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to want to maintain a certain sense of order at home

(32 Posts)
Indiestarr Wed 14-Oct-09 12:52:18

DP and I often argue about this. We both work full time and have one DD. Our home is not pristine in any way and I'm no fan of chores, but I must admit I like a degree of cleanliness, tidiness and order.
DP on the other hand isn't remotely bothered - in fact he's pathologically untidy (if you ask me!). If I've been out of the house I can always tell everything he's done while I'm out as a trail will be left, with nothing ever put away after him. And DD is little better to be honest.
As well as being messy he is always bringing stuff he's bought/acquired into the house, never giving a thought to where we'll store it. For instance he works in the book trade and must bring home about five new books a week - lovely, but where are they all gonna go? He doesn't trouble himself about that and just leaves them lying about. He hardly ever opens any post and never clears out any old clothes - without being asked, and of course that's nagging.
Am I unreasonable to find the constant mess and clutter oppressive and want something to be done about it? He thinks I am. He says I should accept that he won't change, and that it only bothers me because I'm 'neurotic'.
I'm finding lately that with work being stressful, DD quite demanding, very little free time, I crave a sense of order at home, and when I'm there I seem to do nothing else but tidy up because nobody else does it, and if I don't it will quickly become a tip. DP thinks it's my problem and that if I choose to spend my time doing housework that's up to me. Is this fair? Or am I within my rights to want to impose certain standards? I don't expect a show house, but friends have made jokes in the past such as have we had burglars.
I'm really keen to know whether I am reasonable to try and impose my 'standards' on someone else for the sake of a well-run house, or whether it's just my bad luck that I have an untidy partner and if I want clear floors, clear table, made beds, clothes in the wardrobe etc I just have to do it myself?

dreamingofsun Wed 14-Oct-09 12:59:41

my husband is the same. Maybe its a man thing as 2 of my 3 boys going same way. only things i've found that work slightly are putting everything in a pile in a room that i know he likes tidy and closing the door so i can't see it (he eventually organises tidy up). Or putting things in large box and placing in garage. at least then i can say serenly its probably in garage when they can't find. Found that nagging jsut gets me stressed. I'll watch this thread with interest in case anyone has better ideas

mollythetortoise Wed 14-Oct-09 13:27:40

I like a well ordered home too, my dp isn't too bad but does leave "trails" everywhere.

We have a small house too so I have to keep on top of it or I'd go potty.

My solutions are to get rid of a bag of stuff (if poss, all our old clothes, toys that no-one plays with, books no-one reads, presents no one wants, shoes that don't fit etc) every other week.

We get a lot of those charity bags through post and I always fill them up plus nicer stuff goes to charity.

Twice a year I go through wardrobe and have a proper cull (I hate untidy wardrobes in particular!).
My dp doesn't seem to mind or particularly notice so that helps. If he complained it might be a more problematic strategy. You have my sympathy

Surfermum Wed 14-Oct-09 13:27:47

You and me both Indiestar. And I don't have the answer.

If I ask dh to have a tidy up he looks at the mess and says "tidy what up?". Every time I clear a space he too brings something home and fills it.

He has a couple of drawers in the house where I put his "stuff". It works quite well.

BLEEPyouYOUbleepingBLEEP Wed 14-Oct-09 13:29:46

Only my opinion, but for me order = control, and there's nothing wrong in that at all. You want a bit of control over your home.

I've known a few blokes who are very happy to live in what looks like a rubbish tip, they're not happy living like that, cos it kind of reflects what's going on in their mind, but they just don't even think about tidying up after themselves.

If your DH is an untidy person, it could be that you have to accept it, sod what everyone else thinks, and ignore what you can't do around the house? I always think it's such a shame when people get upset about crappy housework, there's never an end point lol

fernie3 Wed 14-Oct-09 13:33:48

I am the same - not so much with the tidying up but more with the routine. I have three little ones aged 5,2 and 8 months and i just HAVE to have the routines the same each day.
Also there are a few things (each child has a clothes basket to put the next days clothes etc in plus pjs) that just have to be done otherwise i turn into a mad woman.
Luckily I am a SAHM so i do it and my husband has no choice but to go along with it because he gets home from work and its just all done thats just how life is lol. He has one or two jobs around the house but TBH I have all day to do it so that isnt so much of an issue.The issue we do have is if he messes up my routine I HATE that

wow I sound crazy

bibbitybobbityCAT Wed 14-Oct-09 13:34:30

Its very difficult. I am a terribly untidy person and I get very stressed by my dh rampaging through the house moaning and groaning about how untidy everything is.

As I do 90% of the housework, shopping, cooking and cleaning, I don't personally feel he has a leg to stand on.

He knew what I was like when he married me. I don't do it on purpose to wind anyone up and I am not lazy (the house is reasonably clean) and I do compromise a lot. I could live in far more mess than I allow myself to.

On balance, just because I feel some sympathy with your dh, I am going to say yabu.

missingtheaction Wed 14-Oct-09 13:34:55

my DP is MUCH tidier than me - I find it really weird. Things that I think are definitely clean and tidy enough have him reaching for the dustbuster. Sometimes I genuinely can't see the mess he sees, and sometimes I can but I think he just needs to get his priorities right. Eg a laundry basket with dirty clothes in is a tidy thing to me (vs dirty clothes in bedroom/on floor etc), but he festers until the basket is empty.

However, we have established that this is a difference between us and that as long as my standards are good enough (ie safe and hygienic) then anything on top of this is for his pleasure and there will be no recriminations.

And we work it to advantage: i cook, he clears up. I shop, he irons. etc.

pinkdelight Wed 14-Oct-09 13:35:16

Must confess, I'm a bit like your DH. My DH does pretty much all the cleaning and tidying and I only really do stuff for DS. For myself, I couldn't care less how the place was really. Got plenty of other stuff to do and definitely have the same aversion to tackling big clear-outs. My DH seems to like such stuff so I just let him get on with it. As it's pissing you off, your situation is clearly more chronic, but I wonder if that's just because of the other aspects of your life getting more stressful so you're focussing on this and making a bigger deal of it than usual as it's at least something you might have some control over, unlike work and DD stresses? If so then it's understandable (from my POV) that your husband can't see what the big problem is now. While I don't think you are really BU, because of course it's lovely that some people do clean and tidy, I also think it's going to be extremely difficult for you to have an impact. The way we deal with it is that if DH decides I need to clear out clothes or whatever, he'll do it with me, taking the 'operational' role going through the stuff whilst I take the 'strategic' role of saying yes or no as to whether the stuff should be chucked out. I know you're going to think I'm nuts/a lazy cow, but honestly, marriages are made of such checks and balances. There must be areas in which you lack and in that he contributes?

hattyyellow Wed 14-Oct-09 13:53:32

I sympathise and completely agree with other poster who said order = control in your life. I feel much calmer and in control when the house is reasonably tidy.

My DH needs a reason to tidy - he won't tidy just for the sake of it. I did read an article that also said that men just weren't programmed to notice a certain amount of clutter/housework - something like 90% of the women surveyed noticed an overflowing laundry basket in a photo of a room and only 30% of the men did (or somewhere around that figure!).

I have found since we had our third child DH helps more as he sees how much I have on my plate.

I also agree re placing their clutter in a large box and putting it somewhere. At least then it's off the surfaces/worktops/bed etc and out of the way. Hooks for everything helps, if DD or Dh can be trained to hang their coat up at least its a start and if there's boxes to put shoes/books/toys in at least it's easier to keep things out of sight.

Also agree re charity shop runs - I quietly fill a bag each week and get rid of stuff. Its the underlying layer of clutter that makes things get out of control.

You have my sympathy!

BLEEPyouYOUbleepingBLEEP Wed 14-Oct-09 14:04:19

hatty - 'I have found since we had our third child DH helps more as he sees how much I have on my plate.'

That is so lovely smile If I say things are getting on top of me to my DH, he will make an effort, and that means a lot to me, weirdly.

My DH just doesn't see anything that's 'out of place', like he'll clear up the kitchen but leave two things out on the side, why he can't just put those two things away I'll never know hmm lol

He's an unobservant bloke, but I accept all of him, not just some parts.

inveteratenamechanger Wed 14-Oct-09 14:07:06


Make him read this.

branflake81 Wed 14-Oct-09 14:08:50

I used to be horrendously messy and not care about mess. However, over the years I have been increasingly more neurotic house-proud and now crave order, control and tidiness. While I now know where eveyrthing is (which is always good) I too find I am constantly tidying up after other people and resent little "trails of destruction" everywhere.

I actually miss the days I did not care about mess as life was so much more relaxing! So while I feel pissed off with DP for not noticing the mess, I actually envy him too.

khesahn Wed 14-Oct-09 14:13:34

Message deleted

WreckOfTheHesperus Wed 14-Oct-09 14:16:56

YANBU OP; I could have written this myself. We get by with me routinely putting all DP's stuff into his office and tidying up elsewhere.

And using people coming round for supper or to stay as an excuse to force him to do a big tidy once in a while.

Alibooobaandthe40phantoms Wed 14-Oct-09 14:25:59

My DH is untidy, he leaves stuff all over the place and it drives me bonkers.

However, he does like it when the house is tidy and sees the benefit to being able to find things when he wants them so gradually over the 5 years we've lived together he has got a little tidier. He will now clear up after himself a bit, and tidy up toys and things, throw away junk mail etc.

The thing he hasn't improved on at all is clothes though. His wardrobe is v.untidy and he thinks the bedroom floor is the laundry basket. Comes home from work and takes his suit off in the living room and just leaves it on the sofa - argh. But he does know that he shouldn't do that so he'll move things when I ask him.

Agree with whoever said to organise a couple of drawers for his bits and bobs.

khesahn Wed 14-Oct-09 14:29:58

Message deleted

MyNameIsInigoMontoya Wed 14-Oct-09 14:41:49

My DH is very untidy too and it drives me nuts as well; he sees nothing wrong with leaving stuff on the floor (clothes, shoes, bags...) which I especially hate as I am now pregnant and keep either tripping over things (more clumsy than usual atm) or having to clamber over his mess which is uncomfortable.

The thing that has helped us is getting a cleaner. DH had a previous cleaner who used to hand in notice if the house got too messy for her to clean, and they always had to bribe her to come back; so now he has got used to the idea that the house HAS to be given a good tidy at least the night before the cleaner comes. Also I think just the thought that an "outsider" would see all his mess helps - he will also tidy up if we are expecting visitors. So if you can stretch to a cleaner, that might help you. (It also helped with housework arguments and resentment too, at least the money can be split equally - the cleaning never was!)

SnowWoman Wed 14-Oct-09 14:45:40

Sorry Khesahn, 'tis not a joke. The average unreconstructed male is still alive and kicking - see any of the many threads on MN about rows caused by housework.

To be fair, we all have different standards Dh and I used to do all the housework/laundry on a Thursday or Friday night after work. Then the kids arrived and it's my job, which was fine as a SAHM, but not anymore, but it's taking a while for the change to percolate through dh's mind. 5 years so far.... He can do it, he just doesn't, and yes it drives me crazy sometimes.

SnowWoman Wed 14-Oct-09 14:46:54

oops, cross-posted

BLEEPyouYOUbleepingBLEEP Wed 14-Oct-09 14:48:28

WTF?? why was khesahns mssg deleted? cos she said something about feminism on a thread about housework??

MadameDefarge Wed 14-Oct-09 14:48:34

Ignore Khesan, 'tis a troll.

BLEEPyouYOUbleepingBLEEP Wed 14-Oct-09 14:52:07

Madame - ahhh, do I recognise her name from a thread about her husbands genitals?? (I was going into the thread to hide it grin)

MadameDefarge Wed 14-Oct-09 18:05:51

Indeedy, and many other delightful ones...

gdives Wed 14-Oct-09 19:52:09

"I've got nothing against sharing the housework, but you can't make me do it on your schedule."

For ages dh's jobs were cleaning bathroom, doing dishes and taking bins out, over the past few years I have got so fed up of waiting for them to be done that I do them myself with the result that they are now "my" jobs too(along with everything else).

Indiestarr, have a large box in the hall, as you tidy up throw anything YOU don't want anymore in there, every few weeks take it to the charity shop.
One thing that I have always found effective when boiling with rage at having to pick up yet another dirty sock from the bedroom floor is to go on laundry strike, wash yours and dcs clothes, leave his in a pile in the corner, when confronted about it tell him he's old enough to do it himself and you dont have the inclination at the moment, making sure to use your best icy tone and steely glare. Then...let him do it himself. I have on occasion kept this up for 3 weeks.
For those times that you just want to send up a primal scream about the absolute futility of lone housework then I can recommend the "anti-clean"(TMgrin). Make sure you are in the house alone with dh due home in about an hour. Go through every room and just undo any tidiness, seat cushions off sofas, dvds and books piled on floor, pen pots emptied onto floor, every cupboard and drawer in kitchen divested of contents, pull all sheets and blankets off beds and let fall to floor, along with a delicate scattering of socks and pants. Open every single drawer, door and cupboard in the house and don't shut them. Then go out. When you get the panicky phone call querying whether you have been robbed, employ the above-mentioned icy tone and inform him that you were so bored of tidying up you decided to make a mess instead. He should get the hint. I have used this tactic twice to great effect, may be due for a third try soon.

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