I’m not a slob, but cleaning has never been on my top-ten list of fun things to do. If I could afford it, I would gladly pay someone who enjoys such tasks to come in and have a ball on a regular basis. I generally clean out of necessity, and because I have a strong desire to avoid embarrassment should one of my neighbors be so bold as to stop by in search of a cup of sugar.
I do enjoy occupying a clean space, but it’s still hard to explain this strange phenomenon when, every now and then, I wake up with an uncontrollable urge to clean. I’m not talking about that routine surface cleaning where you just clean what you typically see, those open areas with the exposed surfaces that aren’t covered by a large piece of furniture or a throw rug, I’m talking about that deep, move the sofa and chase the dust bunnies clean. I’m talking about that get on your hands and knees and scrub the baseboards clean. That kind of cleaning that reminds you what color the ceiling fan blades and window blinds really are.
I woke up this morning with that urge, and now, hours later, I feel refreshed and happy enough to actually answer the door should someone dare to knock. There isn’t anything quite like relaxing in a freshly cleaned space that practically sparkles.
I seem to get these urges periodically throughout the year, and they aren’t linked to any particular reason or season. At least none that I know of. I do find these sessions to be quite cathartic, and I use the time to just let my brain do its thing, whatever that “thing” happens to be. I was in the middle of cleaning a light fixture when I found myself laughing out loud. A memory of a previous urge being played out many years ago had popped into my head.
My daughter was around five or so, and we had been living in our new home for just a few months. By the time she came downstairs for her breakfast that morning I was already well into my spree. I was focused on that inconvenient space between the toilet and the bathtub when I heard her tiny voice calling to me from the doorway, “Mom.”
I looked up to see her standing there with her hands on her hips and a huge frown on her face, “What’s wrong Sweetie?”
I’m sure a million thoughts flashed through my mind in the split second before she answered, “Are we moving?”
“What? No. Why would you think we’re moving?” That wasn’t one of the million thoughts.
“Because you’re cleaning.”
Sometimes kids say the darndest things. I was speechless for a moment, and then I laughed and reassured her that we were going to stay put. For a while at least. We were a military family at the time, and in her short life she had already experienced three moves in three years. And it occurred to me that although she saw me cleaning on a fairly regular basis, my urges to deep clean had tended to precede a move back then. No wonder the child was worried.
To my daughter, if you happen to read this, no, I’m not moving – I just woke up this morning with an urge to chase dust bunnies.