Archive for the ‘Chores’ Category

Service of Spring Cleaning Whether You Like it Or Not

Monday, June 3rd, 2024

‘Tis the season where list makers are in their glory. Each chore seems to create tributaries of additional ones. I suspect most on my lists are only applicable to people who live in small to modest sized apartments.

On mine there’s the dreaded biannual wardrobe change from winter to summer. Out of the closets go my winter clothes headed to the mule chest that held my summer things. This involves extra laundry, most of which is by hand for sweaters, down vests etc.

The closet project sets off a trip to Goodwill Industries–I never give away enough–and to the dry cleaner. [Mine is near my former office, a hike if you’re lugging stuff.] The clothes headed there has diminished dramatically but the bill hasn’t.

In preparation for the building’s yearly check/change of air conditioner filters I move as many plants as I can to their summer home on the balcony. That also causes subsequent tasks such as repotting or propagating. So that the wind doesn’t keep slamming them down, I cut off the tops of my tall plants. My potting shed is my kitchen sink.

The night before the building staff arrives, I move the rest of the remaining indoor plants and furniture around the windows elsewhere so the handymen can get to the units hidden behind the AC cabinets. Back it all goes once they leave.

A switch out of cotton duvet covers creates a giant ironing opportunity. While I was at it this year I found new places to squirrel away last year’s business and personal tax files/backup.

And then there are the things I won’t mention because I’ve neglected to do them year after year.

Do you have a spring-cleaning routine you must follow whether or not you’re in the mood?

Service of Rituals

Monday, October 17th, 2022

This doesn’t fit precisely in the “Little Things Mean A Lot” series on this blog nor is it just the same as the more recent Service of Rituals and Traditions, but it’s related. I thought I’d add some of my own to the ones readers sent and The New York Times published recently in “The Little Rituals That Keep Us Going.”

The Times article’s subhead went: “Reading Nancy Drew. Watching the birds every day. Counting yellow doors. Thousands of Times readers shared their wellness ‘non-negotiables.’” Dani Blum wrote the article.

Mine aren’t charming or creative however they give structure and happiness to my life.

My newest ritual is a quick game of Wordle. I came late to the game. At this writing I’ve played 57 times. I find I do best when I play early in the day.

WMNR’s classical music entertains me all day. I listen live through my laptop. Almost no talk.

I will miss the Australian drama, “A Place to Call Home,” that for 67 weeks made me look forward to Friday pm on PBS. A friend showed me where else I could watch the program if I had a conflict causing me to miss an episode.

I take advantage of long phone calls by watering or tending to plants. I have a bunch and now that they’ve moved indoors it’s easier to do.

I eat waffles or pancakes every Sunday morning.

Now that I work at home, I like to officially end the workday between 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 with a glass of wine and some cashew nuts. I’ve read that cashews are healthy—I ate peanuts before.

By 10:00 a.m., I’ve completed a list of chores as I used to when I left for an office. I don’t want to see an unmade bed or a dish in the sink after that.

To close the night, I like to watch an episode of a funny series on Netflix such as Seinfeld or Schitt’s Creek.

What are some of the rituals that keep you on track, make you happy and that you look forward to?

Service of Why Women Stress Over Maintaining a Tidy Home

Thursday, August 8th, 2019

I drove my husband nuts when I’d tidy the apartment before a trip lest the plane crash and family and friends, clearing out the place, think I was a crummy housekeeper. When our house was for sale, I’d scour every inch when strangers I’d never meet viewed it.

Claire Cain Miller addressed probably why my husband didn’t care and why I stressed about it: the condition of where we lived reflected only on me.

The headline of her New York Times article was: “Why Women, but Not Men, Are Judged for a Messy House– They’re still held to a higher social standard, which explains why they’re doing so much housework, studies show.”

Miller didn’t address something just as important to me: I like returning to a neat and clean home if I’ve been away at work for a few hours or on a trip.

Miller wrote: “Even in 2019, messy men are given a pass and messy women are unforgiven. Three recently published studies confirm what many women instinctively know: Housework is still considered women’s work — especially for women who are living with men.”

One of three studies concluded: “Socially, women — but not men — are judged negatively for having a messy house and undone housework.

“The additional time that women spend on unpaid household labor is a root of gender inequality — it influences how men and women relate at home, and how much time women spend on paid work.” She reported that according to Department of Labor stats “women spend 2.3 hours a day on house tasks, and men spend 1.4 hours.”

Indoor chores are mostly women’s and outdoor ones–more weekly than daily–are men’s. Men who live where there are no lawns to mow or cars to wash don’t pick up additional indoor tasks she reported.

“When participants” in a study where 624 people were shown photos of either messy or neat rooms, “were told that a woman occupied the clean room, it was judged as less clean than when a man occupied it, and she was thought to be less likely to be viewed positively by visitors and less comfortable with visitors.” Respondents were harder on messy men, concluding that they were lazy slobs.

“But there was a key difference: Unlike for women, participants said messy men were not likely to be judged by visitors or feel uncomfortable having visitors over.” My first husband had an aunt who, I was told, washed her kitchen floor as often as two to three times a day. I never dared invite her.

Miller interviewed one psychologist who said many women thought “‘I should relieve my husband of burdens’ — it’s so automatic.’”

You’d think that these days when both parents work and fathers help with chores their sons will spend more time doing them as adults. “So far,” wrote Miller, “what we know about the next generation is that girls are doing less housework. But boys aren’t doing that much more.”

My boss in one job said that if her wastebaskets were empty she considered her home was ready for company. And you? If you live with someone, how do you divide the chores? Do you feel that women are on the hot seat where keeping a home tidy is concerned and that men are off the hook? Does such thinking impact dynamics at work?

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