I used to be obsessively clean. I would apologize to visitors who had to “endure” my bathroom if it hadn’t been cleaned at least once in the past week. Even as a teen, my bedroom was SPOTLESS. White glove checks would have been welcome.
This carried on into my married life. When we’d move, I’d find a place for everything and everything would be in its place. Even after I had two kids (barring the few months after giving birth), things were mostly neat and tidy, and I cleaned regularly. I’d go through the kids’ clothes to weed out the too small, or too stained. The dishes got done in short order, and the laundry wouldn’t pile up to monstrous and seemingly insurmountable mounds.
Sounds delightful, right? Well, it came to a horrific end when we had #3. Oh, sure, I still kept things somewhat clean…sort of…but the clutter threatened my sanity at every turn. All in all, it wasn’t a total loss, and I had lovely friends who stepped in, like organizing angels, just in the nick of time.
Then, the death-blow to my former cleanly glory was struck. We moved to the country. I’m not sure if it was the fact that I started a huge garden and so spent more hours doing that rather than cleaning, that the dirt comes in at an alarming pace and I grew tired of trying to out-pace it, or if the kids got old enough to exponentially add to the clutter and I just gave up.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a clean house! But, you want to know what I’ve learned through all this?
If you don’t clean your house (by this I mean let the clutter build up, the bathroom go for longer stretches between cleanings, and the like), when you DO clean it, people (my immediate family included) seem so impressed that they gush over your hard work.
Guess what people never did when I cleaned all the time? You guessed it. Gush. I like gushing. For me, it’s akin to getting a raise or award at a job where one is gainfully employed. I suppose that’s a risk one takes. My mom ran a tight ship and was so good about cleaning that I once told my neighbor that she never washed my towel (you likely have surmised that she washed it and replaced it all in the same day and that I was quite dense…and you’d be right on both counts).
Well, now, when I do deep cleaning (with longer intervals in between), I basically get a medal for my efforts. Sure, I could clean my house for my own satisfaction, but I’m busy blogging right now and I want my daggum medal, thank you very much!
We’ll be moving in a couple of months, back to the city (the word city is a huge stretch, here, but it’s not the middle of nowhere) and I’m hoping I can revive my old desire to keep the house clean just for the sake of having an orderly and clean house.
Even if I do, I can count on my kids to proclaim loudly to the neighbors, church leaders, and anyone else who will listen about how the house is so much cleaner, now. I can only imagine that they’d say something like, “Yeah, mom NEVER used to clean the house.” It’s gonna be great. 😉
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