Do organized people have a bad reputation?

I received an interesting e-mail message the other day:

Why should I bother getting rid of my clutter if my clutter doesn’t bother me? It only seems to be a problem for other people.

I receive dozens of e-mails like this a month. They’re messages from people who stumble upon the website and feel a need to defend their messy way of life. The incorrect assumption is always that since we talk about home and office organizing on Unclutterer, we believe that we’re better than messy people.

At a networking event last year, a woman I had just met told me she hated people like me. She said that she hates organized, tightly wound people who look down their noses at messy people. She made these comments after I said only the words, “Hi, I’m Erin. I’m editor-in-chief of a website called Unclutterer.com.”

I haven’t quite figured out why, but there does seem to be the misconception that organized people spend a great amount of time looking down on people who are messy. How did this inaccurate stereotype develop? Why is pursuing an organized life considered to be one full of judgment?

The reality (or, at least my reality) is that I barely have the time to do the things I want to do. I want to help people who want my help to be more organized and live more simply. I want to be a good friend to my friends, and a good family member to my family. I want to be happy. I don’t have the time or desire to judge people because they are messy. And, since I used to be completely disorganized, I would have to look down on my past self — and I don’t have the time to do that, either.

What are your thoughts? Why do you think organized people get a bad rap? More importantly, what can all of us do to put these inaccurate and judgmental stereotypes to rest? Or, am I off base, and are most organized people standing around thinking bad thoughts about messy people? I’m interested in reading your opinions in the comments.

142 Comments for “Do organized people have a bad reputation?”

  1. posted by Christine on

    I think often people assume that it’s super easy for organized people. I like being organized, but it does take work. People are always saying to me “Oh,I wish I could be organized like you.” or “I wish I could so easily declutter,” but the truth is, it’s not automatic (at least not at first) and it’s not easy. Every time I declutter and clean out, it can be gut wrenching…I just think the payoff’s worth it. And for the record, I never look down on someone’s clutter!

  2. posted by Cliff on

    Consumerism does not brook dissent. After you’re done being berated by others for the choices you make in your own life about CLUTTER, try on the concept of NOT ATTENDING REGULAR RELIGIOUS SERVICES or (golly gee!) not necessarily believing that WORKING ALL DAY EVERY DAY is necessary.

    People who feel they have been forced to conform to a certain ideal, are ALWAYS offended by others who have the chutzpah to resist that ideal.

  3. posted by Bong on

    First, thanks for this wonderful website. I visit this website daily and I always learn something new. I think the quick answer to your question has something to do with human nature. I think people in general find it easier to criticize others like unclutterers who are taking positive steps to make their lives better. I work in an office with Doctors and Researchers with PhDs who have the most messiest offices I’ve ever seen. I on the other hand have the most cleanest and organized office. I get my share of compliments and smart remarks. I don’t impose my “uncluttered ways” to my co-workers but when they ask me why I’m so organized, I simply tell them that it makes me efficient and that my efficiency make their lives easier (I am their Purchasing Manager and manage the department budget). Recently, we got new carpet in our offices, new paint and new computers. Everyone worked out of boxes and were miserable. It barely affected me because in my office, there was hardly anything to move or was in the way of the contractors. I was kicking back while everyone else was packing and unpacking and sorting, cleaning, etc… Some of them now realize the advantages of being uncluttered and are working towards that goal.

    Thanks again and keep up the wonderful work you do for us.

  4. posted by LKA1 on

    i have to agree with sarah. as a messy hoarder working to develop a new way of living, i can honestly say i have admired tidy, organised people always – i simply did not know how to do it. it is that simple.

    now i am building up a new set of tools for dealing with my copious amounts of ‘stuff’ (spurred on by a new partner and this website, and of course, ikea), and so i feel less ashamed. but shame is the word for the feeling.

    so don’t take those comments to heart, they’re simply in externalisation of the speakers own self perception.

  5. posted by irulan24 on

    @JPLemme: I’ve heard the phenomenon that you’re talking about referred to as “self-policing.” That is, some classes of people who are lower-status in society will reinforce certain detrimental cultural norms themselves because it gives the judges reinforcement at the societal level.
    In many (but not all) segments of our society, cleaning and tidying are considered “women’s work,” and it’s women who bear the brunt of the criticism (and perhaps dole out the majority of it, as well) when the cleanliness-is-godliness morality referenced above comes into it.

  6. posted by geekgrrl on

    I’m a naturally disorganized person constantly struggling to be neat and tidy. I’m overworked and in constant disorder because now, I not only have my own stuff to manage, but my whole family’s as well. Somehow the decision to stay at home to parent my kids means I also have the sole responsibility for all the domestic crapola I didn’t sign up for.

    I don’t normally mind tidy people – I admire them – but it’s now at the point where I have to HIRE A CLEANER to help get my house up to scratch before relatives visit, in order to minimize the constant snide comments. They still make jibes (eg – I’m buying new shelves to organize the study .. “hate to tell you this, but they don’t organize themselves, you know!

    I think organized people view it as some kind of moral failing. It comes naturally to them and they can’t understand why it’s so hard for me. I’M NOT WIRED THAT WAY! GET OFF MY CASE!!!

    As for unclutterer: love the site. Loads of helpful ideas. I’m trying to use some of this stuff to make it easier – minimizing the amount of crap I have to organize! Useful constructive ideas and tools, not criticism.

  7. posted by YogaGirl on

    Maybe people go on the defensive because actually they wish they could be organised but aren’t…and secretly feel a bit guilty about it.

    I personally am big into being organised and decluttering, but it’s definitely not in my nature and if I wasn’t disciplined I know my place would be a mess.

    I can’t remember whether it was on this site or somewhere else that I heard this quote but it made me laugh and is VERY relevant to me:

    ‘Organised people are just too lazy to look for things.’

  8. posted by Caroline on

    2nd post. I was raised by a cleaning compulsive Mother. She considered me lazy. I rebelled, but more importantly, I had a different style from her that took me many years of feeling stupid to finally realize that i had my own way.

    I always thought that I wanted to live my life and not worry about the systems and organizing that seemed so tedious and a waste of time. Once I figured out that organization is a strong foundation to the rest of my goals, I started embracing it more.

    It is not my mother’s way, or my husbands way – but I feel so much better in my home and life. I have learned what I have to do to keep my husband happy. And now I know what make me comfortable.

    I see people’s shame and embarressment every day in my organizing business. That is why I want to help them to find their way. The smiles at the end is a large part of my compensation.

  9. posted by Kathy Higginbotham on

    I once saw a sign that said “Dull women have imaculate homes.” It was yet another jab at those of us who are trying to keep serenity in ours homes to help perpetuate it in our heads. I just went to a girlfriends house to help her declutter this past weekend and she has called twice to thank me saying she could have never done it on her own. Why is this? I believe it centers around not wanting to change out of fear..fear of the letting go of the past and fear of something different in the future. What better emotion to get someone riled up and in your face!
    Living in the moment frees us from both fears. I loved your article in Real Simple and plan to buy your book for myself and friends when it comes out. You go girl!!

  10. posted by Historybuff on

    My mother is disorganized, so I grew up watching her struggle with items she lost, misplaced, or could not find. She spent so much extra time dealing with moving the piles around, finding her other shoe, finding that bill to pay, etc. My dad, on the other hand, was always organized and knew where all of his stuff was. Today they share a giant closet, and it is easy to see the kept vs nonkept sides.
    So for me, it was easy to see who had the most productive use of their time and who wasnt needlessly spinning their wheels.

    I did not want to do rework in my own home. I am trying to teach that to my five year old daughter as well. If you put things back where they go, you will know where it is each time.

    So Erin, I guess what I am saying is that being organized reduces stress, streamlines my daily routine and brings some calm to my busy life. I dont really care what disorganized people do…

  11. posted by E Fischer on

    I worked in environmental non-profits for 13 years and often people would immediately become defensive or apologetic, blurting out things like, “I recycle.” My husband works for the U.S. government and people blurt out things like, “I pay my taxes.” I don’t think it’s unique to clutter, in other words, and that there’s just a portion of the population who instantly translates other people’s lives into something personally applicable to their own, run it through their brain, and say the first thing they think of.

  12. posted by Battra92 on

    I’m certainly not minimalist by nature. I have over a thousand DVDs, at least a dozen game consoles, hundreds of games etc. I prefer my music on Vinyl or CD over anything digital (though I do enjoy the convenience of FLAC or even MP3) and I’m not by any means counter-culture yet I do like to keep things organized. To me it’s just part of being a geek and keeping track of my inventory.

  13. posted by Peter on

    As some other’s here said: projecting. Your ability to manage your clutter brings to mind their inability to manage theirs.

  14. posted by BJA on

    I am extremely organized, and not the least bit “tightly wound.” My psyche is soothed by having a place for everything, mostly because my memory is less than sharp, and if everything doesn’t have a place, half my life would be spent looking for things, and we all have better things to do, yes?

    Very often, friends and family make remarks about feeling guilty when I visit their homes because they don’t think they’re as organized or neat as I am…and I am always surprised, because it never enters my mind to compare my lifestyle to anyone else’s in any way, least of all how they keep house.

    The only time I’ve ever felt conflicted about this is when I lived with a complete slob who used to undress for bed and leave his clothes in a heap on the floor….in my direct path to the bathroom in the morning. After repeated requests that he walk the 3-4 feet to put his clothes in the hamper, he finally told me he was going to keep doing that because he thought it was “therapeutic for me to sleep knowing there was a mess in the room.” What was eventually far more therapeutic was when I jettisoned his passive-aggressive ass and resumed living alone.

    No judgment at all. It’s simply a compatibility issue. We don’t have to be the same to be compatible (ie both neat or both messy) but we do have to maintain respect and accomodate one another’s choices without name-calling and immature disrespect in the form of verbal jabs, eye rolling or treating a person’s choice of how to maintain their environment as a character flaw.

    Live and let live, I say. Just allow me to manage my environment the way I please, and I’ll return the favor.

  15. posted by Kate on

    In the same way that clutter-defenders defend their clutter I defend my right to live without clutter. Respect my right to control my enviroment as I respect your right to control yours by filling it with the things you think you can’t live without.
    I think it’s worth pointing out (as many have done before me) that if unclutterers go about their business being self-riteous they will stand out as stereotypical. Free your mind of clutter, respect other people and treat them the way you would like to be treated whether or not they have embraced clutter or not.

  16. posted by Kate on

    I should also point out that, yes, I am guilty of instigating uncluttering in my workplace which does affect my collegues. Some of them thank me, some of them say nothing, some of them mock me for being slightly obsessive but they truly appreciate it. This may contradict my my previous post but i do respect the individual. However safety and efficiency in the workplace makes sence to everyone, doesn’t it?

  17. posted by Adie on

    This makes me think of that line from Hamlet: “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.” People who are comfortable with the way they organize (or don’t organize) their lives don’t bother with defending themselves, because they don’t see alternative choices as assaults on their own decisions. People who wish they could be uncluttered and just can’t do it for whatever reason are the ones who feel judged, and that’s because they’re judging themselves.

    Fortunately, this is a site about uncluttering and not a massive group therapy session.

  18. posted by Joan on

    I think it’s been very interesting to read these comments. I guess my 2 cents is that you can’t assume that anyone’s organizational skills have any reflection on who they are as a person any more than you should assume that because someone dresses in top-of-the-line, fashionable clothing, they have it all together. I know plenty of people who are “uncluttered” or “organized” on the surface, but (a) you don’t want to look in their storage units and (b) definitely don’t look at the “clutter” they might have mentally to sort through!

    And, by the same token, I know some people whose homes are in perpetual disarray, who are the most “with it” people around. Outward appearance is not necessarily a reflection of the inner person, though I admit it can be in many cases.

    That also said, I think it’s interesting that OCD is seen as so synonymous with organization. I have OCD that is somewhat well-controlled by medication and therapy, but both before and after, I have had a clutter problem. OCD is about ritualistic behavior, and while some people certainly take their housekeeping to that extreme, there are those who have the opposite problem. There was a point at which I could not clean my bathroom because I didnt’ have a “system” for how to clean the bathroom, and I coudn’t take a shower because I had such a fear of dirt that I wouldn’t enter the filthy bathroom. I was about as un-neat as you could get, at that point, both personally and in my living space. Thankfully, that’s improved greatly, but you see my point.

    The outward manifestations – in my case, a terrible appearance (as you can guess) and a messy house – had nothing to do with how “organized” I was on the inside. I had SUCH a rigid organization in my head that I couldn’t act.

    Thankfully, Unclutterer deals with not just physical clutter, but “mental clutter,” too. I’ve always appreciated that, and it’s why I frequent this site as opposed to so many others. I say, keep doing what you’re doing; keep helping the people you’re helping – and that’s a lot of us, it seems! – and realize that you probably won’t change the minds of people who have a preconception about neatness.

  19. posted by Daniel on

    As a former hoarder, I find I’m extremely judgemental of clutterholics. For me, it’s like a recovered alcoholic watching drinkers destroy themselves in a downward spiral, when I broke free. To me, hoarding and messiness is right up there with body odor, gambling, and compulsive underemployment. Of course they would be threatened by someone with no such vices.

  20. posted by geekgrrl on

    @Adie – judging myself? Not unless I suddenly possess some psychic power that enables me to actually put words in my relatives’ mouths!!!

    I’ve also heard plenty of nastiness among ‘friends’ about other moms who don’t keep house to The Required Standard.

    “You should have seen her house! OMG! What does she DO all day?? (Um, letsee, she’s breastfeeding so that’ll be about four hours a day attached to a baby, then there’s nappies, laundry, baths, and chasing after a toddler….)

  21. posted by Anita on

    Hi, lots of interesting posts here. I am an organize-minimalist, and like another postee I suffer from depression and find that being organised & minimalist in my lifestyle helps me cope with the down days.

    My sister however is a complete messy, clutter everywhere, but that aside is no less a person. She just “organizes” differently to me.

    Every one is individual (even no 2 neat-freaks are the same), live and let live . . .life’s too short to worry about whether you can find your socks or not :-)

  22. posted by Marie on

    In the 7th comment, Divine Bird Jenny, hit the nail on the head when she told us about her mom:

    “My parents had acquaintances who had a messy, cluttered house and it used to drive my mom CRAZY. She would talk about that couple’s messiness every time they came up in conversation. She definitely fit the stereotype you mentioned in your post. I think this is where a lot of people make that connection between ‘neat’ and ’snob’.”

    I definitely have 2 friends who judge all us moms on how neat and organized we keep our houses. And while they do lots of cleaning and organizing, they don’t do much living, and they are not spontaneous. at. all.

    I happen to homeschool 5 children, and my husband and I both run small businesses and work from home, plus we each do lots of volunteer work, which accrues more paperwork and files. We live in a modest home, and our large dining room is our schoolroom and a business office. We don’t care to work in the musty basement, or the upstairs bedrooms. It just works best to have everyone spend the day together schooling and working.

    Even with tidying-up twice a day, my home is going to look somewhat messy, especially when someone comes over unannounced. So even though I’m not obsessive about organizing, I try to control clutter, and we seem to get by quite nicely.

  23. posted by DanGTD on

    I believe you have to be so organized that it disgusts people.

    Don’t see anything wrong with that.

  24. posted by Michele on

    I think John hit it right on the head when he mentioned people seeing things as black and white (the bicycle and SUV example). People are quick to go on the defense about so many things. For example, I rarely drink alcohol because it gives me migraines. When I refuse a drink in a social setting, the person often gets defensive about it, sometimes justifying why they choose to drink. Usually I reply that it’s a health issue, not a moral or religious one, and then they calm down. I’m betting that is the sort of person who would “hate” an unclutterer.

  25. posted by Karen on

    I think your reaction to the “hater’s” comment was to be offended, which is a natural and justifiable reaction to rudeness. When is it ever polite to say, “I hate people like you”?

    I do not look down on disorganized people; however, I do find them frustrating to deal with at times, but only when their incompetence affects me directly. Otherwise, what do I care how they run their lives? I’m much more interested in my own life, thanks.

    It’s disingenuous to pretend that being disorganized is not going to affect others’ opinions of you. People who are organized and have it together really impress me and, I think, everyone else.

  26. posted by Spring on

    In a word – relatives. Particularly moms who were raised a certain way. I notice many of the prior commenters touch on or around this, up above.

    Every family is going to have a few judgmental people and a few bossy people and a few neat freaks. Where these groups intersect, you get somebody really obnoxious, and it makes an indelible impression. The highly organized wind up suffering from the association.

    I think this will naturally straighten out as we broaden our tolerance and acceptance on a lot of other fronts, as a side effect. Once people start thinking open-mindedly, they start doing it in lots of contexts, and then, there ya go.

  27. posted by Sally on

    What about neat freaks who aren’t CLEAN? I have a friend who has nothing out of place and no clutter EVER, but her house smells ‘dirty’ and she often has ickky stuff in her sink.

    On the other hand, I am a messy working on getting more organized, but I freak when the house is dirty or smelly.

    Go figure.

  28. posted by geekgrrl on

    “It’s disingenuous to pretend that being disorganized is not going to affect others’ opinions of you. People who are organized and have it together really impress me and, I think, everyone else.”

    Ah there you go. Being organized is a VIRTUE, you think.

    Tell you what. You don’t judge me for occasionally being late, forgetful or not finding stuff, and I won’t judge you for not writing a novel, not painting amazing and original paintings, and not writing a single original line of music in your life.

    (oh yes, I’m sure you’ll be the exception, Karen, the neatfreak who actually has a creative bone….)

  29. posted by geekgrrl on

    Ach. By the way, I’m just P’d off at Karen. Pointing out that two can play the judgement game.

    I’m sure there are plenty of creative neat freaks out there. But the fact is that creativity and order don’t usually cohabit – creativity is about making random and unexpected connections, doing things in unusual and interesting ways, not regular ordered ways.

  30. posted by jooly33 on

    My, my, my… Don’t get me wrong here. I’m no hater. I’m not judgmental. I’m just being tired of being told to tidy up, straighten up and get rid of my belongings. I have lots of papers, memorabilia, toys, music and books and so on. But I don’t have too much clothing, shoes, makeup and knickknacks (say, a totally useless centerpiece). My house is my territory. I’m never messy or cluttered when I stay elsewhere.
    Believe me, I’m all for simplicity and being organized. But, like I said, I AM able to find my stuff and I remember where I put my stuff. I know where to find important paperwork. By the way, Unclutterer and Real Simple have been in my Favorites list for a while. Just as for religions, I only take what I need from it. I try to better myself, because I don’t want it to become a problem for my kids. I’m doing it for others.

  31. posted by Alex on

    I keep my office at work completely clutter free, and it freaks people out bad. On my desk is my monitor, phone, desk calendar, and when I’m working, a notepad or whatever document I’m working on. I’m the only person in my software group of about 15 people that has a clutter-free workspace. People walk by all the time and feel the need to stop by and say “You need to dirty this place up, at least make it look like you’re working.” But, when a client decides to call and ask about a project we haven’t worked on in 3 months, guess who can dig up the related documents/requirements/designs/etc… in about a minute?

  32. posted by Elaine on

    Look at any dysfunctional family and there’s going to be a neatness/cleanliness issue in there somewhere.

    My mom was reasonably tidy, but incredibly lax about general hygiene and cleanliness. I was the opposite – books piled everywhere, clothes not put away, but I loved scrubbing at something until it shined. I always had a bottle of Fantastik in my room and was far ahead of the trend of buying matching canisters for the kitchen.

    And yet, my mother took great delight in labeling me a “lazy slob.” As a result, I saw myself that way — until a few years after Mom passed away and her beloved younger sister reminisced: “Aw, your mom…God love ‘er, she could never get her ____ together. The laziest slob who ever lived!”

    Organizational ability has a lot to do with self-image.

  33. posted by Jade on

    Funny… I thought it was UN-organized people who get the bad rap???!!!!

    All joking aside…when it comes to my job – administrative assistant – being organized by nature is a big asset and most employers seek that when they look for office personnel.

    My mind is just naturally organized in the way I think…making connections and having a good memory are part of the organized mind. But, and maybe this is the key to being an organized person – throw a little procrastination into the works and organization goes out the window!!

  34. posted by Jennifer on

    Well, SOME neatness-oriented people are very much like the stereotype you described. My ex-husband, for one and my ex Mother-in-Law, as well. For awhile, we debated whether or not my ex could spend time at my house because, as he put it, “My OCD kicks in” when he sees the mess. He has chosen to keep his mouth shut in recent visits because we both realize it’s good for him to spend time with his children on their own turf, and also that I don’t need the judgement. Being a single Mom of two young kids is tough enough without someone holding me to some unattainable (for me, anyway) level of cleanliness.

  35. posted by Java Monster on

    My mother was/is a clean-neatnick. I was messy; or it *looked* like I was messy. I don’t remember my room getting overly out of hand at all. She would have my neatnick sister “help” me clean my room. My mother, because she painted my room with a rainbow and coordinated the wallpaper with it (back in the 70s folks!) had a party once and wanted to show it off to her friends. She wanted it clean.

    I’ve hated cleaning ever since. I appreciate a clean, uncluttered space, but I powerfully resent ANYone telling me to clean up, or get rid of piles (even if I hate them, too). It’s MY SPACE. It’s a violation of my territory. So of course I married a man who hates clutter because his grandmother was a class 4 hoarder, and his own house was a clutter-mine field.

    It took my mother a few years to realize that I resented her doing dishes, or cleaning, or neatening up my kids’ rooms when she visited. It’s not her business, she’s not our housekeeper, and she’s finally realized that fact. She keeps her own home as neat as she likes. It’s just like the show-place museum our house was when I was a kid and the friends I had didn’t feel comfortable coming over for fear of messing things up.

    So, Erin, although that woman went on the offensive and hurt your feelings, looking at it from the other side, I think it’s a self-defense mechanism. Although I probably wouldn’t have jumped on you like she did, I think her defensiveness was well-earned.

    As for JPLEmme, sure, all you and your guy-friends aren’t neat and clean-but I bet your parents didn’t make you clean your rooms. Or had your sisters do it. Or your mother. Why should it bother you? When you meet a woman, you’ll expect her to pick it all up, even if she’s a lot like you. Because hey, that’s the way guys are, right? And what girls should do; clean up their men.

  36. posted by Kate on

    Ah well, calling someone “messy” (even if true) is not exactly a compliment, is it?
    People might react defensively to your calling them ugly or lazy, too – even if you did not have anything against them personally.

  37. posted by dan maurer on

    @geekgrrl

    Wow. Though I guess that is the assumption, even if you are making it in jest.

    I consider myself organized (at work and in my personal projects), but I try to be creative with writing and music. My house is a mess, though, and I don’t really care overmuch.

    Perhaps organization is a compensation mechanism to keep multiple projects straight in my head. Some of them even get finished.

    I get criticized for being neat at work (plenty of “nothing to do?”s), but I do keep a high throughput and nothing stays on my desk too long.

  38. posted by deAnna on

    how is “messy” not a compliment? messy people tell me all the time that they can only function in mess. they’re proud of their messes and don’t want to clean them up … or so they say apparently. b/c by saying “messy” may be true but unkind, you’re affirming the idea that organized is the gold standard. i’m just sayin’ …

  39. posted by WilliamB on

    @Dorothy: here’s an example. My brother is messy as all get-out. He can strew a week’s worth of newspapers after occupying a room for three days. Dunno how he does it but he does. He has papers and books everywhere plus whatever luggage and shoes from his most recent business trip.

    But his space is always clean and sanitary. His clothes are put away or in the dirty clothes hamper. He doesn’t cook and always does his dishes. He has a cleaning service for whom he piles his stuff out of the way. His shoes might be strewn randomly but they’re always polished.

    So if your argument is “messy people are never clean,” then you’re busted. If what you wrote was rhetoric for “messy people are often also dirty” then I’d be inclined to agree.

  40. posted by Vi on

    Here’s a story I’ve told my therapist a time or two. I was a teen and Mom must have had pms because she was, uhm, shall I say wrathfully stressed about what to cook for dinner. So I said I would cook dinner and I asked Mom would she like this or that for dinner. And each of my suggestions were wrathfully rejected. Finally I said “Tell you what. You don’t think about it and I will cook something for dinner. And by the time it’s cooked you’ll be hungry enough to eat it.” So grudgingly Mom let me do this, with the admonishment not to make a mess. (I find I roll my eyes even now when thinking of that admonishment.) So I cooked a balanced dinner, I don’t remember exactly what but it must have been meat, potatoes and a veggie or two, as that’s how Mom would like it. We all ate it, Mom, Dad & I. And Mom told me I better clean up the mess I made in the kitchen. I did. I washed, dried and put away the pots and pans. I wiped and rinsed the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher so any food residue wouldn’t stick to them and not come off when the dishwasher was finally operated. I rinsed the sink out and I must have emptied the sink strainer. I probably did, because the only thing I remember that I stubbornly couldn’t bring my self to do was dry the —-ing sink. So when I was done, what happened? Is Mom deliriously happy that she had such a wonderful daughter who was willing to do the work for her, to make her happy? pffft! Hell NO! She blasted me relentlessly for not drying out the —–ing sink. We had quite an argument over that. I couldn’t understand how in her mind none of what I had done was important enough to out way the fact that I had not dried out the sink. I remember Dad quizzically saying to me “You wanted to appease her, you should have just dried the —-ed sink. What would one more little thing for you to do matter after you did all that. You should have known she’d blow her stack over the sink not being dried. You should have done it to make her happy.” I’m still not sure it would have made her happpy. Anyway, yes I can be as neat as can be. I’ve cooked whole meals for 8-10 people and had the pots and pans mostly washed before we sat down to eat. It’s a matter of timing and attention to detail. I also now live in total disorder because I won’t clean up after people (dh & kids) who don’t do their share except when it comes to making messes, then they go into overtime. So instead of wasting my precious time accomplishing nothing, which is what cleaning up after my family is, I find things to do which if not make me happy at least take my attention off the clutter, messes, whatever, that they choose to live with. I clean up after myself as I go. Unfortunately, I have to wash the kitchen counters before I cook and again after I cook. If I am not cooking I sometimes ignore the counters just keep myself from either exploding or imploding. I grew up hearing that there was something wrong with messy people. Yeah, there is they drive neat people crazy. lol

  41. posted by Vi on

    PS I reread my post and had to add that Dad also said it was my own fault that Mom blasted me for not drying the sink. Yeah right, some people just can’t be pleased no matter what you do for them and the more you do for them, the less pleased they are. So live long and prosper even if its with other people’s messes.

  42. posted by Vi on

    Pss One last comment regarding washing the counters both before and after I cook or sit down to eat. There is no way I can cook or eat in a dirty space. And there is no way I can leave the counters or table dirty after cooking and eating. Yet my dh & kids do. I’ve thought of cleaning only before I cook and leaving a mess behind for them, but I can’t do that. It would just be so rude, yet I can’t get them to extend me the same curtesy. Life is incorrigible. (?)

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