Do any of you live alone?

alisandeApril 21, 2007

I was living by myself for three years before my son and d-i-l moved in last August. I noticed something that should have been obvious: Having other people in the house makes me a lot more accountable as far as housekeeping is concerned. The dishes get done a lot more promptly, the bathrooms cleaned more regularly, etc. Pet hair gets vacuumed before it has a chance to become visible. Now that they're getting ready to move out, I'm thinking about what I can do to maintain my better habits.

Does anyone else have an experience to share?

Susan

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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Well, I don't live alone and I can see lots of visible dog hair. So, no help in that department.
However, I would concentrate each day on the areas visitors would see if they were to drop by: toliets, sinks, living room.
Still, don't sweat it. It's not important. One of the joys of living alone is you can do what you want, when you want.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 6:13PM
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jannie

I lived alone in a very small apartment for three years. I told friends and relatives it was great because I could decorate (or not) the way I liked, eat when and what I want, and shower any time I felt like it. I cleaned house once a week, and I kept it very clean for ME. I even washed my phone.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 11:50AM
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steve_o

I live by myself. I guess, if anything, I find it easier to maintain good cleaning habits now because I don't have anyone else undoing my cleaning. While I may occasionally wish that the clothes-washing fairy would appear, I like the fact that I don't find the mail and empty water glasses all over the place. Sometimes my schedule does not permit keeping the place spotless; in that case, I keep the public areas clean and take care of the rest when things slow down some.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 9:44PM
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wannadanc

I have been distressed in recent years to discover that as the number of folks who would drop in or be invited over becomes less due to death and moving that I am become a total slob!!!!!!!! Yes - I SHOULD invite people, but I don't and then, as now, I am OVERWHELMED with the trashiness. Terrible situation here!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 11:02PM
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talley_sue_nyc

wannadanc, you should simply decide that you will have a dinner party every second Wednesday night, and do it. Once you get started, it will get a momentum of its own.

(my DH and I discovered a similar thing, and so we'd deliberately schedule a dinner party--"place is getting messy and dirty--time to have folks over for dinner so we HAVE to clean")

When I had a roommate, I was better at keeping the common areas clean, and at cleaning the bathroom, etc. I was conscious of not being hard to lvie with.

now that I'm married and have kids, and it's family, I don't worry so much. I guess I treat my family more inconsiderately than I'd treat a roommate.

I think if I lived alone, I'd actually be neater AND cleaner. It would be only MY stuff, and while I can be messy, I actually tend to put stuff away pretty promptly, etc. And I'd have more time of my own, and fewer people to distract me, so I'd probably whip through the cleaning in a half an hour every Saturday, the way I used to.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 11:00AM
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stephanie_in_ga

I have never lived alone in my entire life. I also need some accountability to others to motivate me with housekeeping. Sometimes I think I could have a much neater home if I lived alone, I blame the kids or DH for the clutter. But it's not all them. I'd be a wreck living alone. I schedule playgroups or invite other moms over for coffee or lunch about twice a month to give myself a deadline for cleaning or finishing a project around the house. Or if Monday my house is looking pretty out of shape I'll call a friend and invite her over for coffee on Wednesday.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 8:46PM
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drjinx

I live alone and have for years. It is true that the only messes you have to clean up are your own. On the other hand, no one else is there to help out. I find it difficult to maintain a house and yard while working full time -- but I have a time-consuming hobby (bicycling) and I get home tired. I'm coming off of a long stretch of overtime at work too. I am trying to get the backyard back in shape, and it is exhausting work. In particular, I wish I had someone to help me with the heavier stuff. I have to go searching for a teenager to hire!

I do not like living in a mess, and so while papers might pile up for a while, things do get cleaned and straightened up eventually. I am trying to work on establishing better habits, but I think I need to figure out some infrastructure changes too. It is not obvious to me what I need to do to make keeping things in a better state more "natural" to me. One thing I KNOW I need to figure out (or just do it!) is to not let paperwork pile up. This is a problem when I come home late and the easiest thing to do is to dump it on the counter.

I am inspired by Quiltglo (Gloria's) example, and I keep the words about infrastructure from Talley Sue in mind as well.

Jean Marie

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 10:47AM
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talley_sue_nyc

drjinx--the #1 thing , esp. w/ papers, is to not keep most of it.

The #2 thing is to make it easy to put away. You need a good filing cabint, or files relocated to where the paper is handled, or paper handling relocated to where the filing is.

(it is also perfectly legitimate to say, "I'm going to dump it on the counter until X (Saturday morning / I can't take it anymore / it gets 7 inches high), and then I'll tackle it all"--as long as X *does* arrive, and as long as you're not suffering--bills are getting paid, invitations aren't getting lost, the mess isn't making you crazy....)

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 1:15PM
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marge727

When I was living alone I cancelled the newspaper subscriptions and the magazines, and was careful to dump mail without even opening the junk at the front door. That really helped.
But I noticed when working long hours and coming home to an empty house that I felt I needed to do things to avoid feeling depressed and aimless. It was easy to watch t.v. eat Hagen Daaz and let the dust build up. So I had to plan better to do interesting things, invite people over,etc. I joined the Sierra club which had walks in our area once a week, and weekend trips. I was in 5 k runs, played cards, etc. That actually cut down the clutter, because you need to be efficient when you have things to do.
At least thats what worked for me.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 5:39PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I do the "invite people over" all the time. If I have to do that much cleaning, there better be someone other than me to see it! I wouldn't want to waste it! And, of course, it is motivating!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 6:52PM
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mary1helen2

I find kindred spirits in amost every forum I visit here. I am about to become the only person living in a five bedroom house and fear I will let it tumble down around me. I have never lived alone before, always had someone else to keep things up for....they say you should do it for yourself, but Myself has lower standards, and is a tad lazy I fear. :-0.
I think the idea of keeping common areas clean is the best way. Dishes, floors, bathrooms, etc., everyday. Keep the animals bathed and groomed and litter boxes cleaned, garbage emptied. I try to get rid of anything that might create an odor every day. I really don't want to spend the rest of my life cleaning, but don't want a visit from the Health Department either. I will have three empty rooms too, and have to work on not piling them up with stuff.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 1:18PM
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quiltglo

Jean Marie, having others in the home doesn't always mean they are willing participants in taking care of things. My DH just hates anything to do with house repair or yard work. Sometimes, it's more frustrating because other husbands are out touching up paint and mine can walk right by rotting wood and never see anything.

I haven't lived alone for a long time, but I had bad habits and my places were always a mess. Now, with Flylady's system, I think I would keep things at about the same level even if no one came in the house.

Gloria

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 4:55PM
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drjinx

Gloria is right, of course. I think of a friend who has a husband who doesn't do much in terms of housework, yardwork, repair work, cooking, child care, etc. He does make the bulk of their income. I still think that I'd have a hard time living with him -- he does not seem to regard their home as partially his responsibility.

I sometimes think that one of the reasons I'm single is that I expect a partner to make a significant contribution to the household. I'm flexible on what that contribution is -- I'd be happy for someone who was willing to pay for and coordinate yard work (or house work). But I've met many who expect to be picked up after and have their home life taken care of for them as above or they just don't care and are willing to live in a mess -- and I know I'm happier single than married to someone like that!

Talley Sue, I am working on the thought that I need to make it easier for things to get put away. When I figure it out, I will let you know. Right now I have things cleaned up, but the usual pattern is for things to accumulate for a while, then get cleaned up again. I can only stand mess for so long. In general my house is reasonably neat/clean -- or at least never so embarrassing that I wouldn't let someone in to visit.

Jean Marie

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 11:37AM
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