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Carlene Byron

January 30, 2014  6:16pm

I didn't know I grew up in a dusty house until I'd lived with roommates, then came back home on vacation. Just to say: kids adapt to whatever is around them. Although then kids like me have to buy books about housecleaning! I think the issue that the NYT commentator and others aren't considering is the impact of an orderly environment on people's tendency to choose good behavior. While there are multiple studies on this, what we all know is the "Disneyland effect" -- by cleaning trash and graffiti *immediately,* the Disney parks prevent more litter and graffiti from happening. They create an environment that shows good behavior is assumed and good behavior happens. This is what a clean and orderly home can do. I've learned to appreciate this now that we care for a relative with mental illness. The more orderly the house and our schedule, the less disorderly his mind. On the flip side, studies show that order limits creativity, so an orderly crafts room may be self defeating!

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audrey ruth

January 16, 2014  6:28pm

I can't see what this could have to do with income, period. I've known very poor people who kept their homes as neat as the proverbial pin, and I've known people who had more money and, well, didn't. The original meaning of "bourgeois" (a French word) is "relating to the social class that owns the means of producing wealth and is regarded as exploiting the working class."

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Jamie Calloway-Hanauer

January 16, 2014  3:43pm

You nailed it with this paragraph: "With this in mind, I can't in good conscience say that I should just leave it a mess. I am called to a life of hospitality, and part of that call is to keep it presentable, welcoming, and warm. Not perfect, but not a wreck." Also, I think it sets a good example for our kids to keep a tidy (though not perfect!) home.

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Patrick Hogan

January 15, 2014  10:54am

More thoughts -- Doesn't the rise of the bourg... I mean, the middle class (especially lower) have something to do with there being a large segment of the population having an expectation of a highly presentable home, but neither personal time (given work and other demands -- including children, whom I'm not sure were mentioned -- and interests) nor funds to hire someone else to do it ? Not that lower-income people don't clean (and have time challenges), but somehow a more modest home often seems cleaner with less effort (smaller ?). I do think we help create our own dilemmas of this kind, including wrongly-motivated expectations, as has been mentioned. I see many trying to have their cake and eat it too in regards to personal priorities and expectations. (Including wanting to spend time and money and still have it.) These decisions are hard, and harder in a mini-society (family, workplace, church) where people differ in these things. So it's not just a purely personal issue.

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Patrick Hogan

January 15, 2014  10:44am

Some observations that I'm pondering, with no clear conclusion yet: When do such daily accumulations as dust reach the point at which they are promoting unsanitary conditions ? Immediately, since any airborne pathogens would tend to settle on the newest dust ? If known, this could affect eagerness to dust, or lack thereof. Many attempts at cleaning aren't very time-and-labor effective. Many sources of 'tips' from cooking and nutrition to what chemicals to avoid, etc., being by their nature public forums, mainly promote a proliferation of overlapping information (aggravated by people's tendency to repost what they've just seen, and I suspect, at times barely glanced at themselves) that often just makes it harder to decide how one is going to proceed with a given household task. So either the appearance of expertise, or the presentation of the information, probably affect how much attention is paid to it. A tip from a practical-minded personal friend is much more compelling.

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