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nebule's avatar

When did you become tidy...or messy? and why?

Asked by nebule (16376 points ) December 6th, 2009

As a child were you messy or tidy? Did this change? When did it change and why?

I personally went from loving mess and being a messy child and then I remember the very day that I just decided that I was going to be tidy. I was 6, I cleaned my room and tidied it and never looked back. I have been an incredibly tidy person ever since, even to the point of detesting it. Have I left an integral part of my character behind somewhere?

This question comes from discussions with my friend about how children have a lot to teach us that we are unaware of. He said to me at one point “just move out of the way, stop picking up the balls” and it got me thinking about why I feel the incessant need to tidy…which made me remember that as a child I didn’t have this need at all!

So whether you were messy once and now tidy or tidy and now messy, or you’ve always been one way or the other, I’d,like to hear your stories and particularly why and when you changed and if you feel you are living in alignment with your “true-self” i.e. what you really want…

Thank you xxx

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32 Answers

rooeytoo's avatar

I am a messy person, always have been, probably always will be. I strive and sometimes even yearn for tidiness, just never seem to be able to achieve or maintain it.

belakyre's avatar

I always wanted to be a tidy person, but I always tend to make it messy in the end. It is pretty annoying but I guess I’m going to have to live with it.

ccrow's avatar

^ ^ What @rooeytoo said!!! I have improved somewhat over time, but it is a real effort for me to keep up w/things.

ubersiren's avatar

I was an extremely messy child and young adult. Only in the last 4 years or so have I become very, very tidy. I don’t know what happened other than having a child. That’s all I can think of. I now cannot stand messes and dirt. Clutter is the big one. I loathe clutter! I have a cleaning schedule, and enlist my poor husband to help out, especially now that I’m pregnant. Dirt and clutter still happen, but it bugs me to no end until I’m able to be rid of it. It doesn’t last nearly as long or happen nearly as often. I try to be on top of it for my own sanity.

mcbealer's avatar

As a child I was expected to keep a very neat room. There was hell to pay if anything was on the floor, bed wasn’t made, laundry neatly folded right away, etc. I always rejected and fought against such rigid standards, and once I had my own living space, all that “old-fashioned training” went out the door.

Nowadays, I call my environment organized chaos. It may look messy, and is usually dusty, but I know pretty much where everything is, and can find stuff pretty quick. I’m good at organizing other people’s stuff and love creating organizational systems, especially virtual ones like email filing systems for an example.

I think my difficulty with organizing my own belongings is that although I love sorting I find it very difficult to let go of sentimental objects, for years lived in apartments/houses with little or no shelving/drawers, detest putting away clean laundry, and have no discipline when it comes to keeping up with mail that has to be opened, sorted and shredded.

Because I have moved around a lot, I have wound up with boxes upon boxes of miscellaneous items that I have neither the time nor the desire to sort through. And yet I know there’s important stuff mixed within all the odds and ends… frustating! It also kills me because most organizational experts will tell you that if you haven’t worn/used something in the past 6 months you should probably pitch it.

Last winter I told myself I was going to set a goal and sort through at least 2 boxes per week… then I got sidetracked building my photoblog. Always the procrastinator…

One thing that escapes me is how to keep drawers organized. I don’t just don’t understand how to neatly fill the drawers up without running out of space or winding up with a drawers that look like a big pile of junk. How do you decide what goes where with limited drawers/shelves???

And that question has led me to the conclusion I must downsize. And get rid of stuff.

Aesthetically, I love neat clean spaces, and yearn to be able to live in such a space. When I go to IKEA and walk through their living spaces displays, I basically drool. Oh how I would love my casa to look like that!!

The concept of eliminating clutter has intrigued me for a while – - especially over the past year and a half -. I have been trending towards creating minimalist living spaces, and have getting rid of stuff slowly. I started with my bedroom, and am almost finished there.

I would find it very liberating to get rid of 75% of the stuff I have accumulated over the years, and hope someday I can look around and know I did it.

In the meantime, I will continue working steadily on the clutter, try to remember dusting once in a while, and recycle/consign/give stuff away whenever I can.

mrentropy's avatar

I used to be a really messy person until I had four step-kids. Then I saw what a real mess was like and knew that things had to be straightened up.

marinelife's avatar

I am messy. My father was meticulous and obsessively tidy. I am more like (but not as bad) as my Mom who tends toward messy.

sakura's avatar

My bedroom was always a mess as a teenager rather than a child. I don’t know how my mum put up with me havingan 11 year old girl now, whom I get annoyed with if her room isn’t tidy, I feel such a hypocrite!!!!

My house is usually very tidy, although my wardrobes and cupboards do suffer from that inevitable illness that is spewing their contents everywhere as soon as there doors are opened!!

CMaz's avatar

I pace myself. Always have, and at the end of the day. All is good to go.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I became much neater when it dawned on me that I was responsible for getting things done in my household. If I didn’t do it, it would fall apart around my ears. With the ADD, I’m a piler, not a filer, so much of my organization is pile containment—putting things into baskets. I do a really great job at that, and I’m also really good at recycling magazines or repurposing them. Will I ever look at these back issues of Utne or Mental Floss again? Probably not. (Those I will pass along to a neighbor.)

I’ve noticed that most people don’t really care if the house is tidy, as long as it’s clean.

ShanEnri's avatar

I was extremely messy as a child! My floor was carpeted with clean and dirty clothes alike. I never went to school in clothes that didn’t have wrinkles in them. As I got older I started noticing my mom was a pack rat and it gave her house a slightly dirty look and feel. I decided then I would not follow her example. I’m not the cleanest housekeeper, but my house is clean and so are my kids rooms!

Facade's avatar

My bedroom has always been messy. Clothes everywhere. I’ve become tidier in the last year I’d say. I’m noticing my parents leaving trash and shit all around. They expect me to pick up after them. It’s not happening. I refuse. I think their messiness is teaching me how to be neater so I don’t drive my man crazy when we move in together. He’s very neat. :)

gailcalled's avatar

I tidy up furiously the hour before my cleaning couple comes, biweekly. The rest of the time, as long as whateveritis is not growing mold, I let things be.

jamielynn2328's avatar

I was a really messy kid. In a family of four kids, I was pegged the messiest one. I remember having it really overwhelm me.

When I was sixteen we moved and my room in the new house was too small for a mouse. I was able to keep it clean. Now my house is always clean. I hate when it is dirty. I’m not the clean all day type, my house appears lived in, but it is neat and everything has a place.

Now I watch my poor daughter struggle with the same problem. Her room is a disaster. But even now, my room is by far the messiest in the house.

fireinthepriory's avatar

I was a somehwhat messy child, I suppose, and it extended into my high school days. My first year of college for some reason I became very neat, maybe it had to do with sharing my space with a roommate and not wanting her to feel like I was junking up our room (she was pretty spartan). My sophomore year I roomed with someone who was always leaving trash and clothes around, and it really got on my nerves. In my apartment now I’m definitely one of the two cleanest people. The two of us like to talk together about how messy our other roommates are so that we don’t loose it and yell at them. (“She didn’t clean the lid of this pot! She just put it right back in the cupboard! Ewww!”) If I had my way, the kitchen in particular would be spotless most of the time.

My room has the tendency to get cluttered when I’m really busy (like now, for example!) but it never gets to the point of “messy” anymore. I’d probably get really bent out of shape trying to share space with high-school me. :)

faye's avatar

Untidy-I have a hard time actually getting laundry put away. My living room is neat because that matters to me and the main bathroom but my bedroom and little BR is so messy. I know I must do something!!!

ru2bz46's avatar

I have always hated to clean up a mess. As a kid, I would occasionally clean my room, but it would slowly get cluttered and messy again. In high school, I finally learned that to avoid cleaning up a mess, just don’t make one, and I became tidy.

When I moved out, I moved in with a friend, then a girlfriend, then back with the friend, then I married her, then we divorced. Over those nine years, when the other person would make a mess, I wouldn’t clean it up, then I saw no point in avoiding my own mess, and it would spiral until there was a big mess, then a fight.

After the divorce, I moved in with my brother-in-law, who was very tidy and didn’t make messes. I was in Heaven! We lived well together. Then I moved in with another woman (a slob), and once again, I didn’t clean for the next thirteen years. Since we separated, I have been in control of my own little domain, which I keep very tidy because I don’t make messes, nor does anyone else. Aaahhhh…

jbfletcherfan's avatar

Being an only child & living in a small house, I’ve always been tidy. There was no room to be messy. I guess you could say I’m almost OCD in having things out of place. I can’t stand it. Things have to be spaced just right, folded just a certain way. etc Dishes are done & out away, laundry done, the coffee pot has to be emptied & rinsed out before I go somewhere…on & on. Things have to be just so before I go to bed. I can’t tolerate clutter. Neither one of our daughters is especially tidy. But it’s their houses & I don’t say a word. They sure weren’t raised that way, but oh well. :-/

rangerr's avatar

From ages 0–4, everything had to be clean or I’d rearrange it.
From ages 5–15, my room was a tornado zone.
From ages 15–18, I had a boyfriend. It had to be clean.
Now, I’m back to not caring.

I can’t find anything if my room is organized.
I like chaos.

sunshinedust's avatar

i’m an ex-meth junkie. since i was a kid i always had problems even keeping my room clean. meth made cleaning like the most fun thing to do in the entire world. i’m clean now, but my enthusiasm to clean never really left. it’s actually kinda nice…

nebule's avatar

I’m really surprised by all these answers… I really would have thought we were all innately messy to begin with but it seems not so…

gailcalled's avatar

I discovered that too much mess took too much energy to cope with. Being moderately tidy and cleaning up somewhat as I went along took far less time and aggro.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I have always been a messy person but when I moved into a flat of my own (ie: moved out of my parents house) things started to improve a little. I still tend to have a lot of clutter but my mum is always amazed at how tidy the place is compared to what my bedroom a home was like!

Silhouette's avatar

I was always tidy, anal really. When I became a mother I had to learn how to let things slide. Do I dust the plant shelves that I dusted yesterday or do I go outside and play with my child? Is the toy box clutter that has worked it’s way all over my home more important than the use my child is getting from his toys. I actually sought out coping strategies for my phobic reactions to messy. Now, my house is clean but not sterile. I can sit on my buttocks and look at my messy little pig piles knowing the sky won’t fall if I put it off until tomorrow. Freedom!!

nebule's avatar

@Silhouette from a beautiful mind and so beautifully written… this is where I have been and where I am and where I hope to go…I love everything about what you have just said xxxx

JustPlainBarb's avatar

I was fairly messy as a child and even as a teen. I didn’t get really “neat” until I had my own home. Now I’m very neat and clean .. it’s my nest and I’m proud of it!!

Pseudonym's avatar

From ages 10 to 12 I was incredibly disorganized. Not because I couldn’t organize, but because I didn’t have that sense of cleanliness that some people are born with. Certain people hate having messy desk areas, and feel the need to clean things. I however, don’t care whether I literally cannot see the floor of my study. This being the case, I didn’t take the time to organize on a regular basis until I was almost 13. It was only three years, but it was probably the three longest years of my childhood, in terms of work.

bunnygrl's avatar

I’ve always been a neat freak but again I got it from my Grandmother. Her friends and sisters used to joke that dust didn’t ever land in her house because it didn’t dare lol. I wish I was more organised though. The house is clean, and very tidy but I still lose things because I’m also a pack rat when it comes to things that hold memories. I’m working on it though lol. Hugs all xx

Response moderated
Aster's avatar

I’m messy. No help whatsoever inside the house, too much fluthering, lots of possessions, lots of cooking. The living/dining rooms are perfectly neat because no one uses those rooms. Except the dogs sometimes use the rugs as their toilet even though they now have a doggie door. Oh, I have so many books, papers and just stuff. Thinking back, it seems to me my mother always kept my room neat. All those years and it just now dawns on me.

mcsnazzy's avatar

I’m messy. I don’t like to clean up…ever….I think its because my parents are neat and used to nag…i slowely started to put off the cleaning and now i live in a bedroom that looks a mess, although i can find anything in it :)

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