06 Jul
Cleanliness is Next to…Impossible

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

When your flip flop comes off of your foot because it stuck to the kitchen floor, does that mean it’s time to mop? Can you tell me any other signs that scream someone needs to clean house? Like when the dust bunnies race to the vacuum cleaner, did I wait too long between vacuuming? I’m afraid I’m not very good at this.




Dear Pig-Pen,

Your question is leaving me a little misty-eyed, thinking back upon my days in college. I was infamous for leaving my dishes in the sink until they bonded to the stainless steel in a blanket of mold and decay.

Sometimes, if I felt the need to enter the kitchen, I’d spray some ammonia in the sink to cancel out the stench. A week or so later, I’d cave and just throw the dishes in the garbage. Cleanliness and domesticity weren’t exactly a strong point, I’m afraid.

::huffs Windex::

Once I got married, however, and started introducing offspring to my toxic ecosystem, I realized I needed to get myself together. Overwhelmed, confused, and saddened by my incompetence, there was an especially dark moment when I considered buying a Martha Stewart book on how to clean your house.

::swigs Lysol::

But that was then, Pig-Pen, and this is now. Since my BC (Before Clorox) days, I’ve learned a few things about keeping my home sanitary, and I’m more than happy to share them with you here. So, keep in mind that it’s time to clean when you encounter the following:

1. Your children start naming the houseflies, field mice, and cockroaches.

2. There’s a ring around the bathtub. And the floorboards. And your boyfriend’s collar.

3. You’re considering calling your homeowner’s insurance and claiming a total loss due to “natural disaster”.

4. You start treating your bathroom like a public restroom, complete with squatting, hovering, and that thing where you use a paper towel to open the door.

5. Visitors think you’re jumping on the eco-friendly-home bandwagon with what appears to be a dirt floor.

6. If you’ve emptied your Fantastik bottle and replaced it with acetone before cleaning the countertops.

7. When you find the children/spouses/housemates/guests under the kitchen table declaring, “Snack time!”

8. Going camping in the mountains for some “fresh air” is more of a medical necessity than leisurely activity.

9. You find yourself kicking the laundry pile toward the washing machine because you don’t want to aggravate a previous back injury from that time you actually lifted the basket.

10. Have you seen that movie Pink Flamingos? (Yeah, me neither.) If you watch it and ever sigh with recognition…well…skip the cleaning and just move to another house, sister.

::powders face with Comet::

Now, I know this is a lot to take in, and I don’t want you to feel overwhelmed. It’s taken me years to get to a place where my husband has stopped suggesting we apply for a spot on Hoarders. That said, if this all sounds like too much work, you could always just remodel your home with black paint, carpet, appliances, and furniture. Dark hides the dirt really well. Trust.

::dabs Pine Sol behind ears::


Kristine, TMH

15 Responses to “Cleanliness is Next to…Impossible”


Comment by donna freakin' reed.

Pig Pen, you must be my long lost sister, as you must be also, Kristine. My kitchen floor is so dirty I named my blog after it!




Comment by GrandeMocha.

Make sure you color coordinate the pets too. I have two white cats & the cat hair tumbleweeds wouldn’t work with dark carpet.

Kristine Reply:

Great point! Grab some spray paint!


Comment by Lynn MacDonald (All Fooked Up).

That’s a helluva answer. I’m NEVER going to visit you.


Comment by Diane.

I guess I feel better knowing there are people out there living my dirty house nightmare. Misery loves company, right?


Comment by marathonmom.

My mother was a really bad housekeeper. So I use her as my guide. I also learned this weekend that kids can do baseboards! That was totally worth the gas money.

shells Reply:

You’re supposed to clean those things?


Comment by Karin.

My mom is a fantastic housekeeper – she used to vacuum daily, bathrooms were cleaned twice a week, laundry was always kept up with and sheets were changed regularly. I’m not that clean. I’m lucky to get the dishes done daily but I’m getting on track – my kids are finally old enough to help with more than making the mess. I have a checklist of chores on the fridge split into daily and weekly tasks. Daily: dishes, laundry, pick up main level. The kids also get a sticker each day that they have a tidy room at bedtime and we take them for ice cream every other week if they get 10 stickers. Weekly: vacuum (3 levels), mop, dust, tend garden, pick up after the dog, bathrooms. I used to include grocery shopping in this but since the kids need to check some of these off, I just remember that one.

Susan Reply:

I’m exhausted just reading this!

Karin Reply:

it is exhausting at first but since we’ve gotten into the routine, it’s actually become much easier!


Comment by Marty.

I despise cleaning with a passion. However, as I worked at a law office once upon time (I think I also got sleep then too, but it’s been so long I’m not sure anymore) and saw families that had their children removed by Department of Human Services for abuse/neglect, and one of the families was “the dirty house family” (there were lots of truly nasty pictures in that file). So, I strive to keep my house in a condition where DHS will not remove my children and declare me an incompetent parent should they stop by for a visit. Beyond that, I don’t really give a damn.

Karin Reply:

when I need motivation, I watch Hoarders and Clean House. I feel better about my house AND I’m motivated to not let my house look like that!

Bean Reply:

You aren’t kidding! It only takes about 10 minutes of Hoarders to do me in.

DH grew up in a house so dirty he couldn’t have friends come play. To this day he has bigtimer anger/shame issues about it – so we try to keep to pretty much the same schedule/standards as Karin.


Comment by The Hostess With The Mostest Is M.I.A. | The Mouthy Housewives.

[…] we can’t all be Megan Fox it does show you that success isn’t predicated upon cleanliness. A lot of other mothers have similar anxieties about how clean their houses should be. But in reality, most parents don’t really care if their kid has a friend whose house isn’t […]


Comment by This is not an Equal Opportunity Household | The Mouthy Housewives.

[…] 14 year old daughter does some cleaning jobs around the house to make extra money. My son (12) recently asked if he could do that too, and I agreed. Should he be […]

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