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Feminism and housework and hoarding and Flylady...

(275 Posts)
solidgoldbrass Sat 30-Jul-11 23:23:23

I would love to get some feminist perspective on this because I am struggling at the moment. I have always been a housework avoider, always had a messy house, and I used to say that it was a good way of making sure any man i shagged never got any ideas about me being a little home-maker for him.
It's gradually dawned on me that I actually have a bit of a problem WRT hoarding, and I would like to sort it out, I know some MNers love Flylady but one look at the site made me queasy because it seems so very much 'Women! Embrace housework, it';s your destiny.'
Any thoughts anyone?

TheCrackFox Sat 30-Jul-11 23:28:30

Hmm, Flylady does make me feel a bit unwell. I hate doing housework and I certainly find no joy in it but needs must.

My mum had a bit of a problem with hoarding when I was growing up and she was very messy too. She has improved but still finds it very difficult to throw out, what I consider anyway, to be a load of crap. I found my childhood to be very depressing (there was other reasons but I won't bore you with them) growing up in a disorganised household.

How about looking at it from a business point of view. You are bound to have stuff that you just don't need so you could sell it on Ebay or Gumtree and save up for a holiday with it?

CointreauVersial Sat 30-Jul-11 23:35:56

Flylady is pretty ghastly and American in tone, but she does help you to structure housework with a "little and often" planned approach. I don't really think about the feminist aspect, tbh, I just instinctively want a tidy house. It makes me feel content and calm, whereas clutter gives me stress. Whatever works for you....

solidgoldbrass Sat 30-Jul-11 23:39:13

Throwing stuff out gives me stress, though. I keep thinking it will come in handy.

tethersend Sat 30-Jul-11 23:51:34

Err... SGB, are you me?

I am having the same issue. I just don't see mess in the same way as other people, so went to check out Flylady, and it struck me as just... upsetting. I don't want to make the beds. I want whoever got out of it to make it. Or I could just leave it unmade and have a fag in the garden instead.

I think that the passive acceptance of these chores is part of the problem, but not the whole and I am also struggling to clarify exactly why it makes me uncomfortable.

It seems like it is unacceptable for a woman to simply be a complete disaster on the domestic front without it being thought of as, well, a disaster. There is no 'Flyman' thread.

I am tired and rambly, but am very glad you started this thread.

solidgoldbrass Sat 30-Jul-11 23:59:41

Tethersend: yes but i am in a bit of a mess about it because my level of chaos is abnormal and i am trying to work out a way of fixing that which doesn't involve people going ' oh, now you have understood that women are genetically the ones who have to do the shitwork and maybe your spots will clear up and your balls won't drop...' I suppose I am reluctantly understanding that even men who are as hoardy and messy as me have to clean up at some point.

TimeWasting Sun 31-Jul-11 00:07:30

I've been reading a lot of minimalist blogs, I've got rid of loads of stuff.

Flylady techniques are ok, her background attitude is not always great. You can't expect anyone elses approach to housework to change, you just need to get on with it yourself for instance.

I think treating it as unavoidable, but not life-shattering is the way to go with housework.
It's good to have the pots washed every day, but if you need to rush off one morning without getting it done, nothing terrible will happen and it doesn't say anything about you as a woman/person.
I'm still struggling with all this myself, btw, but starting to both relax and clean more.

WillieWaggledagger Sun 31-Jul-11 00:08:29

sgb is your ds old enough to help you (wthin reason) have aclear-out? would he be honest about wheter something should be thrown out that you think might come in handy later?

dp (male) and i hate tidying and cleanin but do it because we (both) like living in a tidy andclean house. the thing that riles me is that I know that I am more likely to be judged on the state of the house than he is

tethersend Sun 31-Jul-11 00:09:23

I am very happy that you ascribe me a normal level of chaos wink but truth be told, I am also a hoarder. My house is like one of those moving tile puzzles- 'cleaning up' involves creating a pocket of space in one room and moving the clutter there; effectively I can have one tidy room at a time.

DD is only 2, but I am aware that she will soon be having friends over and they will tell their mothers about the messy house and she will be shunned.

It's difficult to tackle it without it becoming some sort of moral issue. If I tidy up the house/throw stuff away, I won't just have a tidy house; I will be able to hold my head up high as a real woman. That's what irks.

Macaroona Sun 31-Jul-11 00:10:18

I can relate to this feeling too. If I have a day to myself at home (both DH and I work full-time) and the house is a tip, I won't do anything as it seems like a waste of a day, and especially if DH is at work then I feel resistant to doing anything. If DH is at home for a day, he will see what needs doing and get on with it, somewhat haphazardly but cheerfully enough. We have equal division of chores, but somehow he isn't affected by it like I am. I judge myself really harshly if the house is messy, and hate people just 'dropping by' if I haven't cleaned. DH seems freer somehow and ends up doing more than his fair share as a result, which seems a bit twisted! confused I even get upset at him if he does chores which I perceive as mine, as though he's criticising my housewifeliness by doing it, which he isn't!

What a ramble, sorry. Interesting that I'm not alone though. Housework has to be done, and unfortunately it is a feminist issue even when in practice it's equal.

ninah Sun 31-Jul-11 00:15:16

the thing that cured me of hoarding was having to clear out 40 yrs worth of junk from my parents' loft. Literally, clarks shoes from 70s, clothes, all with that special attic smell, books full of mildew
I hate housework and I'm not tidy but find 'stuff' quite burdening
also meeting friends who live on a boat and are forced to be minimal, going to festivals and living in a tent for a while, all made me really like the idea of going down to essentials, and being portable in essence rather than tied down
hoarding's a kind of attachment thing. Let go and feel lighter. It's like going on holiday with loads of stuff, when they actually have shops where you're going ... yy it MAY come in useful, but nothing inanimate should be irreplaceable, it's just not that important

solidgoldbrass Sun 31-Jul-11 00:18:29

Tethersend <frantic relieved hug> it's not just me, then. I fret about tidying the house up enough to be able to agree to DS having friends round; there are times when I fret that anyone visiting would set SS on us. (No, there is not rotting food all over the place or holes in the floor).
I am partly flapping about it right now because the landlord and landlady, who already hate me, are coming round for an inspection on Monday and I have been frantically tidying and cleaning but there is lots of stuff.
And the bastard binmen didn't empty the bin, I presume because I didn't push it far enough down the path.

WillieWaggledagger Sun 31-Jul-11 00:18:52

it has just dawned on me that i DO have loads of stuff hoarded, as does dp... it's just that we both have parents with quite a bit of storage space anmd quite a bit of our stuffhas never quite made it to our house! gosh will have to tackle that one day

i agree though that men seem to have Freedom From Guilt wrt to housework

ninah Sun 31-Jul-11 00:20:02

I tend to love visiting untidy messy people cos I know they are more likely to be a kindred spirit grin

TimeWasting Sun 31-Jul-11 00:21:35

One of the great things from the minimalism blogs that I've taken to heart grin is that with less stuff, there's less cleaning to do.
No ornaments = no ornaments to dust!
If you don't have stuff all over the kitchen counters, giving them a wipe takes seconds.

BitOfFun Sun 31-Jul-11 00:25:15

I spent all last weekend clearing a room in my parents' house that had accumulated twenty years of clutter. There was two vanloads to take to the tip. And that was after DP had cleared out the twenty years of old newspapers. I am quite messy and lazy, but at least my dad has put me off hoarding. If you haven't worn/read/used whatever it is in twelve months, it can be safely thrown out, IMO.

tethersend Sun 31-Jul-11 00:26:45

SGB, I have been there so many times. Frantic tidying 10 minutes before visitors arrive. The thing is, whilst we may think it's tidy, the tidy people will see that it isn't. They will regard the stuff we've neatly arranged into piles on the stairs with revulsion because we have stuff on the stairs.

I think we should go round each others' houses for coffee, as we would be the only visitors that we wouldn't have to lift a finger for beforehand.

ninah, all I could see in your post was CLARKS SHOES FROM THE 70s. I love Clarks shoes from the 70s. I suppose you threw them away....? THIS is why I have a problem. RIGHT HERE.

(But PM me if you still have them)

ninah Sun 31-Jul-11 00:26:57

sorry bof, it's beyond horrible that

BitOfFun Sun 31-Jul-11 00:28:42

Oh, don't apologise- I am well aware of it. I think my dad has OCD or something similar. I had to share a bedroom with my brother until I was fifteen, because he had a room FULL of books.

solidgoldbrass Sun 31-Jul-11 00:30:43

bloody hell tethers, where do you live? and do you have DC between 5 and 8?

ninah Sun 31-Jul-11 00:31:46

actually I might still have them blush they are v small though, children's shoes, probably my first proper shoes? which is what breaks your heart going through all the stuff
I'll have a look and let you know! see the fact i can't tell you straight away is telling, isn't it? grin
I would love it to go round to an untidy house for coffee
I think we should be out and proud, or treat it like a kind of Mess Prohibition era, with speakeasy oases of clutter and books and things

tethersend Sun 31-Jul-11 00:35:42

London and DD is 2 but very tall. You are most welcome anytime grin

tethersend Sun 31-Jul-11 00:36:28

Ninah, you are welcome too bring the shoes

ninah Sun 31-Jul-11 00:37:15

bof my big clear out happened after my parents died which is why it was so horrible -i misunderstood
my grandmother was a hoarder who used to keep the boxes the cat food came in, at first she cut the picture of the cat out and kept those, then she gave up and kept the whole box
there were rooms filled with them

solidgoldbrass Sun 31-Jul-11 00:37:25

The other thing with all this normal stuff about throwing things away is that stuff does suddenly become useful. I had some comics that I had kept for 20 years, I put them on Ebay and got about £200 for them (this was 8 single comics BTW). Clothes I have forgotten about and rediscover after a few years are like buying something new. Odds and ends of string and cardboard do all of a sudden come in handy.
I must admit, the recycling movement is ever so helpful to people like me. I do much better at getting rid of things to new homes or new uses. I had some knackered saucepans that I couldn't imagine just putting in the bin but I found out that the local tip would want them for recycling, and when I rang them up and asked if I could just bring them in (being car free) ended up with some bloke coming and collecting them.

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