Monday, July 21, 2008

Flylady Interview

Many of you know I'm a Flybaby -- I get Flylady's emails every day telling me what chores I ought to do that day, and it's really helped me to keep my house clean. Somebody forwarded a request for an interview to the list (some journalist is doing a story about housekeeping), and I thought I'd post my answers on my blog.



Where do you live? (City, State):
Torrance, Ca

Stay at home mom/writer

Married or partner?:

Do you have children? What ages?
One daughter - 6 mo

How would you define yourself as a housekeeper? Explain.
I used to be a roller coaster housekeeper -- letting chores pile up till they NEEDED to be done, now I'm much more consistant.

How often do you clean your home? Describe your cleaning habits.
I do some house cleaning every day. I tidy up the stuff and toys that get brought out during the day, I do a load or so of laundry, I do the dishes as soon as I finish eating (no dishes get to sit in the sink -- though I do have a dishwasher, which helps). I also wipe the counters and stove/microwave every day

Once a week or so, I clean the bathrooms and vacuum, and sweep and/or mop the kitchen floor.

How satisfied are you with the cleanness of your home?
Very satisfied. I'm very proud of my home

If you are satisfied or dissatisfied, explain why.
When I was in roller coaster mode, I put things off, then felt guilty seeing clutter or dishes or laundry, and I didn't want to think about it, so I ignored it till it was really bad. Then, I'd finally get up the energy to clean, and I'd work very hard till I was exhausted. Then I'd feel like I could take a week off from working, and the stuff would pile up again.

Now, by doing a little every day, it doesn't pile up, and I don't feel guilty, and I don't have to work till I'm exhausted. I'm at peace in my home, and people are impressed when they come over.

How important do you think it is to have a clean home?
I think it's very important to have a CLEAN home for reasons of health and mental health. It's less important to have a TIDY home -- it should be OK for kids and parents to live in the house. A day or two of mess for a big project or if somebody's sick, is just fine. And if you keep it consistantly clean on a regular basis, it'll be easy to tidy up after that mess.

Do you hire a housekeeper? If so, how often does the person comes?

Do you find that many times you leave all the cleaning and de-cluttering to the housekeeper and sometimes even feel embarrassed when he/she comes?

Do you notice a difference between generations as to the importance given to keeping the home clean? If so, what differences and among which generations?
I think that at different phases in one's own life there are different standards. When you're a kid, you think there are more fun things to do than clean house. When you move out on your own, you have to find a balance, and it's easy to swing to extremes before finding it. It's easier to keep things clean before kids, and so parents may relax a bit.

I think that in my grandparents' generation, the people who lived through the Depression and the War often either hoarde things or travel light, and that can make for very dirty or very clean houses.

I think there's a lot more variation in personalities and how you were raised in regards to cleanliness rather than blanket statements for whole generations.

How would your mothers rate your home if they went for a visit?
My mom thinks I do a great job keeping house, and she's told me so.

Do you have the same standards of cleanness as your mother did? Explain why or why not.
Yes and no. I get a lot more anxious about mess than my mom did, so I probably keep my house cleaner than she did -- though I haven't got six kids yet, so I don't know how I'll be when there's more people making a mess. At the same time, Mom taught me how to clean, and how to tell when something needs cleaning, so a lot of my viewpoint is based on hers.

Do you find that many times your mother or mother-in-law, when they come to visit, end up inspecting the cleanness of your home, or give you recommendations on how to organize it and clean it better? Do you have arguments with them because of this? Please describe and offer a lot of anecdotes on this aspect.
My mother in law also thinks I do a good job. We have a great relationship, and if she had suggestions, I'd seriously consider them as coming from a loving helpful place in her heart. I even sometimes call her for advice about things (though not always housekeeping).

Do you think that your children (whether they are grown or not) and your husband/partner care less about cleaning the home as you do?
My husband definitely cares less than I do -- but he's supportive, and will do a specific task if I ask nicely and show him how it's done. We also have a kind of truce about certain things -- I don't mind if he leaves it out, if he doesn't mind if I put it away.

Do you think men are participating more in the house chores?
My husband participates about as much as my dad did in the everyday housekeeping. Neither does very much, but neither classifies it as "women's work" either. I care about it, so I do it. He doesn't, so he doesn't. But he cares about ME and he'll do what it takes to keep me happy -- including voluntarily doing dishes, taking out the garbage (sometimes without being asked), etc. I also ought to point out that bith my husband and father work(ed) full time to let their wives stay home and raise the kids.

How do you think the next generations will deal with the issue of housekeeping from what you can see today? Will they care more, care less, and why?
I think it'll be about the same. They may have better technology to help them (like I have better than my mother and grandmother did, but they'll still have to make the same decisions about a balance between time and comfort.

Do you feel that the economic recession in any way impacted how often you clean your home? For instance, have you fired the housekeeper you had, are you cleaning less because you are overworking, etc.
The recession has definitely had an effect -- My husband lost his job, so he's home all the time. This gives me the ability to have him take care of the baby so that I can focus on cleaning and cooking (which I didn't do much of before he lost his job).

How cluttered is your home?
I don't think it's cluttered -- based on what I've seen at other people's houses. On the other hand, we use ALL of our storage space.

Do you keep many things that you don't need? Like what?
I have a lot of craft supplies, children's toys for ages that I don't have in my house, LOTS of costumes, and LOTS of books. Are these things I don't need? I dunno -- I don't often use any given thing, but I often am happy that I have just the thing I was looking for when I want it. I try to give myself a limit on how much space the stuff can take up, and when I want to get a new thing, I have to make room for it by getting rid of something else.

Where do you keep stored most of the things that you no longer use or need?

Does it make you feel anxious to have so much clutter?
No -- I don't have more clutter than I can put away, and if it's put away, it doesn't make me anxious.