There are two types of people in this world: neat freaks and slob kabobs. Some claim that they are way too busy to worry about being nice and tidy; while the nice and tidy feel like there are enough hours in the day to take the time to be neat, people are just lazy. It’s almost often that these two types of people clash from time to time. In Suzanne Britt’s essay, she claims sloppy are too good to clean while the neat freaks are the mean jerks in the world in a humorous way, but it’s not like that from my own experience. Or maybe it is? In this essay I will discuss two people I know; what the sloppy person is really like, what the neat person is really like, and how to come up with a happy medium to try to live in the same house if that is going to be the case.
Slob kabob. Slob kabob is a slang term for a very messy person, and it is also what I call my boyfriend when he’s not around. I lived with him and his two young girls, now eleven and eight, for six months. I’ve never wanted to meet the three little pigs, but with them three, that’s exactly what I got. I am a neat freak, these guys are the way opposite. Before I moved in to the new house, I realized something about the old place they lived at. MESS! You could not walk in the living room without stepping on a shoe, toy, towel, book, or clothing. It was insane. Don’t get me started on the kitchen, ants everywhere because this man NEVER washed dishes up until he needed them. Laundry was done once a month and even when it was done, he would just leave it in a pile in the corner, didn’t even bother folding them and putting them away. His girls are exactly like him, no, worse! The littlest one is so careless about being neat that she spills drinks and breaks glasses for not paying attention. I couldn’t handle it. His mother and I took it upon ourselves one day to clean up his house. It was relatively small so it wasn’t very hard. I did the kitchen and living room while she did the bathroom and their room. He was very appreciative, but did he keep it that way? No. “I have a million things to do and other things to worry about.” I would respond with, “Yea that’s why you and your girls are always losing things because you just dump in anywhere it lands. Don’t complain to me when you lose your keys again!” Therefore, Britt’s remark about, “ Sloppy people carry in their mind’s eye a heavenly vision, a precise plan, that is so stupendous, so perfect, it can’t be achieved in this world or the next,” is pure bogus! These people are a drag to live with! Then comes me, a neat freak at her finest, living with the three little pigs.
I actually never cleaned growing up. I just left it to my mother; she never asked me to help anyhow. I was the baby so I got away with a lot. However, when I moved out of my parent’s home to go live with my boyfriend, I had some serious rules to lay in the house. Put your shoes away, put ONLY dirty laundry in the hamper, don’t leave your school books on the floor, and if you make a mess clean it up! That didn’t go smoothly, in fact, they never got it down. I was very picky with neatness and my OCD hit full force in that house. I clean because it bothers me having a mess. I can’t concentrate. I can’t breathe. I think a house should be respected and kept tidy. I, however, was the only person to feel this way in that house. My boyfriend got an earful the first few weeks. I would do laundry for a whole house in one day, wash all the dishes every night after dinner, including wiping down the stove, sweep and mop. When laundry was done, the folding and hanging begun. I also worked forty hours a week so all of this was becoming stressful and I was getting very aggravated. I would get aggravated because I would slave away all day cleaning, bathrooms included, only for them to get home and wreck it again. Shoes on the stair case, socks on the couch, pencils in the bathroom floor, Monster High stuff on the dining table. I felt like I was being disrespected. Like I was taken for granted, a maid, a servant, you name it. I hated being in that house. I had to have a serious talk with him, we all sat down as a family and talked about respect. Britt’s article claims that, “Neat people don’t like process, they like results.” In some cases actually, yes. However I would never seriously consider sending his kids to boarding school, although that’d be nice. I love results, but I understand that not everyone thinks the way I do, and I know he was irritated with me for being so hard on them and picky with him. I felt like my hard work went unappreciated. He had a hard time understanding that at first because to him it’s just mess. Once I had moved out of the house, and there was no one there to clean up after him and the girls; he really realized what he took for granted and missed coming home to a clean house. He now takes it upon himself to carry on what example I left behind. Men do sometimes change ladies! I did realize that I could also lay off of the OCD of cleanliness. A little dust on the floor can be saved for sweeping on the weekends, not every night. We need to learn to meet in the middle.
That’s where the hard work comes in. We hear so many stories of couples who get married and move in together. “Mom he’s so messy I don’t know what to do!” “Dad she’s such a neat freak about everything! I’m scared to grab something because she may yell at me for not placing it back properly.” I think we all have different levels of being neat or sloppy. Some people are a little bit of both. The truth is, one does have to clean up if they spill something, but leaving a book or pen somewhere isn’t the end of the world. We do need to agree on what’s important. Spilled juice? Wipe it because you don’t need ants. Dirty clothes, dump it in the hamper and not the floor, we don’t want the room to smell. Left the remote control on the floor? As long as it’s near the television, leave it. Jacket is on the couch? Leave it because they may use it again tomorrow morning. Of course every household may be different. Discuss what it is that bothers each of you, and come up with a compromise you can both live with. I promise to wipe sticky counters down after I use them if you could please just leave my book wherever I felt like leaving it. It’s called compromise and it can work. You may even adapt to a new way of life.
With all that said, I hope there isn’t a WWIII happening in a house where it doesn’t need to be over being neat or sloppy. We are all brought up differently with different views on certain things. If you are going to live in a house together, you should really consider talking about their lifestyle before moving in and see if that person is willing to compromise. In Suzanne Britt’s essay, she claims sloppy people are the best and neat people are the worst, but the truth is we all contribute to the madness of this discussion because we all get lazy at times. Or other times we get in a cleaning mode. It’s good to have a happy medium.