When Cleanliness Levels Collide

When Cleanliness Levels Collide

Laure Joliet
Nov 5, 2008

One of our tips for making a space feel bigger is cleaning it (this also helps it to feel cozy and comfortable) but what do you do when you live with someone who's messier than you, or shall we say, has different standards for cleanliness?

In our post about spending half your time at the boyfriend's (or girlfriend's) a lot of people sited messiness to be a huge drawback to spending time at someone else's place. In our own experience it's been a big drawback in wanting to share a space.

The options I've tried:
• Being a nag (and hating myself for it) plus it didn't work.
• Being the maid and just coming over and cleaning (which made me mad and resentful)
• Working on a balance: I've communicated (in a nice way, not when I'm all in a huff) that his place is too messy/dirty for me and I don't like staying there. He listened and actually does pick up more and hired a cleaning lady a couple times a month to keep things from building up and getting gross. I also notice that if we both pick up and clean at the same time I don't mind doing some cleaning up, it's when I feel like I'm doing it all alone that I get resentful. I've also accepted that being organized really isn't that important to him so if his office and living room are messy, oh well, if the bathroom's gross, it needs to be clean!

But if we were to live together I think I would need to have a cleaning person come more often or we'd need to agree on some sort of 'clean goal' and divvy up the tasks.

How do you and your significant other (or your roommate) deal with different levels of cleanliness? Do you have assigned chores? Crazy resentment? A cleaning person? Do you have a version of House Rules for when your bf/gf stays over?

[Image from pinolb's flickr upload to the ATLA photo pool]

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