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The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

House Rules

Photo: Wanting to cull the collective wisdom here again, since you all had such brilliant ideas when I asked a question earlier in the week.  Here goes...how do you handle a relationship (romantic, housemate, parent-child) when your priorities and theirs are different when it comes to noticing when things need to be done (housekeeping as an example)?  Although I am by no means white glove clean, my rules for myself are : If you take it out, put it away where you found it. If you drop it, pick it up. If you make a mess, clean it up. If you borrow it, return it. Don't expect anyone else to clean up your literal or emotional mess. It just feels respectful, not holier than thou and to me, it reflects how I feel about myself and anyone else with whom I share space.  It feels good to accomplish tasks, like dishes, having a clean kitchen when I go to bed, (especially after a party:) stepping back and seeing that my lawn is mowed and weeds are whacked and that I can put away clean and folded clothes. Do you grin and bear it?  Do you clean up someone else's mess yourself?  Do you nag and nudge?  Do you simmer and stew over it?  Do you ask for change?  Have you noticed change? Your answers are likely to become part of an article, since I KNOW this is a common issue. Thank you <3
Earlier in the week, I posed this question on Facebook and was amazed by the responses that came in.
Wanting to cull the collective wisdom here again, since you all had such brilliant ideas when I asked a question earlier in the week.  Here goes…how do you handle a relationship (romantic, housemate, parent-child) when your priorities and… theirs are different when it comes to noticing when things need to be done (housekeeping as an example)?  Although I am by no means white glove clean, my rules for myself are :
If you take it out, put it away where you found it.
If you drop it, pick it up.
If you make a mess, clean it up.
If you borrow it, return it.
If you break it, repair or replace it.
Don’t expect anyone else to clean up your literal or emotional clutter.
It just feels respectful, not holier than thou and to me, it reflects how I feel about myself and anyone else with whom I share space.  It feels good to accomplish tasks, like dishes, having a clean kitchen when I go to bed, (especially after a party:) stepping back and seeing that my lawn is mowed and weeds are whacked and that I can put away clean and folded clothes. Do you grin and bear it?  Do you clean up someone else’s mess yourself?  Do you nag and nudge?  Do you simmer and stew over it?  Do you ask for change?  Have you noticed change? Your answers are likely to become part of an article, since I KNOW this is a common issue.
Here is what the group came up with. I noticed that no men chimed in, so I welcome them here.

If it is that important to me, I handle it and move on. I have worked out of my home for years and I want it clean when clients come in so I set my mind to get er done mode without resentment.  As far as kids, I had a friend that settled things with her teens by throwing whatever they left around in a clean trash can and making them pay for the return of items. I thought it was brilliant.

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Got to work together..however if it bothers you and not them take care of it and move on.
What if it happens consistently?
Come up with a contract..an agreed plan with consequences if not kept.
I think you need to pick your battles. If you can come up with a plan that the other person would do that you would appreciate  and its keeps harmony then both parties are happy.
 Each person must practice a bit of “distress tolerance”
These are especially good questions to ponder before marriage. You can love, love, love the person, but if you are not compatible in lifestyle you can end up with way too many compromises. Then it’s difficult to melt into equilibrium. Slobs and neatnicks don’t blend too well. You could buy a duplex and live next door to each other. Haha!
 Living in a house with my husband, my 23 year old son, my 35 year old daughter and my granddaughters ages 3, 11 and 14, this is a HUGE problem.  We are all at very different levels of neatness/cleanliness.  My husband and I are on the same page, always have been so there is no issue there; we do what needs doing and it doesn’t matter who does it.  The rule for us has been, you spot it, you got it.  However, I am the most rigid in the house about the rules.  (I am frequently referred to as the Neatness Nazi) My son is a sporadic cleaner – wait until it’s God-awful and then go on a whirlwind cleaning session.  My daughter and her girls are slobs, plain and simple.  So I tend to go through the gamut of the aforementioned behaviors.  I very often to it myself (grumbling a bit).  I will nag and announce the rules in a rather loud voice.  I will often ask sweetly.  It is whatever works.  The most helpful part of all this is – my husband and I have a bedroom on the first floor where the living room, kitchen, our bathroom and our offices are.  So we pretty much consider that our portion of the house – and it is always kept up to snuff.  The rest of the gang have their bedrooms, another bathroom and the laundry room upstairs – their portion of the house and my husband (who is way more tolerant than I am) says hey, if I don’t have to see it and live with it, I don’t really care.  Sadly, I DO CARE.  I CAN ALMOST HEAR THE CHAOS UP THERE and eventually I will venture into no-man’s land and clean it up.  So I guess the overall answer is, if you want it done, do it yourself because these other crazy people just don’t see it the way you do and really can’t fathom why it upsets you so much. And I must add – I love them all dearly and wouldn’t trade any of them.  (And I’m positive they have to bite their tongues around me because I am a Neatness Nazi.)  :-)
When I cook, I do not sit down to eat until the kitchen is cleaned up!
Transparency, personal responsibility, acceptance.  First share how this is for you, so that they know – “When the kitchen isn’t clean, I feel … and I would like to request … How do you feel about that?”  If they are on board with changing, great – you can follow up with more transparency and communication.  If not, or if they say they will change but don’t, then you need to decide if this is a relationship dealbreaker.  If yes, set your boundaries and move on.  If not, accept that this is who they are and do the personal work necessary to be OK with it.  Check in deeply with yourself and if having the kitchen etc. clean will make you happy, clean it yourself or make arrangements to hire someone else to do it.  Keep yourself in the awareness that you are choosing to be with these people and choosing to take this on.
I ask but, at the end of the day, I have to decide if sharing the space with them is worth knowing that more often than not, if I want my standards kept, I’ll be doing the work to keep them. If it is, I’ll do it myself because I enjoy the results. If not, time for them to pack.
It’s hard, in my experience, to make adults shift from their level of tidiness at home. Is it Anal vs. Relaxed? Or Clean vs Slob? Part of why I got divorced. My 2nd hubby and I are very close on the Clean-O-Meter.
This made me laugh, because right on our refrigerator and in your handwriting is a well worn RULES that you wrote out for me. Do I read them – always. Do I follow them – hardly ever. Do I need them – YUP!. Just seeing them still brings a feeling of warmth and caring – that and a little yellow ball with a message that lives in my bedside table.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb2si7fClqA&feature=share&list=PLE0391C5FCAF12C6B  Happy Working Song
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