Ohhhhhhhh, so that bad seed is contaminating my house too. Possibly it's gone viral, as I am in the United States far from you, and it's spread. Actually, it's been here for a while. I have not gone anywhere, and it's creating havoc around me. Furthermore, I'd much rather work on my yarn project than tackle the coffee table and bench staring at me, taunting me . . . daring me to continue to ignore them and their companions. When you find the remedy, please market it quickly, as I am sure there are lots of us hoping for a cure.
That reminds me. I must take my vitamins. And pray that my flatmate has learned how to empty the dishwasher (although she did deal with the kitchen bin for the first time in weeks recently).
My life in a nutshell... or should I say, nuthouse? I clean and it still looks messy. I de-clutter and the place has no personality. I buy a bin to organize things and find I need a bin for the bins! It's an endless battle and I live alone unless you count the cat. She's certainly useless at cleaning unless you count rolling around in the sunbeam on the kitchen table cleaning! Thank goodness for work! I can come to the office and pretend the house is just fine!
So glad my partner doesn't read this: I suspect in my household I *am* the bad seed.
It's like the butterfly effect of cleaning... You've just unleashed a vicious cycle of revealing more chaos rather than calm. It'll take a lil while to calm back down, but it will. It's always like this upon returning from trips... And your eyes are finely-tuned clutter-finding instruments. Eventually, the one or two items out of place won't raise a red flag as they are now. Best wishes!
I cleaned the sink out with comet last night, or a scrubbing powder at least. And washed the tablecloth. I am terrified that when I get home the gentleman I live with will have dirtied both. And here I thought I'd have to time to sweep and mop tonight. The things we go through.
Remember that CHAOS is the natural state....
I really think it has to do with teenagers. It is universal.
Are you referring to Can't Have Anybody Over Syndrome?
Yes, the bad seed can travel halfway 'round the world before the good seed gets its pants on...
I have been doing a ridiculous amount of cleaning here, but there is really nothing to clean. It is just something to do, so I don't knit so long and hard that my wrists gives out. I don't know what the house will look like when I get back, but the one I'm in now might well be spotless when I leave.
As a new mama to an adopted toddler, I was already in fear of the state of the house when I return from my best friend's 40th birthday away this weekend. Please dear sweet (insert deity you hold dear, wool in absence of being) do not let this post be prophetic .......
When it gets like that here--almost all MY clutter-bug-a-tude--I do the "15 minutes" with the timer on. Like this: Do 15 minutes of cleaning/decluttering and stop when the bell rings. Take a breath, turn on the timer again, do another 15 minutes, when thebell rings, take time to stretch, hydrate, smile, turn on timer AGAIN, and do another 15 minutes. Whew! Now turn on the timer, but GO DO SOMETHING THAT YOU WANT TO DO FOR 15 MINUTES. Repeat....helpful for keeping me focused and getting a feeling of accomplishment. Susana
I'm unemployed these days, so I'm home most of the time, and yet it's still tricky keeping up with my house. I swear I wash the dishes first thing in the morning, but every evening there are more of them in the sink. Let's not talk about the cat food. I buy more cans, then I can only find one. It's a conspiracy, it has to be.
I wasn't good at organizing and cleaning BEFORE I started knitting again. Now...it's worse. Not only the mess I had before, but less time (because I really do need socks, no joke) and more stuff (because, well, yarn. And needles. And what if they discontinue that yarn for which I have no plans yet but just looking at it makes me happy?)
So a room (once our son's room) already cluttered with papers moved from other rooms plus the overflow books from the living room, now houses I can't-believe-it's-this-much yarn. Because, well, socks. In a fit of enthusiasm I threw out all the socks but the (at that time four) pairs of hand-knit socks. Now there are six, but that's not enough.
Papers--an evergrowing stash, because, as you know, writers generate paper. Lots of paper, even when using computers on which to write and with which to transmit manuscripts to publishers. Still...paper.
I don't have one bad seed...I have dozens, all increasing the entropy factor. The largest is somewhere in my brain.
I am completely convinced the the rug does it...it has dust, dirt, cat hair and various unmentionable things in it that our shoes bring in. The rug just giggles at vacuuming and laughs out loud at spot cleaning. Do not even think of shampooing as it will never dry in revenge. The damp smell just adds to the secret. Go have some coffee and knit.
It is absolutely terrifying to me how much sense this makes. I spent 2 baby-free hours this morning cooking and cleaning with next to nothing to show for it. I have obviously not found my bad seed.
I survived my son's high school years by NOT doing his laundry, or looking too often in his room. Once a week I'd have him take the dishes downstairs and pick up the trash, but the rest of the house was too much of a challenge to even think about arguing with him. It was him, me, the cats, various cat toys, fabric, yarn, books, and DVDs. And even then, stuff would wander around into the most unlikely places!
I am an organized person and truly believes every item has a place and should be in its place...but I live with a man who does not subscribe to that same philosophy. He wants everything to be nice and straight and organized and clean when someone is coming to visit. But, otherwise, he wants everything at his disposal whether he uses it daily or not. So, I definitely relate.
I would implement a 1 shampoo and 1 conditioner per person rule in the bathroom. If you want more than that I would recommend a shower caddy. Heck, I might recommend a shower caddy anyways!
SOunds familiar. Eerily familiar. I've always wondered what it would be like to live in a house where the stairs are clear right across, not packed halfway with stuff that needs to go up or down.
I feel your pain; no matter how much I clean/tidy up/throw away, I live with four other people who have no clue how to put anything back where it belongs or throw away garbage. I clean the dining room table, go into the kitchen to make dinner, come back to the dining room, and the table is full again. It's like this with every room in the house. Eventually I give up and go spin or go in the basement to commune with the stash.
I am sitting here at work spitting coffee all over my computer screen. I am convinced that you have a spycam in my house and when you are talking about "your" house, you really mean "my" house.
OMG, do you live here? Or do I live in your house?
Either way can someone please tell me why there is a giant bag of tennis balls on my kitchen counter?
I have expired vitamins that I noticed but didn't toss the other day... Off I go! I'm sure that the state of some spaces is due to that instead of company staying & decent amounts of entertaining these days!
When you find your bad seed, let us know. It might give me a place to start looking. I get my house all straightened and organized in time for the cleaning lady to come, and as soon as I get home from work that day, it's destroyed again. I'm the only human in the house, so I have no choice but to blame the cats.
I live by myself and I have the same problem (although there are occasional visits from twenty-something children who haven't learned anything about cleaning or straightening while living on their own). I was not aware of a bad seed lurking somewhere in the house-I will begin my search immediately.
Perhaps it's related to the stash and keeps growing and growing, even though we knit from it every chance we get?
Maybe, just maybe, if you mix all the 19 bottles together you'd get a perfect shampoo and more space?
Maybe the house is happy in a state of disarray? It wants to keep its secrets safe behind the chaos.
Oh, you just described my last two days to a tee! I am TRYING to get the house reasonably acceptable to an in-laws visit from tomorrow, but my kids (and the house) are determined to resist EVERY effort, despite calm requests, ranting and raving and diving onto the internet to try and manage this slowly rising anxiety that the house is winning and the in-laws might be lucky if they find us at all tomorrow!
That's interesting. I'd never heard or thought of it that way: a bad seed. I figured I was just messy. HA! I've been vindicated. Thanks Harlot.
But really, its more that I know everything should have its place and until I create that space for it, my apt will look like a tornado came through. But good luck with your seed theory.
Amen to the bad seed! I always knew there was a reason I only had 2 hours of clean house a week...
Lady Entropy is a stone b!tch, in gleeful cahoots with my husband, kids, and cats. I feel ya.
Is that what the problem is? I'll have to start looking for my seed...
I always laugh out loud reading your posts! I don't know if you've ever considered it, but maybe the bad seed is the grown man and teenager you are living with. I know the grown man, 5 year old, 3 year old, and 15 month old great dane puppy I'm living with are mine...the tree in the park is starting to look like a pretty good place to live these days!
Good luck with all that. (LOVE the definition of CHAOS.)
My solution is to give up and knit, of course!
I know just how you feel :)
19 shampoo bottles? Expired vitamins? Time to get ruthless. Bite the bullet. Throw the stuff out. This year I went through the closets and cabinets. If I hadn't worn it in ages, it went to Goodwill. Ditto for the duplicate cooking utensils and that electric hot dog cooker and those vases that arrived with flower arrangements eons ago and were tucked away in that nearly unreachable bottom cabinet shelf.(Had I really saved that bulbous red and green harlequin "thing"?) Now my motto is: "if I have to dust it or store it I don't want it." Except for yarn and fabric, of course.
This is where I have been going wrong. I have not yet found the "bad seed" - I think there must have been several and I have found some, because it is better, but the Mother Seed is obviously well hidden....
I'm relieved I'm not the only one. I'll have to start checking for my own bad seeds, but I'm afraid it'll be a whole acres worth and not just one.
I feel your pain. I do have the solution for the shampoos - mix them together into as few bottles as possible. Then she can get shine, bounce, volume all at once, and you can get rid of that clutter!
I have teenagers/young adults about the same ages as yours (21,20 and 18). The girls (21,18) are away at college and the spaces they occupied over the summer have still not recovered. The middle one is a boy. Amazingly enough the bathroom they shared now looks great...no toothpaste, brushes, and bottles of stuff all over the place! Unfortunately, he is a great generator of dirty dishes!
THIS! This is why I knit (okay, one reason among many). The sink is never clean, the laundry hamper is never empty, the floor never stays vacuumed. Housework is never done...but when a WIP becomes a Finished Object, it is done, and stays done. Knitting gives me a sense of accomplishment.
This is my entire life, in a nutshell. My house is nearly the size of a nutshell, with very little storage to boot, two children, two cats, and a husband who sincerely doesn't *ever* remember where he left the tea/coffee cup he was just using or his socks. I swear I remember a life that wasn't cluttered or unclean. It's just not my life now.
This is exactly why the best gift my husband can ever give me (aside from yarn, natch) is to take the kids away for a week or two every summer so I can be alone at home, with a clean house that stays clean. I can do what I want, eat what I want, cook, or not, stay out all day or stay home all day. This year I bought groceries on the way home from dropping them at the airport and did not leave my lovely clean and tidy house for a week!
And don't get me started on that shampoo thing! Two open bottles and I cannot stand the clutter. Luckily hubby is with me on the clutter issue so when the kids are teens we will be able to present a united front.
All so familiar. But -- I LIVE ALONE. Except for Martha the Cat, but really, she can only be held responsible for the spilled litter in the basement and the cat hairs everywhere.
So where, WHERE is it all coming from?
The concept of the bad seed Explains it All. In fact, I now see it all. The bad seed is generated from the cat hairs.
I love you. You have put into words exactly how I feel about my house.
Starting in September, when all 3 littles went to school - I decided to do something for myself. I am only going to be responisble for cleaning 1/5 of the house - seeing as how there are 5 people living here. Granted by default I get the kitchen, the dining and at least one bathroom a day. (Though when we have guests I will clean like a madwoman) But I'm trying to let it go - emotionally- it won't make me feel better to clean the whole house, to have it all undone moments after the bus drops the littles off.
As much as I love having a house full of kids, crafts, toys and what not. I do also look forward to when they are out in the world on their own and my WHOLE house will stay clean more than 5 minutes. (grin)
It's the matrix. Which world is the real one? BTW, you're in for a shock if you haven't bought apples yet - a small bag of Crispins and Cortlands at the orchard cost $15.00 yesterday.
Here's my theory... Throw stuff out!! By that I mean, take stuff to a shelter, the Goodwill, recycling etc. but get it out of the house. That way there's less stuff to clutter and the seas will reveal itself. Good luck with that because, you know, the only things appropriate to throw out are the stuff of others. Your stuff is necessary and priceless.... I have experience with these things.
The biggest tip that seemed to help me was to start loading the dishwasher at night and unloading it every morning. That way, during the day, you load the dishwasher and you can keep your kitchen looking really tidy even when you still have dirty dishes. I also try to do at least one hand wash set of dishes every day, for those things that can't go into the dishwasher. I mean, it won't help family members suddenly become respectful of your time/efforts, but it helps a bit. If they just leave their stuff on the counter, stick it in the already unloaded dishwasher. I had a heart to heart with my husband that let him know that when he leaves messes (not his fault, really... he had a neat FREAK of a mother, lovely woman really, just CLEAN, who slaved away for his entire childhood to keep their house perfect and never taught him to clean after himself... He lived in a magically "self-cleaning" house his entire life. I'm breaking this cycle with my boys!), I feel sometimes like he's actually saying that he doesn't care about me or my time, and sees me as his slave. I asked how he would feel if someone were constantly screwing up his tools in the garage and leaving them in the wrong places, or if he'd get everything set up, only to walk back into his space and have it in complete disarray again. Or how would he feel if at work (he's a mechanic), every time he walked away, someone would come in and un-fix everything he just fixed. That's how it is with me. Anyway, it was a genuine heart-to-heart conversation, without me freaking out. It didn't fix things overnight, but he's definitely gotten SO much better about not completely undoing all of my work right when I do it.
Unfortunately, throwing vitamins (or any medication) in the trash or down the loo is bad for the environment and us (stays in the drinking water). So, in addition to all the bins for knitting, magazines, clothing, cookbooks, knitting books, summer clothes, winter clothes, Xmas stuff (and on and on), I ALSO have a bin for expired medications just waiting for another "drop-off" event. It's totally endless.
Tell Sam the solution is to put all the shampoo in one bottle. Anti frizz, volume, extra shine, manageability, you name it, it does it!
So, what you're saying is that there's a black hole of cleaning just like that black hole of knitting? Well, that explains a lot. I thought it was just what happens when you're the mom of 5 boys.
A bad seed! That must be it!! I must've inadvertently brought a bad seed into our first apartment, and it's been packed and moved into every subsequent home.
I'm SO glad to find it's not me...
Yeah, good luck with that! The shampoo bottles reminded me of a cartoon I saw years ago where the little daughter thought she'd help her mommy organize by combining all of the perfume bottle remnants into one large bottle...I wonder if that would work with shampoo? Then Sam could have shiny hair WITH volume... :-)
The bad seed in my house is the dust bunnies. They wear camoflage and carry assalt rifles and they are very evil creatures.
I put my coffee cup under the couch when I want to get up and come back to it, but don't accidentally want to step on or bump it and knock it over.
I often forget it's there too.
On my to do list: buy an end table to put near the sofa...
Wow! 23 sweaters! Did you knit them all? Just bask in the achievement, don't hide them away...
Well, call me on my cell when you figure it out. I'm in the basement cleaning out the finished room in an attempt to make it a place someone could sleep during the wedding madness, but it's pretty far gone. If I don't comment for a day or two, send in the dogs.
It would probably take much better if said 43 yo man and teen-ager went to Texas...
Everytime I go on a major cleaning and tossing binge (which granted, only seems to be when we move, but that's been every couple of years lately), I've sworn I've tossed out all the crap. And yet, more appears almost instantaneously. All I can figure is I must have kept the breeders.
I discovered recently that if you get a child invested in cleaning up (i.e. they're proud of what they accomplished), then it's much easier to keep that kid from making a mess the next time.
Unfortunately, that only works with one of my two kids, and doesn't work at all with the cats *sigh* I've been trying to clear off my kitchen table for two weeks.
Nothing but love for you.
I have always blamed the fact that it is a very tiny house with lots of very creative people in it. We all have stuff, and there is no way it will all fit. Ever.
Get some rest and knit on.
As the mama of two littles, I have totally given up having my whole house clean at the same time. I am currently closing my eyes to the rampaging dust buffalo while snuggling a sweet sleepy girl.
Sunday I crowed to my HH that the laundry room floor was clean and clear. When I went down to flip the laundry two more loads had magically appear. I was shocked - one of my teenage males had cleared his floor without me nagging, begging, screaming or crying.
Cleaning is a never ending contact sport.
I'm just glad I'm not the only one. I'm pondering filling up the excess Amazon boxes with non-yarn clutter and sending it to the thrift store. I fear that the other 42 year old and both kids would end up buying back all of it because "we couldn't find ours". There is no winning in this war.
ROFLcopter at "Was it secret coffee?" I wish I had any tips for you, but sadly, no.
So...it's a "bad seed" that's responsible for the mess in my house? And all these years I've been holding the Hubs, the Kids and the Pets responsible.
No wonder that never worked. Does that "bad seed" one day own up and pitch in any better than said Hubs, Kids and Pets?
Shampoo doesn't expire - combine to make full bottles and it will be only 9 1/2 bottles that will work just fine. The label doesn't matter ... be surprised.
Have you heard of Flylady? www.flylady.com Kooky but very effective - it could change your life.
And start a new attitude/affective approach.
Devotees all over the world.
It's partly a perception thing. Some kind of mess is probably a permanent thing, given that you have family there. But, *noticing* the mess is temporary, thankfully, and you'll get over it. I do.
I see the makings of a new reality TV show here... Have you seen "Haunted Collector"? Same premise, but this remarkably successful (/sarcasm) team can come in and sweep your house to find that *one* bad seed item! (After all, there's always only one haunted item. And his team finds it. Every. Time.)
At our house, once things get really messy and/or dirty it also gets hard to get traction. I think one reason is that as soon as a room is cleaned up and you can actually see the surface of a table or countertop, it becomes the perfect place to lay down whatever you have in your hands, whether or not it belongs in that room. Next thing you know, the cleaned room is filled with as much clutter as the other rooms.
My approach is to attack each room and at least get everything in the correct room. There might be a huge pile of papers on my desk, but at least they are on my desk and not scattered all over the house. Next step is to declutter each room (but no moving stuff to the wrong room is allowed). Cleaning is the final step.
Declutter in my book is organized enough so I can use the room (space on my desk for doing work, space on the coffee table for a cup of tea, space in the kitchen to cook, etc.), NOT pristine enough to be presentable to a mother-in-law.
Sometimes I declutter then clean room by room because putting things away reveals too much grime and dust to ignore. Also, sometimes only one room or part of a room is a disaster (like my office desk), and way too often it is a mess entirely of my own making.
The hardest part is when someone (I also have a teenager and a husband who come and go at will) comes in midway through the process and either dumps stuff in the wrong room or distracts me midtask.
Every Tuesday is my cleaning day, so said teenager has to pick up his room before he leaves for school so it can be vacuumed and dusted (and his bathroom can be cleaned). His room may only be presentable (or navigable) briefly, but at least it happens once a week. This also guarantees his dirty laundry reaches the washing machine before it grows mold or small animals.
I have been getting those attacks too. Yesterday, I cleaned out and purged my purses, winnowing down to the three I actually use and donating the rest. Then I took down and cleaned the two ceiling fans and the light is soo much brighter without a layer of dust on the globes.. then I vacuumed the attic with the shop vac since we have major debris there still from a new roof... then I had a beer and knit a hat, it was a quick hat. Today I am at work, as in a job
Heh heh. I have to say that I share Sam's theories on shampoo usage.
Wow, looks like you touched a knitter nerve, here! I see several references to FlyLady or her methods - she's wonderful, and I credit her with allowing me to say, "well, now I'm going to knit for a while..." even when there are places in my house that need attention.
It will never be "done" - I don't know who said it, but I like this: I want a house that's clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy.
I think that's one of the reasons I knit - because things stay done, once they are really done.
It doesn't help that I'm a librarian, and library work is another thing, like dishes, cooking and laundry, that never stays done.
I remember about 8 years ago I sent an e-mail to my sister, SIL, and Mom indicating that I had completed ALL the laundry in the house.... washed, dried, folded, but away. ALL OF IT. There was no laundry in the bins, nothing waiting to be washed, nothing air drying on top of the machines, nothing hang drying on the porch.
Since this was a once-in-a-lifetime triumph, I felt honor bound to inform everyone that there was absolutely no sense of achievement, accomplishment, or glory associated with this feat. I advised that they should cease to crave it as a momentous occasion, and stop looking mournfully at the laundry bins, wistfully wishing for the day when they can keep up with their washing.
It looks like you need a sister, SIL, or daughter to give you the same advice about your housework, and that is:
It may not be over 'til its over, but it's never over, so how would you know?
OMG! Somebody understands.....Every time I clean something,I know that it wont stay clean , unless I take a picture the minute it is cleaned.I swept and mopped the kitchen yesterday,and it lasted until the dog came in the back door,with grass on her sweet ornery little paws.If I had just not opened that door........
Glad you are home safe from your trip......
That's how I feel right now. Try living/eating in house with 15 other 18-25 year olds. When I got here a month ago it was horrifying. I'm still convinced the kitchen should be condemned. I wish you like with winning the war agains the mess, all I can do is contain it.
This is why I knit. I homeschool - which means what I do is either intangible (teaching) or cyclical/never-ending (cleaning, cooking). Imagine my bliss when I discovered knitting: I could look at it and see progress; I could touch it and know I had made it; when I walked away it stayed knitted. Tangible with a product at the end.
Knitting is sanity for just that reason for me.
But gotta go, I know the toilet paper needs replacing and the dishwasher needs emptying...
Today I really, truly, deeply understood why closets have doors---I was wondering when I would have time to clean my closet, realized that such a time never would come, and understood in my soul that it was time to close the closet door. The cats will have to find another place to hang out. I will have peace until tonight when I have to hang up the clothes I wore today.
Glad to know what is causing my office to spontanously explode into mess as soon as I leave teh room. I just need to find that bad seed and whack it into it's proper place. Something tells me that is easier said than done--not to mention keeping people from dumping their bad seeds in here when my back is turned.
Are you sure you aren't at my house?
I can't help but notice you didn't post any pictures with this entry. Now, it's obvious that your bad seed wants to remain in hiding, to conceal it's exisitence so that it can continue to explode all over your house. Perhaps if you threatened it with public exposure it would move next door? Just a thought.
(BTW, I'm married to a Newfie as well and he doesn't see clutter either. Can step right over it and carry on. Perhaps it's an Island thing?)
But I thought you didn't really like apples.
As for the coffee cup, it was really hot chocolate and my husband snuck over and did that.
re: A clear table to dump stuff on
My daughter would come home from elementary school & dump her stuff on the kitchen table. I'd nag at her, threaten, etc, etc until I had to feed the kids snack in my family daycare. It was an ongoing issue for awhile. One day I yelled at her in complete exasperation, "Why do you do this??!!?"
She answered honestly & said, "Because then I can find the stuff after you put it away."
I had to laugh. I'm looking forward to role reversal in my old age. LOL
Ya gotta quit stressing out like this or you'll die an early death!!! Pick a room, make it the way you like it & don't let anyone in. Organize a work party, post a list of chores on the fridge, go on strike & don't feed them. But, quit making yourself crazy because it's not about the cleanliness, messiness, tidiness or order - it's about Family, Love, Warmth, Comfort, Being Together & yes, Fibre. When you let someone in to live with you, it's never how YOU want it ever again until they're gone. Forever.
Let me explain about the coffee cup. You stick it under the edge of the couch so that when you get up, forget it's down there, and put your foot or book or knitting down in that place, you don't spill coffee on the floor, the book or the knitting. So, really, it's a good thing. When I run out of cups in the cupboard, I remember to look under the couch.
As for the self-uncleaning rooms, can't help you there, my house does the same thing all the time. And I live alone.
I blame the hangers that just seem to mulitply like amoeba in the closets -- and the socks that have lost their mates. They've nothing else to do, so they become the bad seed. They lure others of their kind to join their unholy cult and encourage all kinds of teeny weeny tool parts and man-bits to stay forgotten in pockets while they lie in wait until they go swimming in the washing machine.
I so totally get the grocery thing. I write a very organized list arranged by store aisles which I compile by physically checking the fridge, shelves and cabinets to see what's lacking in the house. I come back wih bagfuls of stuff--everything I feel we could possibly need and then some. I put it all away and don't even get to sit down before I begin a new list because somehow we don't have at least one and often two staple items. Did they vaporize while I was gone or what? Black holes, hell--let's see if science can explain this and lost socks!
There was once, in the history of my country, the U.S., when all but the poorest had help in the household. Paid help. Help in the kitchen, help in the barn, help with the household. People who worked alongside whomever employed them, This still happens in some countries. I just met a woman who moved hear from Beijing, China and when asked what was the biggest change for her when she moved to Ohio, she said it was learning to become 'a real housewife', because it is not our custom here to have a housekeeper. She had one lady in her house everyday, so now she is learning to clean, cook, and shop for her family, things she never had to do in China. This woman is not wealthy but solidly middle-class.
I think I could use a scullery maid myself, how about you?
I think the problem is that nature abhors a vacuum. By emptying the sink or dishwasher, cleaning off the table, moving stuff out of the laundry pile, etc., you are creating vacuums. Vacuums that must be filled with something.
Either that, or your neighbors The Squirrels are responsible.
Squirrels! Ha! I wish there was a "like" button on the comments!
Clutter and mess are like cats. They show up when you really don't want them to so the thing to do is pretend they aren't there. Sit down on the Chesterfield and knit away at something. The clutter/mess will get bored and go find someone else to bother.
I hesitate to suggest it, but maybe the Bad Seed is somewhere in the Stash...?
When you figure it out, let me know!
This post hit me just the right way today, and I actually laughed out loud, which is impressive considering the amount of stress I'm under. I like the idea of the bad seed that prevents the house (or apartment in my case) from staying clean. I'll have to keep that in mind as I go through the piles of paperwork that I'm pretty sure are self multiplying.
I confess, I didn't read all the other comments yet to see if anyone else has offered the answer....to the coffee cup.
I bet Joe put the cup under the couch because he didn't want to accidentally step on it or kick it over when he stood up. I *blush* do it all the time (put it under the couch, that is.)
The same thing keeps happening in my house, too. I tell the kids all the time that the cleaning fairy is routinely skipping our house. At 6 & 10, they find amusement in that remark.
The only time the house stayed clean for longer than a day was when my husband took the kids on a spring vacation trip to NYC and I stayed home by myself. I straightened the house that first day and it was beautiful all week without hardly any effort from me until they came home at the end of the week.
With the crushing speed of life these days, the house doesn't get the attention it needs & the kids inately know it. Sadly, we rarely deep clean the entire house in one day unless company's coming. So now whenever we deep clean, the kids ask who's coming to visit. *sigh*
In the words of my mom, I need my own apartment.
I am convinced the only solution is to clean the house to a fare-thee-well and then move to a hotel.
And don't get me started on laundry. I get it all clean and then my family insist on wearing it! What's their problem?
The super nice thing about the Shampoo Situation is that next time you run out (and the next 15 or so times after that), you can mosey into her bathroom and just take one.
No need to broadcast it.
I like to create a little mystery. (Or be a brat. Either explanation works.)
Substitute "coffee cup under the couch" for boys' dirty socks and "nineteen shampoo bottles" for a gazillion nerf darts and we're at my house. If you find a way to master the chaos, please, please tell us how to do it!
My home is like that too, but I know exactly what's causing it: I live with a man who puts things down wherever he happens to be when he discovers he doesn't need to be holding it anymore. This is what leads to finding shoes in the bathroom and mask spray in the pantry.
Cleaning does nothing but keep it from getting worse ... even that's debateable!
There might be a bad seed somewhere, but you should also remember that the third law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of a system will always, without fail, increase. Entropy is a measure of disorder, so for order to emerge, you need to spend energy, which itself increases entropy.
Trust me, I'm a physicist. (Why yes, my kitchen IS filthy, however did you guess.)
Sorry. Can't relate to a clean house because I live a lone and don't do housework.
On a more important topic, your class was wonderful! I now knit my regular knitting TWICE as fast as before! I'm working on lever knitting, too, and have started a scarf as a present for a special friend. I swore I'd never knit a scarf again, never mind rib an entire one, and now I am. Imagine that! I'm just working on getting all the angles right and not having everything fall away from everything else. But my usual knitting is much faster, and I have a second way of knitting which my arthritis will allow. Thanks for a great class.
I am so happy to know that that is the problem we have been facing in our house. I can't ever get ahead with the cleaning and sorting unless everyone else is away. The only time that things stayed at all orderly was when one son lived 792 miles away and the other was away at college. My husband, when asked later why he was able to keep things where they belonged, said that it was because he couldn't blame it on anyone else when they weren't there. Hmmmm. My younger son is out on his own, and the other just married and they are living with us for a few months while they look for a house to buy (don't want them locked into a lease when the right house comes along) so I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Now to hope it becomes a reality.
Don't let it infect your stash!!! And it's not just your house... it's everywhere!!!
I am so glad not to be alone in the uphill battle of home cleaning. I live with my hubby and numerous smallish dogs. You would think that two working adults could maintain a neat household. Nope, doesn't work. The dogs don't shed too much and are mostly housetrained. The big problem is the center island in the kitchen. It is a dumping ground for mail, newspapers, magazines, my lunch bag, a large basket that I put on the counter to hold the junk that is now spilling out of said basket, and a lovely pottery bowl in the center of the island that holds seasonal fruit, which is usually covered up by something else. Every so often, one of us will say "enough already" and do a sort and pitch. The end result is usually a neater, still cluttered island. Sigh.
Oh, I totally understand you! Last week, my husband had tea while watching tv and instead of either bringing along a plate or something to put his teabag on, he removed a candle from it's holder and put the tea bag in the candle holder. Really?! Peronally, I don't think men and women were meant to live with one another. Maybe we could just live with our girlfriends and have conjugal visits once in a while!!
I have similar problems but haven't even had the pleasure of going away. Good luck finding the bad seed!
"The bad seed in my house is the
dust bunnies. They wear camoflage
and carry assalt rifles and they
are very evil creatures." Yay, Deb!!
For my part, I have four deaths and a wedding in the last year, and have inherited all the
genealogical files ... Holey moley, Mom, that's a lot of paper!! All of this has slowed down my
household activities a lot. Not to mention web-surfing. So I won't.
I remember clearly the day I told my husband to put his socks in the laundry basket. He said, "But I thought that you LIKED picking up my socks." You can imagine my reply. This is the same man who can take dishes out when he wants a snack but is totally baffled by unloading the dishwasher and putting them back. I can't blame the dogs; they don't have opposable thumbs.
But 57 year old adult human should be able to pick up his own s***
Consider it a work-in-progress; then it never actually has to be finished. That's how it works around here, anyway. I'm pretty sure my entire house, including dishes and laundry, hasn't ever been clean and put away all at one time, pretty much since my son was born. So that's 12 years.
I just chip away at it daily, kind of my own personal Mount Rushmore.
When you find the cause we can develop a cure or perhaps a vaccine. Please post it when you find it.
Why spend time rationalizing for the people creating the problem, apparently for many years? These people have learned that it is not necessary to organize or clean either because values differ or because there is someone available to do the work. Seems like a common household problem in families, often with help from an enabler. There must be a better solution for everyone!
See - this is why we love Knitting! It is one of the few activities that has a TANGIBLE evidence of having done something - even something beautiful. The rest - we call that the "gerbil wheel" - what goes around comes around - over and over...
I know what the problem is at my house - a 10yo and a 7yo home on school holidays. There really is no hope for any sense of order until they go back to school.
I know the feeling. Last time our house hit terminal clutter, we sold it and moved to Australia. (although perhaps, now I think of it, the causality worked in the other direction, but even so...)
The thing is, though, that when I explain to my dear heart WHY the cup ended up under the couch, he doesn't brighten up and say, Oh! Thank you for the interesting and rollicking story of the cup! He just sort of gets this look like he is dying inside just a little bit and wanders off.
OMG that explains so much of my life for the past 40 years!!
You're over thinking this. It's the cat.
I'm cleaning at the moment too, just removed the greasy dust of the ages off the breadmaker and am about to hit another cupboard to see what's lurking in there. Still have a long way to go and I'm pretty sure my gremlin is in the craft room, but I'm scared I won't come out if I go in there and if I don't come out who will finish knitting the Orchid Thief?
umm theres a series of videos on youtube of people who make sped-up videotapes of themselves cleaning a space top to bottom...and timing themselves as they do it...so maybe if you videotape yourself cleaning, the mess-making poltergeist that is haunting your rooms will be scared off.
here's a cute one hehe
go Tom go!
The problem is called entropy. I learned about the concept in college and it applies to many things in my life, including my house. It basically means that molecules go from an orderly state to a disorderly one all by themselves -- sounds like your situation. Good luck!
What Claire said at 10:06:
"I suspect in my household I *am* the bad seed."
Welcome to my world!
It doesn't happen as much any more but I can remember when my kids were younger being in one room cleaning while they were "playing" (aka creating one mess after another) in other room. It would go on like that without stop.
What I want to know is: just where does dust come from? It's just me and 3 cats, it can't be all cat hair. It's endless, it appears out of nowhere, it gets everywhere and when it's thick enough, the cats find it and roll in it. But even that doesn't get rid of it. Must be a conspiracy. I'd rather be knitting.
About the secret coffee: He may have put it on the floor, and been worried that it would get knocked over, and then tucked it under the couch. I have done this with mugs when sitting on the floor at friends' houses. (In my own house, spills don't matter much -- I have two toddlers).
Otherwise, I'm afraid I can't help much.
so glad to see there are so many other houses out there with inability to stay clean. In my case it started in july when I hurt my knee, the house started back sliding. I am now laughing inside waiting for hubby and kids to realize that there is no cleaner, the cleaning lady (aka mommy/wife) is currently recovering from knee surgery. And of course, I am trying to keep myself from hauling dirty clothes to the basement to wash or organizing the basement or putting all my garden beds to rest. I have at least 6 more weeks before I can wrestle with my seeds. we might end up on horders by then.
We moved this summer... every time I unpacked a box and put the contents away, two more would present themselves. I'm not sure this will ever end. I wonder if one of these boxes is a seed, or if they're just reproducing in the closet?
I am living a parallel life - in my own little way.
It appears that we moved into this house with multiple bad seeds. No sooner do we get one area of the house under control than something happens (like the sewage backup in the basement a couple of months ago) that completely undo not only what we'd done most recently but much other work before it besides, so we not only aren't staying in the same place, we're actively backsliding. The only good cleaning thing that's happened in the house in months is that the teenage boy from across the street, who fed the cat while we were out of town last week, not only put the cat food cans in the recycling but rinsed the dirty cat food dishes in the sink so that there was NO stinking, moldy cat food awaiting our return. I love that kid. :)
I'm glad to learn about your bad seed explanation. Between that and the spacewarp, which eats items unpredictably just when you need them most and only releases them when you no longer need them, I think I'm starting to understand why I live in a permanent state of howling chaos....
I need to print this and post it all over! You have stumbled on the reality that happens everywhere! In my house the cardboard boxes reproduce like bunny rabbits! LOL
Being Irish, I always blame on the wee folk that lurk behind every corner and manage to spread mischief in the blink of an eye.
I say amalgamate those 19 shampoos into one giant vat! then you can have shine AND volume!
That's it, the wee folk are on a rampage. I think Joe, may have been trying to pacify them with coffee and forgot to refill their cup. Nice try, but he needs to leave them a nice stout or a jigger of Jamieson whiskey. If all else fails, Joe, needs to pacify you with the Jigger of Jamieson and a nice cold ale.
(Oops commented on the wrong post.)
Must be a thing with the fiber women, sounds just like posts/rants my wife had recently (or numerous times), especially when she returns from teaching or lecturing out of town... Now I can tell her it is the "bad seed" not ME!
I don't know, but isn't the definition of insanity "doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result"? :)
i hear you sister, amen. i don't have cleaning people here--i have dirtying people.
Oh, God, I have a 3 year old and a 12 week old baby and I swear everything we own has been through the washing machine in the last 4 days, and there are blocks in every crevice of the house. I didn't know about bad seeds, but it explains a lot. Today I weeded out pajamas, tomorrow it's probably going to be the pantry. I'll find the one in ours; good luck with yours.
never heard the bad seed theory, however it makes absolutely perfect sense.
I'm sure there's a bad seed in my house too. The worst of the clutter used to be confined to "the horrible room" upstairs, but it has now migrated to the living room, and the desk in the kitchen, the kitchen table, the laundry room, the master bedroom and bath and the upstairs gallery that was supposed to be my stitching area. I'm convinced the seed has taken advantage of the 60+ hours I spend working/commuting each week and feeds on the multiple fiber-related hobbies.
I swear that THIS time I am unemployed - for the third time in 6 years - I will give myself permission to spend the first month not job hunting but eradicating all potential seed hiding places!
Doing housework is like stringing beads on a string with no knot in the end. Neverending. It never gets any better no matter how hard you work at it so I have elected to worry less and learn to enjoy the mess more. Feel much better.
Try delegating some of the responsibility... not just the work. So if the dining table is full of junk, the person in charge of the table will have to clear it before your family can have dinner. If there are no more clean dishes, the person in charge of dishes will have to clean them - otherwise - no food. Start delegating small, realistic areas of responsibility. It can work :-)
Sounds like house work sticks to you. Maybe you could be a bit more slippery - and sit down and knit in the middle of chaos :-) And maybe you need more Tupperware and other storage containers (Ikea has lots), so it's easier to put stuff away ;-)
Don't you know that dishes, laundry and housework are biblical? Think "loaves and fishes."
I don't want to make it sound like I'm enjoying your misery, but I really get a lot out of this kind of blog post. They're rare, and that's fine, but every time it comes up I feel much better about myself. Maybe I'm not actually letting the side down because my floor isn't pristine for more than five minutes at a time and I still can't teach Himself to throw away his Coke cans instead of stacking them next to the couch.
As always, thank you. :)
I'm there too! How does this STOP! I have shredded 5 bales of paper and there is still MORE! It is an avalanche of white stuff continually coming down inside the house!
I once was in a small sailboat regatta, two teenagers could just fit, the name of the sailboat was "Press on Regardless"! We came in second after hitting the bouy and doing a 360 turn around the bouy we hit.
Keep doing! Keep going! We will all succeed one way or another.
Good heavens, I thought it was just my house.
Are you familiar with www.flylady.net? She advocates swish cleaning the toilet every day, and says it's the perfect way to use up shampoo you don't like, soap is soap. Since I'm guessing there are 18 you don't like, you'll be fine for a while.
Bad seed, huh? Is this like an artifact from Warehouse 13?
Let us know how that works for you. I'm going to keep with my assumption that it's the people living here that generate the mess. The dog is exempt, not because he's a neat freak but he doesn't have much in the way of stuff and he keeps it all on the floor.
I scrubbed my kitchen cabinets with a nail brush today - very therapeutic.
All I can say is ... be careful. It's you against Lord only knows how many things that will have to be dealt with. Be careful, and take some knitting in with you in case you need it. :D
So that's the problem! It's not just that I am the world's most easily distracted housekeeper (although I am). I swear I can dust a room, return to it moments later and there is already a fine coating of dust over all.
Congratulations to Sam on having nineteen half-used shampoos. Such an inspiration! I have five (for all the same reasons) and I'm several times her age. Gotta catch up with her record...I'm off to the drugstore this morning.
I think my room is the bad seed of the apartment.. but does knitting count? All my surfaces are covered with yarn..
My theory is that all houses have their cleanlines set point. A hoard of cleaners can come in and make your house white glove inspection clean, but 24 hours later it reverts to its set point. The set point changes over the years as the life situations change - little kids, older kids, different jobs etc.
You can either accept the set point or fight it. If you fight it, you will be constantly fighting an uphill battle.
I keep meaning to get a t-shirt made that says-
" HELP! The universe is decaying faster than I can sweep it up!"
A pretty good quinoa salad in the fridge. Nice.
I spent a week painting the spare room so that my husband could move his office in there, giving me back the pantry, and it is AMAZING the amount of dust/grime/clutter/chaos that has accumulated in that week. O_O
Pour all the shampoos into one bottle. Then they'll do EEEEEEVERYTHING all at once. And promise you'll do that to every new bottle that arrives. Also works for conditioner. Good luck!
Under the sofa (chesterfield) cushions you will find at least one smelly sock. Remove that and things should improve. Don't ask me how I know!
Reminds me of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip K. Dick used the term "kipple" for those little bits of refuse and useless objects that seem to just accumulate over time. The First Law of kipple is that "kipple drives out nonkipple."
Nice! Now I've got an external undetermined source to blame for the constant state of disorder instead of my preference to sit & knit over continuing the futile attempts to clean.
Perfect. I've wondered what was happening. I've been cleaning all morning and the damn place is still a disaster. I've given up for now. I don't know why I'm the only one in my house of two adults (and two kids aged 6&9) that knows when to flush the toilet, take out the garbage, remove dishes from the living room table, wipe up spills, put dirty clothes INTO the hamper and NOT on the floor NEXT TO the hamper, etc., etc. Yeah..."the laugh" that says I'll be moving to the nearest tree....I know that laugh well. I'm laughing now.....
I see you forgot to turn on the "auto clean house" feature before you left.
Yesterday morning I washed a big glass bowl and two cutting knives that my husband had used. Last night, I washed the same bowl and the same two knives... I wanted to slash something with those knives and hurl the glass bowl across the room - but I controlled myself....barely.....
Linda in VA
Stephanie, I admire your perseverance and wish you luck, but cleaning is only worth doing if it makes you happy, and this is not making you happy.
Step away from it, do some knitting, enjoy life a bit and come back to the cleaning when it doesn't make you crazy. Mugs under couches? It's one of their natural hiding places & not worth stressing over.
I am going to hunt for that bad seed, though. Wouldn't it be great if it works!
Hi, Yarn Harlot
This is my first comment here although I have been reading for a little while. I am going to have to print this post and post it in my kitchen so I can remember it is not me or the house, husband, guests, nieces, nephews. It is just THE SEED.
OH, so that's what's going on in my house! I thought it was having a 3 year old and an 11 month old and wanting to play with them rather than keep the house "visitor presentable"! Awesome! Not my fault : )
I have the solution... Get your sister who LIKES to cook and clean move in with you. She has "CSSS" (can't sit still syndrome) The up side for her is she LOVES hand knit socks. Perfect. ;-)
I was just thinking today that I must be the only person in this house that doesn't think "tidy" equals "clean" and knows how to do the latter. Seriously... I can't be the only one who knows how to wash dishes by hand! I *know* he knows how to scoop cat litter and wash children (hell, with minimal supervision they can do that mostly themselves!). It's madness, and I'm exhausted. A glass of wine sits with me while I take a breather. Maybe I'll find my seed after I'm done.
I just returned home to find the place crazy with fruit flies. I'm guessing the bad seed is (or was) foodish. Before I left five days ago, I boiled some chicken and left meals, My husband does dishes, but is a strict constructionist when it comes to defining a "dish." Also, even an accepted dish has to sit within the magic circle on the counter. Apparently the stockpot and the colander were too big to fit inside the magic circle. Also, the cover of the compost bucket was not on tight, since I was not here to slap it down after whenever I walk past. Three hours of kichen scrubbing today. Then I made the ultimate kitchen accessory...fruit fly traps.
You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something that I think I would never understand.
It seems too complicated and very broad for me.
I am looking forward for your next post, I'll try to get the hang of it!
I think Claire's comment describes my situation as well- I have definite bad seed tendencies, as my husband will attest to. However there is the adage that a tidy house is a sign of a mis-spent life, so I will go with that. But, I do draw the line at coffee cups under the couch
I just got back from Connecticut. The house was trashed. There is nothing you can do except call Merry Maids. The shampoo thing I can fix. You have to buy very expensive organic chemical free shampoo like C-System (it lasts for months, you only need a little and I get it on Ebay much cheaper than at the salon). It doesn't make your hair too dry or too oily. Then you put a tiny tiny bit of Frizz ease in your hair before you blow dry (control and no frizz and dries faster) and if at this point you need volume you also add some mousse. All done. One shampoo and there is conditioner if you like. Yes, I make personal appearances for training.
I have a confession to make. I think I am the bad seed. I read about being organized, I think about being organized, I plan to be organized - my wonderful sister comes to my house and helps me to become organized - but I am so far the opposite of organized that I wonder if there is any hope and maybe I should just give in to whatever powers are out there that cause all of this confused mess. My husband, on the other hand, Mr. Clean, loves the smell of lemon and bleach (maybe not in that order). I try, I really do try or I think I try but before I get one room tidy the last one is in disarray. Then I have to begin all over again so I am sure the last rooms will never see tidiness. I have been told things like it is because one is creative or has a creative mind but really I am not tha....t creative. What to do? I think I will leave things as they are for now - rest, relax and knit.
When you are in not good state and have no money to go out from that, you will have to take the loan. Just because it would aid you unquestionably. I get small business loan every single year and feel good because of that.
I can so empathize with this. I thought it would get better once the boys left home, but it hasn't. In fact, it's worse, because we now seem to be hanging on to bits and pieces (like old TV's and microwaves) to give to them once they get their living arrangements sorted out - and they never take them away. And this is with me having a cleaning lady come in once a week. The day after she comes, it's as bad as it was before.
Once a week Rob and I spend two hours cleaning and organizing our house. This is not enough time to actually get it clean. It will take months to get it clean. But we're slowly chipping away at a huge project, and neither one of us can stand to spend longer than that at it. We've built it in to our routine so it's not overwhelming, and so we don't give up in disgust, and we're both working on it at the same time so neither one of us ends up resenting the other for not doing their share of the housework.
Result? The house is still a mess. But we can actually walk through it now. And parts of it are way cleaner than before. And it's slowly become cleaner and more organized over all. Baby steps.
I can't properly comment on this because I haven't stopped laughing. This is my universe! Maybe if the man reads your post he'll understand...
I know, I REALLY REALLY KNOW. In my house I think the problem is that there is a whole battery of things that don't actually have places. Or, the places that they do have aren't capable of neatness or even orderly-ness.
The camera (well, camera-s, actually) for instance. It/They simply do not have a place. There are places where they (Ok, it's they) might be put, but then they aren't used so they must stay out but be moved from site to site, depending . . .
And, I weave. That process involves a messy mess of stuff that cannot be put away. I might not NEED to have 2 rigid heddle looms in the family room at the same time, but . . . . Further, the yarn for the next project (well maybe 3 projects) must stay out where I can see it or it will become stash and I'll just have to buy more. Knitting-- ditto. Quilting -- ditto.
Oh, it might be a bad seed. Ummmm, it might be me.
BAD SEED???? THAT'S what is wrong with my house!!!! I can't believe I have never heard of this....Oh, the things you teach me, Yarn Harlot! I mean, why do they not tell you these things when you get your own home? I have been married and living in my own home for 11 1/2 years now, and could never figure it out- I though it was my husband, and then later when the babies started shooting out, I blamed them. Well, now I am going on a scavenger hunt for the dastardly bad seed! Thanks Steph! I know my life is now forever changed! ;) P.S. Love you to pieces!!!!
Ok this is why I love to read your books....this just made me laugh so hard and I needed a laugh!! Thank you for that and keep on writing.. :)
You have just described my life. (And you think I jest . . . )
But I'm going to try the "bad seed" theory, and see if it works. Heaven knows there's enough out of place stuff in this joint. Wish me luck . . .