven't implemented this yet but will once my kids no longer need me to devote so much time to bedtime.

2 moms found this helpful

My house is now in it's normal Friday evening state.
There is dry laundry in the dryer that will wait for tomorrow to be removed (and luckily also folded and taken away, but that will depend on our schedule and the weather tomorrow). A couple of toys on the floor that I will pick up on my way to bed and just put on the table not to tumble over them tomorrow morning. Jackets on the couch. One couch pillow on the floor (it has been a knight shield today!). Mail scattered on the kitchen table. Some dirty laundry in the hampers. Floors vacuumed once or week or when there is a catastrophe.
But, the bathroom is "clean" (clutter on the floor but shower, sink and toilet are clean) and dishes are washed (drying on the sink). I never go to bed (or only exceptionally) with dirty dished on the sink because I'm always afraid to attract bugs and once they are rinsed, it is just a few more minutes to really wash them anyways.
Some people spend their lives scrubbing their house and wouldn't feel comfortable otherwise. But, for most of us, only the guests always see a neat (or "neat enough") house

1 mom found this helpful

Hi M.,
I don't dust as often as I should. There are so many things to dust that I joke to my husband that we could employ someone just to dust our house. I try to keep dishes out of the kitchen and make sure the dishwasher is emptied because that drives me crazy just because we have a small kitchen. We have a 3 year-old so there is constantly stuff on the floor. I feel I do pretty good on our main floor but our upstairs and downstairs are totally wrecked.

1 mom found this helpful

My house is a disaster.
Clutter everywhere, nothing is organized, piles of kids school work , dirty dishes in the sink, not an inch of counter space available to put something on, both tables piled high with stuff. I am ADD , my daughter is ADHD, hubby gone all the time, add in a 6 yr old boy, too many toys and me completely overwhelmed and you've got a house that's a wreck.
feel better now?

no cleaning tips , cause well, I don't clean.

1 mom found this helpful

well i am in school full time, hubby is working up to 60 hours a week & we have 3 kids (1 of whom is severely disabled & needs constant care & everything done for him) so my house is a constant wreck! there are dishes in the sink almost all the time (because i never seem to have the time to do 2 loads in one day to get caught up), there are always clothes that need to be washed (i havent seen the bottom of the hamper in months), & there is usually a load sitting in the basket to be folded, my kitchen doesnt get mopped as often as it should, & i only get to vacuum the whole house once a week (i do manage to do the living room every other day), & the bathrooms go a week and a half or two weeks between cleanings instead of weekly like i would prefer, there is always clutter, (we have a tiny house, & not enough closets or money for shelving/storage), but there are no rodents, or bugs or anything like that, just clutter, & chores that always need to be done...but that is also just how my house usually is, i am not a neat freak ( i am organized which seems weird though) & probably wont ever be if i'm not by now! lol! my sisters always say their houses are dirty but they are cleaner than mine ever is but they have BIG houses with plenty of room for things to be where they should be! loL!

1 mom found this helpful

Just a note: if you get bigger closets or a bigger place to live, there is just more room for more "stuff." You will have MORE to clean. ;)

"Clean" is relative. It is different for everyone. It sounds like you have a handle on it. Don't compare yourself to others or you will never measure up. And don't call yourself pathetic for taking pictures! I have done it as a soure of inspiration. It makes you feel good when every thing is in exactly the right spot - if only for an hour! (Or maybe just long enough for the picture to snap!)

1 mom found this helpful

I say my house is a mess because I used to keep a much cleaner house. It used to be just myself and daughter, although I worked a lot. Now it is the messy husband, the messy 5 year old (currently in cleaning training), the adult daughter, the furry dog, and myself. I am not used the the furry dog in the house even after 14 years.

The awful description: clean laundry stacked on the chair, clean kitchen before bed, un-mopped floor except once a week, messy restroom mirrors, beds are made up, dirty clothes in the dirty little 5 YO's room, and toys toys toys, erggg!

1 mom found this helpful

Thanks for asking this- it is so nice to see that I am not the only one with a messy house! :) Thanks! The only time my house gets a really good cleaning is when I know someone is coming over! Sometimes it just gets so frustrating to spend you day cleaning only to have everyone come home and then the house is a mess within 20 minuets! If I can keep the laundry pile from over flowing and sweep the floor a couple times a week- I'm good!
~C.

1 mom found this helpful

Thanks so much for posting this question and for the responses! This at home mom of a 3yr and 1yr old worries too much about housework. It is often a mess and I haven't had enough mommy friends to gain perspective. I guess when your life is hectic and home is by some definition "off-kilter" then I am probably not invited over anyway :)! Thanks for the perspectives it was what I needed - now time to go to bed - with my laundry on the chair and dishes to be done - but it is Friday night so I should get some work done on the house tomorrow!

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