Perpetual Housekeeping: How to Stop Tidying Up All the Time

Есть проблема: беспорядок на кухонной столешнице

Admit it, have you ever caught yourself thinking that everything you do at home is constant cleaning? Now you need to arrange a general cleaning, then wipe it, then throw something out, then it’s time to disassemble the shelf, then the closet. And while you were doing all this, an unsightly layer of dust and grease again built up on the kitchen hood. How do you stop the endless running in circles around the rag and mop? Psychologists have an answer.

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Who is it all for?
The first question to ask yourself in such a situation is: for whom are you trying to get closer to ideal cleanliness and order? Your answers may be as follows.

  • For yourself: you don’t like it when the house is a mess.
  • For the husband: he does not like it when the house is a mess, and he often talks about it.
  • For children: they need to see an example of how to actually run a household.
  • For strangers like guests, what might they think of you if they accidentally see a stack of ironed linen or cat hair on the couch?
  • You yourself don’t know for whom, you just can’t stop, it’s like an obsession.

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Family and order:
Consider if perfectionism is showing up in your attempts to clean up. Perfectionism is quite capable of making you strive for something that cannot be achieved. Maybe you have some convictions, like: “A good housewife will never allow even a minimum of dust on the shelf”? The flip side of this belief means that if you have any dust anywhere, you are a bad housewife. For some, such a prospect can really seem terrible and intolerable, and therefore they choose rags and a mop on the weekend, instead of relaxing and relaxing with their family.

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To stop worrying about this, think about what a scale from the worst housewives on Earth to the nicest might look like. There are no only black and white criteria, this is really a scale. Where would you place yourself on this scale? Your mom? Mother-in-law? Sister? Girlfriend? Think about the specific people you could place on this scale: which of them is significantly worse than you and significantly better if you consider them according to the criterion of “mistress”.

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Reflect on what the concept of “mistress” contains. Is this just a chase for dust and dirt, or is there something else equally important to be called a good housewife? What do you think your children will appreciate (and remember) more: how did you read books to them on Sundays, or how did you vacuum all day on Sundays?


By the way about loved ones
Sometimes it happens that loved ones express dissatisfaction with our slovenliness. This is the sin of all those close to us: husbands, wives, and mother-in-law with mother-in-law and parents. In some cases, their claims are well-founded. But sometimes – and this is where I want to emphasize – there is something else underneath these comments about cleanliness and order: dissatisfaction with you in general, a desire to establish control, attempts at manipulation, problems in relationships. In such situations, of course, you should not take accusations of insufficient cleanliness in the house at face value. Perhaps this is a signal that it is time to identify and heal painful spots in your relationship.

Advice: Work out a cleaning schedule that is acceptable to you, for example, a little every day and once a month for three hours. Or get out strictly by zone. In a word, there are a lot of options, the main thing is that your schedule is not called “after rain on Thursday.”

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Cleaning as an obsession
If we are already talking about some psychological difficulties, then it also happens. Cleaning turns into an exhausting and not leading to a feeling of completion. You may feel like you need to do something right away to reduce your discomfort. In most cases, we are talking about anxiety or other rather intense unpleasant emotions that a person tries to drown out by being distracted by intense activity. Sometimes a person is prone to putting things in excessive order if he is overcome by frightening thoughts about the surrounding microbes, possible pollution and disease. Such situations require professional help, of course.

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Visitors to you: what to do if you have not cleaned for five days
You know, this may be news to you, but people do not evaluate you as picky as you think. And not only about the cleanliness in your home, but about any other aspect of your life: people generally tend to think much more about themselves than about you.

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Of course, if you have so much cat or dog hair that it gets into the dishes you feed your guests, or causes them immediate attacks of severe allergies, then of course, this is an excuse to reconsider the schedule, criteria or methods of cleaning.

When guests come to you, they do it for you and for the sake of communicating with you. At this point, you are not participating in the competition for the title of the cleanest apartment of the year. Therefore, focus on communicating with your friends – it will give you more pleasure than panicky attempts at the last minute to stuff everything that is bad in the closet.

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Instead of a summary: in general, if the problem of eternal cleaning is close and familiar to you, I would recommend paying attention to the psychological attitudes that you personally associate with the concept of cleaning. Why are you doing this so intensely? What does this mean for you the concept of “cleanliness in the apartment” or “dirt in the apartment”? Are these your desires or someone else’s? Whose voice do these ideas sound in your head? Is there something you want to disconnect from when you get out? Is there something that bothers you a lot? What can happen if you don’t clean for, say, a week?

I hope my questions will help you to put things in order a little. First of all – in the head. Share your own ways to overcome the clutter in your home without a vacuum cleaner and a mop! Add tips to the comments section.

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About Leona Smith 115 Articles
Hello! My name is Silke and this is my travel blog. I want to show you fascinating places off the beaten track, give you a gentle introduction to history and culture, and help you get around Berlin. After 13 years in Sydney and Andalusia, I now live in Berlin, Germany. I am a travel writer, translator and book author. Read more about me here.

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