The Minimum Code of HouseKeeping Conduct.

by Lori Dwyer on June 22, 2010 · 24 comments

Mushi mushi blogoroonies,

I have a confession to make. I’m a bit of a  foxymoron. As has been previously established, in some things- such as editing my blog posts for typos, quitting smoking and mopping my floors- I am not only a chronic procrastinator, but also chronically lazy.

In some things. In other areas, I have been called both obsessive compulsive and anal retentive.

Meh. There are worse things I could be called, I suppose.

Anyway, the point here is that when it comes to keeping my house neat and tidy, I am irrepressible. Even gastro or the flu cannot keep me from completing the daily Minimum Code of HouseKeeping Conduct. Not exhaustion nor illness nor heat nor disorganization shall stand in my way.

There are days when I am almost too tired and decaffeinated to keep my eyes open. I’ll try my hardest to ignore the mess, to meditate and count sheep and Prada sandals. But I cannot, for the life of me, fall asleep with a sink full of dishes.

Just in case anyone is interested, the Minimum Code of HouseKeeping conduct goes something like this.

* Three beds made.
* Liberal splashings of pee wiped off toilets, and any icky bits given a quick scrub with the brush.
* Washing hung out, including nappies, bibs and numerous facewashers.
* Dinner made. Most nights, anyway.
* Washing bought back in, folded and put away. (Groundhog Day, anyone?)
* Kitchen cleaned up, sink shiny (thanks a lot, FlyLady)
* One hundred million toys, three dozen books and an assortment of random household items returned to their natural habitats. 
* To Do List studied, sighed over and returned to it’s place on the bench, un-crossed-off-ed.

Once all of those chores are completed, then, and only then, can I relax. Do some Tweeting. Have a shower, Fall into the blessed cocoon of my bed (for two hour increments, between being woken by the small people).

I will confess that, at my best, it takes me all day to get through that list, and sometimes that’s all I get done. While the kids are up and about and awake and bouncing off the veritable walls, the house is feral. It’s only once they are in bed that it gets clean. And by then I’m about to go to bed anyway.

With that in mind, I’m actually not 100 % sure why I adhere so strictly to the MCHKC. I mean, let’s face it, if there’s a fire or a bomb threat or something as unforeseen as that, no one is going to be running around “Holy crap, where are the kids? But wow! Check out how tidy their house is!”.

And we don’t often get visitors who drop in at 2am. Not now we have kids.

But I just cannot go to bed with an untidy house.

Especially an un-shiny sink. Ick. Leftover dishes gross me right out.

Way back in the BC (Before Children) I used to have a Weekly Minimum Code of HouseKeeping Conduct, as well as a daily one. It included vacuuming, mopping, dusting, and changing the linens. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that is now a more of a once a fortnight thing. Sometimes less. I try, I promise I do. I just don’t always seem to get there. Before I know it, it’s Friday again and I’m still trying to catch up with Monday’s work.

So, there you go. Lori and her neurosis, in a nutshell. I think I’m looking for validation. Surely I am not the only one?

Do you have a Minimum HouseKeeping Code of Conduct? And do you actually follow it, every.. single… day?

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Tone-in-Oz April 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm

As the sole carer of three now, I am a oncer-a-weeker for everything if possible, accompanied by CLEAN YOUR ROOM/KITCHEN, and FEED THE CAT! My wife was a minimalist. Then I had carers in, and I think they were definitely doing Everything Every Day- I think one child was allergic to the outside world it was so clean inside the hoose! Now they are fine, and if I ever KNOW i am having visitors, 10 minutes and floor and benches SWIPED CLEAN


Tone-in-Oz April 12, 2011 at 12:49 pm

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Claudia Lawrence June 25, 2010 at 9:16 pm

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Jodie at Mummy Mayhem June 24, 2010 at 10:08 am

I think you're doing brilliantly! I'm feeling on top of it if the breakfast dishes are in the sink by mid-afternoon. ;)


jayayceeblog June 23, 2010 at 10:55 pm

I used to have a MCHKC back when my kids were little. I actually had a written schedule for Saturday mornings, as in 7:20 am Clean Master Bathroom. Over the years, more and more chores dropped off that list and it has now become fairly non-existent. I do like my kitchen island cleared off. When it is cluttered, I feel truly messy. And if I see a dust bunny, I'll grab it. But no more set schedule. I guess that's why it's good to invite company over — then I have to clean! =)


Kimberly June 23, 2010 at 9:50 pm

As per my psychiatrist said "Be very leary about people with spotless homes…for they're the real crazy ones"…LOL.
I have a bit of an obbsession with neatness in my home as well…the more neat it is…the less chaotic I feel. Thus, the comment from my psychiatrist. Meh. If it makes me or you feel better than why not. But sometimes I do think that we need to cut ourselves a bit of slack from time to time.


life in a pink fibro June 23, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Hmm. These days made bed and no dishes in the sink constitutes an outstanding day's housework. Clearly I need to do better if I'm going to hang out in these circles.


Kellie June 23, 2010 at 3:13 pm

I'm embarrassed to say I quite happily leave the dishes but now that I see myself as a SAHM, I think it's time I created a 'to do' list and create some kind of list and tidy this house up a bit better.

Love your work Lori.


jeanie June 23, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Yep – I find life much better if I have the dirty dishes BESIDE the sink myself – hate cutting off access to the sink.

My minimum is more of a nothing toxic lying around, nothing on fire sort of standard.


Lucy June 23, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Oh Lori, thank goddess. Before I read the post I was stealing myself to comment in apologetic tones about the fact that whilst I know I sound like an anal princess polyanna (which is how I have been referred to IRL and online before……) but I just cannot chill till it is all "nice".

Thank goddess you are the same.

Same same same same, phew.


Justine June 23, 2010 at 1:58 pm

you're my hero! This is why your house always looks amazing (the shiny sink really gleams throughout the whole house I think!).
My minimum is waaay less than yours!


Melissa June 23, 2010 at 1:39 pm

I need to clear away dirty dishes before going to bed and make an effort at keeping the toys in some sort of order. I can't let the dirty clothes basket overflow and have to unpack the groceries as soon as I bring them home. But that’s pretty much it… Working, plus having 2 kids under 3 stops me from doing much else!


Amy xxoo June 23, 2010 at 1:10 pm

I was never a neat freak, so now with a crazy, teething, sleepless 6 month old, i can barely get one or two jobs done a day. However, with a new plan to keep me mentally stable ( thanks Mum and Dad ) i'm getting so much better.
Today? Washing folded, another load done and hung out, baby food for the next week made and dinner on for tonight….linens to be changed this afternoon!


Wanderlust June 23, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Mine is very similar. Tidy the living/family room and clean the kitchen. No dishes (yuk) and absolutely no crumbs on the counter. Everything else is fair game. I gave up on dusting a while back. I probably dust once every two months, if that!

When I come downstairs in the morning I hate seeing mess.


ezymay June 23, 2010 at 8:58 pm

haha No I don't!!!! the only thing I like done is the dishes need to be cleared. I can go to bed if they aren't washed (rarely do tho) and the toys all go away but it doesn't break my heart if they aren't done. I must be the laziest around!!! Poor Heafy he can't tho..he is so the woman in our marriage lol


In Real Life June 23, 2010 at 10:51 am

I have been trying to establish a MCHKC of sorts, I call it doing my daily rounds: bathroom, kitchen, vacuum/sweep, and laundry. This is new for me, since the kids are getting older and more independent, it is easier for me to keep up with things.


Thea June 23, 2010 at 9:57 am

My minimum code is even more minimum than yours! You're doing good!! :)


lori June 23, 2010 at 7:58 am

I must admit I'm guilty of leaving dishes in the sink. My housecleaning code these days is "if it really needs it, clean it, if it can wait, let it wait." I do manage to keep up with the bathrooms. I can't stand the icky hair laying around.


heavenisabookstore June 23, 2010 at 12:56 am

I think the mental thoughts for me now are I have such a nice place. I want to keep it that way – for me. So I clean. But I also only clean once a week – I have two different schedules. I do half one week and half the other week. Sometimes I just don't get done the basics like washing dishes and laundry. But then again, I usually do those all in one day. My goal right now is to learn to enjoy life, not be so rigid in my thinking and chores just don't always get done because of this. You have to do what makes you happy!


The Bush League Cook June 23, 2010 at 12:12 am

Yes yes yes!!! I am just like this!! It stresses me out to no end to leave the house in the morning if it is a mess!


Dovic June 22, 2010 at 11:18 pm

I so want what you have. Unfortunately my MCH runs a total of about 2 lines.


But I'm trying too :)


Stylish Mummy June 22, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Oh lovey I used to be exactly the same but i must admit, when I was running around doing the kindy and school runs over the last couple of years, I let my MCHKC lapse somewhat and have somehow didnt get back into it. I mean the house is clean but not perfect like I used to have it… I guess other priorities have taken over.


Hear Mum Roar June 22, 2010 at 10:25 pm

So uh… when are you moving in here, then? lol


lacochran's evil twin June 22, 2010 at 10:09 pm

I won't leave the house with dirty dishes. Not even a cup in the sink. Drives me nuts. And, really, it just doesn't take that long to put a cup in the dishwasher. (Thank heavens for the dishwasher. Lived without one for 11 years. Never again.)

Also, when I'm stressed, I find mundane chores (like getting laundry done) give me a sense of accomplishment.

Yeah, sad. I know.


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