Keeping our homes clean is an important part of our daily and weekly schedules. A clean home reflects the value we place on our environment, our possessions, and ourselves, but sometimes, cleaning can become an obsessive task that stems from feelings of anxiety or fear. Are you obsessed with cleaning? And if so, how can you stop the behavior? Read on to learn more about what your cleaning habits say about you.
Top Signs You’re Obsessed with Cleaning
Some folks may hear that people are obsessed with cleaning and wonder how it’s possible. For a lot of people, cleaning is the bane of their existence. It’s the thing they do on Sundays to prepare for the week ahead. For others, cleaning is an act that brings comfort and solace to an otherwise anxious brain. It’s a form of meditation or relief that removes them from the stressors of the world. So, when is a love for cleaning too much?
To be clear, there is no such thing as normal, but when it comes to being obsessed with cleaning, the underlying issue that shifts a person from “normal” to obsessive stems from intention. Why are you cleaning, and what happens if you forgo the task at this time? If the answer is fear, anxiety, or some type of dread, you may have an obsession.
Here is a list of signs that may indicate that you’re obsessed with cleaning.
• You enjoy looking for new cleaning products and tools
• You have go-to products that you swear by
• Even your cleaning items are neatly organized and clean
• Everything in your home has a “place”
• You don’t have a “clothing chair” or place where you drop clean clothes after the wash
• You enjoy organizing and organization items, such as bins, labels, to the point that everything in your house is labeled and contained
• You know every cleaning hack and DIY trick in the book
• You can’t sit down and enjoy a meal or relax if something is messy, dirty, or out of place
• Cleaning is the way you relax or enjoy a day off
• You carry items, such as hand sanitizer, wet-wipes, and Tide sticks everywhere you go
• You have the urge to clean things outside of your home, such as a friend’s house, public area, or office space
• You clean so much you don’t want to make a mess, such as dirtying the kitchen or bathroom
• You identify with Monica from the TV show Friends
While these behaviors don’t necessarily mean you have a cleaning obsession, they do point to some behaviors that could stem from stress or anxiety. If you’re looking to tame these impulses, there are a few things you can do to lessen the obsession.
Taming the Behavior
Obsessive cleaning isn’t a big deal if it’s not interfering with your ability to live your life. For some, cleaning is the thing they do when they come home to relieve stress. It can be a way to separate work from home and help the mind wind down after a long day. Cleaning can also be a form of meditation to help you start over and clear your physical space while you clear your mind. But, if you can’t enjoy life with any clutter lying around or you think everything is filled with germs, it may be time to work on those impulses.
Here are a few things to consider if you want to break the pattern of obsessive cleaning.
• Intention: If you feel the need to impulsively clean, stop and ask yourself why. If nothing comes to mind, name the feeling, and see if that helps the impulse subside. Try and find a calming activity first, such as meditation, exercise, coloring, or another form of relaxation to ease the mind and body. Doing something else with your hands may help you shift out of that obsessive space.
• Avoidance: When you decide you need to clean, are you really just avoiding something else? Is there another task that needs to be completed or a situation you don’t want to deal with that’s causing you stress or discomfort? Try and face that task or situation head on. The only way out is through, and avoiding it by cleaning is only going to make those feelings grow stronger.
• Wean off the behavior: Allow yourself to clean but only complete one task at a time. Instead of compulsively cleaning the whole house, allow yourself to complete one cleaning task as a way of cutting out the negative aspects of the behavior. Pick one room or one organization task per day and leave the rest for another.
• Do something fun: Do you know how many other things there are to do in this world besides cleaning? Get a hobby, hang out with a friend, see your family, watch a movie, read a book—you name it! If the need to clean is compelling you, replace it with a new hobby.
Obsessed with Cleaning versus Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Many people joke about having OCD when it comes to their daily habits, but there is a huge difference between obsessive cleaning and a diagnosable disorder that affects many people in the world. If you are unable to live a full and meaningful life due to cleaning tasks or a fear of germs, there are many resources out there that can help. Start by calling your PCP. They can offer you supports, such as therapy and group counseling that can help you remove the need to obsessively clean and find joy in your life outside of germs.
Even if you are obsessed with cleaning or are just a cleaning pro, there are various tasks that the average person may not be able to accomplish, such as carpet cleaning and power washing. For the big ticket tasks, or even some help with your own cleaning routine, reach out to Advanced Cleaning and let the pros take care of the rest. Let us do the dirty work, so you can enjoy your free time!