Are clean houses becoming rare?

It seems to me that unless the person or family makes a major effort to keep their house/apartment/flat or whatever clean and tidy, or they hire a maid, that most people just dont keep their homes that clean anymore. Or at least not like our parents used to.

I know for us that unless we are expecting company, usually relatives, our house isnt that clean.

Granted “clean” is a relative term. Its rare I see someones home that is unsanitary (ex. filthy bathrooms and kitchens). Its mostly just alot of clutter and dust.

It used to be just bachelors had messy areas but I’m seeing just as many females with messy places also.

What do you all think?

I think it was a hell of a lot easier to keep a clean house when one half of the adult population stayed home to keep it clean.

Now that couples are more commonly both working, they’re both tired when they get home, and have largely realized that the outside world either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about the condition of their carpets and countertops.

I admit my house is a pig sty. I just need to make time to go through things and throw a lot of stuff out. My partner’s house is next door to mine. You could literally eat off the floor, including the bathrooms. This is why we don’t live together.

I can’t speak to the question per se, but I know that many women of my mother’s generation (born in the 30s and 40s) were basically raised as house chattel and brought those expectations/roles into their own marriages. My mother worked full-time as a teacher, raised three boys, my father never lifted a finger (would get up and walk away from his dinner dishes), and you could eat off of every surface in the house. At all times. By contrast, many women of my generation weren’t raised to keep house like that/used as housemaids. Men either. I do know that some were, quite possibly moreso in more conservative parts of the country. (I was raised in New England, my wife in California).

In fact, my wife’s mother deliberately chose to not have my wife do any housework whatsoever when she was growing up as MIL was so damaged by her own upbringing.

I look at my friends’ lives and how hard they are working to raise their kids and my jaw drops in awe at how much more my mother did/felt responsible for. Of course, she routinely kicked us out of the house and told us not to come back unless someone was bleeding, as opposed to driving us all over hell and creation to soccer, guitar lessons, science camp, et al. So there’s that. But still.

I tried very hard to record my memories and impressions and not perpetuate outmoded and unpleasant stereotypes in this post. For the record.

I am actually fine with messy houses as long as they aren’t mine. The people in a lived in looking house tend to be good hosts and nice people. I am single so can afford a housekeeper otherwise I just clean up about once a week. I grew up in a messy house where all my friends and neat and clean houses, we had 7 kids where most of them had one or two. Our house was always the house everyone wanted to hang out at.

Another factor might be that more people are living alone, because young singles particularly tend to be busier, spending a lot more time out of the house generally.

People also have more crap than they used to. Also bigger houses, come to think of it. And it seems that people don’t make their kids pitch in and do chores as much as used to be the norm. Hey, if there are 4 people in a house, it helps to make them all pitch in.

I’m fairly clean, but tidy is another matter altogether. Small apartment, lots of crap. I keep getting rid of crap and what remains seems to multiply in the night!

My wife and I have been professional cleaners for 14 years together. Obviously we get paid to come in and clean “dirty” houses, but over those years we’ve seen it all. From houses that would make us gag at times to houses that appeared so clean (the family was in forensics and they were meticulous people) that we really had to find dirt (though there was obvious cleaning to do in the bathrooms).

Clean has so many meanings depending on the person that it is hard to say. However, I think that people work a lot now, and that both spouses work more. I also think that we just have more stuff. How many cameras and internet devices (laptop, desktop, tablet, phone, etc.) do people have in their homes now? Kids have tons of toys. I would say that there may be more cluttered houses now because there’s just so much stuff and we’re all so distracted and busy.

Just picking up the house can really make a house appear to be clean. The average person isn’t coming in and really checking out your baseboards, or throwing the shower curtain back to see if the soap scum requires a scraper to remove it. Even after all of these years we still get fooled when bidding a house on occasion because we’ll go into one that has been picked up and organized pretty well. When we walk into a house that has stuff all over the place we know we’re going to be in for a battle when cleaning, but the funny thing is that we can be in just as large a battle in houses that are picked up and that look nice. It takes all types, but cleaning is an interesting foray into the lives of others. We make great friends and really get to know families in what we do.

I remember how my grandmother kept her living room couches covered in plastic. We were also directed to walk only on the plastic runner.

The obsessively-clean-house period was an aberration as I understand it, resulting from the culmination of several trends. Two of them being women largely being forced to live at home to keep house while at the same time technology reduced the amount of necessary housework, and therefore many women being so utterly bored that even cleaning everything was worth it just to keep occupied. Also, human beings are status-seeking creatures, and being restricted to housework left women without much more than housework to be competitive about.

Another such trend was the general adoption of electric lighting, which made it much easier to see dirt and clutter.

Beaten to it. In our parents generation you only had 1 working adult and the other adult did things like childcare, homemaking, cooking, etc. Now both parties have to not only work/commute 50-60 hours a week but clean on top of it? Fuck that. Prepackaged food and a maid.

It isn’t just the 40 hours a person works though. Many jobs don’t pay for lunch hours, so you are actually at work 45 hours @ 9hrs/day. Plus commute, so maybe 50-55 hours a week with 5-10 hours a week driving. Plus time before work to prep and get ready, and decompression time when you get back and a 40 hour a week job can easily take up 60-70 hours a week of your life.

I don’t know about the boredom thing–but it is true that obsessively clean houses are a historical aberration. Advances in technology made it unimaginably easier to clean house as well as have nicer materials in the house–it’s easier to use a sponge mop and bucket to clean a linoleum floor than it is to scrub and sand down wooden floors on your hands and knees, along with being much more comfortable. But with all these advances came higher standards in cleanliness. Higher standards of cleanliness demanded advances in consumer products to meet these increasing standards. Higher standards also demanded more time spent cleaning. It’s a vicious cycle.

Additionally it’s worth it to remember that cleanliness really became a major middle-class phenomenon, as the middle classes were the most affected by the advances in technology that made homes increasingly affordable. Upper-class people have always had servants to do the cleaning for them, and lower-class people of all sexes have always worked and usually lived in subpar housing where the fetish for cleanliness and pristine conditions was less of a concern.

My house is cleaner than what I grew up in (which was reasonably clean). Probably because I don’t have dogs and outside cats.

As others have noted, that’s the point. Assuming you were a typical family, your parents didn’t keep your house clean. Your mother did. She didn’t have a paid job outside the home. She stayed home and cleaned instead.

Nowadays both men and women work outside the home. And that means they don’t have the time to devote to cleaning up inside the home that our mothers used to have.

Here’s a tip for you young’uns… if the dishes are done, the beds made, floors swept and laundry is put away… your house is clean enuf. Now go outside and play!

My bachelor apartment was spotless. My family home, not so much.

When I put something away at the apartment it stayed away. At home there are so many things that don’t belong to me for which I don’t know where “away” would be, because I have never seen them anywhere except on the kitchen counter or the floor.

Best post / username combo ever.

As an aberration of the earlier part of the 20th century, there was also a big cleanliness panic.

It was called polio :eek:

More generally, this was an era when it became widely understood among the emerging middle-class hoi polloi about how germs and diseases work, and that cleanliness is next to healthiness. And then there was polio to jack up the paranoia factor!

To be sure, it has been widely argued that the cleanliness fad of the early 20th century actually contributed to the polio epidemic. (My lay impression of that argument: Sounds plausible to me.) But who knew that at the time?

Dont forget that from the 1900’s until maybe the 70’s it was common for many families, even middle class, to actually have domestic help. Call them cooks, maids, nannies (think “Alice” from The Brady Bunch) or whatever but they were these ladies who would cook, clean, and watch the kids while the mother either worked or did other things. They used to be almost all black years ago, then they were Hispanic or Filipino. In places like California with lots of immigrants, many of them illegal, it’s still common.

I know alot of people in our area who have housecleaning services.

Our house stays pretty well kept-up, mostly because my husband is something of a neat freak. We do dishes immediately after dinner, people’s possessions stay in their own rooms not the living room, kids are expected to clean something daily, etc. Then we do regular cleaning on the weekend.

However, as I have always had pets (and hopefully always will), I don’t think I’ve ever lived in a truly clean house.