Saturday, March 14, 2009

Living up to Donna Reed's standards

Andy and I seem to have a hard time keeping a tidy home. We don't live in filth or anything, but we just seem to let the clutter pile up and then when someone comes to visit it's a mad dash to get everything put back together.

As a teenager I was the typical messy teen whose mom was constantly nagging to clean my room. In college, when I had my honest-to-goodness own space, I was much neater. It pained me for people to come into my room and have anything out of place. I even made my bed every day.

When we got married two and a half years ago, things changed. In part because I worked a random schedule that comes with being in retail management, but also because I just wasn't going to clean up after another person. Sure, if Andy was a child, more specifically if he were my child, I would be happy to pick up after him or at least help him learn to clean up his own mess. But he isn't a child. He is a grown man, and he knows better.

That isn't to say that Andy doesn't get tired of the clutter. He would let it pile up for a while and then just one day out of the blue announce that he was tired of living in the middle of a mess and go on a cleaning rampage. When he does things like this it makes me feel like I'm about two inches tall and that I haven't been doing my wifely duty.

But seriously, what exactly is my wifely duty? Don't I work too? Don't we use the apartment equally? We both shower once a day. We both sleep in the bed that never gets made. We both cook in the kitchen and use the dishes in the cabinets. So why should I feel like it's all my fault when it looks like something exploded in the living room?

Something had to give.

Two weeks ago I spent the better part of two days completely cleaning and organizing our apartment. We had company coming for the better part of a week and this is something we'd talked about doing for a while. Both of our apartments the we've inhabited have had two bedrooms, but the spare has always been unlivable. We seem to use it more for storage than anything else, but not anymore. Everything has a place on a closet shelf or in a drawer. I even rearranged the furniture in both bedrooms, by myself.

The apartment looked great; the best it has looked since we moved in. Then Andy came home and said, "So how long do you think we can keep it looking like this? I give us until next Saturday."

Oh, hell no.

The next day I went out and bought a dry erase calendar and wrote a week by week cleaning schedule. So far I've been able to keep up with it. When you start with everything tidy in the first place it makes the cleaning so much easier and less time consuming.

All-in-all it seems to be working well. Thought I think I'm going to start throwing Andy's socks away if he keeps leaving them on the couch.

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