Reflections on Life Thus Far

My life. My story: Exploring mental health, spirituality, meditation & random thoughts I have

Wow, I Actually Cleaned


1st edition (publ. McSweeney's)

1st edition (publ. McSweeney’s) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday was a blessing in disguise. When my dad’s guest didn’t make it our place was tidier and cleaner. Before we knew she wouldn’t be able to make it we had both taken to tidying up; thus when she didn’t end up coming we were still left with the happy product of our cleaning efforts. When I got up this morning I cleaned a little more and, all in all, I have to say feel a lot better. My mood is improved when I can look around and not be surrounded by dirt and clutter everywhere. When there is clutter and dirt I become depressed, which is bad b/c how can one clean when depressed? It’s a “catch-22” so to speak. Luckily I had enough energy provided from my embarrassment to do an “emergency cleaning”. That then gave me motivation to do further housekeeping.

There’s still quite a bit to be done but things are more manageable as they are now

Feather duster, dustpan and broom, and upright...

Feather duster, dustpan and broom, and upright vacuum cleaner in one picture. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

anyway. I feel less overwhelmed and defeated when I try tackling the household chores. You know growing up my sister and I never had household chores. We didn’t learn how to clean or tidy up from our parents. Both were neglectful of that area, among many others. In fact neglect was a salient theme throughout my childhood. Mainly in the area of emotional support and attention to health. But with respect to cleaning, it was not really attended to. The dishes got washed maybe once a month, carpets vacuumed every few months or more, bathroom (except for maybe the toilet) could be left uncleaned for weeks to a month or longer, many things never saw a duster or cleaning product in their existence. I’m sure this didn’t help my allergies and asthma. I used to have “colds” year round as a child which were actually a combination of allergies and my asthma. But like I said health was another area neglected in my home. It was pretty much up to me to look after myself in that respect past age 10 or, perhaps, 12 years old.

So these days when I try to clean it always feels slightly unnatural, in the way a second or

English: Compulsive hoarding Apartment Deutsch...

English: Compulsive hoarding Apartment Deutsch: Wohnküche eines Messies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

third language would if you learned it as an adult. For me, I did learn these skills in my 20s as a volunteer with a daycare centre. I thought it was rather strange and seemed foreign to me to have to clean on a regular basis! LOL Back at home it was impossible to clean during the height of my mother’s compulsive hoarding decade. It was all I could do to avoid tripping over things.

I suspect my embarrassment I mentioned in my posts yesterday is actually lingering shame. Indeed I did feel a great deal of shame with so much clutter. It embarrassed me a lot to have to have friends over-mine or my sisters (I had a few friends in high school). These days that embarrassment and shame still seems to have a hold on me.

Has anyone else experienced living with a compulsive hoarder or grown up with a parent who was one? If so, did it leave any lasting effects such as shame or a need for order?

©Natalya, 2013.



Author: Natalya

Blogging my thoughts and feelings about mostly mental health, meditation and spirituality(non religious). Hoping to connect with other interesting people in the blogosphere. *The name is Russian and is my pseudonym.

13 thoughts on “Wow, I Actually Cleaned

  1. My boyfriend would be quite messy if I were to let that happen (and that’s putting it extremely politely). Fortunately I have a strong desire/need/compulsion for things to be clean, so I simply don’t allow it, or only to a very mild degree in certain areas. I know that’s my need, so I take a greater amount of responsibility for it.

    Sometimes you gotta just step in and take care of things and not take “no” for an answer, you know? It’s your life and your home too. You can definitely set up your own room as a no-clutter zone if you wish, at a bare minimum. Good for you for getting it done! 🙂

    • Thanks Jenny. With the clutter I can’t just throw it out like I want to because my dad wants to keep things-I suppose for “later”. It takes a lot of cajoling on my part to get him to throw anything out or donate it. So that in itself is tiring. Seems like it’s always the women who end up doing the cleaning! 😛

      • Yes, I understand the hoarder mentality very well, believe me. He would probably need therapy for that, which is why the best you can do may be to make a little no-mess zone for yourself in your own room or something until you’re able to get your own place. Kitchens and bathrooms should be non-negotiable too, though, just for hygiene’s sake.

      • Thanks Jenny, I agree. He isn’t as bad as my mom was with his hoarding. He tends to hang onto paper and tools, oh and containers from food (ice cream tubs, margarine containers, apple sauce snack containers, etc. Okay, also dishes and cutlery. Maybe a few other things but still nowhere as bad as mom was! The bathroom is easier to keep clean than the kitchen. The kitchen tends to get cluttered easily if I don’t watch everything he lays down somewhere.

      • That’s what I do in my house, I just pick things up constantly. Keep up, that’s my mantra. It’s not easy, but I just gotta, or it would stress me out. It does take a lot of monitoring and willpower, though, as well as good routines and systems. We have LOT of pets! 🙂

      • Thanks, I guess keeping a home clean is not fun but necessary. It’s all new to me since mom never cleaned as I was growing up-apart from every so often (few times a year). My sister and I didn’t have chores either so no habits were formed early on. In a way I can relate to men used to their mom or wife picking up after them. In my case though it’s being unused to cleaning up as a habit.

  2. i grew up the opposite, i had perfectionist father and everything always had to be perfect. i know i have lingering effects from that and i hate cleaning (although i do it) because of all the triggers attached.

  3. Cleaning sounds stressful but itself cos it’s emotional cleaning too – I figured that out after all these years hating cleaning the house. I used to have these issues back to my parents’ house, my mother especially was very pushy about the house being clean and neat.

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