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Keeping it clean — old school

Yes, the laneway house is kept tidy.  Two adults, two indoor cats, all working together to keep it clean and habitable.  Who couldn’t manage that?


OK, we don’t get any medals.  And I have to admit a couple of corners (in the storage space beneath the stairs for example) that are not as well-organized as I would like.  But let’s get into the WABAK machine and see how I learned how to keep a house tidy, back in the days before the internet.

Back in a time I like to call….the 60s.

My mother worked hard to keep our home clean and tidy.  And my sister and myself had chores to do every week to help her.  We had to dust and vacuum the living room, do dishes, iron our clothes, the usual things our friends did.  But the worst was the Saturday morning bedroom cleaning routine.  DS and I would retire to our bedrooms, and after an hour she would emerge, her bed made, her desk organized, her dresser dusted, her floor mopped.  I could hear her leaving for an afternoon with her buds while I closed the book I had been reading and did a quick zip around the room to pass inspection.  I didn’t mean to procrastinate.  I just got side-tracked.

That habit followed me.  I knew I had to do the minimum amount of housework to keep the place looking habitable, and I wasn’t dirty, I just kept putting off the stuff that was “too much bother”.

You can get away with stuff like that when you are part of a two-job couple.  But when you are a stay-at-home Mom, it’s part of your job to keep the house clean.  And I just found it overwhelming. I thought that you were or you weren’t a tidy person, that was it.  There was no way out of the mess.

Then one day, I think I was watching Mike Douglas while I ironed, I saw two sisters, Pam and Peggy.  They called themselves the SLOB Sisters.  And they were just like me! Sidetracked Home Executives.

Their book gave me a system.  And it worked.  I didn’t have to be “naturally tidy”, I just followed the system. Big tasks were carried out once a month, with smaller ones done daily or weekly.  There were even jobs that you only needed to do once a year.  Everything was scheduled.  So simple.

I used their system religiously while the children were small.  It fell apart (a bit) when I went back to work.  But there are still things I do that I learned under the SLOB Sisters’ tutelage.

There are other books, other systems.  But if you are feeling completely overwhelmed by housework, I am here to tell you that there is a way out.  And you can do it.

About ladywholivesdownthelane

Starting the adventure of building a laneway house in the real-estate jungle of Vancouver, BC

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