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Self sufficiency in suburbia == dirt, despair and cleaning?

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    Ok, perhaps not despair.

    I am finding the more things I do at home, the more messy my home becomes.

    Eg. My recyclables that I plan to use for raising seeds are forming a tower on the porch (alongside the tower of stinky bags from my friend who regularly gives me bags of guinea pig manure). My paths are full of mud from my tramping through the ‘farm’ in the rain. I spilled some lye when soap making and now have a lovely big splash mark on the porch. I have dirty buckets lying around because they’re constantly in use, muddy tools and piles of leaves. The interior has largely remained in acceptable condition, although I have bought enjo cloths to do my bit with washing the cloths instead of throwing them out and they are starting to smell despite frequently washing. I am constantly getting dirty and lately I’ve noticed my clothes and hand towels getting muddy. Like who can clean out a chicken coop and look pristine?

    So, I can accept that this may be my lot, to have the mess that comes with doing a lot of ‘dirty’ work, but does any other ALSers have tidy houses and tidy yards despite doing a lot of stuff and have strategies for keeping them that way???

    I wish I had a robot maid… :shrug: πŸ˜†


    Hi MIaowezn,I did give a long reply before and the site didnt want to pass it on.So here I go again.

    Have you washed out the poo bags and left them to dry,then give them back to your friend.

    Same with the buckets at the end of the days use.

    Getting pretty dirty while outside is a given especially in winter when things are wetter.

    I wear one set of clothes outside then change when I come in,then rechange when I go back out,I dont need to be dropping lumps of poop or mud inside.I wear the same clothes for a few days depending on how dirty they get then they go in the wash.

    Inside is tidy only due to having 2 people here helps,when I vacuum I dust at the same time,I put the brush attachment on and even do mirrrors with it.

    Otherwise I have microfibre cloths for dusting and glass.My house got a clean yesterday so it’s right for a little while now.Cleaning up spills when they happen helps also.

    Do you have a place you can put your pots till needed.

    As for muddy paths in winter it’s a given things will be trampled with mud,our back verandah gets messy and it gets the karcher put over it in summer once a year,otherwise the blower vac gets used for a quick dusting off.

    Dont worry about things getting piled up,just do a little bit at a time or it will be too overwhelming.


    I know how you feel Miaowzen. We have a gravel/dirt driveway and are always tramping mud inside, it frustrates me because we can’t really do much about it. We also don’t have enough space for our stuff because we live in two rooms [a bedroom and loungeroom]. I’m constantly decluttering, cleaning, putting away clothes, toys, etc etc but it never seems to make much of a difference. Doesn’t help that my partner is still as messy as a teenage boy, sometimes I wonder if I actually have two children not one! :dry:

    I’m currently packing the majority of my books up into boxes and storing them under the bed so we can get rid of the big bookcase for more room. πŸ™ I love having my books out. Although I now need to go for a hunt for another box…run out of boxes to store them in. :S

    The stinky enjo cloths sound like they need a good soak in white vinegar and then wash. That should get the stinkiness out.

    I definitely agree with doing things a little at a time. If I attempt too much [or start thinking about how much I need to get done!] I get overwhelmed and often end up rocking back and forth in a corner! :blink:

    And at the end of the day, it’s not a major crime to occasionally throw away/put in the recycling bin things when you have no room/too many of that thing already.


    :laugh: I have a gravel driveway too Ravyk. My car is forever muddy and dusty. I have given up on reguarly washing and vacuuming it.

    The front deck got a cleaning from DH on the weekend with the gurney but that was only because we had a crowd here for dinner :whistle: . With 2 younger males and a hubby that tramps around as much mud as the 2 younger ones I have come to the conclusion that until paths are paved I cannot limit the dirt that gets traipsed around. They are banned from coming into the house with shoes on though. Now if only I can get the dog to clean his feet before coming inside πŸ˜› :laugh: .

    The idea of cleaning out the bags of guinea pig poo and sending them back where they came from is a good idea. Clean and stack the buckets up in the shed or at the back door. Have one place where the tools live and put them back when you’re finished with them. I used our old timber change table to store my outdoor bits and pieces on and it keeps them in the one place (most of the time :S ). Tools go back in the shed at the end of each day.

    Cleaning inside the house gets a once over mostly weekly. Needs more in school hols though with kids home. It can be done a bit a time but I’ve found unless you do a bit at a time it builds up and then like Ravyk said you end up rocking back and forth in a corner :ohmy: .


    Compost the piggy poo straight away to avoid mould and get it off your porch. Get a cupboard on your porch or close by to put stuff in and enjoy your endeavours. Don’t stress about a little mess. πŸ™‚


    lots of great advice here already for you miaowzen, I find that I can keep on top of things by doing one little thing inside BEFORE I got outside to work, it may be to wash a load of dishes and leave them to drip dry, or to sweep a floor or maybe just to tidy the island in the kitchen and take out the recycling on my way outside. I’ve worked on making the last thing I do before I come inside is to put things away and give a little tidy up of the back verandah BEFORE I come inside, it may be just to straighten the outdoor setting or sweep the back step but it really makes a difference if you can get into the habit of doing it everytime you come in or go out.

    :hug: I’m sure everyone has felt this way before and no doubt will feel this way again so I hope that you manage to find a solution soon. :hug:


    It doesn’t sound like you are having a lot of fun. Life should always be fun. Life is also messy.

    As others have said, stay on top of things that need dealing with, don’t let them build up. Curious, were you making soap on your porch or were you carrying lye around? I’m sure the splash mark will sand out, no biggy. You could try boiling your cloths on the stove to remove the smell if the vinegar doesn’t work.

    I have dicky wrists and dropped about 6 litres of soup on the floor the other night, from a height of a metre, it splashed around 5 metres in every direction. I am still finding bits of it glued to things. No one has a pristine home, they are for magazines.

    I have a saying, Hubby hates it, but he is starting to understand it. “Do it and it’s done.”

    Hope some of this makes sense, I had to get up to children in the middle and lost my thoughts.

    Last thing, you don’t have to do it all, you can start small.


    Oh don’t get me wrong I have plenty fun!! But then I have to clean up afterwards :laugh: More doing, less cleaning I say.

    I really disliked going to the office and doing the same repetitive things, but the house and yard never really got so dirty with me at work. Now that I have the opportunity to play-work at home, I notice all the dirt building up. I wasn’t sure if people really live like that in RL or whether I was just grubby!

    My parents and godparents always have an immaculate house :ohmy: but then they don’t find it fun to cart buckets of dirt, sloppy blended food for worms, and large bags of manure around the place πŸ˜›

    Luckily so far I’ve been able to keep most of the mess outside. I think if it all builds up I am that overwhelmed person in the corner too.


    Oh, there was that time I tried powdering wild yam in my vitamix and it blew a hole in the jug and like Mt Vesuvius I ended up spraying the whole kitchen with bits of wild yam shooting out at 1200rpm or whatever it is. :laugh: Turns out that wild yam and saw palmetto are two of the hardest herbs you can find. Don’t try powdering them at home!!


    There are two sorts of people – putters and leavers.The more you can be a putter when you have finished with something the more in control you will feel. Also , if you can be a putter you have the stamina to live harmoniously with a leaver or leavers if necessary !! Except for your own sanity you have to then become a proxy putter and do it quietly without becoming a nag! :laugh: The advantage of being a proxy putter is that you always know the answer to “Where is…?” or “Have you seen …..?” If you are feeling loving you can quietly respond with the missing object straightaway , or you can let leavers look until they have suffered enough, or you can’t stand the banging and crashing any longer, and then produce whatever with a smile!”Oh , here it is!”

    No mess = boredom perhaps? I think you are doing just fine.No harm in having the odd bucket lying around in case you need to kick something every now and then, just make sure it’s a plastic one.And always take a cat to cuddle in the corner with you ……… :tup:


    I think you’re completely right BlueWren! I am the proxy household putter, but it doesn’t come naturally at all, it feels like a chore and so I often leave putting to be done as a batch. On the other hand, DH just leaves stuff wherever and then gives me the responsibility of putting and knowing where it is!

    Really, when I think about it there are only two aspects to cleaning – putting things away and removing dirt/splashes/mud/hair/leaves etc from surfaces. So if I put my attention into being a good putter then that’s a significant portion done, and it may be that some surfaces can stay dirty for a while to protect my sanity! Or that’s where that robot maid could come in, lol :laugh:


    BlueWren post=345521 wrote: No harm in having the odd bucket lying around in case you need to kick something every now and then, just make sure it’s a plastic one.And always take a cat to cuddle in the corner with you ……… :tup:

    No BW, we don’t want you kicking the bucket! :ohmy:

    (isn’t that what the cat’s for?) πŸ‘Ώ

    I’m definitely a leaver – why do something today when you can do it next year. Miaowzen, I like to think of my garden mess having a natural beauty all of its own… πŸ™‚


    I have often felt how you explained in the first post.

    I find with kids it’s even worse. You soon learn that the reason parents buy play dough in tubs, and plastic nappies is because it creates less mess. Making our own bread, having chooks, sheep etc etc always means we have feed buckets laying around, sh.. poo on our boots and pants.

    I always felt ripped off when my girls were babies, that while i made all their food, did their cloth nappies etc etc it left me with envy of the spare time and clean houses of the other parents i knew. The ones that opened a jar to feed, and opened a packet to change a nappy.

    I dont think there is any magic solution.. i wish there was. But I find the mess is just part of ‘doing the right thing’ and sometimes i wish i didn;t know better! :laugh: . The appeal of a lot of products is that they come without mess, you can just chuck it our, and not have to wash it up.


    At least there are only so many things that a person can do in a day. Some days I feel better when I don’t do anything and the house stays tidy for a day, but most of the time I’m doing so many different things and that makes me happy. Today I’m making herbal products and its making a terrible mess! Once I’m finished for the day I’ll have to clean up in time to cook dinner. It makes me appreciate specialisation – if you set up a business that does one thing only and does that one thing efficiently then there is either product or waste and as the same wastes are being produced each time the business just finds a way of efficiently processing them. When you’re trying to do 100 different things you’re constantly getting things out and then putting them away, cleaning up and trying to multi-task and as a result you need to do even more because all the cleaning is time when you’re being unproductive. Its certainly a juggle that’s for sure. I do love it, the ability to do so many things, but I think when it comes to tidyness we need a certain amount of self-forgiveness.


    Yes, but there’s something honest to goodness about dirt! πŸ˜‰

    Think of it like a Jamie Durie landscape design, where you bring some of the outdoors inside.

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