I have always considered my children and grandchildren to be smart, capable and intelligent, so it is no surprise that they have come up with some ingenious methods of housekeeping, as follows:
- Tyler, in his younger years, not sure now, simply sprayed necessary items of clothing with Febreze and stuck them in the dryer when in need. When we visited his home a few years ago, my granddaughter warned us "Do NOT go in Tyler's room." An enormous supply of old tennis shoes and miscellaneous athletic paraphernalia reposed there.
- Recently, my daughter (Tyler's mom) visited and ironed a shirt for him. To be efficient, Tyler simply unbuttons the top two buttons, loosens the tie but leaves it on the shirt, takes the shirt off, and then, presto, he is ready to put the whole thing back on again.
- Courtney explained why she left the vacuum cleaner at the foot of the stairs for a week instead of taking it upstairs to use. She said it wasn't because she was asked to vacuum, "it was the way she was asked." Actually Courtney is a college grad and a professional wedding planner so you can see she is smart.
- Caleb invented the no-dishwashing method of kitchen management. Simply use all paper dishes and plastic utensils. He claims he is now washing dishes.
- The likelihood of getting teenagers (or older) to clean up their rooms is inversely proportionate to the number of times they are asked to do it.
- Memo to my unmarried grandsons: Girls (young women) have likely kept their rooms in a mess through their teen and college years. However, when they marry, they become neatness freaks and will follow you around and criticize every article of clothing, every book or newspaper, power tool, pizza crust, empty pop can, popcorn kernel, that you strew around the house just as if they had been neat freaks all their whole beautiful entire lives thus far themselves. This is a control technique, men, but trust me, you will lose so don't try to fight it. Just pick up your junk and have a happy marriage.
- I went to Lori's college apartment when she was getting ready to move but discovered I couldn't walk across the floor to get her stuff. To reward her, she now has two little girls and twin boys. What goes around comes around, so to speak.
- Yelling, threatening, grounding, fining, imprisoning, starving, taking away TV and cell phones and any and all other punishment techniques will fail if you use them to get your brilliant, handsome, lovely child to clean up the toxic waste dump that his his or her room.
- Isn't it interesting that people build megamansions for zillions of dollars and then their kids turn half of it into a challenge in junk and waste management. Might as well live in a dump in the first place.
- My daughters, Carolyn and Kim, showed an interesting contrast in their approach to room cleaning when young. Carolyn would fuss and procrastinate all day Saturday until late in the day whereupon she would ultimately do a fine job and then leave with only a short time to be with her friends. Kim, however, did a quick and questionable job on her room, was done almost immediately, and took off with the whole day to play.
Of course I love all of my children and grandchildren and I have many more tales to tell. However, the Curmudeonly Professor is not a paragon of neatness and orderliness. No, his desk, den, and surroundings have always been littered with books, newspapers, unanswered subscription reminders, book club mailers, to-do lists from years ago, computer software, unread computer and photography manuals, and such. I am always impressed with creative slovenliness and messiness, some worked to an art form. I just know, however, that if I clean stuff up, other more important activities will take up my time and the piles of junk will soon materialize once again. So why bother in the first place?