Social Question

Kardamom's avatar

Do you know anyone who has terrible housekeeping skills?

Asked by Kardamom (32117points) April 19th, 2018 from iPhone

Or no housekeeping skills? One of my friends, and a couple of relatives simply don’t clean their homes, and don’t seem to care that it’s not clean.

All of them seem to be one step away from being hoarders, and on several occasions, I actually wondered if someone would eventually call the health department.

All of these people are people who I care for and like, so I occasionally find myself in their homes. I just suck it up and try not to touch anything that might be sticky, broken, or covered with some type of filth.

I’m pretty sure all of them realize, at least to some extent, that their homes are filthy, so I don’t comment upon it.

My friend used to live with, and take care of her mother (this was about 15 years ago) and her mother’s home was filthy and loaded with junk. After my friend’s mother passed away, I helped her go through the house and get it cleaned up and cleared out to be sold. My friend has lived in a succession if houses since then, that were kept equally filthy, and packed with stuff, as her mother’s home had been, so it seems like it has a generational aspect to it.

My relatives have also had their homes cleaned up when they have moved, but they become filthy and packed soon afterward.

Do you know anyone who can’t keep their house clean? Have you or anyone else tried to help them? How did that go?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

31 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

Me. By your standards, I would fit all the nasty descriptions you put forth. I just don’t care if other people choose to judge how I live. The health department has never been involved, I can find stuff just fine, and no one gets sick.

Just a little tip, don’t go to the friends’ houses that you find disgusting, meet them other places. They can tell that you are judging them, and they are likely less concerned about what you would characterize as “filth” and more annoyed by your discomfort.
Coffee shops, restaurants, and, if the weather permits, parks and outside venues are good.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My DIL has horrible house cleaning skills, MIO. I think, however, it’s just because she’s never been taught. She does the big things, like vacuming and wiping off kitchen counters, but she NEVER wipes down the stove or inside of the microwave. She almost never dusts. I don’t think she ever cleaned the toilet (my son did it finally, after 2 years. I thought it was permanently stained.) One time I was baby sitting them here at my house and her 9 year old son came in and saw me wiping down a light switch plate.
“That’s crazy!” He said. “No body wipes light plate switches!” You should have seen his face the first time I pulled out a freaking toothbrush to clean up close and personal around the sink.

I know it probably drives my son a little bonkers because he’s likes his stuff clean, but he’s never said anything. He just pretty much spends his whole weekend cleaning, which seems pretty unfair. She was a stay at home Mom for the last 2 years but that’s their dynamics.

kritiper's avatar

I ran across a woman who seemed as if touching filth would make her sick. She had cats and cat boxes she couldn’t clean. The same with everything in the house, toilet included.

johnpowell's avatar

I’m a complete slob. 95% of the floor in my living room is not walkable. My bedroom is a disaster. My kitchen and bathroom are nearly spotless.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I used to believe that a filthy house was much more the province of single young bachelors, but I’ve spent my adult years being disabused of that premise. And @johnpowell has a good point. My first girlfriend when I hit this town maintained a pigpen apartment. But get this. Whenever her parents threatened to fly in for a visit, she would clean the place up and fast! In fact she was without a doubt the best skilled house cleaner I ever met. Her apartment was never filthy, but she was the type of person who would walk in the door, kick off her shoes and drop her coat on the floor. The floor was the depository for everything. She would park everything from bottles of ketchup to books she’d be busy reading with the pages marked through placing the open book with its pages to the floor. But what did I care? Her domestic habits were not MY priority. She could (and did) throw her coat on my floor with not a peep out of me.

Kardamom's avatar

@stanleyanly, so you were OK with this woman being a slob? How come?

@candymajor, my friends and relatives like me to come to visit their homes. Going to a coffee shop is not the goal. I’m just trying to figure out why they dont’t seem to care if their homes are not healthy places?

Curious too, why you would describe “filthy” as my standard? I don’t know anyone who considers “filthy” or “bordering on being a hoarder”’as being a good thing. Enlighten me if I am wrong.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Kardamom Her personal hygene was just fine. And what single man in his 20s cares whether or not a gorgeous girl keeps a messy house? I would crack down in my own flat, particularly when getting up in the dark and tripping over dishes and other crap.

Kardamom's avatar

@candymajor. I also forgot to mention, that I have people in my home who have compromised immune systems, so being clean, and safe, is of utmost importance.

Not sure why those things wouldn’t be important to everyone.

Kardamom's avatar

@stanlybmanly, so sex was extemely important. OK.

Do you have a family, or people whose health and safety are important to you now? That is why I asked the question, because I do.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Yes, like most young men, I was drug around by my equipment. And the wife and I keep a tidy house. But all of us know slobs, lovable slobs. I fortunately am not compelled to live with them, but will tolerate picking up after them when they visit. They know better than to visit too often. But then there are people like my long ago girlfriend with ample skills who choose not to use them. She wound up marrying a man who was well off. They keep a live-in maid, and 2 cocker spaniels. She was also a marvelous baker and would make incredible pies, cookies and strawberry or peach shortcakes. But the price for those treats was me scrubbing several days worth of dirty dishes in advance of the baking. My wife still bakes that girl’s thumbprint cookies every Chrisymas and they’re to die for.

Jeruba's avatar


> Not sure why those things wouldn’t be important to everyone.

That’s the sticky part. I’m sure a lot of people would prefer not to feel apologetic about their housekeeping. Even if they’re not ashamed of their environments, they still may envy some people’s ability to keep up with things and live in a place that shines.

But wondering why people don’t have the same priorities and skills that you have sounds a lot like wondering why some people aren’t bothered when their comments are full of typos and misspellings and grammatical errors. Shouldn’t they be important to everyone?

I don’t wonder that, though. I learned a long time ago that most people don’t care about their writing to the same degree that I do, or if they do care, still, it’s not worth the trouble and fuss to get everything right.

And they may equally well notice that I don’t pay nearly as much attention as they do to, say, fashion or makeup, hairstyles, yards and gardens, entertaining, and a whole lot of other things. Simply put: we care about different things. And we have different strengths.

“Good enough” applies differently to different people about different things.

And isn’t that a good thing? What sort of hell would we live in if everybody could parse a sentence and nobody could cook?

stanleybmanly's avatar

good answer!

canidmajor's avatar

@kardyman: What @Jeruba said.
Although you seem to be afflicted with OCD, and make your assessments based on that, many of us are not. My priorities are very different from yours, and your definitions of “filthy” and “borderline hoarders” are likely different from mine, as they are not absolutes, but subjective designations.
A home that does not meet with your approval is not necessarily “unhealthy”.

longgone's avatar

I had a colleague like that once. Her house was noticably in need of cleaning even to my eyes – and I’m not the person to notice. But then…that lady was a single mum, holding down a demanding job, and going to school. There was little money and even less time. She made sure to be an excellent mom. If toys and finger painting supplies were scattered somewhere, so what?

My house would make some people uneasy. There are no rodents or flies, but you’re going to find dog hair somewhere and the bed might be unmade.

There are only 24 hours in a day, and everyone uses them differently according to their priorities. Both me and my dog get a couple hours of exercise every day. Healthy food is important to me, so I spend time preparing meals. And then there’s all the other stuff gobbling up my time – like family, friends, work, school, gardening, reading. Even getting rid of questions from Hyderabad is more important to me than dusting the blinds.

In short: Yes, but it doesn’t make me think less of them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think mental issues play a part. Everyone that I know of who is depressed have sloppy houses (Except my mother. My father would not have tolerated a sloppy house.) I mean, things are “clean,” but there are clothes that need to be folded piled up on the couches, dishes in the living room, dishes in the sink, clothes on the floor of the bathroom, beds unmade. I find it odd, because I know that coming home to a clean house brightens my mood. Coming home to a sloppy house makes me depressed.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’ve got a friend who’s a young mother of two and a husband who is always working. I’m not sure cleaning is a priority for her, so I don’t go in her house. It bothers me if I think about it, because I hate kids to be taught bad habits, but not my business.

On the other hand, my mother never was a great housekeeper herself, but my grandmother was and taught me to be. I guess I’m somewhere in the middle, clean but probably not spotless.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My mother was raised in poverty, on a farm. There were 9 kids altogether. Cleaning sure as hell wasn’t a priority for grandma. Mom told me she had to teach herself how to clean.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess_III I think sometimes having to live with a mess, can kick in some ocd or cleaner habits. I know mom’s messes and slight hoarding tendencies gave me an aversion to both.

Jeruba's avatar

@canidmajor, I saw what you did there.

canidmajor's avatar

@Jeruba, it’s a multi-layered trick! ;-)

Kardamom's avatar

I don’t have any kind of OCD, but I do live with people with compromised immune systems, so I have to maintain a clean house.

Also, it makes me feel gross to go into a home where there is trash, and unclean dishes, and unclean/unwiped surfaces, and loads of clutter.

I understand that people have multiple priorities, and work, and kids and pets and such, but that is the case with most of us. I still make keeping a clean home a priority, because I need to.

anniereborn's avatar

I have the “skills”, I just don’t do it.

canidmajor's avatar

Well, I have a compromised immune system and I don’t get sick in my house or in messy houses in general, but then I tend not to lick things I shouldn’t.

I guess it’s all in the approach.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Hell, I made the kids clean the house before I got home from work! Then, on the weekends, I’d do the heavier stuff like mopping nad polishing and cleaning windows, etc. It’s not hard to keep a house clean if you simply stay on top of it.

stanleybmanly's avatar

That’s the secret. Finding the discipline to stay on top of it.

LornaLove's avatar

I knew a guy, let’s call him Bill. He lived on the ground floor of a small apartment block I lived in. He drank heavily, but he was a really nice man. His home was horrendously dirty. I can’t explain how dirty. He had a couple of cats too. He simply never cleaned. He was not a hoarder by hoarder standards.

His kitchen had flies all over it due to food being left out. Things were sticky to the touch. He offered me tea one day and I was afraid I’d be poisoned and perish and die. I survived. He bathed probably once a week and this was in a hot country.

The point is, he never got sick. I was wondering the other day why not?

One day he fell and managed to drag himself to his sticky couch. He had broken his hip but didn’t yet know it. He lay there for around 24 hours yelling faintly for help. When we broke down the door (since it was locked) he had been peeing in a torch (flashlight) since he couldn’t move it was the nearest thing he had to pee into since he couldn’t move!

stanleybmanly's avatar

now there’s a cheerful thought

Kardamom's avatar

@LornaLove, that is horrifying.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Yes, I’ve had friends through the years whose homes were shockingly unkempt. They always commented on mine being neat and clean. I don’t know any other way to live and there were a few friends that I hated to have meals with (at their place). This is life. Our home is our comfortable place and we aren’t all comfortable by the same standards.

Kardamom's avatar

@MollyMcGuire One of my relatives, who keeps a filthy home, and is a borderline hoarder, is sick all the time. It breaks my heart, because we have tried to help her clean up (each time she has moved) but within a month or so, her current house is back to being filthy again. One of her daughters (my cousin) has taken after her, so it’s very sad. Her other daughter and son (also my cousins) are more like me.

My friend, who is in a similar situation, never gets sick. So who knows. This particular friend, actually appreciates the help, to get her place cleaned up, but then she lets it get gross again. One of her daughters is a neatnik, and the other is more like me, clean, but without being obsessed, she just cleans as she goes.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther