Conquering the Invisible Mess
February 3, 2014 10:33 AM Subscribe
I'd like to keep my apartment cleaner. Problem is, I don't really notice the mess.
posted by therumsgone to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
While reading Organizing from the Inside Out, I ran across this quote that explained why some people don't clean: "They actually don't see the mess, either because they are not as visual as you, or because they're simply focused on other things. Creative people are very inwardly focused, and forever preoccupied with new projects and ideas...either way, the mess is invisible to them. That's why when you're screaming at them to clean it up, they often look at you in wonderment, head cocked to one side as if to ask, 'What mess?'"
This is totally me. I'm certainly a creative type, and I spend a lot of my time in my head. I know my apartment is littered with dirty spaces, and I honestly don't notice them. I'm happy to clean them as soon as someone else tells me about them, but it would be nice to get to them before that. I live with my boyfriend and I don't want him to feel like he has to nag me to clean.
I'm actually fairly organized and relatively tidy, so it's mostly dirt and grime that I struggle with. You know those people who are messy but not really dirty? I'm kind of the opposite. Here are some things that I didn't notice until others pointed them out to me:
-Grime all over the toilet
-Dust lurking on the bookshelves
-Cat hair on carpet and furniture
-Food going bad in the fridge*
-Dirt on the floor
-Spills that I never noticed or cleaned up
-Forgotten laundry in the back of the closet
-Oil on the walls in the kitchen
TL/DR: How do people notice these things? How can I figure out how to see the things that bother other people? I'm looking for simple life hacks, schedules, and systems to deal with the Sisyphean home chores that I would never, ever think to do if left to my own devices. After a lot of dedicated work I'm pretty on top of daily things like sanitizing the counters after cooking, making the bed, and cleaning the cat litter; periodic tasks are the thorn in my side because they're harder to schedule and structure. Before you suggest it, I find Flylady cloying, but I do like Unf*ck Your Habitat.
*I've gotten much better with the food now that I've started to keep my fridge less full, and corralled "lunch stuff" and "perishable stuff" into clear acrylic bins. Hacks like this one are exactly what I'm looking for.