I am pretty clean and tidy for the most part. Most people who enter comment about how clean everything is (disclaimer...I have a cleaning crew 2x per month.) I keep it clean in between, and clean most things before the cleaning crew arrives (just make sure everything is in its proper place).
One time, I had a fire in a utility closet off my kitchen. There were a lot of electronics, etc back there, so I didn't want to throw water on it and I feared an electrical fire/spark/etc. So I took the phone, went outside, and called the fire department, thinking I was resigned to burning down my house and my neighbors'. Then I remembered I had dirty dishes AND the remains of a take-out order of buffalo wings on my kitchen counter. As in messy messy. Not just a nice neat box, but a plate with half-eaten food, etc. I put the food down and realized I was willing to die by electrocution in trying to put out the fire if it meant not being embarrassed by leftover food.
Anyway, one wok-ful of water thrown behind the dryer did the job. And I was able to put my dishes away and throw out the garbage before the firemen showed up.
I'm not sorry
ETA: I've also gone to bed without doing the dishes, then gone back down thinking "what if I fall down the stairs and die and someone sees that I haven't cleaned up after dinner?"
Yeah, I know it's kind of strange, but it makes me feel better.
I aspire to be motivated to levels of tidiness like this! As it is, these thoughts would NEVER cross my mind, they'd be more in the line of "well I guess they'll see that I'm messy just like everybody else probably secretly is!"
However, I'd love tips: does the cleaning service help you stay on top of things? Have you always been a neatnik? (That's what we affectionally called my neat freak grandmother whose home always looked PRISTINE so I say it with love).
Hmmm. I never really thought about whether it was a lifelong thing or not. And I never really thought it was out of the ordinary. Growing up, our house was always straightened up and we all had minor chores to do, but my mom did the bulk of everything! My mom married a guy with 3 daughters when I was in 6th grade and the first time my family (brothers and sisters) went to his house, we were absolutely appalled. Had never seen anyone living in such filth before. (makes me laugh now to remember what I thought was filth!). Stacks of magazines in the hallways. Items left on the stairs. Kitchen floors were very dirty. Clothes in piles around the house -- dirty and clean. My brother nicknamed the girls "the smellies" and it stuck! The marriage didn't last long, but to this day, we are convinced my mom only married this man because she felt sorry for his children.
In high school, yes, I mopped my bedroom floor weekly, did all my own laundry weekly, washed walls on occasion.
In college, I kept a tidy place, mainly out of respect for my roomate, I think. I was a smoker back then, so nothing would have looked clean anyway, but at least I put my things away.
First apartments -- yeah, come to think of it, I just kept the habits that I was raised with...keep things organized and then once a week do a deep clean.
When I got my cleaning service (at age 45) , that was honestly the first time in my life that it ever even occurred to me that I didn't have to change my sheets every week. Now I go the full two weeks because I don't ever want to change sheets again. (Honestly, I don't mind changing the sheets, but i hate folding.) When I do my own, I just take from the dryer and put them right back on the bed.
The cleaning people do things like dust all shutters, fans, baseboards and doors; vacuum rugs; mop floors (hands and knees in bathrooms); clean toilets and baths; windex all mirrors; etc.
They'll take out the trash and clean the fridge, but I usually take my own trash out the night before they come anyway. I want the cleaning crew to spend their time doing things I don't want to do, not figuring out where to put my things, so I make sure everything is put away before they come. My fridge usually has a lot of empty space in it, so whenever there's an empty area, it's easy to just wipe it down.
One time I made bacon in the oven and didn't clean it out and the next week it was all clean! That was awesome!
Sometimes I come home and my bed is moved away from the wall so I know they cleaned back there. Sometimes they clean the hinges on my doors where the ball-bearing dust accumulates (I didn't even know that was a thing).
I love coming home after work and finding a crisp set of sheets on my bed!
I also like to schedule any big parties/gatherings for right BEFORE the cleaning crew comes. I know this is unlike most people. So I've realized it's not even so much what other people think...I like living in a clean and neat place.
And sometimes the crew misses things -- like the spiders that LOVE my transom above the door. There are always webs there. Whenever I see them, I get up there and wipe it down. Because the first year I hired the crew, I wondered how long it would take before the cleaning crew finally wiped those webs. Well, when it started to look like cotton candy up there, I gave in and realized I would never have a completely maintenance-free life.
So yes, for me, the maintenance of the everyday tedious things makes it so whenever I spot something out of place, it doesn't feel like a burden to fix it. Then you just get in the habit of stopping and wiping it rather than thinking "oh, I need to wipe that next time I go by".