On the difference between clean and tidy*

– or the mystery box part 2 –

I am not a particularly tidy person. I am learning, and I am getting better, but I’m not there yet.


I can’t deal with dirty.

Unless it’s unavoidable and short-term.

Cake mix on the worktop, compost on the floor, paint on the table. Whatever. It’s all fine at the time I’m working on something.. After I’m done, I want it cleared up. If I’m busy I can ignore it for a while but 3 days on, it’s not good.

I don’t really care too much how chaotic things are, how heaped up, how strewn accross the floor, as long as they’re clean.

I don’t like dust bunnies and piles of animal hair between the things I leave on the floor. I host chaos, but it ought to be clean chaos.

Sure, at some point I’ve had enough of the chaos and sort it all out and put things away. As I get older (and presumably more practised), that point gets progressively closer to tidy.


I’ve just spent an hour (give or take) cleaning out my ‘new’ microwave.

Maybe I’m fussier about other peoples’ dirt than my own, but I don’t really understand how it got into that state.

Okay, microwaving food is liable to spit. I get that. I also get that no-one wants to spend their lives cleaning the inside of their microwave.. but surely there’s some kind of grossness alarm that should go off when the walls, the ceiling, the door and the glass plate are covered in a layer of sticky fat that stays on the sponge once the soap suds have been rinsed out…

Even the plug was grimey. I washed it, as carefully as I could, with a hot, soapy sponge and blowdried it before plugging it in to see if it worked.

It did, and does. And I’m going to to try and keep it clean.


* this is an idea that’s been going round my head for a while now.. it seemed to fit today.

0 thoughts on “On the difference between clean and tidy*

  1. I used to be pretty relaxed about tidy – but always had slight OCD when it comes to cleanliness! I couldn’t cook in my uni kitchen after the first term – it made me heave after a while and it just wouldn’t clean :(.

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