Binge Cleaning

It’s a different way to deal with anxiety. I’ve done it for a lifetime.

Some folks eat. Some exercise. Some meditate or pray.


Vintage image. Google.

I clean.

In a big way.

And if they are willing, others enter into the frenzy.

Recently, it was the husband. He shares some of the blame. He retired early.

He’s seen me do it often, especially when we are about to have company, but also when we travel.

It’s a pre-travel coping mechanism. I can’t seem to leave the house unless all the bed linens are changed, bathroom and kitchen floors are scrubbed, laundry and dishwashing completed, entire house dusted and vacuumed.

It’s exhausting, and I’ve tried to rehab, but I can’t break the habit.

And then, there is waiting for a good/bad news phone call; relatives with serious health issues that are geographically distant, but emotionally connected.

It can start as something simple, like an appliance that fails. Our cold water dispenser  sprung a leak. It sits heavy and mostly unmoved in a corner of the kitchen. Removing it exposed an ugliness I don’t want to address.

Then the vertical blinds needed work, the sliding glass door behind it, the windows around it, the ceiling fan, tops of kitchen cabinets, underside of the frig and dishwasher, etc., etc., etc.

All while waiting for the phone call; the one that alerted us that we needed to make that long distance trip.

And we’re off… bed linens, bathrooms, laundry, dishwashing, vacuuming……

I wonder if there is a support group ?

This entry was posted in Exercise, Family, home, Humor, Random Thoughts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

99 Responses to Binge Cleaning

  1. Erica Herd says:

    I could use you at my house.

  2. I sort of wish I had that problem, Van. I clean before company and that’s about it (other than a quick tidying up). When cleaning-day arrives, it’s a massive endeavor. And it’s never done. That’s what gets me. It just gets messy again! UGH!

  3. George says:

    Everyone copes in their own way. It’s better than eating your way through anxiety or not having a way to release all that potential stress. Besides, you now have a clean home to come back to when you travel. Silver linings..:)

  4. I too clean up before guests and before I travel…and on a weekly basis. But not the way you describe it. 🙂

  5. Hello?? After my post last week, are you kidding? Com’on down to Atlanta – I have a lovely townhouse that needs some sprucing up! 🙂

    But seriously, I hope all will be okay where you are headed. It sounds sorta serious… Safe travels Van!

  6. Sue Vincent says:

    If you find a support group, let me know. I’ll join too…

  7. Val Boyko says:

    Please come over to my house with your friends.
    It could do with a good clean up around here!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I suppose there are worse things your anxiety could make you do. At least you’re productive in turmoil. I know this is a hard time, though. Thoughts are with you.

  9. Well, there are worse things your anxiety could drive you to! I know this is a hard time for your family, though. Good thoughts are headed your way.

  10. LaVagabonde says:

    At least your fixation is useful. 😉

  11. Bradley says:

    I’m impressed. When I’m filled with anxiety I can’t look at one single task. Instead, I look at the big picture of what all needs to be done, get overwhelmed and crawl under the covers. I wish it affected me the other day because, believe me, my place could use a good cleaning. 🙂

  12. Val, exercise helps me deal with stress. I often cancel gym routines when serious illness creeps into our lives, since I usually feel the need to be at home or only gone for short periods of time. I cook better meals and do more cleaning than usual when stress builds. I also do extra cleaning before surgery appointments in case folks might drop in with get well wishes after we return home. You seem to have found lots of us deal with stress this way.

  13. It’s a good way to deal with stress and get exercise, but maybe pace yourself a little bit, lol.

  14. I got exhausted reading your list. Phew! Lady, you really get into it in a big way. Well, the good side is you’ve got a spanking clean house and the binge is on something good.

  15. I clean up extensively if I expect guests…otherwise, it’s just normal. Your habit is not that bad, is it? The house, after all, looks spic and span… 🙂

  16. It may be stressful in the moment, but it beats returning to a house that’s a mess (I say from firsthand experience).

  17. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Anytime you would care to stop on by, I could help you immensely. 🙂 Lots to do here. I’ve given up on my “compulsion” to clean. I used to be a clean freak, for real. It was my safety net. Then cats came into my life and I could never clean fast enough to keep the house spic and span. SO, I gave up. Now it is really lived in and so much is on the list of what needs repair and so forth that if I thought about it, I’d probably panic. I understand totally why you do what you do. In a huge way I am glad I am no longer a captive of dirt. 🙂 ❤ (((HUGS))) ❤

    • Still a prisoner of my impossible standards, Amy. I’m thinking that will change as I get less able to do the physical work of it all. Hoping so. ☺☺☺

      • AmyRose🌹 says:

        When it got to the point I couldn’t go on, that is when I began to let go. Some days are easier then others, Van. When I begin to really look and see the less then clean house, and the way my furniture used to be … but then I stop myself. SO not easy to break that habit. I did it for security reasons. Baby steps, dear friend. Make up your mind to NOT do something you normally do and then go somewhere or do something for you. ❤

      • Wise words, Amy. Baby steps. Thanks. 💘

  18. I can totally relate Van, watch out, if you are around you are swept into the cleaning frenzy! haha

  19. Micki Allen says:

    With all respect and sympathy, I must say that sounds like hell to me. I hate housework. So much. So very much.
    Hugs and healing thoughts to you, Punkinshell. XOXOX

  20. joey says:

    You and me both. No kidding. I’m the same. I’ve gotten better, but like anything else, in the right (wrong) circumstances, I go right back to maniacal cleaning.

  21. amommasview says:

    Well, on the positive your house is clean… my grandma always cleaned the entire house before they went out. I mean going out! Not traveling! She always said: Just imagine there’s a fire and all the fire brigade finds after extinguishing the fire is a huge mess… For a while I thought she has a point there… Then I realized that if there would have been a fire in her house, the fire fighters would probably not have found much left anymore… and there would be a mess anyway…

    I clean when I’m upset too. Or angry. It helps me calm down. Maybe it’s because we know that we can deal with this and that we can get on top of it. That we can solve this “problem”. We can eliminate this kind of dirt from our lives.

    Here’s a big hug for you xxxxx

  22. Just Plain Ol' Vic says:

    I so get this. I binged cleaned this weekend myself…felt kinda good I have to admit.

  23. My MIL went into assisted living last year. I noticed a spill on the front of a kitchen cabinet, and by the time I was done had cleaned all cupboards and drawers, inside and out, and oiled all the cabinet fronts! I hear ya sister. Thoughts are with you!

  24. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Van shares her stress coping mechanism which is binge cleaning.. great exercise and there is a positive end result.. being a dreadful housekeeper myself I would suggest that there might be a business opportunity here for Van…

  25. Ritu says:

    I can totally understand the therapeutic nature of cleaning!
    I don’t get the time to do a full-on blitz as regularly as I would like, but on a Friday night (see how interesting my life is!) after school, I do a huge run around the house, bleaching and hoovering, dusting and steaming!
    However, when the bug bites, I can go all out crazy too! This last few days we have shifted many black bags full of ‘stuff’ from clothes to toys, to just plain old rubbish! I wish for a minimalistic home… but I love my memories too much!

    • I understand the memory factor. But a few years ago, I barreled through about 10 boxes of my kids’ school stuff, which I was sure they’d want some day. They told me otherwise, so I reduced it to one file box of things I loved. It can be done. ☺ Thanks, Ritu. 💝

  26. Amy says:

    haha, I do the same thing. Especially when I feel like something in my life is out of control. Cleaning some how gives me a sense of power and control. I can totally relate!

  27. Judy Martin says:

    Well, at least this is a healthy way of coping Van. I kind of wish I was like this rather than eating everything that comes my way!
    I hope that everything is ok with your relative though.

  28. I have the opposite problem – I hate cleaning. Cleaning makes me anxious. I’m one of those people who meditates to calm anxiety. Meanwhile, the clutter piles up around me.

    • I love much of a love/hate relationship with it, I think. It relieves stress, but usually ends up making me angry, and a bit exhausted.☺ Thanks for the visit and comment, Annabelle.

  29. C.E.Robinson says:

    Van, Oh Boy! I can relate! Trying so hard to change the cleaning frenzy before trips or company! Tempered it last weekend with a call to a hospital beside in another city. Still the dusting cloth hit the visible spots before I left! DNA or long time habit? 💛 Elizabeth

    • I’m afraid it’s a bit of both, E. They used to tell my grandmother that you could “eat off of her floor”. That was a standard that was learned, but the other…pure DNA. Thanks. ❤️

  30. lbeth1950 says:

    I would love to offer my house up for your peace of mind. I hate cleaning, but I do it.

  31. TanGental says:

    I’m with Linda above; I can offer foreign travel and cleaning – what’s not to like?

  32. Nurse Kelly says:

    I’m the same way, Van! I do have a housekeeper because my husband and I travel frequently for work, but I’m still obsessive about cleanliness. Can handle messiness, but not dirtiness! Big difference!
    Great post, Van, as always. xo

    • I was courted by a housekeeping service while recovering from a serious knee injury. I wanted a one time service. They came with a “white tornado” team of 4. I was tempted, but was a stay at home mom, could not justify. I’ll change my tune if we don’t/can’t sell this house full of stairs. ☺ Thanks, Kelly. 💕

      • Nurse Kelly says:

        Mine is a wonderful lady who was referred to me by a neighbor. She is flexible because she doesn’t work for a service. Works out really well for us. Last week she even helped my daughter make a dessert for a sorority fundraiser because I was out of town. I’m blessed to have her.
        I’ve seen more houses with first floor masters being built recently where I live – makes a lot of sense!

      • Ranch style homes sell quickly here… aging legs of so many baby boomers !

      • Nurse Kelly says:

        Makes sense from an investment standpoint as well! 🙂

  33. I feel your pain. I clean whenever I’m feeling down. I then at least feel as though I’m accomplishing something and it gives me a feeling of control.

  34. macjam47 says:

    I love to clean anytime. My whole house gets a good cleaning each week, but I’ve finally learned to stagger the big jobs, rather than doing them all at once. I’m like you before leaving town – everything has to be clean. I would dread coming back to a “dirty” house if I didn’t do it beforehand.

  35. Interested in taking a vaca in So Cal? (Just kidding)

  36. nimi naren says:

    I can so…relate to this 😆😆

  37. The grass is always greener, I suppose, but I think I would LOVE your “problem” – my apartment most certainly would.

    • Thanks for going back for an “oldie”, Madelyn. My home was surely messier during the happiest times…interesting ??

      • You’re welcome. I frequently reach back on blogs – it gives me context for what they’ve written today.

        My home is almost always messy by the standards of the always neat and clean. I have to wonder if they do much of anything else with their lives – I certainly wouldn’t be able to, that’s for sure.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s