Monday, March 12, 2007

Perfectionism?

When I was a child, I usually had a pretty messy room. (Okay, not much has changed...) It wasn't that I didn't prefer having a clean room. It's just that my standard for cleanliness was set too high, and I was that kind of perfectionist who would rather do nothing than do something sub-standard. And I wanted to be able to have the time to give my room that perfect cleaning, all in one shot.

And "perfect" meant that my clothes were put away, my desk was arranged with a few books posed just so on it, that my stuffed animals were arranged in a certain way on my bed, that everything in my room was perfectly posed and balanced. Of course, in order to sleep in my bed, I had to move stuffed animals. In order to use the desk, things would have to be shifted around. My ideal clean room was a room where I couldn't actually live.

Some of those tendencies have fallen away as I've aged, and yet there are still hints of those tendencies that remain. I still would rather do one big cleaning effort than keep things tidy on a daily basis. I'm the same way with my schoolwork, and I think you've noticed. I tend to prefer making one big effort, racing to the finish line. I really struggle with daily diligence.

I was thinking about these tendencies this week, as we've been finishing up unpacking and organising the house. My heart rejoices as I figure out the perfect place to put things, as we fill up a new bookcase and organise our CDs into the CD rack. But how long will this remain as it is? Will I put things back in their right place, when I actually start using those cookbooks that sit on that one shelf? Will my CDs end up a jumble of discs without cases again? Will it have to come to the place where I will yet again have to do a big reorganisation of the house, because everything's all strewn about? (And will I ever get to the place where I remember to wash floors and vacuum on a regular basis?)

How can I be both fastidious about placement of ornaments and slovenly about actual cleaning? How do people make themselves do anything on a regular basis?

Yes, this was an entire post about housework. (Now I'd better go translate some German.)

3 comments:

Dixie said...

I'm thinking the same things as you about moving into the new house. And today I almost went crazy with the piles of crap that are piling up as we begin to pack and you find all of this stuff that you just don't know where to put and you don't know if you should keep.

I'm totally like you with the books placed 'just so' and little things being in certain places, but I'm not too good about the vacuuming and dusting and the general cleanliness bit.

I do have a strong notion that there are certain places that objects "need to be", and once they're I find those places I'm happy. Until then, however... not so happy. And it feels like the whole house is in the beginning process of an uproar as we prepare to move. :( -- But of course I'm certain that things will NEVER be messy in the new house... :)

LynnieC said...

Not related: The radio station I'm listening to is playing "Valeri" by the Monkees and I thought you should know. Please think fondly back to our high school years, a general love of the Monkees, and Davy Jones pretending to play the guitar. He totally rocked the tambourine though. That was never in question.

arimich <> said...

The tambourine is hard to play, man. I always thought really enthusiastic tambourine players were kind of funny, but then I experimented a bit one day and it's tough to really do stuff with one of those things. Kudos to Davy Jones.