My Secret Vice is Neat Freakiness – or why I have to sweep the floor when my Mother phones!

I don’t really know when I became a “neat freak” (to save my fingers I’m just going to type NF).  Perhaps it was at a time that other areas of my life were not “neat”, or maybe it was just something that gradually evolved. All I know is that it brings a deep satisfaction to me if things are “neat”, ordered, organised, tidy, nicely structured, neat,neat,neat.  My NFedness helps me when things are a bit out of control in other areas, it lets me find stress-relief through tidying the pantry, auditing the cupboards, straightening the bookshelf and just generally having a NF moment or two.

I know I didn’t inherit it from my MOAA (mother of advanced age), as my MOAA is a “Clean Freak”, or CF – (I love you Mum!).  This is a woman who cleans all her windows each week, (I only do mine about once a year, and then under protest).  Her house is always spotlessly clean because she vacuums, washes floors, sweeps, a lot, actually I think she does it twice a week, well all the time really, whereas I can go a whole fortnight without vacuuming or dusting, as long as I can stave off the “guilt”.

Guilt catches me when MOAA rings and I find myself not able to just sit down and have a conversation on the phone with her, NO, I have to sweep the house, dust and tidy whilst I do, (I’ve never told her I do this, so it may come as a bit of a surprise to her).  I do feel this compulsion is extremely pavlovian in nature – phone rings = MOAA = must clean everything!

However, MOAA is not a NF, tidy – yes, CF – definitely, NF – no.  Point of illustration:  MOAA cupboards are little treasure troves of STUFF, a million jugs (I really do love you Mum), plates, bowls, glasses, etc, etc. (well, I guess she has had a lot of years to collect!), and I just can’t bear to look at her computer desk drawers because my hands start to itch like crazy with the need to ditch STUFF.  In my house every cupboard is regularly cleaned out in a frenzy of NF mode, and just about anything that is not nailed down is likely to get tossed into the Op Shop bin. I really struggle sometimes, and I mean this literally and truthfully,  to not throw out the furniture because I want to neaten things up!  To pander to my NF angst, I have to re-arrange my furniture quite regularly, or else I just get really NF looney.  I’ve always had this idea that there is a “right” place for things, so I just have to move everything until I find it.

Hanging the washing on the line is another NF test.  Items must be strung on the line so that they fit nicely on each section – I know, I know – none of this hang a bit here, turn the line, hang another bit.  If they don’t fit I have to re-arrange them until they do, very bad to have those gaps, gosh, the world might fall to it’s knees in shock!  (At least I don’t colour code the pegs, yet!)

Groceries are another example, although this just may be commonsense, I stack them on the checkout counter in a certain way, so that when they get packed like items are together.  I hate it when they just shove things in any which way, who taught these kids how to pack?  No-one me thinks.  When I get home I can’t have lunch or coffee until everything is put away, because NF demands that the kitchen bench be neat and clutter free.

Doors – the toilet doors must be shut at all times, loo lids down (this is because I read somewhere that it is good Feng Shui, and keeps money in your house), have to say it seems to be working.  plus, it’s good for keeping the germs away. 🙂

Now, from reading all this you might think I have some OCD issues, but it is not so, it is just pure NF.  As I have got older it has actually got much, much better.  For example, I can now leave a small piece of paper on the floor and walk past it without having to “pick it up this instant”, there has been a wrench sitting on my cupboard (that I need to fix the treadmill), and it has been sitting there for 4 days, THIS IS A MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH.  A few years ago, not only would I have fixed the treadmill immediately it had a problem, but I would have had to clean everything up, put everything away, etc, etc, before I could do anything else.

Funny thing is, I am a bit perplexed as to why my NF tendencies are abating.  Will I turn into a shambolic slob, will my house be overrun with stuff, will some dormant hoarding gene engulf me with the urge to stockpile useless bits of paper, a dozen towels, or rubber frogs?  It’s worrying times!

thanks for listening

26 thoughts on “My Secret Vice is Neat Freakiness – or why I have to sweep the floor when my Mother phones!

  1. esibee 24/03/2014 / 8:53 pm

    Hehe My Mumma Bee, you are crazily funny, Don’t worry you wont become a hoarder, cause I would kick your booty.


  2. jesskawrites 14/05/2014 / 7:37 pm

    Hehe! 🙂
    I intend to become some kind of cross between you and your MOAA. One day. Not today, obviously, because I’m in bed with lurgy, not tomorrow because I’m working, not next week because I’m going away (yippee for emergency passports), but definitely one day :).
    In the meantime, I will relish the freedom to leave my windows unwashed, and my cupboards full of things I’ve been meaning to get rid of…


    • Claudette 14/05/2014 / 8:29 pm

      It is very liberating. Hope you get over the lurgy soon, and yippee for the temp passport. 🙂


      • jesskawrites 14/05/2014 / 8:38 pm

        Thanks 🙂 I’ve recovered the ability to swallow, and gained an impressive cough so I’m probably almost better already…

        Do you mean more liberating to have an NF/CF house, or to give it up?


  3. Hugh's Views and News 14/05/2014 / 10:41 pm

    I love this post. I honestly thought you were talking about me, Claudette, but then I realised you can’t have been as our blogging paths had not crossed when you posted this. Yep, I’m very neat and tidy as well, down to the point that I can not relax until I know each and every job has been done. But, boy, that wonderful feeling I get when the last job is done and I know I can now relax. Then tomorrow comes…….if tomorrow does ever come?


    • Claudette 15/05/2014 / 7:45 am

      Yes, it can be a bit of a challenge, but I am getting better at letting it go (or am I just getting lazy?). Either way I feel a bit better balanced now. I remember driving home from hospital with my first baby, cleaning the house, doing the washing, making a meal, (even though Hubby had cleaned) before I even sat down – bit manic back then I think. 🙂


      • Hugh's Views and News 15/05/2014 / 10:40 pm

        Believe it or not, I had a cleaner a few years ago when I was working full time and I’d always clean up before she arrived!


        • Claudette 16/05/2014 / 6:47 am

          I’ve heard that a lot. Kinda defeats the purpose though 🙂 but is funny that we feel compelled to do that.


  4. Claudette 23/08/2016 / 10:26 am

    Reblogged this on to search and to find and commented:

    Found this little gem from way back in March 2014, my second month of blogging, and it still holds true today. As of this date I haven’t succumbed to collecting rubber frogs, so I may be doing ok.


  5. Osyth 23/08/2016 / 11:51 am

    Oh Lordy – I’m an NF too. And I don’t know when it started because I certainly was not one as a child. And my mother is not one. So I just embrace it and smile which is what I did, broadly, reading this 🙂


    • Claudette 26/08/2016 / 6:22 pm

      Hi Osyth, Not sure why but WordPress put this in my spam folder – it is doing weird things to my site lately. So, sorry for the delay in replying.
      I think I have always been a bit of a NF, but as I got older it got more so. I just go with it as it makes me feel better 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Osyth 27/08/2016 / 2:22 am

        I think migrating my site to has caused people’s WordPress filters to buzz because several people have said the same. I have NEVER been called Spam before and am frankly quite offended 😂😂😂😂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Claudette 27/08/2016 / 8:54 am

          🙂 I still haven’t migrated this site to my new website. I started but didn’t like the way it laid out, then I had some tech issues where I accidentally shut down my whole site (had to get tech help for that one). Actually haven’t accomplished what I wanted to do with the new site – which was to set up a shop incorporated into it. Not enjoying the self-hosting thing at all really. P>S – you are not SPAM to me – more like the tenderest slice of finest ham 😉 😉 😉


  6. macmsue 23/08/2016 / 9:12 pm

    Well that made me smile. Not sure if it’s because I can visualize you manically tidying or because I’m free of the urge! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. DeeScribes 23/08/2016 / 10:13 pm

    Grocery packing! Ugh. My father managed my hometown grocery store for 33 years. I know how to pack groceries!

    I’m in the middle of moving, and my life is half unpacked – half still in boxes. It’s driving me crazy. But, I’ve unpacked my bookshelf. That alone makes me feel so settled. I think I need to blog about that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Claudette 24/08/2016 / 10:03 am

      🙂 Do so. Anything that makes you feel good should be shared.


  8. lindywhitton 27/08/2016 / 12:05 am

    Well I entirely missed the NF and the CF genes ( I did struggle briefly in my teens with carper straightening urges but doesn’t every teen?) I don’t remember when I last cleaned the windows but that’s obviously because I live in a Swift parrot flight path and I can’t run the risk of them plowing into my clean windows can I? Although I don’t clean while talking the the MOAA I definitely dim the lights when she comes around so she can’t see that the floor has not been washed this week ( or last week or probably the whole of the last month). Basically the older I’ve gotten the more shambolic my cupboards have become and the less cleaning chemicals I have to waste money on – a good result all round!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Claudette 27/08/2016 / 8:51 am

      Yes. 🙂 Do what makes you happy – trying to make it my new mantra.


  9. Christine J Randall 31/08/2016 / 7:45 am

    A delightful post Claudette! I was just over on your new website but could not comment because I had to log in and I would have to get out of bed to find my password! I’m frightened I will break something at my GoDaddy WordPress site. I love changing themes.

    As to neatness, there is good in that. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Claudette 31/08/2016 / 4:43 pm

      Thanks Christine. Will go and fix the settings and take that pesky log-in to comment off 🙂 I too worry about breaking something on the new hosting site (well, I already did!)

      Liked by 1 person

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