I’ve been a clean freak for the most part of my life.
Maybe, I’m so even now.
Though this obsession of cleaning the house to spotless clean has mellowed down with age.
Let me begin with a confession:
I love a clean home. It makes me happy to be in an environment that is clean and well-organized.
Being happy is life’s ultimate goal. Maybe this was why I have been taking cleaning a bit too seriously. I am not proud to admit that on more occasions than I can count I have shown traces of behaviour that can be classified as being somewhat obsessive-compulsive about cleanliness and order.
Let me give you an example;
Every time we have a visitor at home, before their arrival, I go on a crazy cleaning spree.
When I was still a teenager, I used to spend hours polishing the decoration pieces, vacuuming the rugs and ensuring the home was squeaky clean and in perfect order.
At that point, I used to see this habit of mine as an obsession with cleanliness or orderliness. Something I was proud of. But one that without fail, left me in pain.
Though I do not think the same way anymore.
Every time I catch myself crossing the boundary, I revisit the reasons why I love cleanliness and orderliness in the first place.
Then I take a U-turn and run through the list of possibilities that would happen if I chose to do nothing.
Here’s the good news. The world wouldn’t stop spinning on its axis if I stuck to my daily routine of cleaning and did NOTHING more.
Okay, that was a bit of an exaggeration, but the kind of effort and time I invest in micro-cleaning the house when we’re expecting guests kind of matches that.
Something amazing happened yesterday, something I’d never imagined possible until it actually happened.
Yesterday, my cousins were due to visit us. As expected, I was running around the house putting things in order.
Just when I’d done enough, I stopped for a moment to think about why I was doing something I didn’t do on a daily or rather a regular basis.
I do keep the home in order but what I do when we are expecting the company is nothing short of insane.
A house that is in order and kept clean should be sufficient on a daily basis and that should also be the case when we have guests coming over. But, this understanding never worked for me until yesterday.
This time, I held myself back from overdoing the cleaning or going overboard in making the home look picture perfect.
It took me 10 minutes of contemplation to not get back to my old self.
At the end of the day, I had saved myself enough energy to use it during my interaction with the guests and enjoy every minute of it.
In retrospect, it might be the gift of my new-found wisdom (showered by the three new grey hair) or maybe my recent inclination towards weighing in the utility of every habit I have.
I am pretty happy that I have changed for the better.
Overdoing the cleaning used to drain my energy leaving me cranky and dull enough to not enjoy any minute of the real occasion.
I believe, becoming a parent has also contributed to bringing about this positive change in me.
With a baby tornado in the house, I am left with no choice but to be satisfied with a clean home that is in order only during the school hours.
I can safely strike through my old habit of being obsessed with keeping the house squeaky clean and am glad to bid adieu.
It helps to understand that if your home is not as clean and organized as you’d like, you got to change your strategy and not work harder.
Seeking help from the family in this endeavour can really work wonders. Though their cooperation might not match your enthusiasm. However, to keep the house clean and organised every day of the year, this is a vital step.
The song on my mind: Yeh tera ghar, yeh mera ghar ~ Saath Saath