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One of the questions that bother many couples is whether a messy and a neat person can live together and what would it be like. We know that love knows no limits and you have to make compromise for the sake of keeping the harmony in your relationship, but is that really achievable? I believe so!
I was a slob before I became a housewife and Stephen and I decided to move in together after we got married ( a topic I will discuss in later posts). For this reason we sat down and got into talking and doing some research how it would be fair to divide our household chores. We knew it would be extremely hard at the beginning, but also that it would be worth it.
According to psychological research, it will surely be difficult for a neat person and a messy person to live together. We knew that! Neat people feel the need to put things in order. This definitely doesn’t mean that all the laundry needs to be folded in only one way and the pillows have to be directed to where the sun sets (i.e. obsessive compulsive disorder), but they won’t be comfortable if it is not done at all!
On the other hand messy people (like myself) can go pass the laundry and may not even notice it, let alone notice whether it is folded or not. At the bottom line I knew the laundry just needs to be folded and that’s it. Someone has to do it, and I realized that in our case that would probably be me.
Hopefully, you are at that stage of the relationship where you don’t have kids or anyone living with you. Why do I say that? Many couples start living together and have a child straight away, however their characters are not yet used to each other, they haven’t learn to accept the other person and be more considerate of his feelings and desires (they think they are, but they are just not ready yet). Children leave huge messes and are very exhausting to take care of. You need a few years to get used to each other, have a stable system on how to clean, how to make the right decision, how to save money and alternatively spend money.
All this must become so automatized that you don’t even think about it. In this phase all you need to do is try and figure a way that suits your family best and your needs. We have been together for 5 years, but it was different, because we never lived together before. Now, this is exactly what we are trying to accomplish – this harmony and to develop the necessary habits, so that cleaning is no longer a burden, but a routine – something you get done, without thinking too much about it, and without struggling.
Here is some of the points we followed.
If your spouse doesn’t clean as often as you would want him to, that may be due to the fact that he hates doing certain chores. If he is not folding the laundry maybe it is because he doesn’t like to. Then pick something he will enjoy more – like washing the dishes. We determined where the problem came from and divided all the housework fairly in terms of who likes to do different things more. If there are things you both absolutely hate to do – then either divide them fairly, or tackle them together. It is important to do your fair share of housework. As for us we tackle it together.
If your spouse is a clutter bug and there are clothes lying on the floor, as well as make-up and other small items everywhere, come up with baskets, drawers, and other places where these can be kept. Find a place for any item that is lying around and when you achieve a desirable level of cleanliness and everything is organized so you can easily find it, take a picture and ask everyone in your family to stick to it. This is what we did for our bedroom. Stephen kept bringing work from home and cluttered the desk, while I wanted our bedroom to be free of this stuff. So I took a picture and we decided to stick to it, in order to keep our bedroom the romantic spot we wanted it to be.
We made a column with our chores and ticked when each chore was done. This way you can specify when each should be completed (doing the laundry by Wednesday, for instance) and you will easily track progress.
Firstly, if your husband doesn’t like to clean after himself, you have to be patient. Everything will come with time – don’t expect miracles from the first day. Secondly, if he does it his way – accept that! Stephen picks his socks and dirty laundry with his toes. I found it weird at the beginning, but what the hell? The laundry gets picked, doesn’t it? How he does it, is his own business! If I want the dishes washed and he washes them in his particular way, I had to cut him some slack. As long as they are washed, I should be happy!
Instead of ruining your marriage you can simply hire someone to get the job done. That is if you can afford it, even though more and more cleaning companies have made themselves quite affordable nowadays. This way you can leave the most unpleasant chores to someone else. As for us we hire them from time to time, but only when we are expecting guests like my in-laws or after we had to renovate the whole place. So it is all up to your needs. We are trying to get used to doing the chores ourselves, but we need time to relax once in a while, without thinking about chores.
Hopefully, this was helpful and you have a better idea what to try. Remember at some point it will be up to compromises and the other person learning how to clean up after him/herself. So, if that’s you, you better start now.
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