Filthy or Lived In?

While toting rocks across our property in the bucket of my hubby’s CAT (landscaping project of the moment), I got to thinking more about our housekeeping thread in the comments of my First Impressions post. Several of us were throwing out descriptions of homes, such as “filthy” or “lived-in” and now I’m wondering, just where does the line blur between the two? (Not that it matters, right?)

To me, filthy is stepping on some sticky, dried-on mess and not knowing what it is, only that flies are living off of it and probably have been for a few hours or more. Filthy is not realizing that your kitchen floor tiles were originally white. Filthy could be a moldy-smelling laundry room with no visible floor space under all the mounds of clothing. Or a back porch full of shoes and dirt and dust on everything you touch (raising hand sheepishly on this last one, this has been my back porch on more than one occasion!).

Lived-in, however can include many things. Toys on the floor. Clutter on the end tables. Clean laundry on the couch or bed waiting to be folded. Fuzzy lint on the carpet. A little toothpaste scum in the bathroom sink. All forgiveable, right? (Unless this is your version of filthy. Do tell in comments!)

What are your definitions of “filthy” and “lived-in” as regards housekeeping, just for the fun of it?

After two days of being busy outside, and because of three girls keeping busy inside…my house was a wreck! My oldest has discovered the joys of sewing Barbie clothes…so she’s all set up with my sewing machine on the card table (thread and fabric snippets everywhere) having a BLAST…and her little sisters turned the living room and kitchen into “Barbie resort land”–actually, they had two things going on at once, Barbies b/c of all the new clothes big sister was turning out, and babies b/c that’s their ultimate when it comes to playing together…so anyway, can you imagine? The funny deal is, we usually have them pick it all up before supper, but last night with a storm rolling in, I was up to my elbows in garden dirt with my rock project, hoping to get done before the dark skies and lightening unleashed their fury overhead. Dh, similarly, was working with our oldest on getting our big inflatable pool set up. (We had no idea it was going to storm, it really caught us off guard, going from ninety-some degrees to 67*F in less than an hour!) So by the time we got our respective projects wrapped up, and ran for the house…the electricity was flickering and then poof, lights out. So tripping over baby dolls and chair forts, we made our way to the matches and candles.

Fast forward to today. Too muddy and humid outside to want to paint, etc, besides, my poor house! If any of you had dropped by I would have been mortified. Eek! The real problem was the toy mess, which somehow morphed into a disaster that took us ALL day to clean. My oldest was only concerned that it meant putting away the sewing machine (grin, she’s my #1 helper when it comes to clean-up time) but my younger two were so sad to have their glorious play-area eliminated. 3 yo was in tears. So what does a mommy do?

She throws a tea party. (Hands up in the air) We had an early lunch, called it a brunch and served it with English Breakfast tea in the teapot and mommy’s fancy teacups and real silver. What a mood booster. Then the younger two had a half hour to play one last time in their chaos of make-believe, while oldest and I split up the kitchen, bathroom, and chicken duties. Then it was *get serious* time on the girls’ bedroom. Everyone pitched in, we unloaded bookshelves, rearranged beds and dressers and gasp(!) I even condensed the overflow bulge of drawers full of clothing to the point that now my middle and youngest can share a five-drawer dresser! We even turned up a missing ice pack and youngest’s favorite mini-dog (stuffed, I assure you).

This was a room definitely past the blur of lived-in to filthy, and we try to clean it every Friday…but yeah, we’ve been busy, what can I say?

So, it’s time to share your thoughts. What is “filthy” to you? What is “lived in”? Are you harder on yourselves in this area than you are on other people? I sure am!

Looking forward to your thoughts on this!

13 thoughts on “Filthy or Lived In?”

  1. Filthy is when I can’t find stuff.

    Re the cork board in our kitchen–idea from family fun! Long strips of wood to which I glued corks from wine bottles. (brother manages a restaurant & saved them for me) I used hot glue originally, but so many of them fell off that I fixed w/ Gorilla glue, I’d just recommend that to begin with.

    Jessica’s last blog post..Pretzels and Learning

  2. In my house unfortunately. It crosses over to filthy more then I care to admit. For me I start to feel filthy when two things happen. When Junk mail has piled so high on the hutch I can’t see the bottom of my wedding pic and there is more then two days worth of dishes in the kitchen. One thing I have noticed if I have things clean DH tries to keep his things picked up as well. If things are messy he will start to leave his things lying around also.

    Andrea’s last blog post..Restoritive Power of Spanking

  3. Ooh, thanks, Jessica, for the tip…I wonder if corks like that are available at places like Hobby Lobby? What a neat idea. I want something like that in my hallway.

    Andrea, we have the mail problem as well, not so much junk mail since I derive great satisfaction dumping it unread into the trash!!! But free magazines, paperwork that needs done, etc etc etc etc the piles drive me crazy. That’s interesting that your dh goes off of you. Kind of considerate! It’s nice to have husbands that are low-key about housekeeping. Mine is very laid back, yet he just spent some time this morning cleaning out his “junk drawer”. He’s really good about it. Don’t be so hard on yourself, Andrea, you have two very young children. These are the really hands-on years (they all are, but in different ways). When they are so young, you spend a lot of time training and keeping them from hurting themselves! And messes happen more frequently so it’s really hard to keep on top of the other things. As the girls get older, they’ll be such great helpers because you are patient enough to take the time to have them help you do so much. Your hubby is so supportive of you too, I think a pile of dirty dishes is minor compared to the relationships you are prioritizing!

  4. Filthy to me is when there’s rubbish strewn all around, flies congregating on unwashed dishes etc, mould and dirt on the windows, sticky messes and unwashed stains on the flooring – those things would drive me nuts. I think there’s got to be a distinction between filthy and spotless and for us busy mums it’s more realistic to have that tidy and clean look – you know where you can tell people live there but it’s organised and clutter free.

    Amy’s last blog post..Worth more than a penny

  5. I agree with your assessment of filthy, Amy! I especially get frustrated with dirty floors…they drive me crazy, to say the least–my own floors, that is! I’m striving toward getting more organized and clutter-free, what’s that? πŸ˜‰

    Mary’s last blog post..Filthy or Lived In?

  6. hmmmmm…I am a lot harder on my own home than on other peoples. When there are toys on the floor and clutter, I call my home filthy…but would not refer to my friends homes in that way. I have seen some of my husbands relatives homes, and with moldy dishes, that is what I would call filthy. I like my house in order. I don’t mind if the house gets messy for a little while, but I like one mess cleaned up before another is made.

  7. YES, me too! I’m always after the girls to put away one project before starting another…I guess you could call that one of my biggest pet peeves.

    Moldy dishes would be so depressing! I’m so glad that keeping up with dishes seems to be inbred in me, though it sometimes feels like an ongoing activity at my house, I’d rather keep up with them than have to face a counter full all at once! (But I’m so blessed to have three girls who all know how to wash!)

    Mary’s last blog post..Filthy or Lived In?

  8. Life has been busy
    popping in to say HI

    as to your question I think there is a fine line
    to me sometimes the lived in look gets all too much and I throw up my hands and decide to clean up the filth :)

    jen’s last blog post..Photos Of Mine

  9. Hi to you too, Jen! Been busy here too, so I understand completely! Thank you for popping in! πŸ˜‰

    Yep, lived-in blurs into filthy pretty quickly. It *seems* as if it would be easier to keep it clean, but only if one has 24/7 to housekeep. Real life gets in the way more often than not. I guess my point is that most of us are capable of keeping up with our homes, etc, but the need for grace is still huge…both for ourselves during the messies, and for others that we happen to drop in on. Everyone has bad days. I used to have a sign up in my kitchen that said, “My house was clean yesterday, sorry you missed it!” Clean floors only last so long…unless you have time to mop every day! (I mop every 2 weeks…)

    Mary’s last blog post..Filthy or Lived In?

  10. It is a fine line, isn’t it Mary? :) I tend to think it is worse than it really is. I get overwhelmed easily.

    You know how some people can’t stand clutter, so they don’t clean but will declutter?

    Then, there are others who tolerate clutter, but can’t stand things dirty…so the house is cluttered but shiny?

    Well, I guess that all too often mine is cluttered and dirty (not filthy) but I can’t stand either one! So, I freak out and fly around and try to get everyone else to sense my urgency in the cleaning and decluttering department. :) (I’m so silly!)

    Just this a.m. I’m working on some semblance of a summer chore sched. to alleviate some of the problems. Ha Ha.

    There’s just so much randomness to summer and even on in to fall. There is the garden. There are summer activities. It’s hard to balance it all!

    p.s. Your chest of drawers looks GREAT! Good job!

  11. I’m silly too, HOlly, I so identify with your middle paragraph, about getting insane with things being “dirty” and out of order, I sometimes am a hen with ruffled feathers, watch out! The randomness to summer is a key, but I just love all those extra activities taking the place of school that it’s easier for me to keep house/yard nice.

    Thanks!!

  12. You and my dh! He is SO easy to live with, as long as I can relax about his messes. I just remind myself I’m blessed that he’s not white-glove testing the top of the fridge on a weekly basis! πŸ˜‰

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