As I write this, I am sitting in chaos.
Towering piles of dirty dishes in the sink are conquering new territory over the counter tops. Trash, lying just mere inches away from the empty trash can, look as if they were too exhausted to complete their journey. My bathroom floor looks like a game of “Lava” with a trail of clothes leading to an empty hamper. My living room is an endless mine field of toys, snack wrappers, and half-eaten snacks protecting the entrance to the kids room. Lastly, my desk is completely covered in a blanket of white crumbled up tissues from a night of horrible allergies. There is nothing about this scene that says, “OMG, you are so OCD!” But, oddly, my husband is convinced otherwise!
I clean my house everyday. Okay, allow me to rephrase that…I “pick up” my house everyday. 95% of the time, our house is pretty much clean, in which is saying something considering we have two little sticky and extremely messy kids.
Personally, I enjoying waking up to a clean house and I enjoy going to bed to a clean house; however, during the day is free game. There are messes, spills, unexpected discoveries of old food in the couches, and toys in places I would never have thought to look. My point is, our house looks very much “lived” in during the day, but this is a side my husband rarely see’s, for that he often comes home to a house that looks as clean and organized as a museum.
Perfection is an Illusion
My husband thinks I am an “OCD clean freak,” because in his eyes, the house is generally always “perfectly” clean. My OCD has nothing to do with my cleaning habits and surprisingly, my OCD has nothing to do with perfection. I was raised in a world where everything had to be perfect; perhaps, that is why I despise perfection so much. I just grew tired of it. In my opinion, perfection is nothing more than an illusion. What I may consider as perfect may be different than what another person may consider perfect, thus can create unachievable expectations. Honestly, that doesn’t seem healthy, so I do not strive for perfection. Sure, I have my moments when I want something to be “perfect,” but I do not allow the idea of perfection to consume me. I usually just end up with, “eh, that’s good enough for me,” and move on.
Although I live a somewhat minimalistic lifestyle (except for my kids, they own everything), I do not feel the need to strive for order and cleanliness; instead, I “value” order and cleanliness. For the most part, I try to keep my house neat, clean, and organized, but only because it makes life so much easier.
Keeping A Clean House Is Part of Stress Management
“If it doesn’t have a purpose or serve a function, out it goes!” is my motto for living a somewhat minimalistic lifestyle. It has nothing to do with being frugal, environmentally friendly, or OCD; its just makes life easier and reduces stress for everyone. My husband and I both have anxiety disorders, so I do my best to create a somewhat stress-free environment.
Here are some of my core beliefs about keeping a stress-free environment:
- Waking up to a clean house is refreshing whereas waking up to a messy, dirty house can immediately impact a persons mood and create anxiety with an overwhelming thought of must-do’s.
- Everything has a designated place to make it easier to find things and avoid the anxiety of having to look for something, especially in an emergency.
- Clutter can clutter the mind as well as make excellent hiding places for things we’ve lost. Plus, clutter is home to annoying little dust-bunnies!
- Clothes are washed and put away in a timely manner to avoid the anxiety of not having anything to wear for work.
- Clean dishes encourages a home-cook meal, instead of going out for fast food.
- Going to bed to a clean house puts the mind at rest for better sleep.
Just A Little Everyday Work
There is no extreme labeling, perfect organization, or even a strict chaotic routine I follow everyday to ensure the house is maintained to create a somewhat stress-free environment. Living a minimalistic, clutter free house cuts down majority of the work for me and after that I have only four everyday tasks:
- Laundry (if any)
- Pick up and vacuum the house before husband comes home
- Clean kitchen after dinner, take out trash, and do dishes (cheat with a dishwasher)
- Pick up the house just before bed
But of course, I do deep clean the house once or twice a month, but the rest is just kept up with daily maintenance. This allows me to feel guilt free when I encounter days where I just don’t feel like doing anything at all and leave the house a mess for a day (because even the messiest of days are not that bad).
OCD plays no role in keeping my house clean. Well, maybe, if you factor in that I keep my house clean to reduce anxiety, in which greatly helps my OCD, but OCD itself is not the reason my house is clean. My only actual goal is to pick up the house at the end of everyday before my husband comes home. Where then, it is my husband’s personal idea of perfection that makes it seem our house is maintained by an “OCD clean freak.”
Can your cleaning habits be mistaken for OCD?