What makes it work: Shared Standards

The woman who had rented ED’s house for the past five years moved out, and we converged on the property to prepare it for the next tenant. We were blasted by odors, dirt, and grime. A neighbor confided that the tenant was a hoarder. The main problem with hoarders: they don’t clean. I passed on my exercise class opting to work out by hauling trash, loading bricks, picking up cigarette butts, moving appliances, and climbing ladders to clean light fixtures. The most disheartening situation was evidence of the tenant’s adopting feral cats, leaving cat food, fur, and that-which-will-remain-unidentified throughout the house. We saved most of the cleaning for hired help.

Our own home is healthy clean (not spotless) and orderly (not immaculate). In my book, neatness trumps cleanliness; hence, I expect the bed to made daily and items out of sight even as dust sits on the dresser. This applies to the common areas. I avoid the upper floor where the boys reside. ED coaches the boys in weekly cleaning. Mowgli is warned that he will not get Mom’s nightly tuck into bed if there is no path through the room.

It would be very difficult to share a house if our housekeeping standards were too far apart. As it is, they are close enough to be comfortable while allowing for those instances when housekeeping gets away from us. I take charge of the yearly deep cleaning in the common areas, asking ED to inventory her belongings at that time.

Both ED and I had the same reaction when we returned home: wow! this house is clean!! It smelled so good!

Author: Mary Cornelius

I am an aging woman who writes three blogs.