Did you grow up in a messy house? How did it affect you? — The Bump

Did you grow up in a messy house? How did it affect you?

This was kind of touched on the other day with the cleaning lady thing but really I'm thinking to a thread on MDC a while back.  The "moms with clean houses neglect their kids!"/"Dirty houses are stressful for children" point/counterpoint.

My own house atm is 'eh'.  I'd say it's not messy enough to affect anyone's psyche :)  But I'm not winning any awards either.  

Anyway do you think messy houses are bad for children? 


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Re: Did you grow up in a messy house? How did it affect you?

  • As a social worker, there is a wide range of dirty and I have seen them all.   I considered it a hazzard if it affects the health of the occupants: mold, thick dust/cob webs, bugs, too many pets, fire hazards, no running water, no hot water, no electricity, standing water, etc.  Generally, I ask myself is the space/home functionable?  Sometimes I give a warning and a referral to assistance, 2+ warning and/or some infractions = immediate phone calls.

    I did not grow up in a messy house (my dad was military and we will lived in housing--inspected housing...).  My house is cluttered but it does get cleaned with cleaning products regularly.   Clothes are always washed.  Dishes can hang out for 1-2 days in the sink but not much more (unless I had a NB)

    cluttered does not necessarily = unclean. 


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  • i have a very cluttered house, but the toilet is always clean, sinks are (usually) clean, there's not dirt everywhere, etc.  i think any health hazards are bad for kids.  clutter, eh.  i don't like it and i'm trying to get a handle on it, and i think that will be good for dd too. my mom always kept a spotless house until she went back to work when i was 11.  after that, things got cluttered and occasionally dirty, and i do think it affected me in terms of thinking things like, "i'll just leave it till later," "it's not a big deal if there's a mess," and stuff like that.

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  • I would say that our house was more cluttered growing up.  I don't think that I noticed it when I was younger, but definitely in high school and college when I would come back to visit. 

    I don't know if my upbringing is the reason why, but as an adult, I cannot handle clutter.  It doesn't bother me as much at other people's homes, but I cannot stand it for mine.  While there are toys and things strewn about during the day, at the end of the day, we have a place for everything to go.  I think that there is difference between messy (as in you can tell people live there) vs. things that are dangerous or unsanitary.  I think that either extreme can absolutely affect someone,  whether it be dirty or hyper-clean.

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  • Growing up we had chores we had to do every sat. morning before we could go do fun stuff, and the dishes got washed every night.  Later in my childhood my parents got a cleaning lady every other week when my mom started working full time.  I wouldn't say I have a clean, neat freak house, if you anyone walked in right now I would be embarrassed.

    If I had 10 minutes notice, everything could be put away, an hours notice and I could surface clean the important stuff, have a clean bathroom for guests to use.  Dishes get done every night, laundry gets done, we have one big hamper and when it is full it gets washed, sheets get changed at least everyother week, preferably once a week, and bathroom sinks and toilets cleaned regularly, tubs and showers not as often.

    I rarely pull furniture away from the walls, and dust mop the floors because of the dog hair pretty frequently, don't have carpet so don't vaccuum all that much.  Windows/sliders get windexed when the finger prints start driving me crazy.

    I didn't vote because I don't keep an immaculate house, there is zero health hazard in my home as described by PP, so I don't think anything in my house is effecting my kids psyche.

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  • I think it depends on the kind and amount of messy.  I had a friend growing up whose house was very cluttered.  Stacks of newspapers everywhere, kitchen table and counters always covered with papers ... it wasn't dirty per se, but chaotic and my friend hated it.  To me, that is probably too messy and affected him. 

    General house getting messy between cleanings to me is no big deal

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  • Now that my kids all understand better, I think it is more about parenting in terms of growing them into good people.  They are all expected to take care of their space and keep it picked up.  We pick up the toy and shared spaces daily (if not more- like on weekends when we're all around more), and all toys/books/shoes in bedrooms get put away at bedtime.  It is much easier to keep on top of it daily (which takes less than 5 min/room) than get that attitude of 'do it later.'  Our house is in 'lived in' condition. We vacuum/mop regularly, but I'm not hand scrubbing the floors or taking a rag to the baseboards daily.  

    Our biggest fight is the master BR.  It is the dumping ground for laundry.  I don't think I folded at all last week, So there is about 5 baskets full of clothes in there, and random other things that the kids drag in (books, slippers, loveys, extra blankets).  It is on my list this week to get under control.  :)

    My house growing up was cluttered, and my mom had a lot of 'stuff' sitting around (knick-knack type stuff).  I wouldn't necessarily say it had much affect on me growing up....but seeing her house now  (it looks like a crafty-antique store!) keeps my want for figurines and collectibles to a minimum.

  • I grew up in a "all the time clean house" and now I am ALWAYS stressed about my house and that I can't keep in picked up and clean.  To this day, my sister is 25 and still lives at home and a couple times a year my mom will clean my sisters room thoroughly because my mom hates it even being cluttered (doesnt matter if the door is shut and she cant see it).  I HATE people showing up unannounced because my house will be cluttered and I'm very embarrassed.  
  • I generally straighten everything at night (the girls help a bit, I do the rest after they're in bed) and it takes maybe 15 minutes. If I let it slide it gets bad, so I try to keep up with it because my stress level definitely rises when we're in a really cluttered house. Their room is often cluttered with toys and such, which doesn't really bother me. We're in a small apartment, so a little mess quickly overwhelms the place. 

    That said, occasionally the dishes get left undone. Frequently it's because after dinner there's no hot water and by the time we have hot water again I'm too drained to do them. The joy of living in an apartment is that I can not touch the hot water for hours and we're still out of it because our neighbors used it all instead.

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  • I grew up in a *busy* house.  It was never DIRTY but it was only shiny-clean when company was coming over.  That's kinda where we are too.  I like a shiny-clean bathroom but that's it. 
  • My parents' house was always very cluttered. Since my mom has had more trouble getting around, it has progressively more messy. Because of this, I can't stand having clutter. I would never claim that my house is spotless, but it I definitely not cluttered.
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  • My house is always straightened up and could be company ready in less than 1 hour easy. I never leave dishes in the sink overnight unless something needs to soak. My counters and tables are always clear. Rugs vacuumed several times a week and floors swept weekly. The bathroom doesn't get scrubbed as often as I would like, but it never gets dirty to the point of embarrassing. If someone were to stop over now I would feel okay about them seeing my house in its present condition, because really the biggest mess now is my tax papers sitting next to me. I do a little bit of cleaning every single night and a big clean on the weekends. I'm a single Mom and if I don't keep on top of it it can get overwhelming and out of control very quickly. Can you eat off of my floors? Probably not, but my house is far from a sty.

    All that said, I do this because I think that my kids deserve to grow up in a clean and clutter free home. 

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  • My house is cluttered. It stresses me out, but I have a hard time getting organized. I just have so much stuff.

    My house growing up was clean and fairly organized. However, my step-dad was ANAL and it affected us greatly. He would tell us to clean, and then right in front of us go back over everything while telling us what a shitty job we did. We literally had to vacuum our whole house 2x a day. It was ridiculous. 

    I don't ever remember my parents playing with us as kids or even paying much attention to us at all, unless it was to point out a flaw. I would rather spend time with my kids than vacuum my house 2x a day or constantly be picking things up. I am sure there is a happy medium, but I have yet to find it. I just don't ever want my kids to feel like my house came before them, kwim?

    ETA: I think some people might have different definitions of cluttered. My clutter is pretty much in two spost. My desk and my dresser. The desk is pretty much the catch all for everything. Random toys, bills, stuff to shred, etc. It is the first thing you see when you walk in my house. :( Otherwise, it isn't like I have stuff stacked up every where. It is just "cluttered" compared to what I grew up with.

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  • My house was pretty cluttered as a kid and my mom has only gotten worse over the years - her house is downright messy now. I think it affected me in that I didn't really know how to be keep things neat for a long time. I only knew how to do the "OMG people are coming over scramble." I didn't know how to live clutter-free. I still struggle with it.

    I keep a fairly neat house now but sometimes it's a struggle. It is so much easier to keep it clean than it is to let it get out of hand and then try to catch up, and I try to remind myself of that often. I am so much happier to wake up to a clean house, though I don't think it matters much to DD since it never really gets bad enough to affect her.

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  • imageSuperCuteBenz:

    My house is cluttered. It stresses me out, but I have a hard time getting organized. I just have so much stuff.

    ETA: I think some people might have different definitions of cluttered. My clutter is pretty much in two spost. My desk and my dresser. 

    I'm glad you see the disconnect yourself.  That you don't have a cluttered house. That is sad you had to deal with that growing up.

    The responses have been v. interesting.  Thank you! 

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  • I'm somewhere between 1 and 2.  Affect them?  Not so much in a psychological manner (unless it's extreme) but more in a "It's important to value my home and my possessions and I should take care of them" manner.

    So I DO think it affects them.  Just not in the way you are indicating (or at least not in the way I'm reading this to mean).

    I did grow up in a well organized clean home.  But for as long as I can remember, it was that way because WE (the kids) were made to make it that way.  My mother left us a list of chores every morning.  And ultimately, I was the one that ended up doing them.  My older sister was quite absent (in my memory anyway) and always seemed so much older than us.  She was off working or doing extra curriculars.  My younger sister has been a rebel since birth and would pull the whole "She can't make me do anything!" kind of role.  And my parents never went against that because, well, she was miserable and it was easier.  So I would dust at least weekly.  I was also responsible for loading/emptying the dishwasher.  My mom would vaccuum on the weekends (or my older sister would).  And bathrooms?  I'm not sure when those got cleaned.  We also did all of our own laundry (as well as my parents laundry).  My best friend (growing up) her mom used to call me the wicked stepchild (as a joke) because I always had my chores to do!  :)


  • I voted "I keep a clean house as part of my parenting"... but that one doesn't fit 100%. I also do it for my own sanity.

    I keep a clean-ish house. I have a 19-month old and I'm 38 weeks pregnant.  Nuff said.

    I do believe that kids should grow up in a clean-ish house, but I also don't think that a house with kids who are growing, playing, learning is going to be picture perfect all the time.  If it is, it kind of creeps me out, to be honest.  I would picture a mom who is constantly nagging her kids, or, never sitting down to enjoy her kids because she's so worried about her house being OCD perfect. 

    Toys on the floor, clean laundry not put away, dishes not washed but they've only been there since lunch? Cool.

    Nasty food on dishes in the sink from 3 weeks ago, toilet that hasn't been cleaned in a long time, no clothes to wear because they're all dirty,  kids sleeping on dirty sheets or no sheets at all? NOT cool.

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  • Oh, to answer the question about how I grew up:

    I grew up in a very clean house, and I actually think it affected me negatively.

    It's only been since I've matured in the last 5 years or so that I have gotten over my "I hate cleaning because my mom made us slave over the house as a kid" mentality.

    My mom was kind of mean about it.   We weren't allowed to do anything-- I mean anything at all-- until the house was done. And by done, I mean toilets cleaned, bathtubs scrubbed, cleaned under beds, everything.

    Our house was remarkably clean, especially for having 5 kids. But I really resented cleaning for a very long time. I still do sometimes. 

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  • My house is cluttered but clean-ish. I could have it friend ready in an hour but not MIL ready! :)

    I grew up in a house that was always cluttered/messy and we always had to clean before having friends over. Not the standard 'pick up your toys' but laundry, dishes, clean bathroom and clutter. My parents are borderline hoarders and while we (my sisters and I) lived there it was contained but now is not. I remember doing a lot of cleaning before my sister's graduation open houses and a ton before mine. I will not do that to my kids.

    DH and I are not neatnicks but we do go on purging streaks and joke that we need to entertain monthly to keep our house as we'd like it!


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