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Posted in Weird | 9 comments

My Obsession With Cleanliness

Very often I have been made fun of by friends and family on how obsessively I am always cleaning things and putting things in order around the house and elsewhere. My favorite story is once when I was in Class 1 and mum took me to a friend’s house on a sunny winter afternoon. The host was very sweet and warm, and pampered me with all sorts of sweets. Soon, mum and the host got busy chit chatting and I was on my own. While they were busy talking they noticed that I was, in one corner, dusting away the grime off an imported show piece with my handkerchief! I was obviously too small to realize that it was inappropriate to do so. The host was quite embarrassed but more embarrassed was my mum, who thought I was too weird. 

Another story that is repeated to me by elders at home is when I was very small, probably 3-4 yrs of age, I would sit with dad every day while he did his pooja  and I would make him get up if the asana on which he sat was skewed. 

Years passed on, but my obsession with cleaning and straightening things did not change. Having stayed with roommates for over 6 years now, I have, on many occasions found myself clearing the clutter off their tables, or cleaning their bed, even folding their clothes.  They have often asked why I do it. What is the need? After all, how does it affect me if their side is cluttered. 

Here’s the answer.

I feel a sense of clarity in thoughts when I see the clutter being cleared around me. Don’t you think cleanliness affects your state of mind? For me, not just cleanliness but also the process of cleaning around has an equally good impact. It helps my mind focus, it gives me a different perspective on issues that are bothering me, it helps me think logically. It is almost like cleaning the clutter in the head as I clean the clutter outside. Am sure you would agree. 

Have you ever found yourself cleaning your desktop? Doesn’t it give you a sense of relief when you have just the minimum number of icons there? 

Cleanliness also has a direct relation with your productivity. If you keep your table and work area neat and clean, and things are in place, it most definitely helps you focus better, increases your output and saves time. 

Even the first 3 S’s of the Japanese 5S methodology of increasing effectiveness and efficiency are Seiri, Seiton and Seiso – which mean sorting, straightening and cleaning, respectively.

Cleanliness essentially gives you space – physically, mentally, even emotionally. It is a great stress buster, to clean the house. It’s almost like releasing the stress off your mind. 

If you are having a bad day, come back home and indulge in some massive cleaning. Trust me, it works like magic in uplifting your mood. 

It really is next to Godliness. 


  1. Yes ….your each and every word is true……I really feel good everyday in the morning hours after cleaning and dusting and keeping everything in order…and I really loved it.

  2. No disagreement on the mental, physical and spiritual benefits of living in a clean and orderly environment. However, studies have found that when cleaning and ordering and straightening become an obsessive compulsion it might actually be compensating or covering up for some other dysfunction. I personally find cleaning and ordering therapeutic, but I get down to it as a last resort. What I do obsessively though is to have systems in place that do not allow clutter to build up. They remain systems only, rarely translating to results. 🙂

  3. Well said, it is a stress buster and makes us to fee lighter !
    Few people believes in a different way but i liked the way you presented, clean blog too 🙂

  4. Interesting. Cleanliness brings in sense of clarity in thoughts- I have not thought on those lines.
    We use 5s in our factory.

  5. Well, somethings we do as kids hang on for a life time! Back when I was around 4, I used to make rotis in the kitchen; from where I guess I get the fondness for cooking! I am not a cleanliness freak but a clean desk is important for me, but I end up cluttering it as soon I finish cleaning it! 🙁
    Btw, I can totally imagine you cleaning the house of your mom’s friend! How adorable is that! All I did at friend’s places back that age was raid their kitchens and eat carrots; and yes I was yet to be potty trained.

  6. Thank you all for the comments. I feel our surroundings subconsciously affect our mind. Thus a neat surrounding would imply a lean thought process too. On the other hand, if you see clutter around you, it unknowingly builds up stress in the mind. I am not a compulsive cleaner but I would spare some time even on a busy day to keep things in order, just so it doesn’t add to the chaos.

  7. I have embarassed my parents for refusing to go to the loo in someone’s house because it was dirty ! I share your sentiments about cleanliness and tidiness as I am a lot like that myself.

  8. Damn your thoughts are so resembling with mine…my affair with cleanliness is also old, my mom says, once the small mud stuck to my right leg when I was like 1 yr old or so & I was holding my leg in air for hours, mom was so worried & took me to the hospital only to realise the presence of small mud between my fingers & from then onwards, cleaning my younger brothers toys, keeping them in order etc., Everybody in School/neighbourhood, my teachers, friend’s parents were so fond of me they used to give my example to their children. But damn it set expectations right from my childhood to be a good boy which I am still not 🙂

    And the obsession still continues being away from home for studies & work for the last 8 years, my every new roommate used give me a weird look initially when I used to clean or keep their things books, mobile charger, clothes or sometimes cleaning the room even if the maid has cleaned it before . They used to make fun of me & only when I shared why do I do it, for almost all the reasons which you have mentioned in your post, it helps me to clear my thoughts, it works as stress buster, helps me to focus etc. they understood & even few of them turned into less messy people..

    The good thing about this obsession is, it’s contagious …so spread the godliness!

  9. With a noticeable rise in standards of cleanliness in Western nations, especially among more affluent people – a boon to producers of hand sanitiser, bagless vacuum cleaners and antibacterial everything – Berridge is among a host of scientists concerned that we are making our homes too clean, almost sterile, in our attempts to create ‘safe’ havens for our children.

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