The Rules of Cleaning (and Other Adventures in Housekeeping)

I’ve been cleaning.

I know that isn’t much of a shocker coming from me, the resident obsessive-compulsive, but there you have it. I’ve been cleaning all day long. And you know what? I’m still not done. In fact, I think the apartment is messier than it was when I started this morning.

The thing is… well… I’m particular. Some of it is OCD, some of it is just me being a control freak. Some of it is done because it doesn’t “feel right” otherwise. Some of it is just common sense. Either way, I’ve developed a system.

Here are a few of my ground rules:

Start with the kitchen. The clean laundry has to go through there and you don’t want to have to rewash it if it falls out of the basket and onto the floor, which it is likely to do, since you wait until it piles up to wash it instead of doing it a load at a time.

The fridge must be cleaned out before the dishwasher can be loaded. The fridge must be cleaned out wearing rubber gloves. Okay. This one is definitely OCD. I’m afraid of mold. And milk. Really, REALLY afraid of spoiled milk.

The floor has to be vacuumed before laundry can be folded on it. This usually involves stealing my neighbor’s vacuum, as she caused mine to blow up. Really. She plugged it into her wall and it blew up.

Things can NOT be put away into unorganized drawers. I’ve been like this ever since I was a little girl. I used to get in so much trouble because my dad would tell me to clean, then come back four hours later and find an even bigger pile of toys on the floor where I’d dumped everything out. Even then, I couldn’t bear to just shove stuff into drawers and boxes, and I still can’t. Just ask Kelly. Yesterday, she caught me cleaning out her kids toy chest because it was so disorganized. But hey, I found two pair of pajama bottoms and a shoe. Don’t tell me organizing isn’t worth it.

Clothes must all hang facing the front of the closet, sorted by colors and sleeve length. Not a problem until I find something that got shoved into the closet backwards by accident one morning and end up redoing the whole thing.

Finish with the bathroom. Because you’re going to be showering there when you’re done anyway and you don’t want to have to clean the shower twice. And speaking of showering…

You can’t be clean in a dirty house. This one baffles people who assume that a ‘being clean’ compulsion must go along with multiple daily showers. But I absolutely can not stand to be clean in a less than clean environment. When I step out of my shower, I don’t want to immediately feel dirty again. That’s not to say that I DON’T shower, only that once I start the cleaning process, I have to finish cleaning before I can shower.

None of these rules are so terrible in and of themselves, but here’s my problem.

I have to start with the kitchen. Fine. But that means I need to clean out the fridge. And the fridge is scary because there might be mold there. I can’t load the dishwasher until the fridge is cleaned out and I can’t clean the kitchen until the dishwasher is loaded. If I skip the laundry, I don’t have to do the kitchen, but I have a month’s worth of laundry to do and it’s all over the floor. But even if I do the laundry, which requires emptying the fridge of the spoiled milk and possibly dying, I can’t fold it because the floor is covered in dog hair and I can’t vacuum until I pick up the clutter that’s on the floor. But I can’t put away the clutter on the floor because I have to dump out the drawers and stuff where the clutter goes because they aren’t organized the right way.

Is anyone else getting a Vizzini in the Princess Bride feel from this argument?

The result is that it is now nearly 10:00 pm, my floor is covered in dirty laundry and emptied drawers of stuff, my dishwasher is still unloaded, and it’s too late to vacuum. And I can’t shower. Which I desperately need to do.

*sigh*

In other housekeeping news, I’m toying with a site redesign. I’ve purchased a domain (strange… nobody else had bought ridingincarswithducks.com yet. I can’t imagine why) and I’m looking for a good wordpress.org theme that will let me run several different sections from one main blog. Kind of like Pioneer Woman does. I’d really love to run a section for OCD proper and maybe integrate my writing blog with this one. I’m not sure yet. I just want things more organized.

So stay tuned. And if you know any great WP themes that will let me do what I want, let me know would you?

I miss HTML. This CSS stuff might as well be Arabic, for all that I can understand it.

Finally, my dear readers, I have a piece of advice for you. Line your shower with garbage bags before rinsing hair dye. #Lessonlearnedthehardway

Until tomorrow (if the cleaning supply fumes don’t kill me before then)

*Bobs

15 Comments to “The Rules of Cleaning (and Other Adventures in Housekeeping)”

  1. We really enjoyed a post over on The Inspired Room about keeping your home clean enough. Once you have a baby anything more than that becomes a real struggle- at least for us. She lists a number of routines that work well for her- and were curious- what are yours? I must sweep the floor at least every two days because with dogs and a 9 month old crawling around the dog hair can get pretty disgusting if the floors are not swept at least that often.

  2. lol I love you!!🙂

    I mean, just in a friendly, non-OCD possibly-fellow-OCD manner…🙂 haha this doesn’t make sense…

    But then again, just curious, how do you clean the bathroom/toilet? Do you…?
    I almost had a nervous breakdown and a few minor panic attacks just doing the dishes today lol…

    Why do you fold clothes on the floor?? (Isn’t that what chairs and armchairs and couch are for…?)

    • With a rubber gloves and a long handled brush. But I live alone, so I know exactly what’s been in my bathroom most of the time.

      Dishes, on the other hand, are always a problem. *shudder*

      You’d think so, but I have a lot of open space on my floor in front of the TV and I can get things really flat there. My best friend will tell you that I am a METICULOUS folder. To be fair, I hang most of my stuff now so it doesn’t take me six years to fold a load of laundry, and there’s more room to lay everything out on the floor.

      Because I’m weird.😀

  3. Ha! I love how you made the list and then unraveled the whole thing! I agree with everything–except I don’t know that I’m very good about keeping drawers organized. I LOVE organized drawers, but I am terrible about keeping it up.

    Also, great domain name. I love it! Stopping by from RDC🙂

  4. Awesome! I’m glad I’m not the only one with cleaning quirks! Sometimes it’s easier to just not clean at all!

  5. I can SO relate to this. I used to do the same thing when cleaning my room. Cleaning wasn’t just cleaning for me; it had to be DEEP cleaning…which usually led to a bigger mess in the interim. Eventually, it would all sort itself out, but in the meantime, the resulting bigger mess would be a little overwhelming.

    Now that I have my own home, I’m a little less obsessive, but I still have my moments.

    I can definitely understand how even the best intentions can go astray with cleaning…. Oh, and congrats on our new domain!

    Stopping by from TRDC!

  6. I’m going to become a new follower because I am most probably the complete opposite of you. You would most definitely not feel clean if you saw my fridge or even my bathroom at all😉

    Found you from TRC today and I’m glad I did. Off to check out the rest of your blog.

    Vikki @ She Has Cute Shoes!

  7. Sounds so familiar. When I clean I always end up with a bigger mess than what I started with. By the way, very interesting blog name! LOL

  8. I love cleaning out my fridge. Is that weird? If I just clean out my fridge, I feel like my whole kitchen is clean, even if there are smashed peas all over the floor.

    Enjoyed reading this post!🙂

  9. now i understand why my daughters place is always nothing done lol…she gives up and reads a book instead!!!

  10. Funny! What do you do if your dishwasher is broken and your shower leaks onto the kitchen floor?
    Visiting from TRDC

  11. Visiting over from the TRDC tonight!

    Totally loved this post. Partly because it was a little like looking in a mirror. A mirror that reflects a younger, more attractive, more self-aware person than I have ever been…but still!

    I’ve had conversations with people (mostly at work) about my OCD. I had to stop eating M&M’s at work – my coworkers were driving me nuts about it. Thing is, I happen to LIKE to eat my M&M’s in a certain order. I don’t HAVE to, I LIKE to. If space and time don’t allow me to spread the little candies over my desk during my break, I can and will eat them directly out of the bag in no particular order…it’s just not as satisfying. (And I don’t care what anyone says, the different colors DO taste different!) But they know I have OCD, so they assume anything like that is a sign I’m about to go over the edge. Since they have difficulty with the M&M’s, I’ve chosen not to reveal what I do with paperclips, rubber bands, and the other denizens of my desk.

    The left/right thing. I’m forty. I still can’t tell left from right without serious thought. Hubby has learned to point, unfortunately the lady in my GPS has not. I love the ducks – genius! I wonder if I can program the lady in my GPS to say pink duck or yellow duck instead of left and right?

    • I’m an NC native. Always love to see fellow North Carolinians!

      I love the M&M thing! Sometimes you just want to do things the way you want to do them. At least your coworkers are sensitive to the OCD though. At my last job, my coworkers took a special pleasure in waiting until I left my desk and moving my stuff around, just to screw with me. They were a LOVELY bunch. *cough* sarcasm *cough*

      Isn’t telling someone that they eat their M&Ms incorrectly kind of like getting down on people who prefer to eat dinner before dessert? Clearly they’re obsessive-compulsive because they HAVE to do it that way.

      If you figure out how to program the GPS, you and I are going into business. We’ll sell GPS systems and two ducks in a combo pack.

  12. Found you on the RDC. Great blog! I couldn’t help but laugh–I hope you don’t mind. I had to abandon so many of my little quirks when my kids came along! Oh well.

  13. I love your wp format, where did you get a hold of it?

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