Perfect Housewife, That's Me*

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


I find disorder unsettling and uncomfortable.
I am convinced that living in a well-ordered environment is vital for one's mental well-being. A home with structure and rhythm is pleasant, easy to run and restorative to its inhabitants.
I think my best housewifely skill is orderliness.
   If we ignore for a moment my daughter's room I think we can safely say that my house is very orderly. A place for everything and everything in its place. It helps enormously to live with a man who is also very orderly and two boys who are at least happy to fall in with my desire for order. If they were all like Katie then I may well be telling a different story.

This is our sitting room.


This is how it looks pretty much all the time. It's comfortable and pleasant although I can't help feeling, now I look at the photograph, that it is a little cold and stark.
Of course it didn't look like this when the children were little, then the floor would have been covered with toys although they were always gone by bedtime.
Well, it looks tidy and the floor has just been hoovered but close up all is not as it seems.

 Dusty surfaces


Dirty windows -inside and out


and mouldy skirting boards.

My house is superficially clean only. Time to get to grips with the dirt. Writing about my laundry routine the other day prompted me to think about instituting a routine for other housewifely tasks.
I decided to add a new 'household' category to my recipe box.



The tasks ringed in coloured pen are the most essential.

*An example of irony

40 comments:

  1. Sue,
    Thanks for that, you`ve really spurred me on to get cleaning this morning. We have visitors this weekend and my house will be superficially clean too, and it doesn`t matter.
    Love Carole from Rossendale xx

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  2. Right that's it! I am going to take a leaf out of your book and get an organiser box and write out recipes and housewifely duties! You are a later-day Mrs Beeton! You are very organised and I need someone like you!
    Julie xxxxxx

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  3. I admire your orderliness. I need to have a clean and tidy house for mental ease but had never though to formalise a system. In fact, now that I think of it, my own cleaning system is to do something, anything, every day, because if I'm not moving forward I'm moving backward...

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  4. everything looks neat and tidy as always - you are certainly one for order!! I can only stand back amazed at how you plan ahead and keep everything so organized!!

    I looked around my living room after seeing yours and we have similar stuff really - only I have at least 12 plants in there to give it more life!!! Here in The Netherlands it is unthinkable to have a room without any plants in it, and despite the best efforts of our small but very determined, Siamese kitten, who tries to eat each and every single one of them, they will remain!!! They breathe life into the house, and with an abundance of garden centres selling them at really good prices, as well as people along the roadside, it is a pleasure I can sit back and enjoy!!
    p.s. wish my freezer was as incredibly well stocked as yours!!!

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    1. I haven't had any house plants since my children were toddlers (and used to upend them on the floor), but now you mention it perhaps a few here and there would enhance my rooms.

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  5. good grief Sue, I was beginning to get seriously concerned for you mental wellbeing, until I saw the cake and wine. seems you are human after all! thank goodness for that! xxx

    ps I think that "Katie bedrooms" exist in a paralled universe, according to mine "it's not messy it's fine"

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  6. I am not orderly, although I wish I were because I feel so much better mentally when everything is in its place (if it has a place). Cleaning is my least favorite thing to do in the world, however. When I do clean I go mental--cleaning EVERYTHING and taking forever and a day. Which reaffirms my hatred for cleaning. A vicious vicious cycle. I need a drink.

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  7. Did I write this????? I too love order...but where I am now it is almost impossible...and I have so many things I love to do!! Embroidery..cooking ..garden..sewing..eating...drinking wine... Cleaning ..I really do enjoy it...I just have too much of it...so it looks tidy but..there are hidden cobwebs...dust...repainting ..........I need a glass of wine!

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  8. That's a very good little stool. We have one and I'm amazed by how many different rooms it has been used in.
    Off to eat cake now. Thank you for permish.

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  9. I can't wait until my children are no longer little, and my floor can look like yours. But I'm beginning to think that having less of everything is the key to order in my house. I love the simplicity of your task list. Four monthly task - pure genius!
    Siobhan xx
    P.S. I should have named my oldest daughter 'Katie'. Can't even see the floor in her bedroom.

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    1. Siobhan, I think you are right. Having less stuff certainly makes life easier and less stressful.

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  10. I love your list! Someones been looking at Pinterest LOL!
    Have a fun Wednesday! I hope it's sunny enough for you to get your towels dry today!

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    1. It's in and out with the towels today.

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  11. Interesting, and the "look beneath the surface" bit is most reassuring, but I can't agree with you that any house is easy to run - mine certainly requires oodles more vigilance and attention to detail than I would believe possible, and even then, never looks quite right! But I agree whole-heartedly with the instruction to eat cake......

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    1. I suspect the age of one's house has a lot to do with how easy it is to run. Mine is a modern box which is fairly low on maintenance. Also I don't have animals :)

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  12. Sad though it is to admit, I like your way of thinking. My house, too, is superficially clean - our skirting boards are very alike - and I bemoan my time management but do nothing about it. And as I eat cake on a daily basis (at least!) I hope I can easily follow your lead!

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  13. Love you lists! I used to be hyper organised. I had to be and it filtered into every facet of my life. It's gone to pot now and weirdly I actually love that it has. I feel liberated and free but often wistful too, if that makes sense. I definitely think having a dog has gone a long way to becoming less OCD about being clean too ; )

    PS. I do love a nosy in other people's houses, heehee!

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  14. Love your housekeeping list. Love the colours of your living room (my favourite). I've been reading your blog for quite a while now and figured I should stop just lurking. So, just want to say I especially enjoy your sense of humour. Keep up the great blog.

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    1. It worked! Thank you so much for the instructions at the bottom about how to leave a comment if one doesn't have a blog. (I've never notice them before.) None of the other blogs have that instruction and I could never figure out how to leave a comment on those blogs that use blogspot. Thanks again for printing simple instructions for tech idiots like me.

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    2. Welcome Kari. I'm glad someone is reading those instructions. Before I had a blog I found all that stuff puzzling too.

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  15. I like the simplicity of your room and I can see that it would make my house much easier to clean and tidy if we just had less STUFF. However If you watched Richard II cast your mind back to the scene where he is handing over the crown "Ay,no;no,ay;" me - pondering handing my precious over to the charity shop or the like. Lists do seem the way forward, especially as my age advances and my will declines. Plus the fact I am now so forgetful that it is highly likely that I would forget to wash the kitchen floor for example. Funny I never forget to take a day off, eat cake, or drink wine.

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    1. Ha! Yes, I did see Richard II (saw Jeremy Irons play him at Stratford too -very good) -I'd be saying 'go ahead take the crown, you clean it'.

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  16. I'm orderly, husband is not! Compromise enables us to coexist - I ignore the fliers for musical events he keeps adding to next to his chair (3 ft away from a desk he could put them on), he doesn't pile up clothes or leave drawers open in the bedroom. Abandoned house work today and went to see the Queen in Worcester - got very wet!

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    1. You may have seen my George who part of her guard of honour along with lots of other cadets. I just missed seeing her car go past Staples where I was picking him up. Think she was going to the station as there was a big steam engine waiting there. All very exciting.

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  17. I completely understand the superficial, "surface" clean thing, Sue. I'm much more distressed by messiness than dirt. If a room is tidy, I can overlook the dust balls in the corners.
    And I love that you haven't made yourself a slave to housework, yet your house looks so ordered and comfortable.

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  18. I invented 'the onceover'! (how to do the minimum to enjoy my home and keep from being embarassed by it. Children long since left home I still do it - see my blog under 'Simply Routine')

    I think your house looks cheerful, bright and colourful, and sane - a home!

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  19. I'm glad your house isn't perfect too it makes me feel much better! I like your task list particularly the tasks in boxes!
    Sarah x

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  20. Anonymous10:36 pm BST

    Routines are good but I feel the need to clean my bathroom/loo more than once a week. Perhaps there's more use of it at our house!

    You clean the kitchen floor only once a MONTH? Gosh.

    Janice

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    1. I wipe bathroom surfaces everyday -that includes the loos. I hoover downstairs every day -that includes the kitchen floor. If something is spilled on the floor of course I wipe it up there and then.

      My routine card is designed to be an aide memoire for myself and not an exhaustive explanation of what I do and don't clean.

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  21. Fab post again, your wit and charm always make me smile. Mel

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  22. You are fabulous. I love that you tell it like it is. Dust and dirty windows, everyone has that. Eat cake and drink wine. Sound like mandatory chores to me too. Great post.

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  23. Pati from London10:51 am BST

    Hi Sue! I like your sitting room, it looks quite nautical to me, which is always a good thing plus blue is my favourite colour... Both my husband and I are on the same wavelength when it comes to the house. He is tidy and I am clean (which can be quite different....) and we both feel the need to have everything in its place by the end of the day as we feel more relaxed when the house is in good order. With kids is difficult to keep things under control during the day but apart from my 1 year old (the messier one) everyone contributes to the tidy up in the evening. Great post! x Pati

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    1. Pati from London10:52 am BST

      the mesiest, I meant! x Pati

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  24. Read the heading of your blog yesterday Sue, and thought :Oh another one bites the dust:blog land is teeming with perfect everything, love your honest and candid writing, live in South Africa, hubby and I.
    P.S My mum used to say its only clean dirt,
    Love Tricia

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  25. I too am one for order - mess makes me techy and stressed. Admonishments to relax and ignore the mess make me even more stressed! I'd rather spent 10 mins tidying and the rest of evening relaxing that the whole evening looking at the mess thinking I should clear it up!!

    I work outside the house too and in certain 'hot spots' there is a definite slide towards disorder as the week progresses before the all hands on deck saturday morning blitz my family are forced to undertake!

    I do like your daily/ weekly/ monthly routine and may come up with similar

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  26. Drinking wine and eating cake sounds like perfect housewifery to me!

    My sitting room floor is currently covered in shredded egg boxes. The joys of a life with 7 dogs to entertain! Think I might skip hoovering and just crawl around on my hands and knees picking up bits of green cardboard. Such is my housekeeping lot.

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  27. hi,

    interesting to see your housework schedule - i keep trying something similar myself but on viewing yours it's become obvious where i'm going wrong. the vital ringed activities are missing off mine! Doh will instigate cake eating and wine drinking immediately as i take a day off of housework. mmm feel much better already - thank you xxx ;-)

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  28. I am commenting here the first time, because something very odd happened- your sitting room is so similar to mine! I have the same sofas from IKEA, in the same colour, similar pictures from the look of them, almost the exact same rug, although admittedly it is now in another room, almost the same colour walls, very similar bookcases... I am too a Sue , and my kids are Katie, Tom and Jamie. Oh and Katie is very untidy! Weird. The similarities are limited to me being very orderly and list loving, as I hate cooking and sewing and most things to do with housework! I love eating and gardening, however, and I think your photos are fantastic. I have always found your writing addictive, and read regularly without really knowing why- spooky. I must say my daily\weekly\monthly list is a little different- wine definitely daily, cake maybe weekly or even monthly, kitchen floor almost daily, day off housework, well probably one in three if you don't count laundry and making a basic evening meal with whatever happens to fall out of the fridge first! Maybe I can become a little more like you on the domestic front!

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    1. Gosh Sue, some spookiness going on there I think. Thank you for reading :)

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    2. Anonymous8:30 pm BST

      I've just hoppity-skipped across a few blogs and landed here - OMG! Definitedly NOT the place for this lazyhousewife, I thought - until I read your asterisked note, and promptly fell off my chair laughing. Thanks for such a good read - I'll be back!

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