House of Squalor or Student Flat ?

How clean is your house ? People who know me know that I’m not the most fastidious housekeeper, but my place is many orders of magnitude above the standard of a “student flat”. (Figure of speech, No offence is intended to those students that keep a tidy house).

Late last year year a friend from Australia stayed for awhile while he was visiting NZ. My previous flatmate had moved out some weeks prior and I had already done some considerable extra cleaning (as he often left food in his room and for the first time ever in this flat, we got mice). When my friend arrived he instituted even stricter cleaning measures, and I didn’t mind. He was prepared to put in the effort himself and do at least 50% of the extra effort, and with his encouragement, I lifted my housekeeping game a little higher than it normally is.

Yesterday I had cause to visit a friends house. Well what an absolute disgrace. I cannot understand how teenage and twenty-something-year-old students live in squalor and mess.. perhaps because their brains are so addled by alcohol and other drugs… and I cannot even fathom how a mature age woman could live like this.

I noticed half a loaf of bread sitting out on the bench as flies buzzed around. The top of the bag hadn’t even been folded over. Certainly the bread could have been put away in the fridge. I checked, the fridge was almost empty, just a few yoghurt pottles. However opening the fridge door, it was clear from the smell that it needed cleaning. Golly even just a decent wipe out with a warm soapy dish-cloth and wiping the interior, and removing some scraps of detritus, would have taken less than 5 minutes and the job would be done.

On the kitchen floor, amongst all the other mess that’s permanently there, is the tangled mess of a long electrical extension cord that has sat there since last week. There was a bottle of cool drink. Still new and sealed, some kind of sugary half-poison, or perhaps artificially sweetened even more poison kind of lolly-water. Well for fruck sake alive why not just put the frucking thing away in the big empty fridge !

To be fair, the cool drink bottle may have originally been left amongst all the other clutter of the bench-top, but been knocked down by the cats. Yes the place has enough cats to open your own branch of the RSPCA and they’re breeding like rabbits. The cats seem to be fed mostly on tinned soft meats and the smell of that goes right through the place. There was possibly some cat’s whoopsies on the carpet too, I dunno, I never saw or stepped in any. But the place certainly had plenty of L’Odour de Pussy.

Look it’s not rocket science… take the clean and dry dishes already sitting in the draining rack and put them away inside cupboards or drawers. Don’t just put dirty dishes in the sink and leave them there…Use the sink to wash all the dirty dishes, which also get dried and put away. I shouldn’t need to tell a mature adult how to do dishes. Don’t leave food out on the benches. Put all plates and cooking pots etc away so cats aren’t climbing all over them. If cupboard space is short, use some storage boxes or put pots inside the oven when not in use.

Not sure whether the basket of laundry sitting cluttering up the floor in the already small kitchen was clean or dirty, but why is it there at all ? A convenient play area for the kittens sure. And what are new packets of sewing pins doing inside the rice cooker ? (I think that by that factor alone, this house beats all so far in the “student flat” category).

Now don’t get me wrong, I know the homeowner works hard and for very much more than 40 hours a week, but goodness me, how can you live in such conditions ?

One reason for making this post is because I care about my friend, I don’t want them to die of some rampaging tummy-bug. I have deliberately NOT named them and suggest it may be better if they DO NOT post a response under this thread. Look I’ll happily come over and help in some way with a clean-up, but yesterday I was wearing white, so tried not to touch anything or sit anywhere (otherwise I would have ripped into it and in half an hour, I would have had that kitchen throughly cleaned and the fridge all clean and fresh smelling). I did exactly that when visiting a friend in Australia once. I arrived while she was away and her house-sitters had let the place go “student flat” style. I only had good clothes in my suitcase, so stripped off to underwear and a sarong as I cleaned the kitchen and fridge (the trays and shelves needed to soak in water to get the crud off).

To my friend I say… Arrange a working bee and I will come and help you clean up. But you’ll need to corral the kittens to stop them getting accidentally squished under our feet as we work.

Get in a mini-skip, ensure it arrives one morning when you’ll be home and is removed that afternoon, (otherwise the neighbourhood will simply use your place as a dumping ground for their rubbish).

Oh and I haven’t even mentioned the main entry / living room and the bathroom. I didn’t make any attempt to look in any of the bedrooms or the large lounge. The remains of the once beautiful front verandah, covered in absolute rubbish, makes the place look like a crack-house from the street.

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