How To: Stop Being A Compulsive Cleaner

While there is nothing wrong with being clean, going overboard with it is an entirely different matter. Below is a scenario (from personal experience) which, if you identified with, means you are an obsessive cleaner – although not necessarily mental, but rather, just too much of a perfectionist. I am going to offer you some tips to overcome it, and you can apply it to other things.

You wake up early morning in the weekend. You go to the bathroom, you wash your face, brush your teeth, take a dump, etc etc. As soon as you finish washing, you notice that some soap lathered the tap. Now you know, of course, having the soap dry on the tap would leave white flakes and residue. Which isn’t a big a deal – except that it is to you.

The flakes are your worst nightmare. Although technically soap, they would not allow for the wonderful shine of the tap to show.

You sprinkle some water over the tap to remove the residue. Gone! Your amazement is only marred by the horrendous outcome that occurred after you cleaned the tap – now there is water (and some soap) all over the basin of the sink.

My God. Disaster.

You start removing and wiping, only to think that, hey, since you cleaned the basin, you might as well clean the sink. So you do – with a little bit of Dettol and Jif, everything is shiny again.

But lo and behold, your clumsy cleaning technique spilled water on the floor. Oh my, this will cause a big mess! So you clean the floor, and, since you cleaned a spot only, now the other tiles would feel jealous. You wouldn’t live with a half cleaned bathroom floor now would you? You end up mopping the whole floor.

I am going to stop here, although at times I found myself cleaning the toilet seat as well as the bathtub.

All at 8 or 9 AM on a weekend.

Sick right?

So here is how to get over it:

  • Acknowledge the fact that you are sick. It is ok; no one will judge you (yet)
  • Acknowledge the fact that you have better things to do on a weekend morning, like sleeping for example, than cleaning the bathroom (which can be postponed till later that day)
  • Catch yourself in the act. Make a mental note of why you were going to the bathroom in the first place (eg brush teeth) and see what you ended up doing.
  • Know what causes you to stray from your path.
  • Try to be aware of the moment of when it happens, and then stop.
  • It is good if you put another priority in the same time slot (like, say, sleep). So when you wake up to pee, you actually go back to sleep after you do rather than clean the whole house.
  • Remove all cleaning materials from the bathroom. So when you go out to fetch them, make sure you don’t return.
  • You can keep a towel to wipe off the tap in a simple swipe instead of redefining hygiene.

I also discovered that if you change your lifestyle, it will reflect on your house. For instance, if you only eat in expensive (and often pretentious) food outlets, only because they are “clean” with “good food”, try to eat at a terrible looking place. You will be surprised that a lot of those small, disgusting places offer the best food around (along with Typhoid).

Once you accept to be filth, you can start accepting the soap flakes on your tap.

Simple, right?

Bored at 9 AM in the office. Sorry :D