Rage Cleaning Can Be Healthy, Until It's Not
A few years ago, I was dating a guy who thought I was amazing. It was very early in our relationship and he had yet to really dive into my more #broken side, but as he was boasting about my alleged awesomeness to my children, they quickly set him straight, "Wait until you're here and we have to clean."
I couldn't argue. I like my home clean and organized, and for it to be done "right now." My urgency comes from my inability to think or get any other project done, no matter its importance, until my house is clean. I couldn't study until the house was clean. I couldn't even work with a clear mind unless we had tidied up. Most of the time, I can't go to bed without a clean house. The other exceedingly annoying, obsessive compulsive, rage-cleaning habit of mine is my absolute non-negotiable need to start cleaning at the top of the house and work my way down. It's as if I think the dirt falls down, so if I clean down-stairs first we'll just ruin it when we stir things up-stairs. Really, I think this is about being systematic like vacuuming from one side of the room to the next. Either way, I can't do it any other way.
I declutter. My closets are organized. Our beds are made everyday. I wipe out my fridge before filling it with new groceries. I vacuum a few times each week and mop often. Using the power-hose on the siding and deck is beyond satisfying for me, so much so that when I drive around town and see green moss growing up people's homes, I have to restrain myself from leaving a note, asking if I can volunteer my time to spray down their siding. I've even considered making this a second career.
I am not a complete psychopath though (and I mean no disrespect to actual psychopaths). I don't fold my sheets. They get gently bundled and rolled into a dresser drawer. I don't mate socks. We have a drawer for those too. Our legos are all dumped in a bin, and never have I considered sorting them by color. Almost never.
Not only does cleaning help me keep my mind clear, but it is great physical exercise. I've shared before when I put away the laundry, I fold one item of clothing at a time and then walk and put it away, and then come back and do the next. This really doesn't take me long because I am walking at a fairly quick speed as I am folding. More often I am dancing or singing to classic rock turned up throughout the house so I can get 500 steps in pretty quickly with just this chore and feel productive at the same time, which is way better than the anxiety I feel on the treadmill. I also hand-wash my dishes.
Rage-Cleaning Can Be Very Therapeutic
Many have shared how a divorce can cause us to really deep clean and #declutter. I got rid of decades of collected items after our separation, unloading truck loads of burden. It was incredibly therapeutic. I felt the weight lift almost immediately and in doing so, I could better define who I was, what I wanted in my space, and what really brings me peace and comfort. I repainted, stained the deck, invested in new furniture, took down curtains and blinds, installed speakers in every room, and added more than 150 #plants throughout my home. I have created a genuine sanctuary in my home; albeit, I might be the quintessential single-plant-lady. There isn't just a corner or a room for which I retreat, but every space in my home calms me, including my garden. I haven't quite established the same in the garage or basement, but they are each on my list.
Mothers do the same when they are expecting. We scrub and polish, reorganize and redesign. Men often tear down walls, up-grade bathrooms, and build amazing furniture. When my son passed away, I remember my bestie saying she was surprised how quickly I packed away his things but similar to when my grandmother passed, it was healing for me to move through all the items we had collected and to hold space for the memories each item offered, but then move them out of my immediate space so I could come out of that sorrowful place. I needed to hold him in my heart and allow light back in my space.
It amazes me how often I find myself deep cleaning without really having had true intention of doing so and then being very deep in thought through the process. This can be very meditative and the physical movement, the busying of the body seems to bring forth memories and feelings that I can truly think on, rather than be consumed by them or even completely bury them when I am more still. Rage cleaning is certainly cheaper than talk therapy and minimizes burdens dumped on your bestie. It's also an option for those who resist journaling, although I am still going to encourage you to journal, and even attend talk therapy.
Frequently when I ask clients what they do for pleasure, what their hobbies are, they often share that they enjoy doing #DIY projects with their partners. I am that girl too who can really fall for a guy who helps me out with chores like this. I mean if we can complete a DIY project together, I am more than impressed. I am recognizing the ability of this man to be there for me during tough times, partnering with me in life-challenges, and yeah, I am even that girl who really cherishes the gift of a well-seasoned iron pot, a hand-made carpenter bee trap, or a Dyson vacuum cleaner. I bought that last one for myself; I was worth it.
Mom is Vacuuming: Everyone Seek Cover
When your kids find you dusting and they scramble because they know this means you're in a bad mood or they fear your raging path, you may need a #therapist. If you have scrubbed your floors sparkling clean and you still want to rip through your closets, you may need to evaluate your personal boundaries. If your family fears you will throw away their precious items because they were left in your path, your rage cleaning may not be very therapeutic. Unless of course, if this is immediately after a divorce and you are throwing his belongings on your front lawn; this can be very therapeutic, or at least as I am told.