One couple's journey through the muck
A few weeks ago, my fiancé emerged from our apartment’s tiny bathroom with a revolted look on his face. He silently stalked into the kitchen and immerged with a bottle of Mr. Clean, our battered all-purpose bucket, and a handful of cloth rags.
“I’ve been staring at the nasty hairs and dust on the bathroom floor for weeks and I can’t handle it anymore,” he blurted in one hurried breath.
I nodded with quiet, guilty eyes and snuggled deeper into the couch as he disappeared into the small, filthy room. The hairs and the dust had been bothering me, too. For weeks, I, too, had stared at the unpleasant clutter. Each time, I would swear to myself that I would clean the floor the moment I emerged from the bathroom. Each time, I would wash my hands and clean my nails and forget about the floor. And each time, I consoled myself by saying that I would clean the nasty floor when my fiancé and I decided to spring clean.
The decision had been made. I emerged from the couch moments later, feeling unmotivated and slightly irritated. I peered at my neurotic, sturdy partner as he scrubbed the 3’x4’ room on his hands and knees. His over six-foot body barely fit in the cramped space. With an exasperated sigh, I collected my own cleaning materials: a can of Pledge, a few old cotton rags, a broom that I swear was made by Fisher-Price, and our disabled vacuum cleaner.
“I know!” I shouted to him, “I’ll open the windows and let the breeze clear out the stuffy air!”
I smiled smugly as I shoved the kitchen windows open. I could shed my slovenly tendencies and be a clean person, too. A roll of paper towels bounced to the floor and the month’s series of bills flew off of the kitchen table. I ran over to the windows and slammed them shut. My fiancé peeked around the corner and shook his head.
“I’m fine,” I muttered through a gritted grin.
After the window incident, I cleaned at my own pace. In a relationship, when one person is a neat freak and the other is a slob, it is seemingly impossible for one person to always meet or exceed the other’s standards. Fortunately, my fiancé is a fantastic person and was simply glad to have my help at all. I did, however, bring a green idea of my own to the spring cleaning experience.
For example, several months before, during what I would call the “fall purge,” I cut some old bath towels into was cloth size rags. During spring cleaning, we used these rags instead of paper towels. This helped us to cut down on waste and on cost. So, while he may have cleaned more and I actually may have made a bigger mess, we both played (in my mind) equally important roles. My fiancé was the practical direction-setter, while I was the inspiration to make us a little greener.