Types of Houses: The Hopeless House

“With the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit.” Edgar Allan Poe, “The Fall of the House of Usher”

Houses have energy that you can feel. Some houses feel bright and cheery and some houses feel dark and depressing. Some houses feel calm and serene and other houses feel angry, chaotic, and stressful. I’m going to devote a part of my blog to describe the various vibes houses give off and my experiences in them. This post will talk about the houses I hate to be in the most: The hopeless houses.

I find hopeless houses share some common elements.

  1. Hopeless houses are usually dark inside but not always. There are houses that allow for plenty of natural light but still have a shadow hanging over them that gives a feeling of darkness.
  2. Clutter – Hopeless houses are usually very cluttered with some bordering on hoarding. Things are often out of place. For example, you might find nail polish or outside tools on the kitchen counter and piles of shoes (50 or more) on the hearth of a fireplace. Many things that are empty and should be thrown away just sit in random places. Stacks of papers collect inches of dust in whatever space is available. Miscellaneous items of clothing appear throughout. Nothing has it’s proper place. There is no sense of order
  3. Dirty – Most hopeless homes are dirty. Bathrooms look as though they haven’t been cleaned in years, cobwebs hang off of everything, kitchens are full of dirty pots and pans and piles of dishes. Bags of trash are next to the overflowing trash can. Dust is thicker than you could ever imagine. And this is even after I’ve cleaned on a regular basis.
  4. Falling Apart- Many of the hopeless houses I’ve encountered are in need of major repairs. Carpets are ripped and stained, walls are dirty and in need of repair. Broken blinds hang from windows. A lot of these repairs are not huge projects that take a lot of time or money, but the fact that they aren’t done speaks to the overall sense of despair and hopelessness. The people in the home have given up. The words “WHY BOTHER” come to mind.

Why bother? I often wonder why they bother to call me to clean. What work I can do in my limited capacity and time doesn’t seem to make a difference. I feel so helpless and worthless with no sense of accomplishment. Why not spend the money you pay me to make repairs or hire a professional organizer?

I leave feeling frustrated, depressed, and overall icky. I wonder if the bad energy was there before the people or did it move in with the people. A glance around the neighborhood usually provides the answer and all I want to do is get home as quickly as I can and take a sage bath to remove the lingering negativity.

I hate hopeless houses.


When You’re Having a Bad Day, Scrub it Away!

Cleaning is therapy for me. I’m not ashamed of holding the duster or broom. Amisha Patel

We’ve all had those times when we start the day in a bad mood. Maybe you’ve had a fight with your significant other, or maybe you’re kids were dawdling, you’re stuck in traffic, and now you’re late for work. Maybe it’s just “that” time of the month and you don’t know why you’re feeling cranky.

It happens. We’ve all been told to leave our problems at the door when we get to work, but sometimes you can’t seem to shake that bad mood. You ruminate on the unkind things said, or the jerk that flipped you off and how you wanted to get out and give him a “what for” and it sets the tone for the rest of the day.

I used to have days like that, but not anymore. Why? Because now I scrub it away. Literally, I scrub it away!

I discovered this one day when my husband and I had an argument the night before that spilled into the morning. Things were so bad that I wondered if I would be married by the time I got home. I drove to work with a pit in my stomach and tears in my eyes. I “sucked it up” as best I could before walking into work. Thoughts of the argument filled my head and it was obvious to my coworkers that I was distressed. I briefly vented to them, but I’d have to somehow manage through being in the customer’s home without crying.

At the customer’s home, I put on my stone face and set about cleaning this particularly disgusting bathroom. I scrubbed at mold, I scrubbed at soap scum, I scrubbed at urine and who-knows-what.

How can people live like this? (Scrub, scrub, scrub) How can you get clean in a place this dirty? (Scrub, scrub, scrub?) How many grown-ass adults live here? Is NO ONE capable of wiping off a toilet seat? (Scrub, scrub, scrub) I’m DEFINITELY going to need a shower after this! (Scrub, scrub, scrub)

I scrubbed, I dusted, I picked up and made things presentable, I vacuumed, and I mopped my way through the house. It wasn’t until I was heading back to the office that I realized the entire time I was scrubbing, I had forgotten about the argument. Likewise, although dirtier, I felt calmer and lighter. The pit in my stomach was gone, I didn’t feel like bursting into tears at any minute, and divorce didn’t even seem like a word that existed. Everything was OK and everything was probably going to be OK.

Years earlier, (before I was a house cleaner) a therapist had suggested to me that I clean when I was in a bad mood. She said that the gross motor action would help me to better process things and I’d have a clean home as an added bonus. I took that suggestion and threw it right out of my mind. After all, who wants to clean when they’re in a bad mood? Having to clean, PUTS me in a bad mood! Why would I want to make it worse?!?! But years later,  I have to conceded that she was right and as it turns out, there’s plenty of evidence  to back up her advice.

So, the next time you’re in a bad mood, take it from the Diary of a House Cleaner, when you’re having a bad day, scrub it away!