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What do you do when you are the only person in your house who gives a monkeys about keeping it clean and tidy?

(40 Posts)
crosstraineraddict Tue 09-Oct-12 12:50:44

I am at my wits end.

No amount of begging, pleading, asking, demanding, calmly talking, ultimatums, going on strike etc will teach my DH and DCs otherwise. He and the DCs leave mess everywhere. They also make everything very mucky, so that the house needs cleaning from top to bottom every single day otherwise it looks as though it's not been cleaned in months. And of course before cleaning I have to tidy up, which I'd say takes me between 1 and 2 hours per day depending upon how mess they've all been during the previous evening and that morning.

DH has says he won't do any housework as he works. I work too, although I work part time rather than full time. I don't mind doing the housework as such, but I do resent having to pick up everyone's dirty socks, wet towels, wrappers, shoes, when they're left everywhere. If there's anywhere where things can be left, they all take advantage of it. For example about 6 months ago I totally cleared out our understairs cupboard, and sorted it out, and put a cupboard in there for shoe storage. These days you can barely get the door open as they all (although mainly DH) have thrown things in; shoes, bags, coats, random things that they cannot be bothered to put away, bit of paper, wrappers, everything. DH will occasionally empty the dishwasher but literally puts things into the nearest cupboard, all just thrown in one cupboard.

I really don't know what to do. We can't really afford a cleaner, and in any case I'd still need to tidy. I like a clean tidy house but am not obsessive about it, a general sense of cleanliness and tidiness would do.

qazxc Tue 09-Oct-12 13:47:54

i feel for you.
Depending on age the DC's should be well able to do a few bits, and at the very least pick up after themselves. set out clearly what you expect them to do and discipline them if they don't.
I find the attitude of your DP quite horrid really. Try having a sit down conversation and talk to him about how his attitude makes you feel. sometimes men seem insensitive but they don't realise the extent of their behaviour. they also have a blind spot when it comes to mess and housework.
I hope things work out for you.

ChickensHaveNoEyebrows Tue 09-Oct-12 13:53:14

I delegate. The DC have a list of chores (age dependent) and I hand DH a duster/the hoover/the mop as and when. Rebellion from the DC means no pocket money. DH has never rebelled, what with being an adult and it being his home too. Perhaps try that with your DH? Do you have a mortgage? Try the 'maintaining our investment' line. I don't work, however, and DH works full time so I do the majority of the house work during the day. Then we can both fall asleep in front of the telly come the evening. But when he's at home, he's able to load a dishwasher, run the hoover around etc. Thing is, not picking up after yourself is fuck all to do with 'doing housework'. It's just being a lazy fucker and expecting a servant.

Timetoask Tue 09-Oct-12 13:54:30

I think at your DH's age being now an adult with established habits, it will be very very difficult for him to change, so I would just leave it to avoid having an awful atmosphere at home.
But.... you can work on your children, give them tasks and chores and hope that they will grow to be more tidy and clean. My mother never asked me or my siblings to move a finger and as an adult it became really difficult for me to get into a routine.

KealaK Tue 09-Oct-12 13:59:29

I get the DC to pick up after themselves. At first I had to tell them every time but now they does it out of hand. When I remember, I get them vacuuming and dusting - they seem to like helping - but have to be watched like hawks and reminded to do everywhere. It quicker to do it myself but I'm in it for the long haul, when they are teenagers I'm hoping they will do stuff themselves. The DH gets pointed at some jobs but it's hit and miss. Kitchen stuff and vacuuming seem okay, he'll never see dust though

issimma Tue 09-Oct-12 14:01:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PostBellumBugsy Tue 09-Oct-12 14:02:15

I can't believe you haven't murdered all of them!

First of all, get the kids helping - believe me you really can get them to do this.

Remove all shit from the hallway & find an appropriate place for it. Get your storage sorted out, so that there are proper places for things to go. Make sure there are enough coatpegs, spaces in wardrobes/ cupboards etc.

Then tell the children and your DH, that you are utterly fed up of being the domestic slave and there is going to be a new system in place. Tell them what is expected & tell them that you won't be nagging anymore, but you refuse to live in a pit too. Tell them that all items you find lying on the floor or left in the wrong place from this day forward will be put in the garden shed/garage/under the hedge etc and then FOLLOW THROUGH.

Beamur Tue 09-Oct-12 14:06:12

I don't think you can win this one in all honesty.
I have a similar ish situation, whereby my DP is messy, but he will help and do stuff when asked - I also work PT and he works FT, but if he refused to do any house work at all I honestly think I would ask for us to live seperately.
You can train your kids more though - and have ultimatums that you stand by. I got fed up with picking laundry off the floor, so installed a laundry bin/bag in the older kids rooms and said any clothes not put in there would not be washed. I wash their clothes but do not iron them. They don't have to keep their rooms tidy all the time, but every now and again they will be asked - and will do it without complaint - to give it a good clean and tidy.
Frankly I have had to lower my standards and expectations or live in a constant state of being pissed off.
That's none too helpful is it? grin

BlueStringPudding Tue 09-Oct-12 14:09:31

How old are the DC? Mine have done their own laundry since they were about 11. It took some time, but I found just not doing it was quite effective. I started by just washing their school uniforms as I wasn't prepared to send them in dirty clothes, but everything else gets left in their laundry baskets. When they've used all their clean clothes, and only have school uniform left to wear, they soon get the hang of the washing machine. They now do it all including school stuff. I do tend to have to do their sheets and towels though.

If I were you I'd not do your DH's laundry as a start, and just let it pile up until he does it, which will be one less task. If I'm clearing up I put all their stuff on their bed, wet or not, which of course would be put straight on the floor - but at least the door can be shut on their rooms.

You have to start somewhere, make a stand on something that will impact them more than you..

colditz Tue 09-Oct-12 14:09:37

I remove priveleges until I get compliance. I will not serve a meal until toys, bags, shoes, coats etc have been picked up and put away. I dock ten minutes or computer time for every item I find in the living room that should be in the bin. I AM NOT A FECKING SLAVE.

crosstraineraddict Tue 09-Oct-12 14:34:17

Thanks everyone. Very quick reply as off on school run, but just wanted to add that my DH moans at me if he gets home and the house is in a mess. I feel like I really can't win with him.

maybeyoushoulddrive Tue 09-Oct-12 14:38:02

Watching this with interest - similar situation here although dh hasn't said he wont clean/tidy, he just doesn't seem to see messangry

PostBellumBugsy Tue 09-Oct-12 14:57:13

I must be missing something here. I can't comment on DH's as mine is long gone & he was a clean freak anyway but with DCs, surely they need you more than you need them.

If my DCs don't help around the house, I don't help them.

Given that they need me as giant purse, driver, chef & homework assistant - this works well for me. I just don't "play nicely" if mine don't put their laundry in the laundry basket, hang up their coats, hang their towel up after their bath/shower, if they don't put their dishes in the dishwasher or help me hang out the laundry. Everything has to be put away before bedtime too.

If I don't have an immediate bargaining tool from the giant purse, driver chef or homework assistant arsenal, then I do the same as colditz and will withold privileges.

To be honest, it my H was being such an unhelpful arse & I was spending 2 hours a day cleaning up after him, I'd be inclined to withold privileges there too on the basis that I wouldn't feel turned on by someone so unhelpful!

Beamur Tue 09-Oct-12 22:27:22

Am flabbergasted your DH has the cheek to do no housework at all and moan if the house is untidy.
Totally unreasonable. Mine would be told in no uncertain terms this was a dealbreaker!!
If you don't want to actually leave him, my tactic would be to outline what you are prepared to do and anything he wants beyond that he can do himself or it will not get done. I think it's fair enough that the partner who works part time (as I do) spends a bit more of their non work time doing chores, but not all of them.

ArthurShappey Wed 10-Oct-12 07:39:23

Hhhmmm. My DH really struggles with cleaning. I think because he comes from a very traditional roles backward family. But he didn't marry that kind of woman so we had a serious talk about roles and responsibilities. We've come to a compromise.

Even though he is highly educated there are certain things he 'can't do'. Dusting and polishing fall into that category. But he is capable of hoovering. He can't cook but he will do the washing up. He does the bins and the gardens. He will strip beds but can't use the washing machine.

I'm not stupid of course he can dust and polish and use the washing machine, he's just whinging. But we've allocated jobs based in those he wants can do. It means I always clean the bloody toilets, but he always does the bins (and I really, really hate doing the bins).

ArthurShappey Wed 10-Oct-12 07:42:50

Incidentally DH does need constant telling. He doesn't see dust or that the floor needs hoovering. Or he simply doesn't care. So I do have to tell him.

"I'm bathing DS can you run the Hoover around downstairs"... That kind I thing.

MaryWatsonn Wed 10-Oct-12 08:52:23

I may reply late, but a friend recommended reading this. It is fun how an eye implant can turn a man into a cleaner? I still can't believe that. What do you think? It seems too good to be true.

RubyStolenBootyGates Wed 10-Oct-12 08:55:50

I've found that picking things up that have been abandoned in the wrong place, and shoving them in a big box of doom that is inknown to other members of the family really concentrates their untidy minds.

If I keep finding the same thing abandoned I throw it out. After several warnings. I find paranoia a helpful means to tidyness.

RubyStolenBootyGates Wed 10-Oct-12 08:56:02

unknown even.

charlottehere Wed 10-Oct-12 09:00:07

Shout and have a meltdown. wink Get a cleaner and leave the dirty bastard. grin

Bubblemoon Wed 10-Oct-12 11:05:09

Your DH sounds like a lazy, selfish slob with no respect for you and now you're in the process of creating a new generation of lazy, selfish slobs just as his mother and father did before you.

How about you get a plastic dustbin for each of them and keep it in the yard. Make sure every item they own has its place. Each day, pick up anything they've not put back in its correct place - wet towels, coats, wrappers, iopds, wallets etc and put it in their bin. Your house will get tidier by the day. They'll start missing stuff. If they want anything they have to rake through the bin. Tell them that at the end of each month you will put the bins out for the bin men to take. Do it.

charlottehere Wed 10-Oct-12 11:43:28

Love bubblemoons idea. <goes out to buy bins> Agree totally about your DH and raising the next generation to be the same.

My DH is untidy, so am I. However he does do bit and pieces at the weekend and loads with the DCs. He gets roasted if he doesn't put his stuff in the wash bin and at least put his plate in the kitchen prefrabl;y DW. I am NOT the maid. hmm My older DDs, 8 and 11, clean and tidy their rooms and older DD cleans her en-suite too once a week at least. DD1 also has GP which she mostly cleans up after with loads of nagging. They also do little jobs including the 3 year old and put their own clothes away. keep repeating I am not the maid and I am doing a service to them by making sure them have some clue about running a home.

RubyCreakingGates Wed 10-Oct-12 12:01:07

Loving Bubblemoons idea wink
It's even more evil than mine!

AngelDog Thu 11-Oct-12 00:36:39

I've had success with the Flylady approach with DH - discuss one thing which he can do to help keep the house ticking over more happily and he agrees I can remind him about that, but not nag him about other stuff. It's slow, but more successful than trying to make big changes at once.

My DS is only a toddler but I find a checklist of things really helps. I get him to look at it and see that he needs to hang up his towel after his bath, then put his clothes away. It definitely reduces the nagging.

If he were older, I'd use a list like that and remove privileges for things left undone.

I also try to get him thinking for himself. We have tidy-up time before bed, and I go with him into the room where he's made a mess and ask if he can see anything on the floor which doesn't belong there. Then for each thing he identifies I ask him where he thinks it ought to go. I tell him to put it away if he hasn't already got the hint. It works much better than just telling him to tidy up, and he's gradually learning to notice and put away mess.

purplewithred Thu 11-Oct-12 00:46:30

If your dh didn't see the house being messy I could understand his unwillingness to do the tidying, but for him to make a mess then demand you tidy it up is appalling!

If you can face a bit of sulking from him the I think a huge down tools is called for.

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