The Dread of Domestic Duties

The Dread of Domestic Duties
Alexandria's Cleanish Kitchen, mid domestic duties
kitchen clean up – mid domestic duties

You might recall that when I first brought home into the virtue of beauty framework, the goal was a comfortable, happy, cheerful, welcoming and calm home that reflects who we are right now.  Odd now that I think of it, that I didn’t include healthy given my circumstances.  Not to worry, I don’t live in a hospital thank goodness.  My intention was to achieve that by decluttering, finishing overdue maintenance and really cleaning the house among other things.

Today is supposed to be my big day of cleaning and preparing the house to be trashed by a weekend of leisure.  And you know what?  Really cleaning the house really sucks…

Though it has to be said that I really appreciate the super cleanliness of my really clean shower box.  I really thought we would have to renovate the ensuite to get it that clean, so I am happy to have got away with that given I hope to renovate the family bathroom this year.  And it has to be said that I really enjoy clean empty surfaces and a smooth freshly vacuumed carpet.

But…

OH!  MY!  G (Insert deity of choice) D!

The mind-numbing tedium of actually doing domestic duties.

Regarding it as creating beauty (calm and comfortable) does help to an extent, as does imagining it as careful brush strokes applied to a beautiful painting, but I really truly loath house cleaning.

Thank goodness I live in a relatively modest house – I would go mad having to clean an enormous mansion.  I am quite nostalgic about the tiny flat we had in London – we took an end each and worked our way to the middle, and it was done in about 20 minutes – kitchen, bathroom, lock, stock and barrel.

My friend Katy has a beautifully neat and clean house which I find amazing given the numbers of cats and dogs she lives with.  Every one of her public rooms is stuffed with collections of knickknacks and pictures – she even has a row of little ducks along her kitchen windowsill.  Seriously!  Her whole house is like a reproduction Victorian era parlour.  It looks gorgeous, but surely she must spend hours and hours every week cleaning it.  She says no – she just keeps inviting people over so she is always on top of it.  This is clearly what I am doing wrong – not entertaining enough!

I try to do a couple of rooms every day, and on Friday, I get down and dirty in the kitchen and ensuite as well as a quick swipe through the rest of the house.  But all that dusting, and vacuuming and putting things away.  It’s never ending!

And maybe that’s the crux of the matter for me.  I like doing the things you do once, and that’s more or less the end of it.  The projects if you will – dare I say the “exciting” stuff?  I’m really not fond of the so-called crank the handle stuff.  The daily treadmill…  (I am aware of course that some projects are more or less cycles of the same thing)

So, given I won’t be paying anyone else to do it for me just yet what’s the best way for me to get it done with as little dreariness as possible?  Do I just call it a frog à la Mark Twain [1] and do it first thing? Hard to know what the biggest frog might be, I’m fairly sure I dislike all housework equally…

  • Somehow chunk the work, and make it more singular than ongoing.  For example, today’s “clean and tidy kitchen” project takes place after breakfast, and that’s it until tomorrow.  I can hear some of you squealing already, but hear me out.  Perhaps tonight’s “clean and tidy kitchen” project can be rolled into tonight’s “making dinner” project with concurrent clean ups and wipe downs.
  • Take a half day to do it once a week?
  • Quick swipe through with periodic deep clean?  How periodic?

Domestic paragon of virtue Mrs Beeton [2], aside from suggesting that my Mistress of the House spirit is seen throughout the household and inspires my servants doesn’t offer much advice for my current situation.  Unless you count the after breakfast inspection and order giving.  The dull stuff seems to be left to the Housekeeper, and as Housekeeper, my main role seems to be to be keeping the books and keeping the servants in line.  Perhaps on that score my less than interested in housekeeping spirit does indeed permeate the house…

How do you manage your household chores?  Do you do it daily or weekly?  Or just when your Mum comes to visit?  Do you do the whole house or just the bits people can see?


[1] If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.  And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.

[2] Beeton, I. 1859-61. Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management. London: Cassell & Co. (2000 reproduction)


2 comments

  1. Libby says:

    Excellent post. I too find housework v tedious. I make myself do a bit of cleaning (min. 20 seconds of work) every time I use the bathroom. Progress is slow, but the improvement is real.

    • Alexandria says:

      Thanks! Do you do it all yourself or do you share the chores with others? I’m not sure I could do a little bit here and there all day, but having said that I took a picture of the back of my new hair cut for Kate and after looking at the picture went to clean the mirror so I could take another one. I simply hadn’t noticed how much toothpaste had accumulated on it. How do I get toothpaste on the mirror anyway? Probably better to fix that than keep cleaning the mirror!

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