Gretchen over at Second Blooming has given the subject of clean in any of its variations as this weeks Spin assignment. For those who know me personally, many would think this would be an easy assignment. My mother laughs frequently about how she watched as I used a toothpick to clean around the edges of my sink and counter top range. My youngest sister dropped by one day in my early, wifely days to find me dusting. She gave me a blank stare and asked what was I dusting as she could see not any dust!
Yes, there was a time in my life when I could be absolutely obsessive about cleaning. Or not. I would have "stash areas" where clutter could be placed till I felt like dealing with it. Through the years I have noticed about folks' perception of clean has more to do with clutter than clean. I like to keep my home "picked up". Magazines are read then disposed of by donation or recycling. Mail is read and filed or shredded as needed. I no longer use toothpicks to clean around the edges of sinks and cooktops. I use an ice pick that can be placed in the dishwasher to be sanitized. Figure I have saved a small tree over the years.
When our son was small, I pushed for all toys to be "put in place" each night. This caused lots of issues as he was not nearly so concerned about the "proper place" as my obsessive, compulsive self. One day during this ritual of my picking up with him and pushing him to do more, I asked him a question. "When you think of your daddy, what do you think of?" John Roger then listed things like playing catch, going for walks, reading and bike rides. I asked him the same question of me and his instant response was "clean up this mess."
And as quickly as he had answered, we stopped picking up his room. I do not remember what we did, but it was not cleaning. And his room could hardly be walked through till he left home. Surely in order to keep the place habitable there had to be the "pick it up and vacuum days". But the obsession was toned down somewhat. And the clutter could not move into the other areas of the house permanently. Dust truly became a country accent during those years.
These days I keep a reasonably clean house. I do scrub the eaves and gutters on the north and east sides of the house once a year. Otherwise the crud and dirt build up and deface the house's value. I rarely get on hands and knees to scrub floors as some of my friends do on a regular basis. Floors are for walking on not eating from. I do not dust hangers as one of my relatives do. My Aunt Billie noted she can stare down a vacuum for days before just putting it away. I have become an expert in this field.
I am not sure if it is just my age has made me not worry so much about cleanliness or just life experience. Travelling is much more fun than cleaning. But I want clean sheets waiting for me when I return home. Also, two old people do not create nearly so much dirt and work as little children. We bring our own kind of mess, walkers, canes, wheelchairs, adult diapers to name a few. But typically we do not strew stuff from one end of the room to the other. Well, except when decorating for holidays. Like I said, our own kind of mess.
As clean as friends perceived my home to be, they would have a different take on my mind. Yes, I have a dirty little mind. The last few years I have noticed that as my desire to keep a clean house has diminished, so has the nastiness of my mind. However, a statement of any kind about balls still sends my mind to testes not sports. Guess I'll never be able to completely clean up this mess!
Now, take a minute and click on over to Second Blooming for a fresh look at clean.