Social Question

nikipedia's avatar

What is a normal amount of cleaning?

Asked by nikipedia (27481points) December 7th, 2010

I am in the process of moving and given my past two roommate situations, it is really important to me to find someone who’s pretty laid-back. I don’t mind having a small amount of clutter (shoes, books, general miscellany) and I’d rather not have to wash my dishes every day.

So I just got this email from a potential roommate:

I have to warn you. I am a bit of neat freak though. I like the kitchen, living room, and bathrooms to be clean at all times. I think its best not to leave personal items laying around so that someone else has to pick them up. Also I don’t leave dishes in the sink so that my roommate doesn’t have to move them in order to cook. I also think everyone should look at the toilet when they’re done so as to not leave anything behind. ;) Typically, I’ve worked out a cleaning schedule with my roommates that’s worked out well. We usually alternate cleaning bathrooms or kitchen every other week.

Am I like, in the 99th percentile of disgusting slobbiness or something? I can’t imagine living like that. Not leaving my own stuff in my own living room? Cleaning the bathroom every other week? Can’t I just clean it when it gets dirty?

What do you consider a reasonable amount of cleaning? Am I going to have to give up my dream of being able to leave my dishes in the sink overnight until I can afford a place of my own?

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40 Answers

josie's avatar

Dishes should never be left in the sink overnight. Bathrooms should be cleaned once a week. What else do you want to know?

tinyfaery's avatar

When you live with others who are not related to you in some capacity you must keep the common areas as neutral a space as possible, which means that you need to keep your mess in your own space. It makes for peaceful living conditions. It shows the other person/people that you realize that you are not the only one living there and that they have just as much right to the common area as you do.

So, until you find another who is okay with your cleaning schedule or you live on your own, you just have to suck it up and be neat.

Personally, I unclutter a few times a week and clean once every 7–10 days.

YARNLADY's avatar

You would not be welcome as a roomer in my house. I expect all dishes, the kitchen and the bathroom to be cleaned after each use. Sometimes there are coats or other clothing thrown on a chair, but picked up and put in their room daily. Any mail, books, or other personal items will be kept in their room at all times. They each have their own desk, computer and TV in their own room, and one has a cat. They are 100% responsible for keeping their room clean, vacuumed as necessary (weekly for the cat owner, less than that otherwise), spills cleaned up immediately.

They each have their own towels and wash clothes and a basket for personal items in the bathroom. I do the laundry at least three times a week, and they are welcome to add their clothes to the pile, although they usually prefer to do their own.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Holy crap, dude, don’t do it. Really, that’s… there’s a reason he/she used the term “freak”. It’s one thing to insist everyone flush the toilet every time. It’s another to insist everyone look to make sure…

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Ok, I just realized you asked a totally different question than the one I just answered. Redo.

No, you’re not a slob. I promise. There are people who don’t like their houses to look like they’ve been lived in. They prefer them to look like museums. Some of them kinda loose it when things don’t look like a museum. Coincidentally, a shitload of those people also have mental issues.
You’re really normal and healthy. Don’t worry.

mrlaconic's avatar

I second @josie I have both been a roommate and a landlord. When I was a landlord, I wanted to common areas kept clean. Not saying you have to do it right away.. but when it gets to the point (and i have been here) where dishes, empty pizza boxes, and empty beer bottles have been left sitting for more then a few days.. unacceptable.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@mrlaconic Not throwing out trash and not allowing personal effects (like a book your reading or a scented candle you like to light) are not even close to the same thing.

mrlaconic's avatar

@papayalily I didn’t say it did.. I thought we were talking about cleanliness and all I was saying was that you shouldn’t let the trash build up.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@mrlaconic Oh. Sorry. I can’t get that letter out of my head.

Fayeranna's avatar

In reality, everyone leaves dishes in the sink every now and then. The point of this discussion is whether or not to room with someone who has totally different views on what is clean and what is not. My advice? (Since I have lived with different individuals for a total of 10 yrs. now), is: Do what is right for you!

nikipedia's avatar

YOU PEOPLE CLEAN YOUR BATHROOMS EVERY WEEK????

What planet have I been living on for the last 26 years?!

Seriously, I have never ever ever heard anyone MENTION cleaning their bathroom. Like, “Hey nikipedia, sure, I’d love to grab a beer tonight, but I have to make sure I’m home in time to clean my bathroom.” Or, “Sorry I’m running late, I just had to clean my bathroom before I went out.” Or, “I’ve had a quiet Sunday, just reading the paper and cleaning the bathroom.”

Are you people out there secretly cleaning your bathrooms EVERY WEEK and it seriously NEVER comes up in conversation!?

Seaofclouds's avatar

I don’t talk about cleaning much when I’m having conversations. It’s something I have to do and it just gets done. It’s not even conversation worthy in my opinion.

I straighten up things around the house throughout the week, put dishes in the dishwasher immediately instead of piling them in the sink, and do a thorough clean once a week. The only time there are dishes in my sink is if the dishwasher is running.

If someone wants me to go out and do something with them, I won’t say I can’t because I have to clean unless I really have to clean for something important (like having guests over that night for dinner). I’ll just do the cleaning after I go out and enjoy myself.

Likeradar's avatar

I don’t think you should be thinking about this in terms of what’s “normal”. If it’s not a good fit for you, let it go and find someone who shares your level of cleanliness.

For the record, I’m a bit of a mess- stacks of paper, shoes out everywhere, dishes in the sink. But I clean the bathroom every Sunday. If you don’t, it’s fine. Just live with someone who won’t be put off by it.

Brian1946's avatar

I don’t really know what the statistical norm is for the amount of cleaning.

My standards:

Too much: Monk or Felix Unger.

Not enough: a hoarder household.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Just want to throw this out there: Like with all things, it’s not really what’s normal that you should be concerned with but what is healthy.

augustlan's avatar

I’d let you come live with me, but I am a bit of a slob. ;)
I would never, ever live with anyone who wrote me a letter like that. That’s a compatibility issue just waiting to happen.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@augustlan But in this particular instance, is it the difference in cleaning standards, or the fact that the writer is clearly batshit insane the author made such a big deal about it right off the bat, thus indicating a certain amount of skewed priorities?

nikipedia's avatar

God I love you people.

Also if it seems like I’m being too sensitive about this—I live in campus housing, so I have to ask to be referred to a roommate, and then figure out if we’re compatible. I’m worried that at some point campus housing is going to assume I’m a giant slob and they just can’t accommodate me. And then I’ll have to live in a tent, or something.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@nikipedia No, I’m (sadly) not kidding when I say that this guy/gal sends up my “has major issues” radar, finely tuned from years of living with people with personality disorders.

augustlan's avatar

@papayalily A bit of both, really. The different standards are bound to cause problems… that’s just the way it is. I definitely feel it’s something that should be discussed before signing a lease. But, the fact that the person went out of their way to make it crystal clear right from the get-go? That adds a whole ‘nother level of incompatibility. This person clearly knows that that level of cleanliness is insane not everyone’s cup of tea, and has no interest in compromising. I’m guessing mental issues, as well.

@nikipedia Right back atcha, girlie.

cookieman's avatar

I consider myself a “neat freak” and I wouldn’t room with that person. As soon as she mentioned “checking the toilet”, I was all done.

That being said, I clean my bathrooms once a week; floors twice a week; laundry three times a week; and kitchen, nightly.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Holy moly, that type of person and myself would not get along. I have that problem now with my current housemate. I have been here 15 years and have my own protocol and method. If someone wants to come share my space because they could not afford to be on their own then they have to be prepared to accept some ways that are different and foreign to them. I am sloppy in some areas and anal in others. I say dirty dishes in the sink up to 45 hours if they are soaking and don’t have gobs of food in them that can clog the pipes as this place is ancient and has no garbage disposal. I don’t freak of a little grease splatter or a little splatter in the micro wave so long as it is not on the glass where my food is going. A jacket left draped over a chair is not biggie to me, even if left there all night. But if something happens to it it is not on me. I will do what I can not do mush or dirty it but if it happens you take the blame for leaving it there. Stacking mail? There are bigger things to think about. I am not going to dust and chase cob webs everyday, I get them usually when I notice them badly. I am anal about rings in the tub or not flushing. If there are no critters or rats I am basically cool with it.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I clean the bathroom every time I go into it. It takes a minute or two to wipe down the sink, use the toilet bowl brush, wipe down the shower door. Everything has a place, and returns to it. Dishes are washed after use, but may sit in the dish drainer. Coats get hung up, newspapers hit the recycle daily, junk mail hits the trash the day it arrives, magazines go right into basket for them.

The house doesn’t look like a museum, but looks lived in. Picking up and cleaning are two different things. You can clean quickly if thing are picked up. You can do something once, or you can do it twice. Being relatively lazy, it’s easier to put something on a hanger and put it away than to drop it on the floor and then go back later and spend time picking up.

jca's avatar

who cares if this person has a mental issue? Who cares if she is a clean freak? The issue is whether or not you and this potential roomie would be a good match.

@mrlaconic: “common areas” from a landlord’s perspective usually mean areas in a hallway that are accessible to people from different apartments. that’s a little different than roomies in the same apartment, who, as long as they each agree on what’s acceptable and what’s not is all that counts.

This question reminds me of why I never wanted to have a roommate or share an apartment with anybody. Unless people are either very similar in their styles, or flexible in what’s ok and what’s not ok, it would be easier to pay a bit more and have a smaller apartment that is all your own. Also for privacy’s sake, rules have to be established about having overnight guests of any gender or relationship, and the guests (whether overnight or not) are somethng that effects everyone in the apartment. I would go for paying a tad more and having your own place.

Likeradar's avatar

@BarnacleBill You use the toilet brush every time?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@jca When I say that she has mental issues, I mean to a level and in an area that would create a problem roomie-wise. I don’t mean like “is depressed” or “has a learning disability”. I mean, may flip out if @nikipedia forgot to take her book with her back to her room one night, or might create some kind of chart where everyone had to check every time if they actually looked in the toilet after using it.

jca's avatar

@papayalily : I understand what you meant. I still mean who cares, as long as they’re compatible. if someone is such an OCD neat freak that they, too, will be a spotless housekeeper then it’s ok. However, if @nikipedia is not an OCD neat freak then it’s not ok. Again, as long as they’re compatible is the issue.

augustlan's avatar

One of my good friends got married years ago, without ever having lived with him beforehand. She called me one night, ranting about how inconsiderate and rude her new husband was. “He won’t even use the toilet brush after he has a BM!! Can you believe that?”, she wailed. I, um, told her she was insane.

They divorced less than a year later.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@augustlan And this is why I don’t get it when people say living together first makes you more likely to divorce…
So, did she expect you to use the toilet brush should you use her toilet?

Likeradar's avatar

@augustlan Did he leave, um, residue?

BarnacleBill's avatar

@likerader, only if it needs it. I check it every time, and act promptly. I keep lysol wipes in there and wipe the seat and underside, make sure there’s not soap or toothpaste on the sink, wipe down the faucets, wipe down the shower door and walls after a shower. I mop the floor once a week, which takes no time at all because the rest of the bathroom is clean.

Likeradar's avatar

@BarnacleBill Oh, ok. I was picturing you scrubbing the toilet every time. And to me, that’s weird. You way isn’t. :)

BarnacleBill's avatar

Yeah, it would be weird. Those wand things with the flushable scrubbing heads make it pretty simple. I hate cleaning.

augustlan's avatar

@Likeradar I didn’t ask for details, but even if he did, I don’t think one should assume it was because he was deliberately inconsiderate. Maybe he just didn’t notice… Who knows? Just seems like such a silly thing to be that upset about, you know?

Likeradar's avatar

@augustlan for sure. I was just trying to wrap my head around it.

augustlan's avatar

In the beginning of my first marriage, we developed a system for deciding if stupid things were worth fighting about: “If unchecked, will this problem eventually lead us to divorce?”, we’d ask ourselves. If the answer was no, we generally just let it go. I can’t tell you how many people I know who fight over things like toothpaste caps and toilet seats. Gah!

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@augustlan Did it lead to divorce?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@augustlan You know those people too, huh?

augustlan's avatar

@papayalily For me, or for my friend? We’re both divorced, but her marriage lasted less than a year and mine lasted for 17 years. :)

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