Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Does blogging about housekeeping count as housekeeping?

Elizabeth over at Half Changed World has a neat idea. She and her husband, who seem to share a similar domestic arrangment to Beloved and I as far as working / staying home with the kids, are keeping track of how many hours they spend on housework in a week.

I think this is an interesting experiment for a couple of reasons. First, she raises the point that it's useful to have an idea of the cost (in time) to get the place 'company clean' versus just 'random weekday clean'. And my standards on both of those have been slipping recently!

Second, I am cautiously curious about the division of labour around our place. I have to admit, since Beloved picked up an extra couple of hours of teaching this semester, the house has been a lot more untidy during the week. Could there be a correlation?

Third, I have been toying with the idea of hiring a cleaning service again. We let ours lapse last year when Beloved was home for the summer, and never got rolling with her again once he was back at work. We now spend so much time dealing with clutter that we're having a hard time getting around to actual cleaning. The kitchen is usually pretty good, but the bathrooms - well, let's just say they're rarely next to godliness.

Finally, the latent geek in me loves to quantify things. I loved Weight Watchers points. I like to count things. I often find myself counting my steps, particuarly when I'm stressed. It's soothing, in a way you are probably mocking right about now.

So I decided to take up Elizabeth's offer to play along. When I proposed it to Beloved last night, he looked at me with the same patient look he gives to most of my schemes - somewhere between perplexed and indulgent. And while he doesn't quite get the 'why', he's willing to go along - just like, as a matter of fact, the way he does with most of my schemes.

So here's what we did on Monday. Beloved did 15 minutes of meal prep and cleanup for breakfast, and the boys spent the day at daycare. He then spent another 30 minutes on toy clutter-busting and early meal prep because I was late getting home from work (dinner is usually my task) and I spent another 20 minutes on meal-prep when I got home. We shared the 15 minute clean-up of the kitchen, and he spent 30 minutes vacuuming and tidying while I took the kids to the pet store to get dog food. (What has my life become that I envy my husband 30 minutes of peaceful, uninterrupted housecleaning?)

Monday tally:
Beloved - 1h 10 mins;
Me - 25 mins;
Total - 1 h 35 mins

Want to play along?