Scrubbing Down the Bones: My Zen

Even a neat freak needs to get down ‘n’ dirty for a day!

I am that freak. Also uber-organized. It’s the German in me.

When I was a kid, my mother never had to tell me to clean my room or make my bed. Everything has a place and everything in its place! Sage wisdom that I’d-a contributed to mankind had someone not beat me to it.

My sister on the other hand. Her room looked like a hurricane had passed! Her floors and closet, strewn with stuff. Mine, everything organized and tidy. No one ever had to cut a path through shirts, pants and lord knows what else across the floor!

Her socks drawer, you’d think it’d been ransacked by burglars! Mine, socks tightly rolled and organized.

I still organize my hanging clothes that way. By season and within each season the colors.

Fastidious. (And yes, we’re full siblings to anyone curious!)

I share these factoids only to convey the high level of cleanliness and organization that characterize my space. Anyone entering would exclaim: “Wow, it’s so clean and organized!” They would and they do. Down to the skinny kitchen drawer that for most are mere containers of utter chaotic odds-n-ends.

Everything has a place and everything in its place.

Plus at any moment, I can tell you where any object in home and storage shed is within a 2% margin of error.

If I said: “I need to clean, someone would exclaim: “Clean what?!”

To that I respond with zeal and wisdom: The devil is in the details.

People don’t understand that what your eye can’t or doesn’t perceive is still perceived by the subconscious.

So, say, that sliiiiiiigt coat of dust or grease on the stovetop. Eyes don’t see it. A sweep with a fingertip might reveal it. Regardless, it’s still very much there. Your mind’s picking it up.

Ditto baseboards. That thin line of dust that accumulates on top. It’s there. Oh yes it is! Even if your eye doesn’t perceive it or in daily living you don’t notice it.

Every detail of the space you inhabit, it’s perceived by the subconscious. And they affect people far more than they’re aware.

Me, precious little escapes my notice. I am NOT good at sweeping dirt under the rug — apropos! So I tend to details long before they become really noticeable or problematic.

Circling back to the beginning.

Today I did a deep-cleaning of my home that “by all appearances” didn’t need it.

I began with a load of laundry. A much bigger deal than the deep-clean ’cause I gotta bag it and haul it to the laundromat like I’m 21 again! Fucking pain in the arse but the chore once done always feels good.

I happened to awaken super early — around 8 a.m., some 3 hours prematurely. Couldn’t get back to sleep so got up and began my day at the ungodly hour of 9:30 am.

Hence the laundry, unplanned. The subsequent deep-cleaning and minor organizing, unplanned. By 2 p.m., when I’m usually just getting going, I’d accomplished SO much that my head spun!


Using the attachment, I vacuumed hairpin cracks in the laminate flooring. Window rails. Beneath and tight around furniture and their legs. Dusted extensively — which could and should be a daily task in dusty Arizona! Wrapped up and put away the winter bedding. Stuff like that.

Even for one who lives in a state of order and cleanliness, it feels really good!

Drawback to being this tidy is that I don’t get to experience what most people do when they clean, organize or declutter . I gotta kick it up so high — to the post-grad / Master’s level — to experience gratification. When it happens, it’s fantastic!

I’ll take it. The alternative — a level of (un)cleanliness and (dis)order normal and acceptable to most — would be torture. Daresay it’d be as bad if not worse than Chinese water torture!

So when I go home from work tonight at midnight, a bright sparkly immaculately clean space awaits me.

This is joy. Peace of mind. Calmness. Inner serenity.

Your mileage will vary

Oh, by the way! Were I ever wealthy and with my own home, I still would not hire a housekeeper.

For me, there’s something sacred in truly respecting and caring for one’s space (rentals included). About tending to its every detail. Overlooking nothing. Scrubbing and cleaning and dusting and vacuuming and all those so-called tedious chores until the place is the best it can be.

When my space is the best it can be, so am I.

Spring cleaning. Everyone’s heard of that.

Today was my Swing into Summer Deep Clean.

Yes, I am a happy camper when my space, wherever it be, is at its best.

This is My Zen.


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