Claire Black: 'I won't give up a soor ploom just because it's been for a roll around under the sofa'
HOW clean is your house? A question as personal as how often do you change your underwear. Do you pride yourself on keeping it so spotless you would happily eat your dinner off the buffed and scrubbed kitchen floor?
Or maybe it's an "appearances can be deceptive type cleanliness" - good at the easy-to-reach level, less impressive on top of the kitchen cupboards? Or, of course, not that you'll admit this, it might be an abode best looked at through someone else's contact lenses.
Mine falls into the second category. I have certainly eaten off the floor, but I won't give up a soor ploom just because it's been for a roll around under the sofa. I wouldn't however eat my dinner off the kitchen floor and at 5ft 3in I don't ever even come close to glimpsing the top of any cupboard, a situation with which I'm quite happy.
So how interesting that yesterday someone told me that I'd give Aggie and Kim a run for their money. It was meant as a compliment. But was it?
I have tendencies. They are the result of growing up in a house where cushions were plumped as soon as you raised yourself off the sofa, and bathroom tiles demanded more drying than freshly showered bodies. I am aware that these tendencies could tip into neuroses, so my clean routine is deliberately kept low level.
There are some non-negotiables: I insist on the bath-mat being hung on the side of the bath as soon as it's been used; I like to cream clean the sink three times a week; and I change the dish cloth in the kitchen so often ours have a life expectancy of approximately six weeks.
But there is another kind of non-negotiable too: things that no matter how gross I just can't make myself do. I resist cleaning out the fridge until several liquefied items show signs of being ready to walk out themselves. I avoid pulling hair out of the plug on the basis that I once saw a black-and-white horror movie where a woman started off pulling a single hair and ended up hauling an entire hair rope out of the drain. And my oven is treated according to the principle that at high temperatures most germs are rendered harmless, therefore what's the point of cleaning it?
It is this second category of non-negotiables that means I will never be a Kim or an Aggie. I will never be the type of person for whom someone just dropping by prompts a flurry of checking.
So why do people think it's so clean? It's because it's tidy. Not quite a place for everything and everything in it's place, more plenty of drawers which can be stuffed with random assortments of stuff (bills, receipts, magazines) which once out of sight can much more easily be out of mind.
And what is interesting is that messy people like tidiness. They don't want to spend their precious spare time putting things away, but they like it when it's done.
But here's the deal - very few people like cleaning or tidying.
Even if some like a particular task, they don't care for the day-in, day-out drudgery. But that's what it takes. If you aspire to also be likened to Kim and Aggie, it's the only way. x
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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