Too Much Cleanliness? by Mark Michniak

I am a bit of a clean freak. That is a self-described diagnosis, but my wife and daughters would swiftly agree with me.

Every weekend, I spend about one and a half to two hours cleaning our house. I grab our container of cleaning products, clean our kitchen and bathroom sinks, kitchen countertops, the toilets inside and out, and vacuum about 9 rooms in our house including our stairs going up to our second floor. The stairs are very tough because our dog sheds a lot and I have to scrub with the vacuum very hard while trying to keep my balance and be very careful not to fall down the stairs.

Between our daughters, they have a lot of friends over and I take a lot of pride in our house looking good for them. Call it pride, but I know I would be disgusted if I went over to a friends’ house and played in dust or dirt and went to the bathroom in an unsanitary room. I look at it from our daughters’ friends’ vantage point and make sure that our house is clean. There are some people who when they hear I am this tough on dirt, they will say “they are your friends, they will understand” or “they are kids. Kids don’t care about that stuff.”

I take a different viewpoint on this. ANYONE who comes to my house is a guest!  My own wife has said “it’s my family. They don’t care how our house looks.” For me, a guest is a guest. Period. End of story. I don’t make exceptions and choose who I am going to be clean for and who I am not. Everyone, regardless of my relation to them or how well I know them, deserves to have a clean, sanitary place to sit and enjoy life in.

On top of who will experience my cleanliness, there is the simple notion that cleanliness is a personality trait that people take with them. It is part of their being and says a lot about who they are as a person. As in my previous statement, I have enough respect for the people in my life that I feel they are worthy of a clean place to visit. They are a part of my life and it is important to me that as a part of my life the last thing that is ever on their mind when they enter our house is how messy or dirty our place is for them. They should have the expectation that when they arrive in our house that they are going to see it clean and if they don’t see that they should feel let down.

There is the old phrase “Cleanliness is next to godliness”. I like that phrase because when I picture a god, whether it by my God or somebody else’s god, I envision a god that perfect and without blemish. That god is so perfect that it shines from being so immaculate. Think of the gods we have heard about, including Zeus, Apollo, Hermes, Athena. Would you ever worship a dirty god? Wouldn’t a dirty version of these gods totally tarnish your image and make you stop worshipping that god?

Believe me, I am not anywhere CLOSE to being a god! Far from it. However, striving to want to have those qualities that a god has can be a good thing. My cleanliness is just one of those things I like to strive for in my attempt to achieve a work/non-work balance.

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