EverydayDHV: keep a clean and organized home.

22 Nov

I know the subject line sounds a little like Adult Life Skills 101, but nothing can kill (or at least severely maim) interest like a messy, dirty house.  Whether you rent a bedroom in a house, live in an apartment or condo, or inhabit a mansion, the physical state of your abode is an irrefutable outward reflection of your inner character.  Despite our living in a world where we are constantly told not to judge people by, well, anything about them that seems obvious to the naked eye, nobody actually does this.  Everyone judges everyone else by their appearance and the appearance of anything they’re associated with.  And if someone walks into your disaster of a house, it’s likely that they will take a moment to recoil, at least on the inside if they’re polite.

The home is a reflection of the mind.  It is the physical manifestation of your inner being.  Dirty, messy houses belong to people who don’t care.  They belong to people who don’t know how to allocate their time, or aren’t capable of allocating their time, or are too lazy to allocate their time to basic upkeep, none of which are positive traits.  While there are always some exceptions to the rule (cue this blog’s chorus of INLTs), it’s unusual to find a person who is organized and in control in their daily life who also lives in a sty.

Because people enjoy being in clean, organized spaces, one of the easiest ways to DHV is to keep a clean, organized home.  I’m sure everyone has had the pleasure of walking in to a clean, organized home.  It is a refreshment to the senses and immediately calming (unless it’s one of those places that has so much expensive, untouchable stuff that it’s nerve-wracking to be around it for fear of ruining something).  If you’re looking for someone to spend the rest of your life with, having a clean, organized house is a very fast way of assuring someone that you’re in control, organized, not lazy, and you pay attention to details.

Just a note:  neat is not synonymous with clean.  You can have a very neat bookshelf that has never been dusted.  You can have a very organized bathroom with a toilet that only gets scrubbed once every six months.  You can have a nicely decorated bedroom whose carpet never is vacuumed.  Just because you don’t leave a trail of your belongings everywhere doesn’t mean you’re clean.  A lot of people can be neat, but it’s rarer to find cleanliness with neatness.  If you can do both, your stock will skyrocket.

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As a side note, I am going out of town for Thanksgiving.  This will most likely be my last blog post until next week.  May everyone have a thanks-filled weekend.

 

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20 Responses to “EverydayDHV: keep a clean and organized home.”

  1. y81 November 23, 2010 at 3:59 am #

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Josh November 23, 2010 at 7:15 am #

    This is very true. It’s a demonstration of long-term thinking, attention to detail, and self-disipline. All highly desirable traits.

    With bed-bugs and other pests making a comeback, people are re-discovering the merits of housekeeping. Shower before bed, wash sheets frequently in hot water, keep the floors clear and the closets neat. Dirty clothes go in a covered hamper. Outdoors jackets stay in the entrance closet, never climb into bed with your daytime clothes. What used to be common sense is sorely lacking in my generation. But some are finding religion.

  3. Joseph Dantes November 23, 2010 at 10:14 am #

    Most of what you described won’t prevent or eradicate bed bugs. Travel is the big spreader, and the financial ability to move is the most reliable solution.

  4. knepper November 23, 2010 at 1:18 pm #

    Unless you’re married. Then a willingness to do housework becomes a DLV. Sorry if you don’t like that, but it was my experience. Rather than earn her gratitude by cleaning up after yourself, you are demonstrating yourself to be a beta, and you will be heaping up scorn in her eyes.

  5. Aunt Haley November 23, 2010 at 6:38 pm #

    knepper–
    If willingness to do housework was a DLV, there was probably something else more basic going bad in the marriage. A man should not aspire to be a Merry Maid, exactly, but it is attractive in either sex to show pride in the organization, cleanliness, and upkeep of one’s personal space (and belongings).

    Josh–
    The bedbug thing creeps me out. No thanks!

  6. knepper November 23, 2010 at 7:20 pm #

    Haley,
    There was plenty else gone bad in the marriage, but that really doesn’t refute my point. The willingness to do housework makes you a good househusband in her eyes, which lowers your desireability. Women may say they want a man to do work around the house, as you do, but in reality, they will respect him less for it. The hamsters win every time.

  7. Josh November 23, 2010 at 8:46 pm #

    RE: knepper, Haley:

    I think there’s a fine line to walk for men. I think most men should demonstrate competence in running a house, but not necessarily excellence in housekeeping. If your sock drawer is too neat, or if you have a drawer than can even be identified as a “sock drawer”, your sexual orientation may come into question. There’s probably some happy medium there. I’m clean but not neat, and that seems to be working out pretty well.

    For women, be clean and neat. Seriously.

    RE: Dantes

    You’re right that it won’t prevent or eradicate bedbugs. But it will make detection easier and earlier, and make eradication easier, and make your life more comfortable in the time between detection and eradication.

    I grew up in a much less-developed country, and these are basic strategies to make life more tolerable there. It’s not just bedbugs, but ticks, lice, and any manner of vermin.

    Why keep fingernails clean? It’s not just for the looks. It’s the main method of transmission for intestinal parasites. My elementary school used to have mandatory daily checks for fingernail cleanliness.

    (Apologies on such a revolting topic.)

  8. Aunt Haley November 23, 2010 at 9:15 pm #

    Josh–
    I think most men should demonstrate competence in running a house, but not necessarily excellence in housekeeping.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with male excellence in housekeeping, so long as there’s also not an undertone of “I pretended I was Cinderella while growing up.” It’s good contrast game, because most women are resigned to men being slobs, especially college-age men. College boys can’t seem to be bothered to make their beds, fold their clothes, wash dishes, or clean up after themselves. It’s depressing to walk into that kind of environment. It’s even more depressing if the men are post-college age.

  9. Joseph Dantes November 23, 2010 at 10:14 pm #

    When I see a single man with a clean house, I know he lacks a certain disorganized brilliance, and that his priorities are flatly distributed when they should be radically selective.

    If you’re willing to divert energy away from your mission to engage in mindless housework above the level of minimal utility, I’ve lost respect for you.

    For one night stands, yeah cleanliness is important, but for relationships activating the pitying mothering instinct works great.

  10. Joseph Dantes November 23, 2010 at 10:16 pm #

    Making your bed is perhaps the most pointless activity I’ve ever encountered.

  11. Old Guy November 23, 2010 at 11:02 pm #

    knepper: Nice to see someone use the word “refute” properly.

  12. Dex November 24, 2010 at 1:36 am #

    If you’re doing it to get laid or to generally please her, then that’s a definite DLV. If you’re doing it because that’s how you keep your house, then it’s not.

    Women who are neat and clean themselves see it as conscientiousness just as women who can cook don’t disparage a husband who does as a “kitchen bitch”. It’s the wives/girlfriends who are lucky to make Mac-n-cheese properly who do that.

  13. ASDF November 24, 2010 at 7:25 am #

    I think you need to differentiate between the “disorganized brilliance”, as someone put it, and slovenliness. I have papers EVERYWHERE in my house, and a reasonably well-organized but messy looking piling system for everything from books to laundry, but the bathroom is clean and I don’t let dishes pile up. That’s just gross.

  14. cleared in hot November 24, 2010 at 7:26 am #

    Everyone judges everyone else by their appearance and the appearance of anything they’re associated with[…] The home is a reflection of the mind. It is the physical manifestation of your inner being.

    Now we’re 100% sure you really are a chick. ;)

    Dirty, messy houses belong to people who don’t care.

    Uhh…can I vote this for Obvious Statement of the Month?

    I pretty much agree with Josh & Joseph on this. Men will never do housework or cleaning to the level “expected” by a woman. This is because we are men, and just don’t care as much as you do about anything above that “level of minimal utility.”

    Caitlin Flanagan says it well…

    “What we’ve learned […] is that men can be cajoled into doing all sorts of household tasks, but they will not do them the way a woman would. They will bathe the children, but they will not straighten the bath mat and wring out the washcloths; they will drop a toddler off at nursery school, but they won’t spend ten minutes chatting with the teacher and collecting the art projects. They will, in other words, do what men have always done: reduce a job to its simplest essentials and utterly ignore the fillips and niceties that women tend to regard as equally essential. And a lot of women feel cheated and angry and even—bless their hearts—surprised about this.”

    Possible exception: keeping the weapons clean. But even then, my personal choice of weapon was specifically designed to not require female-level maintenance to shoot reliably & accurately. :)

  15. Brendan November 24, 2010 at 9:36 am #

    Well, there’s misperceptions everywhere I guess.

    Most men are not neatniks like women are. If they are, be worried, because it’s not that typical. It could be indicative of other atypical personality traits.

    Generally, I also agree with the distinction between filth and messiness. Filth is disgusting, smelly, and unhealthy. Kitchens and bathrooms need to be functionally clean. Messiness, however, is something else. It’s perfectly normal for some degree of messiness to be present in a male space. It should be manageable, but it will generally be different from how a female would keep the same space. Men and women are different, substantially (outliers excepted), in their tolerance for clutter and messiness. If you’re judging men on that basis (again, messiness rather than filthiness), you’re just making up more reasons to cross perfectly normal, well-adjusted men off the list.

    A good way for men to deal with this as a practical matter is to outsource it. I have a cleaning service come once a week to do the deep cleaning to the bathrooms and kitchen as well as appliances, and dust everything down and so on. It keeps the place clean (it still gets messy, but as noted above, that is different from being clean) and I don’t have to bother doing it. Works for me.

    Oh, and, yes, men will never, ever, be able to do household tasks to a woman’s satisfaction. It’s because we don’t care as much about the results. That’s another reason why I prefer to outsource it to maids.

  16. Samson November 24, 2010 at 2:58 pm #

    A man should not aspire to be a Merry Maid, exactly, but it is attractive in either sex to show pride in the organization, cleanliness, and upkeep of one’s personal space (and belongings).

    Bwahahaha!!! *Samson files this one away to resurface when Haley has a husband, kids and one messy living room…

    Just a note: neat is not synonymous with clean. You can have a very neat bookshelf that has never been dusted. You can have a very organized bathroom with a toilet that only gets scrubbed once every six months. You can have a nicely decorated bedroom whose carpet never is vacuumed.

    Hrm. Evidently I’m neat but not clean, and had no idea anyone would make such a distinction until this post. In any event, all of those things certainly applied to me before I was married.

    When I see a single man with a clean house, I know he lacks a certain disorganized brilliance, and that his priorities are flatly distributed when they should be radically selective.

    This.

  17. Silas Reinagel November 24, 2010 at 6:55 pm #

    I don’t really agree with your premise.

    While there is a certain value to having a clean and organized living space, various types of disorder can also serve as DHVs.

    So long as it doesn’t reach any ridiculous proportions, a certain amount of clutter and disorder (preferably of the clean sort) signals that a man has a full social calendar, and pursuits/hobbies that he dedicates more time to than cleaning. When clutter symbolizes laziness and apathy, it’s a DLV. When clutter symbolizes productive, proper prioritization and an active lifestyle, then it’s a very good thing.

    This is why my bedroom typically has a fair bit of clean clutter–I’m often playing music, competing in tournaments, hanging out with friends, spending time with my family, seeing girls, or pursuing various money-making ventures. I refuse to take away time from those things to make my place a little bit neater. That would be counter-productive in terms of my fulfilling my life mission.

  18. Joseph Dantes November 24, 2010 at 9:59 pm #

    I cannot begin to tell you how annoying it is to live with an OCD neat freak. They’re like mental patients. Zero sense of proportion.

    On the other hand, dirty girls are just gross. I’d be afraid to have kids with one, that she’d raise crass, disease-ridden urchins.

    My favorite matchup is a chick who’s tidy but reacts to my animalistic nature with good natured ribbing rather than taut sharpness. Someone who can appreciate the humor in the rough-hewn edges of masculine living. And of course, cleans up after to me to a reasonable but not excessive degree.

  19. Tyler D November 24, 2010 at 10:02 pm #

    Reject the basic assumption of civilization, especially the importance of material possessions.

    The liberator who destroyed my property has realigned my perception.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Things You Can Do To Up Your Game+Lifestyle Value Right Now | The Badger Hut - April 26, 2012

    […] your dwelling: Hat tip to Haley for this one. Having a clean apartment/house might not get you laid, but having a messy one sure can keep you […]

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