Author Topic: A rant from a house sitter  (Read 2440 times)

MarciaB

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A rant from a house sitter
« on: October 30, 2018, 10:22:58 AM »
Disclaimer - This is a rant for my own personal venting needs. If it bothers you then just look away (I won’t mind).

A polite introduction
We’ve been nomadic for about the last 18 months (we sold just about everything we own, we travel and have no fixed address). As a part of that, when we’re local (Oregon) we house sit for friends and strangers. This is an exchange of housing for labor - no money changes hands. We love animals and are happy to have pets to take care of. We’ll happily handle the weekly responsibilities of homeowners (garbage/recycling, mail collection, watering, etc.). Over the past half year, we’ve done about eight house sits. You look nice, your home looks comfortable. Sure, let’s get you on our calendar and make it happen. We’re interested in seeing what living in this part of the city feels like. We’re looking forward to it!

Rant: Part 1
Holy shit! What is it with you and all this stuff? What possessed you to fill every cupboard with your crap, cram every drawer full to bursting, add too much furniture to each room, buy duplicates and triplicates of every tool for every job, collect every bullshit knickknack known to man and cover every horizontal surface with them? Why on earth does someone need to fill every closet in the entire house with clothes so tightly packed on every rod, using hundreds of hangers in the process? How can you manage to put things away when returning something is like solving a Chinese puzzle? How do you manage to sit down on that couch between the pillows and throws and other "comforts" taking up every inch of space?
 
What. The. Ever living. Fuck??

And don’t get me started on the pet toys and gadgets and beds. Or the garden sheds. Or for fuck’s sake the garage. The garage! Stuffed from rafter to floor, packed from one side to the other with things you haven’t used or thought of in years (at least according to the dust layers I can see on them). And don’t ask me to go down into your basement. Just don’t ask, I won’t go. Between the mold and the ancient kitty litter smell, and the dead rodents you can’t find in all that mess belonging to god knows which previous owners…no. Just no.

Seriously, you have problems. All of you. No matter how tidy or clean your home is at first glance, I can guarantee you that homeownership has led to an overstuffing syndrome. And it’s horrible. How do you live this way? I get the minimalist dry heaves just thinking about all of it.

A polite interlude
When you return to your home after your absence you will be pleased to see that your pets are happy and healthy. Your plants and garden and yard are green and thriving. Your home has been cleaned to a 5-star hotel level. Your neighbors have been happy with us because we’re friendly and responsible, and didn’t cause parking issues. Success!

Rant: Part 2
Has no one ever taught you to deal with your messes? Have you considered maybe cleaning your refrigerator every year or two? How about culling your possessions so that you can walk down a hall without having to veer around things? And how are you not injured every time you open one of your Fibber McGee closets and shit falls out?

I know you’re busy and all, but how about setting aside a few hours per weekend to tackle that basement and garage? Yes, it will take several years at that pace, but so what? Or how about putting one item per day into the Goodwill bag, and doing that for ten years? That should just about make a dent. You have to start somewhere!

I’d recommend a few books on clutter and cleaning, but you won’t read them. First off, I wouldn’t embarrass you like that. Next off you would set the books down and then cover them up with more stuff so you couldn’t find them even if you wanted to. And lastly you are in such denial that I’ll save my money and not buy them for you. Heaven knows that adding more crap to your piles wouldn’t be kind.

Epilogue
Ring! Ring! Thanks for calling, and we’re so flattered you are wanting us to house sit again. We’re glad it worked well last time. Just to let you know though, we’re out of the house sitting business at this point, having settled down in a small apartment with almost no furniture and very few items of any kind. We like it!

Slee_stack

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2018, 10:33:53 AM »
Maybe you could offer an advanced 'House purging' option when you house sit?

Welcome home!  We've cleared 1000s.f. of space for you!!


MarciaB

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2018, 10:36:08 AM »
Maybe you could offer an advanced 'House purging' option when you house sit?

Welcome home!  We've cleared 1000s.f. of space for you!!

I love it!! They could pay us by the pound - we'd be rich in no time.

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2018, 10:59:20 AM »

A polite interlude
When you return to your home after your absence you will be pleased to see that your pets are happy and healthy. Your plants and garden and yard are green and thriving. Your home has been cleaned to a 5-star hotel level.


How do I get you to house sit for us?  My house could really use a good cleaning. I won't even mind the judgement about our extreme amount of stuff...  (which I really am trying to get rid of... it's hard. It also isn't near to the level you discuss. All my hallways are clear, my garage has 2 cars and a woodshop in it, and my attic has nothing but insulation in it)
« Last Edit: October 30, 2018, 11:07:07 AM by I'm a red panda »

PoutineLover

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2018, 11:14:31 AM »
Omg yes. I recently combined households with my partner, and we are still in the process of purging excess stuff, even though we've already thrown out so much. I hope to get to a more minimal stage soon.
My father's house is a disaster. Packed full of all kinds of stuff everywhere. I helped him purge a little, but he thinks he needs it all. It's super stress inducing.
I dream of having just one perfect item for each need, and a perfectly arranged space where everything has a place.

MarciaB

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2018, 11:44:03 AM »

A polite interlude
When you return to your home after your absence you will be pleased to see that your pets are happy and healthy. Your plants and garden and yard are green and thriving. Your home has been cleaned to a 5-star hotel level.


How do I get you to house sit for us? 

Teehee! We've had friends joke about pretending to be out of town and asking us to house sit...expressly for the purpose of getting their house cleaned!

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2018, 11:54:32 AM »

A polite interlude
When you return to your home after your absence you will be pleased to see that your pets are happy and healthy. Your plants and garden and yard are green and thriving. Your home has been cleaned to a 5-star hotel level.


How do I get you to house sit for us? 

Teehee! We've had friends joke about pretending to be out of town and asking us to house sit...expressly for the purpose of getting their house cleaned!

Well... if you're going to be in Iowa next August...
I have two lovely dogs as well.

(House sitter rant- when I gave birth to my daughter my parents stayed with me. I left really detailed instructions about how to feed the dogs, when, how much, which bowl goes to which dog etc. My husband came home late at night to grab something, and they hadn't fed the dogs. "Weren't quite sure how we should do that."  WTF? You had one job.   Oh- and my Mom promised she'd clean for us after the baby was born- she did that by hiring a cleaner, which was super awkward since we couldn't leave the house for that long with a the newborn.)

GuitarStv

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2018, 11:59:40 AM »
It's not really surprising that the kind of mentality that would pay someone to live in their own home ends up being wasteful in other areas of life.  :P

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2018, 12:03:11 PM »
It's not really surprising that the kind of mentality that would pay someone to live in their own home ends up being wasteful in other areas of life.  :P

There is no money being spent here.  People are trading the space in their home for pet sitting (and apparently cleaning!) That seems the opposite of wasteful when you think how expensive kennels are.

MarciaB

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2018, 12:56:04 PM »
Kennels are expensive, and also hard on animals (who prefer their own home environments).

And good on you for leaving detailed instructions on how to feed your pets. That's exactly the right thing to do...sorry your parents didn't read them...

mm1970

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2018, 01:35:40 PM »
Ah ha ha, I'd love to have you house sit.

We tend to swap with our neighbors now and again (if we are traveling for a holiday,  and they have family, here's the key!)

I think the problem is that you get used to the clutter.

We have a small house.  A shed.  No garage.  No attic.  No basement.  Two kids.

I literally cannot keep on top of it.  Spouse has been traveling.  I spent time on his last trip, while kids were engaged on devices, purging.  It's mostly paper.  I mean, the amount of fucking paper that comes home from school...  I also went through a storage bench and got rid of some things.  Put all the stuff away on the horizontal surfaces.

This was a week ago.
The house is a disaster again.

I asked this morning "did you even notice?"
No
He asked "how much of it was mine?"
I said 1/4 but who really knows or cares.  Any kid papers don't belong to the kid, KWIM? 

Sigh.

Nobody notices the crap on every surface.

partgypsy

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2018, 03:17:26 PM »
If you stayed at my house I would be guilty. It is compounded by a) my former husband being a packrat, and b) lack of time on my part. The attic is absolutely crammed with stuff. To the point I can't deal with it. I can't. He has promised he is going to in the next month with friends, unload it and get a storage room to store these things.
The backyard is full of crap including parts of fences, and tarps covering mouldering piles of various types of wood, probably unusable at this point. Under the porch (which is above level, old metal furniture storing old paint cans, old lawn furniture and then stuff piled on top of it. The back railing, detached during renovation of porch, never re-attached and pieces missing.
The first floor. I have re-organized two of the rooms and also renovated the kitchen. I have taken 3,4 hatchbacks full of stuff to be donated, and you can't tell. A bookshelf in hallway completely full and stuff stacked on top. The pantry another hazard area. I KNOW I need to do more. This weekend spent the weekend just going through dd's armoire; she has outgrown the vast majority of her clothes. Another garbage bag full.  The only thing that improves morale is my best friend has commented that she does notice an improvement. So maybe slow progress. I think my last hang up is, getting rid of childhood things like books and games that honestly the kids don't use anymore, but feels too hard at this point to give up. Maybe if ex ever does empty out attic, i will put that bookshelf amount of stuff up there. I am so looking forward to a time where the house feels clean and tidy and spacious. 
« Last Edit: October 30, 2018, 03:20:03 PM by partgypsy »

MarciaB

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2018, 03:46:45 PM »
Ah ha ha, I'd love to have you house sit.

We tend to swap with our neighbors now and again (if we are traveling for a holiday,  and they have family, here's the key!)

I think the problem is that you get used to the clutter.

We have a small house.  A shed.  No garage.  No attic.  No basement.  Two kids.

I literally cannot keep on top of it.  Spouse has been traveling.  I spent time on his last trip, while kids were engaged on devices, purging.  It's mostly paper.  I mean, the amount of fucking paper that comes home from school...  I also went through a storage bench and got rid of some things.  Put all the stuff away on the horizontal surfaces.

This was a week ago.
The house is a disaster again.

I asked this morning "did you even notice?"
No
He asked "how much of it was mine?"
I said 1/4 but who really knows or cares.  Any kid papers don't belong to the kid, KWIM? 

Sigh.

Nobody notices the crap on every surface.


I feel your pain, kids are the worst! (And I mean that with great affection). Mine was the usual combination of craft-loving, books-everywhere reading, sports-equipment-accumulating, kitchen-"helper" and all around wonderful human being...who would much rather just move on to the next activity and leave the previous one scattered everywhere. And too true on the paper that comes home from school. Holy cow.


And you know those Pottery Barn type catalogs that had kids furniture and kids organizational tools? The ones with the pictures of smiling clean children happily putting away their toys while sitting on spotless rugs in a room with made beds? Yeah, what a load of crap. As if kids do that without having their lives threatened first.

MarciaB

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2018, 03:51:05 PM »
If you stayed at my house I would be guilty. It is compounded by a) my former husband being a packrat, and b) lack of time on my part. The attic is absolutely crammed with stuff. To the point I can't deal with it. I can't. He has promised he is going to in the next month with friends, unload it and get a storage room to store these things.
The backyard is full of crap including parts of fences, and tarps covering mouldering piles of various types of wood, probably unusable at this point. Under the porch (which is above level, old metal furniture storing old paint cans, old lawn furniture and then stuff piled on top of it. The back railing, detached during renovation of porch, never re-attached and pieces missing.
The first floor. I have re-organized two of the rooms and also renovated the kitchen. I have taken 3,4 hatchbacks full of stuff to be donated, and you can't tell. A bookshelf in hallway completely full and stuff stacked on top. The pantry another hazard area. I KNOW I need to do more. This weekend spent the weekend just going through dd's armoire; she has outgrown the vast majority of her clothes. Another garbage bag full.  The only thing that improves morale is my best friend has commented that she does notice an improvement. So maybe slow progress. I think my last hang up is, getting rid of childhood things like books and games that honestly the kids don't use anymore, but feels too hard at this point to give up. Maybe if ex ever does empty out attic, i will put that bookshelf amount of stuff up there. I am so looking forward to a time where the house feels clean and tidy and spacious.

Do you have a friend you could buddy up with to spend an hour or two helping you clear out something (let's say it's the bookshelf) in exchange for then going to her house and helping her tackle a clutter area? You could have some laughs, eat and drink good snacks and alcohol, reward yourselves when you're done...in short, make it fun? If you did that maybe every couple of weeks you could seriously get somewhere in a year (and so would your buddy).

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2018, 06:07:28 PM »
We, too, have been housesitting since leaving the work world. Just over two years now.

And the amount of crap we have waded through in various houses has just boggled us.

One very nice house in a very nice neighborhood had every drawer stuffed . . . I'm talking five identical flippers in one drawer . . . and three different stashes of the same vodka in different cabinets in the kitchen.  Three different refrigerators (full-sized) . . . not to mention dog hair on every piece of furniture.

To top it off . . . one of the empty bedrooms (4 bedrooms for an empty-nester couple) was stuffed with unpacked boxes --- and they had moved in seven years prior.  1, 3, 5, 7 . . . We couldn't even . . .

On the plus side, as we consider settling down into our own apartment, we realize just how little stuff we need (and we don't want much more than that).

I'm considering throwing down a gauntlet:  Furnish our new one bedroom apartment for $xxx.  We'll see how that goes.

tldr:  seeing excess in others has helped us realize just how little we need (and want)

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2018, 08:08:54 PM »
OH yeah. Stuff can be an anchor. Worse when you have the hoarder gene. I'm no hoarder, but I have to catch myself making the same weird concessions that relatives in their overflowing houses would about stuff. And then I do a double take and tell myself that it's crazy talk and get rid of the thing.

I've actively been getting rid of more stuff this year. I've made about $1500 from clearing stuff and projects I have not and probably will not be able to get to from the garage.

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2018, 09:29:09 AM »
If you stayed at my house I would be guilty. It is compounded by a) my former husband being a packrat, and b) lack of time on my part. The attic is absolutely crammed with stuff. To the point I can't deal with it. I can't. He has promised he is going to in the next month with friends, unload it and get a storage room to store these things.
The backyard is full of crap including parts of fences, and tarps covering mouldering piles of various types of wood, probably unusable at this point. Under the porch (which is above level, old metal furniture storing old paint cans, old lawn furniture and then stuff piled on top of it. The back railing, detached during renovation of porch, never re-attached and pieces missing.
The first floor. I have re-organized two of the rooms and also renovated the kitchen. I have taken 3,4 hatchbacks full of stuff to be donated, and you can't tell. A bookshelf in hallway completely full and stuff stacked on top. The pantry another hazard area. I KNOW I need to do more. This weekend spent the weekend just going through dd's armoire; she has outgrown the vast majority of her clothes. Another garbage bag full.  The only thing that improves morale is my best friend has commented that she does notice an improvement. So maybe slow progress. I think my last hang up is, getting rid of childhood things like books and games that honestly the kids don't use anymore, but feels too hard at this point to give up. Maybe if ex ever does empty out attic, i will put that bookshelf amount of stuff up there. I am so looking forward to a time where the house feels clean and tidy and spacious. 

Ouch, just reading this hurts!  Maybe try picking an area, setting a timer and blasting through it in a race with yourself.  It's amazing how much you can do in a short time if you really push yourself.  The shorter the time allotted, the less time you have to ponder every decision.  Then throw the bag/box in the car and drop off the next time you leave the house.

MarciaB

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2018, 09:35:22 AM »
If you stayed at my house I would be guilty. It is compounded by a) my former husband being a packrat, and b) lack of time on my part. The attic is absolutely crammed with stuff. To the point I can't deal with it. I can't. He has promised he is going to in the next month with friends, unload it and get a storage room to store these things.
The backyard is full of crap including parts of fences, and tarps covering mouldering piles of various types of wood, probably unusable at this point. Under the porch (which is above level, old metal furniture storing old paint cans, old lawn furniture and then stuff piled on top of it. The back railing, detached during renovation of porch, never re-attached and pieces missing.
The first floor. I have re-organized two of the rooms and also renovated the kitchen. I have taken 3,4 hatchbacks full of stuff to be donated, and you can't tell. A bookshelf in hallway completely full and stuff stacked on top. The pantry another hazard area. I KNOW I need to do more. This weekend spent the weekend just going through dd's armoire; she has outgrown the vast majority of her clothes. Another garbage bag full.  The only thing that improves morale is my best friend has commented that she does notice an improvement. So maybe slow progress. I think my last hang up is, getting rid of childhood things like books and games that honestly the kids don't use anymore, but feels too hard at this point to give up. Maybe if ex ever does empty out attic, i will put that bookshelf amount of stuff up there. I am so looking forward to a time where the house feels clean and tidy and spacious. 

Ouch, just reading this hurts!  Maybe try picking an area, setting a timer and blasting through it in a race with yourself.  It's amazing how much you can do in a short time if you really push yourself.  The shorter the time allotted, the less time you have to ponder every decision.  Then throw the bag/box in the car and drop off the next time you leave the house.

Yup. +this. It's like the journey of 1000 miles beginning with a single step.

And for those of you with older relatives who just won't/can't leave their messy nests - see if you can get them to read The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning (weird title, but stick with me here). It's a book about how starting to pare down - starting in your 50s - is a wonderful thing for your adult children and anyone you leave behind. No one wants to clean out a house full of stuff after the owner has gone to their eternal rest...so don't do that to the people you love. Start now!

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2018, 09:36:50 AM »
Part of what delays my decluttering is thoughts like
"this is still good, someone could use it"
"but I might need it someday"
"someone special gave me this"
And it's hard to overcome that. I might place things aside to donate, but they never get donated, or I might feel bad about tossing it, in case I have to buy a new one, or I'll put it in a memory box because that person meant something to me, even though I never use the thing.
Recently I've started telling myself
"try your best to give away the thing in a set time, if it doesn't work, toss it, because it's no more use here than in the garbage"
"if you do need it, you can afford to buy a new one, but you probably won't because you haven't used this in forever"
"that person would rather someone else get use of it than have it sit around gathering dust"
I even used some of those lines on my dad and it helped him get rid of several boxes of things. Just wanted to put that out there in case other people had similar mental blocks to getting rid of stuff.

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2018, 09:52:07 AM »
I laughed.

Reminds me of when I house-sat for my former advisor while he was abroad.  Among other things, they had 6 identical open jars of mustard in their fridge, they had spices in their cabinet dating back to when they moved here in 1998, and they had a closet which was filled with nothing but boxes which were filled with packing material.  I wanted so badly to purge while living there - and was certain they'd never know what I tossed. 

MarciaB

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2018, 10:03:17 AM »
I laughed.

Reminds me of when I house-sat for my former advisor while he was abroad.  Among other things, they had 6 identical open jars of mustard in their fridge, they had spices in their cabinet dating back to when they moved here in 1998, and they had a closet which was filled with nothing but boxes which were filled with packing material.  I wanted so badly to purge while living there - and was certain they'd never know what I tossed.


Weird refrigerator stories would be a whole topic unto itself!

And while I'm on the subject, what is it with people's overstuffed fridges?? If you have a few teenagers in the house, then fill it up. But otherwise, who is gobbling down that volume of food? And how much are you wasting by letting it spoil?

nereo

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2018, 10:55:33 AM »

And while I'm on the subject, what is it with people's overstuffed fridges?? If you have a few teenagers in the house, then fill it up. But otherwise, who is gobbling down that volume of food? And how much are you wasting by letting it spoil?
This irritates me too.  My sister has one of those enormous, designer fridges for her family of 3 (plus a second one in the garage).  YOu can't find anything in there because there's so much stuff crammed in it already.  She's constantly tossing out leftovers that are weeks old.  What the hell?  why not eat them the next day or so?  How is it possibly easier to keep going to the store to buy more food you don't have room for instead of just eating what you already have, ready to go??

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #22 on: October 31, 2018, 11:41:01 AM »
Man, crammed-full fridges are horrible to deal with. I hardly keep anything in my fridge. My freezer is actually empty right now aside from cold packs and frozen water. We try to have the fridge almost completely empty by the end of every week. Then I shop Saturday morning, cook and bake everything for the week, portion everything out, and hopefully have zero fresh ingredients left by Sunday night.

I also wonder how the hell people clean the shelves and drawers with so much stuff? It's so easy with a minimalist fridge - just wait till Friday when everything's gone, and quickly wipe it down.

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #23 on: October 31, 2018, 11:49:28 AM »
My fridge is usually crammed full because we make all our lunches for 2 people one day a week.  Add in lots of veggies and fruits, dinner ingredients, yogurt for the kiddo, condiments, there just isn't much room in there.

Although, it's usually empty when we vacation.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2018, 12:17:36 PM by I'm a red panda »

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #24 on: October 31, 2018, 12:02:22 PM »
I laughed.

Reminds me of when I house-sat for my former advisor while he was abroad.  Among other things, they had 6 identical open jars of mustard in their fridge, they had spices in their cabinet dating back to when they moved here in 1998, and they had a closet which was filled with nothing but boxes which were filled with packing material.  I wanted so badly to purge while living there - and was certain they'd never know what I tossed.


Weird refrigerator stories would be a whole topic unto itself!

And while I'm on the subject, what is it with people's overstuffed fridges?? If you have a few teenagers in the house, then fill it up. But otherwise, who is gobbling down that volume of food? And how much are you wasting by letting it spoil?
Yes!  I love my MIL to pieces, but her fridge is packed and her spare fridge in the basement is packed.  I swear the door is almost all salad dressing.  She buys new salad dressing for parties.  Then buys more.  And half of it expired 1-2 years ago.  It cracks me up.

My fridge is empty in comparison.  Because it fills up with produce and leftovers.  And then we eat it.  Repeat.

MarciaB

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #25 on: October 31, 2018, 12:27:11 PM »
And what's stranger about this to me is that we house sit for people who are proud of their "eco-groovy credentials" and their biking everywhere, their recycling, their low-emissions cars, etc. And yet, they don't seem to mind food overconsumption / waste (which is a huge ecological problem)...huh?


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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #26 on: October 31, 2018, 12:40:23 PM »
Salad dressing.  Growing up we just made our own, and I put store-bought salad dressing in the same category as microwave meals; overly expensive and inferior taste-wise.   A basic vinaigrette was among the first things I learned to make, at about age 4. Acid, oil, an emulsifier - maybe some herbs.  Done.

Then I met my in-laws, who, for every single meal, put out half a dozen different types of salad dressing.  Seriously, there's often more kinds of salad dressing on the table than there are people.  The door of their fridge does nothing but hold salad dressing.


mm1970

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #27 on: October 31, 2018, 03:35:44 PM »
Salad dressing.  Growing up we just made our own, and I put store-bought salad dressing in the same category as microwave meals; overly expensive and inferior taste-wise.   A basic vinaigrette was among the first things I learned to make, at about age 4. Acid, oil, an emulsifier - maybe some herbs.  Done.

Then I met my in-laws, who, for every single meal, put out half a dozen different types of salad dressing.  Seriously, there's often more kinds of salad dressing on the table than there are people.  The door of their fridge does nothing but hold salad dressing.
Yep. While I admit I have four different kinds of vinegar for various dressings- the only salad dressing in my fridge is ranch.  I just make my own vinaigrettes.

Zikoris

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #28 on: October 31, 2018, 03:53:19 PM »
Man, I'd be really embarrassed to serve store-bought salad dressing to guests. It's so easy to make!

Cassie

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #29 on: October 31, 2018, 06:05:11 PM »
When I was raising my kids I would regularly have to get rid of toys, books, clothes, etc .  I was a social worker so gave this stuff to foster homes.  We downsized 6 years ago and I regularly purge because I don’t want to leave my kids with a mess. I also am finding it much faster to clean and like how it looks. I wait until my refrigerator is pretty empty and then clean it.

nereo

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #30 on: October 31, 2018, 06:37:34 PM »
When I was raising my kids I would regularly have to get rid of toys, books, clothes, etc .  I was a social worker so gave this stuff to foster homes.  We downsized 6 years ago and I regularly purge because I don’t want to leave my kids with a mess. I also am finding it much faster to clean and like how it looks. I wait until my refrigerator is pretty empty and then clean it.

In our home, anytime we wanted something we'd have to answer the question "where will it go?"  Usually this resulted in a one-in, one-out kinda policy - something I innately follow to this day. If I don't have a place to keep something when not in use I either have to get rid of something I already have to make space, or realize I don't have a place in my life for whatever said item is.

Then we'd have the seasonal purges with the question "when's the last time you used/played/wore this?"  If the answer was several months ago, well there was someone out there who needed it more than I did.

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #31 on: October 31, 2018, 08:38:13 PM »
I laughed.

Reminds me of when I house-sat for my former advisor while he was abroad.  Among other things, they had 6 identical open jars of mustard in their fridge, they had spices in their cabinet dating back to when they moved here in 1998, and they had a closet which was filled with nothing but boxes which were filled with packing material.  I wanted so badly to purge while living there - and was certain they'd never know what I tossed.


Weird refrigerator stories would be a whole topic unto itself!

And while I'm on the subject, what is it with people's overstuffed fridges?? If you have a few teenagers in the house, then fill it up. But otherwise, who is gobbling down that volume of food? And how much are you wasting by letting it spoil?

I love a clean/sparse house, so attempt to stay decluttered. Disclaimer, we definitely have more than a true minimalist, but also have two kids, so staying on top of the barrage of incoming stuff is a part time job. That said, our fridge is always full on the day of grocery shopping, & gets progressively emptier each day of the week. We buy a lot of produce. Like, a lot. We eat 95% of it (estimate) without waste. Sometimes you just get bad stuff that doesn't last. We also make meals on the weekends, & leftovers during the week. So, if you opened up our fridge on any given day, you'd see pretty different volume of foods. And, we have minimal waste.

fuzzy math

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #32 on: November 01, 2018, 08:07:02 AM »
My fridge is full of condiments. There are 5 of us, and I'm gluten free. I have my own soy sauce and other items. My kids (and husband) will carelessly open a new mayo, ranch etc before the old one is empty. Then I'm left to be the one to either throw the old one out, use it myself, or pull it out and kindly suggest using the last 10% of it at exactly the appropriate time. So yeah, there are multitudes of reasons that people have a lot of stuff in their fridge...

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #33 on: November 01, 2018, 09:37:36 AM »
Part of what delays my decluttering is thoughts like
"this is still good, someone could use it"
"but I might need it someday"
"someone special gave me this"
And it's hard to overcome that. I might place things aside to donate, but they never get donated, or I might feel bad about tossing it, in case I have to buy a new one, or I'll put it in a memory box because that person meant something to me, even though I never use the thing.
Recently I've started telling myself
"try your best to give away the thing in a set time, if it doesn't work, toss it, because it's no more use here than in the garbage"
"if you do need it, you can afford to buy a new one, but you probably won't because you haven't used this in forever"
"that person would rather someone else get use of it than have it sit around gathering dust"
I even used some of those lines on my dad and it helped him get rid of several boxes of things. Just wanted to put that out there in case other people had similar mental blocks to getting rid of stuff.

It might not be to you taste, but one of the things about the Marie Kondo books (the first one is The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up) is that she has answers to a lot of these questions. And sometimes the answer is "the thing did its job for you, and now you should send it out into the world so it can serve someone else", even if its job was teaching you that you don't actually like wearing (say) dresses. She also advocates thanking the things as you put them in a box to give away.

I try not to overthink where things go -- there's a thrift store nearby that helps the women's shelter, and my city has several recycling options for random materials. If all else fails, we don't send much to the landfill, so I don't worry too much about throwing out trash -- but I do try to stay aware of what didn't last long, so I can look for a more durable substitute.

On the refrigerator front, I try to get all the consumables eaten by Friday evening so I can re-stock on Saturday, but with 4 hungry near-adults, I get an amazing number of "there's nothing to eat" complaints. (Which, no: there's always stuff in the pantry that you can cook quickly, and there's generally also an assortment of things in the freezer.)

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #34 on: November 01, 2018, 09:50:44 AM »
I did read that book and it helped me reframe some of my thoughts regarding clutter. I found it a bit too woo woo for me, but I have to admit she has some good advice. I wasn't able to fully implement the strategies at the time, but maybe I should revisit it and try again.

galliver

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #35 on: November 01, 2018, 11:54:30 AM »



On the refrigerator front, I try to get all the consumables eaten by Friday evening so I can re-stock on Saturday, but with 4 hungry near-adults, I get an amazing number of "there's nothing to eat" complaints. (Which, no: there's always stuff in the pantry that you can cook quickly, and there's generally also an assortment of things in the freezer.)

My boyfriend and I like to jokingly whine to each other that "we have no food, only ingredients."

Zikoris

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #36 on: November 01, 2018, 12:16:54 PM »
My fridge is full of condiments. There are 5 of us, and I'm gluten free. I have my own soy sauce and other items. My kids (and husband) will carelessly open a new mayo, ranch etc before the old one is empty. Then I'm left to be the one to either throw the old one out, use it myself, or pull it out and kindly suggest using the last 10% of it at exactly the appropriate time. So yeah, there are multitudes of reasons that people have a lot of stuff in their fridge...

Could you just not buy extras of things? It would be impossible for this to happen to us, because we literally only have one bottle of soy sauce, one hot sauce, etc physically in our home at any time, and they don't get replaced until they're empty. And our fridge is bare enough that it's impossible to mistakenly think we're out of something when we're not - there's nowhere for anything to hide!

fuzzy math

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #37 on: November 01, 2018, 01:14:13 PM »
My fridge is full of condiments. There are 5 of us, and I'm gluten free. I have my own soy sauce and other items. My kids (and husband) will carelessly open a new mayo, ranch etc before the old one is empty. Then I'm left to be the one to either throw the old one out, use it myself, or pull it out and kindly suggest using the last 10% of it at exactly the appropriate time. So yeah, there are multitudes of reasons that people have a lot of stuff in their fridge...

Could you just not buy extras of things? It would be impossible for this to happen to us, because we literally only have one bottle of soy sauce, one hot sauce, etc physically in our home at any time, and they don't get replaced until they're empty. And our fridge is bare enough that it's impossible to mistakenly think we're out of something when we're not - there's nowhere for anything to hide!

With 5 people we go through stuff quickly enough that having the next on hand is necessary. I know at your place it’s just you and your boyfriend, so if you’re out of mayo you probably just deal with it. To a 6 yr old, no mayo means “I don’t eat my sandwich at lunch time” which results in a hungry tantruming child or a kid choosing to throw their meal away and buy school lunch. normally this scenario sends my husband out to the expensive close by grocery store to buy emergency mayo.

Again with the soy sauce I have my own because I require gluten free and it costs 3x what a regular soy sauce costs.


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lhamo

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #38 on: November 01, 2018, 01:42:11 PM »
My fridge is full of condiments. There are 5 of us, and I'm gluten free. I have my own soy sauce and other items. My kids (and husband) will carelessly open a new mayo, ranch etc before the old one is empty. Then I'm left to be the one to either throw the old one out, use it myself, or pull it out and kindly suggest using the last 10% of it at exactly the appropriate time. So yeah, there are multitudes of reasons that people have a lot of stuff in their fridge...

Are you storing the backup, unopened bottles in the fridge?  Can't see why else someone would "carelessly" open a second bottle when there is clearly already one in there.  If that is the case, suggest you find an alternative storage space for the backup bottles, preferably someplace well out of the line of sight in the pantry or a corner cupboard somewhere.  Most condiments, etc. are shelf-stable and don't require refrigeration until open.  Then the only thing in the fridge is the one that needs to be used up.  When that is gone, backup bottle gets pulled to replace old bottle. 

fuzzy math

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #39 on: November 01, 2018, 02:58:58 PM »
My fridge is full of condiments. There are 5 of us, and I'm gluten free. I have my own soy sauce and other items. My kids (and husband) will carelessly open a new mayo, ranch etc before the old one is empty. Then I'm left to be the one to either throw the old one out, use it myself, or pull it out and kindly suggest using the last 10% of it at exactly the appropriate time. So yeah, there are multitudes of reasons that people have a lot of stuff in their fridge...

Are you storing the backup, unopened bottles in the fridge?  Can't see why else someone would "carelessly" open a second bottle when there is clearly already one in there.  If that is the case, suggest you find an alternative storage space for the backup bottles, preferably someplace well out of the line of sight in the pantry or a corner cupboard somewhere.  Most condiments, etc. are shelf-stable and don't require refrigeration until open.  Then the only thing in the fridge is the one that needs to be used up.  When that is gone, backup bottle gets pulled to replace old bottle.

You should meet my husband. The mayo is in the cupboard but he finds it too much of a hassle to scrape the jar so he gets a new one out. Same thing goes for toothpaste and soap bars. I sometimes feel I live my life scraping and using scraps of his discards.


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nereo

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #40 on: November 01, 2018, 03:06:24 PM »

You should meet my husband. The mayo is in the cupboard but he finds it too much of a hassle to scrape the jar so he gets a new one out. Same thing goes for toothpaste and soap bars. I sometimes feel I live my life scraping and using scraps of his discards.


That would really annoy me. To each their own I guess...

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #41 on: November 01, 2018, 03:19:17 PM »

You should meet my husband. The mayo is in the cupboard but he finds it too much of a hassle to scrape the jar so he gets a new one out. Same thing goes for toothpaste and soap bars. I sometimes feel I live my life scraping and using scraps of his discards.


That would really annoy me. To each their own I guess...

Me, too!

OK, so back-up bottles need to go in a secret place that only you know about, and only come out after the old ones have been scraped clean. 

I do the toothpaste squeezing in our household.  But DH is pretty good about using up fridge stuff.

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #42 on: November 01, 2018, 03:50:11 PM »
Then I get told how controlling and mean I am. This is honestly the solution that provides the least friction for us. I use up the old bits and nothing gets wasted.


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Michael in ABQ

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #43 on: November 01, 2018, 10:46:48 PM »
With six kids our fridge stays pretty full. Typically we'll have six gallons of milk, a few dozen eggs, various snacks for the kids (yogurt, cheese sticks, fruits, veggies, etc.), plus whatever leftovers. We buy in bulk at Costco and we used to make our regular grocery store trip every two weeks so for the first few days after that the fridge would be completely packed until we started eating some of it. Now I usually go once a week so it doesn't get as full.

My wife has celiac so we also have to segregate some items like butter, cream cheese, jam, etc. and keep two on hand in the fridge.

I'd say the only thing that usually gets tossed is some small amount of leftovers or occasionally the last part of a jar of salsa that started to get mold growing in it.

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #44 on: November 02, 2018, 05:37:46 AM »
I think there's a world of difference between families that have a very full fridge because they consume a lot of food (and waste little) vs families or individuals that have a very full fridge that has lots of spoiled food shoved in the back and multiples of the same thing open due to general carelessness.

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #45 on: November 02, 2018, 08:38:35 AM »
I think there's a world of difference between families that have a very full fridge because they consume a lot of food (and waste little) vs families or individuals that have a very full fridge that has lots of spoiled food shoved in the back and multiples of the same thing open due to general carelessness.

Yup, absolutely. Families with growing children (especially large families like Michael in ABQ's) need all that food and those large shopping trips (and potentially a second fridge, or a chest freezer). Having had only one child myself (and a girl at that) I can't imagine the food bills and space requirements for growing families with teenagers who play sports, teenagers who are boys, etc. How do they manage it (she asks admiringly)?

But the people we house sit for are middle-aged adults with no children at home. Which puts them squarely in the target sight of my rant. :)

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #46 on: November 02, 2018, 08:57:32 AM »
In defense of empty nesters, when you've been buying groceries for a family for 20 years it can be hard to adjust to buying for a smaller household.  I have trouble calibrating when DH is away, too.

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #47 on: November 02, 2018, 09:12:06 AM »
In defense of empty nesters, when you've been buying groceries for a family for 20 years it can be hard to adjust to buying for a smaller household.  I have trouble calibrating when DH is away, too.

My dear parents ahve this problem.  Three children growing up, with two more that basically lived with us. Our fridge was among the largest available. They kept a big chest freezer stockpiled with CostCo goods and ready-to-cook meals that could feed a half dozen people and have leftovers the following day, plus a smaller outdoor fridge which housed surplus milk, cheese, eggs, etc.  They *still* do this.  So. Much. Food.

At least my mother has kept up her refrigerator vigilante stance so very little gets wasted, but the last time I visited I'm pretty sure there was 100lbs of various meats in the deep freeze, and it's just two senior citizens living there now.

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #48 on: November 02, 2018, 12:00:50 PM »
My fridge is full of condiments. There are 5 of us, and I'm gluten free. I have my own soy sauce and other items. My kids (and husband) will carelessly open a new mayo, ranch etc before the old one is empty. Then I'm left to be the one to either throw the old one out, use it myself, or pull it out and kindly suggest using the last 10% of it at exactly the appropriate time. So yeah, there are multitudes of reasons that people have a lot of stuff in their fridge...

Before my husband left I went through our fridge and there were at least 17 condiment bottles, including 4 different kinds of mustard (he really likes condiments).  I've seriously pared down since then.  I also have to hide the new bottle of say ketchup, or there will be 2 bottles of ketchup, just like right now we have 2 half used jars of peanut butter...

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Re: A rant from a house sitter
« Reply #49 on: November 02, 2018, 12:05:44 PM »
My fridge is full of condiments. There are 5 of us, and I'm gluten free. I have my own soy sauce and other items. My kids (and husband) will carelessly open a new mayo, ranch etc before the old one is empty. Then I'm left to be the one to either throw the old one out, use it myself, or pull it out and kindly suggest using the last 10% of it at exactly the appropriate time. So yeah, there are multitudes of reasons that people have a lot of stuff in their fridge...

Before my husband left I went through our fridge and there were at least 17 condiment bottles, including 4 different kinds of mustard (he really likes condiments).  I've seriously pared down since then.  I also have to hide the new bottle of say ketchup, or there will be 2 bottles of ketchup, just like right now we have 2 half used jars of peanut butter...

Why are you refrigerating your peanut butter?  We go through ours much faster than it would ever spoil, which google says is at least a month for natural and up to a year for the more processed varieties.