Is Housekeeping and Organization a Generational Thing?

des_arc_ya_yaAugust 4, 2014

A friend and I were talking the other day about a young married couple that we know. They both work full time and have a small child. They spend every weekend enjoying their hobbies, camping, fishing, etc.

I asked her when in the world they had time to get things done around the house and yard, etc. She replied that she thought that there were a lot of younger couples who simply don't do housework or yard work. Houses are very unkept, yards are mowed when it's absolutely necessary, etc.

I'm not being judgmental - their time is theirs to spend as they wish.

Do you agree that this is a common trend among younger people? Why or why not? Just wondering.

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Long time no see. I was thinking of you a while back. I remember you had some picture frame type pieces you were trying to find a use for several years ago. I finally saw a cute use for them.

On topic...I think sloppiness has become more common. Both parents work in a lot of families. They don't have the free time to keep everything spotless. Shopping, cooking, and other basic needs come first. If you have kids, you are carting them around for their activities. If you have any free time, who wants to spend it working. You value the free time you do have. I also think so many things have become disposable that people don't bother taking taking care of things like they once did.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 10:17PM
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I think that some of it might be generational--keeping a house neat, etc., was viewed a women's work, and there's a certain rejection (among women even of -my- generation, and I'm not young, actually) of the idea that a woman (or even a family) would be judged by the neatness of their home, or the condition of their garden.

People resent being called "sloppy"--they don't like the value judgment that comes from not wanting to spend your time on stuff like cleaning.

I also think that a strong focus on the "godliness" of cleanliness, etc., and the societal pressures of keeping up a yard, have blinded people to the -practical- considerations of keeping things tidier (higher home values, absence of damage due to neglect).

So people in general don't value it as much.

I also thing that there are more ways to spend one's leisure time than there used to be, and so people are more likely to choose leisure over chores when the bare necessities are done. When I was a kid in a small town, there weren't that many interesting things to do, so gardening or mowing the lawn was something to do.
Not just video games and Internet surfing and hundreds of TV channels plus movies on DVD/streaming, not to mention thousands more books and magazines. But hiking and hobbies now have a greater societal approval. They used to be considered a waste of time.

And in our culture, more emphasis is placed on enjoying the time one has. There's a certain scorn attached to the idea that one's reputation might be, "She kept a tidy house" or "He kept the front lawn neat." "House-proud" is a pejorative.

So I don't think you can just slap it down as sloppiness. It's a much larger shift in what we value, in what our entire culture thinks people should spend their time and energy on.

Also, home economics used to be taught as *economics*--not just, "you should know how to cook," but "you have to eat, here's how to do it with the least amount of effort and money." Now it's not taught at all, and if it is, it's not valued.
And the skills a homeowner needs used to be taught as well, in shop class of some kind.

If I'd had my kids in the normal timing (instead of at 34), they'd be in their 20s now, and they'd be the ones w/ ill-kept yards. I didn't really spend energy making my kids do chores, which is a way of teaching them those life skills. I tried now and then, but it wasn't an easy thing for me to do.

So I think some of it--maybe a lot of it--is that people who are parents of younger kids are following the gradual example of the generation that raised them.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 11:20AM
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Good thoughts from all of you. Thanks for remembering me, AdellaBedella! I finally sold the frame samples and then later saw a couple of great ideas for them. Awww well.

Anybody else have thoughts on this post?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 1:10PM
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Younger people accept pressure to acquire more things than their homes allow them to contain, and since most of our housing stock is older and things like TVs are enormous, a lot of homes look very full. And when there isn't a place for everything, sloppy takes over very fast and there isn't enough time in the day to deal with it all, so people give up.

I also see this trend towards sloppiness in people's appearance. I'm simply astonished at how generally miserable a lot of people look. I don't know if I am just noticing this recently (like once I was out of my 30s I started seeing people differently?) or if there has been such a rapid decline in self-regard over the past decade or so that you can't help but notice. Was it the sagging pants that ushered in an all-time-low in the clothing etiquette department?

But it's not only the actual clothing, it's choices in hair color and style, tattoos, and even BMI. To me, the most important thing is countenance. People appear rather downtrodden, there seems to be a lack of true beauty (what beauty might look like for that person, not some unattainable ideal), of inner beauty... I am at a loss for words to describe what all of this might mean, a lot to do with happiness, I suppose. Just like with stuff, when you are happy you don't need as much, and sloppiness is sign that life is overwhelming you.

Anyway, sorry to hijack this thread. Thank you!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 6:00PM
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I think each generation finds their own level of "acceptable" housekeeping. I certainly don't do all the stuff my mother's (June Cleaver) generation did. I know people who are neat as pins and others who live in a veritable pig sty, and various levels between those two, from every generation.

I also believe my generation raised children (born in the 1970's and after) who thought it was mean to make your kids do chores - doing them the disservice by raising kids who were never shown how to clean and do laundry (as well as cook). They were allowed to change clothes 5-times a day if they wanted to, could use 3 towels each time they showered/bath, leave their rooms a mess and their belongings in a shambles, half the kitchen dishes and silverware were hidden under their beds..... Lazy parents who gave lame excuses like - you just have to know which battles are worth fighting!

As our kids left home, they had skills necessary for taking care of their abode and possessions (darn a sock, hem a garment, simple sewing skills, cleaning, cooking, budgeting, etc.) and each time they had a room mate sharing an apartment, they had to teach them how to take out trash, plan and make a balanced meal, do dishes by hand, properly clean a bathroom, and all the other things that go along with housekeeping.

My mother worked full time so my sister and I did all the household tasks and cooking. I thought it was rubbish that the two prodigal brothers got off without helping, so when I had a daughter and son, both left home prepared. We all dirtied the house, so we could all help maintain it - that is our job when we share a home and is how we are courteous to each other. Mops, dust rags, brooms, leaf rakes, and so many other things are one-size-fits-all.

I'm just glad I don't have to live with the standards set by my obsessive-compulsive grandmother (b. 1890). She would wash and wax her kitchen floor, lay down a sheet of oil cloth and a layer of newspaper over that. Her family was never allowed to walk on a clean kitchen floor. If company came to the door she would rush to the kitchen and remove the newspaper and oil cloth so she always had the cleanest kitchen floor in town.

Her two daughters (b. 1914 and 1918) lived with a dust cloth in one hand and a mop or broom in the other. There was never an idle moment for the daughters in the home because they cleaned constantly - or should I say re-cleaned - because there couldn't have possibly been anything even remotely resembling anything untidy, soiled, or out of place. A speck of dust would have died of loneliness in the home.

Hand-crocheted doilies and antimacassars were laundered, starched, and ironed each week. Bedding and the bedrooms were aired out each day before the beds were made. There were special treatments done to lace curtains. The only blessing about the laundry is that they wore fewer pieces of clothing than we do now, but it was much more labor intensive.

Spring cleaning meant clearing all the furniture from each room and placing it outside on the lawn or on the front/back porch and each room was cleaned floor to ceiling.

I have a fairly easy housekeeping schedule that works for me and learned long ago, if you don't dirty a home, it doesn't require all that much cleaning. My sister lives like a pig because of her hoarder tendencies, and any attempt to clean her house starts with getting a large lawn size trash bag and several empty boxes or storage containers......

My KISS method:
-Pick up after yourself.
-Make the bed each day (it takes hubby and me about 25-30 seconds for this task).
-Leave the bathroom tidy when you are done using it.
-The dishes are done after each meal.
-If you get it out, put it back.
-We take a few minutes each night before we go to bed to pick up anything that may be out of place, straighten the sofa pillows, put a book or hand-work away, ....
-I vacuum all floors 3 times a week, and the kitchen gets swept after dinner.
-Clean all rooms (dust, dry mop or steam clean) each Friday.
-Any "big jobs" (indoors or outdoors) are done on Saturday when hubby is home and can help. At our age, we like to have someone else around if we have to get up on ladders, or things that would be easier with two people.

My grandmother would be appalled that my home was only clean, not pristine, but I can live with it ;-).


    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 2:52PM
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I really think the devoted homemaker was also part of a marketing myth. Just like the stay-at-home mom. Not all of us had stay-at-home moms (I am 58) and my mom also could find lots of things to do besides cleaning house.

Just like now, the women's magazines were full of decorating ideas and how to clean things quickly. But how many of us really like a magazine in any era?

I know women of all ages and their housekeeping standards are all over the map.


    Bookmark   October 19, 2014 at 12:00AM
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I only know of one working Mom in our family when I was growing up. It was my aunt and she opened a cafe for awhile..........but she had 5 daughters who shared the load. I think cleaning is something we all should do. I think if your home is unkempt, most of the children will grow up thinking it's normal. I was a devoted home maker and enjoyed it. I have 1 sister whose home you would not want to visit and 1 whose husband won't let her clean his part of the house. That caused a custody problem with grand children.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2014 at 5:55PM
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