Thursday, May 17, 2012

growing up: cleaning style

I've never been a neat freak. I'm not an obsessive organizer or vacuumer. My definition of clean has always been more about "clean enough" than deep cleaning. In university, when I lived with roommates, my cleaniness levels tended towards the lowest common denominator: I would keep the common space as clean as the messiest of my roommates at any given time would (although admittedly my bedroom was a wormhole for clutter, always).

When I first moved in with Bunny, our space was very very small and he'd been in it awhile already. One of the secrets to making a small space seem big is that it has to be tidy. Otherwise? Complete and total mayhem, and the space practically shrinks on itself.

Moving in, I felt like a total dirt squirrel. I didn't clean anything as frequently as he did. His need to vacuum every couple of weeks felt obsessive. (Fun fact: Mama Bunny vacuums every single day. She keeps the most immaculate house.) As I began to take over chores in the house my definition of clean and his started to collide.

At first it was very clear that Bunny was the cleaner of the two. My piles of clothes on the floor drive him nuts. I have (organized) piles on two occasional tables in the living room that I need to tidy up frequently because they drive him bonkers.

Over the last year, things have been on a slow change trajectory. I've realized that while I hate sweeping and mopping the kitchen and bathroom floors, I'm perfectly happy to vacuum everything but the stairs (Bunny's job) once a week or so. I've started doing dishes almost every day .... and as a natural extention of doing dishes I also tidy the rest of the kitchen.

Today I even caught myself cleaning the bathroom surfaces (sink, toilet, bathtub) for the third time in a month. I'm a little ashamed to admit it, but in years past three rounds of bathroom cleaning a year from me was impressive. So why'd I clean the bathroom? Things weren't visibly dirty .... it just seemed a lot easier to give everything a simple clean now, than wait a month until things felt icky.

My cleaning needs have been growing up. When my house is clean I'm proud of it. I'm more comfortable in a clean home. If I want things clean? Well, I've got to do some cleaning.

We've slowly been taking control of our home, and our cleaning habits. We still have pockets of crazy: half of his office is a disaster zone, our tile floors are still kind of gross, no matter how many times I pick up the bedroom it's still a disaster zone, and we have a couple of problem clutter areas that keep popping up.

But holy cow, I'm slowly turning into a grown up as far as cleaning goes. And the bathroom is now, officially, on the clean list.

I'm curious, though: how often do you do basic cleaning chores? How has your relationship with tidying up changed as you've gotten older?

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