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New home New home OCD: 5 tactics to get over the clean-fanatic

Cropped image of beautiful woman in protective gloves holding a flat wet-mop and bucket with detergents and rags while cleaning her house

21 Jul 2017

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We all love to give a new house a good scrub when we move in.

It might be to banish any memories of the previous tenants, or it might be because you want to keep that just-moved-in feeling.

But many home movers can take things a tad too far – they experience ‘messy-home phobia’, causing them to break out in hives at the trace of dirt on their new floor. Maybe you’ve waited a long time to get your first home and you’re particularly house proud.

That’s to be expected. However, you also have to be able to let things slide.

There’s nothing wrong with being focused on cleanliness, but it is hard to relax into your new surroundings if you spend three nights a week scrubbing the inside of the oven.

Cleanliness may be next to godliness but it’s also important to take a step back and just enjoy your home. So what should you do if you find yourself obsessed with cleaning your new place?

1. Allow yourself to relax with a bit of mess

Look at the mess. Accept it for what it is. Deep breaths - it is not going to harm you.

When you feel the intense urge to pick up the rubber gloves, it’s a good idea to wait an hour or two. If you consciously force yourself to sit and relax for an hour before cleaning, you will grow a little more comfortable in surroundings which are not 100% pristine.

That can mean putting the dishes aside for an evening or allowing the living room table to get a little bit messy. That’s OK. You can do it!

2. Chat to your partner about your habits

If you’re co-habiting, you may feel that your partner isn’t keeping up with your cleaning habits. But it’s not that your partner doesn’t care. They may just feel the need to relax between cleanings.

Have a chat with your other half and ask them their opinion – or even to draw ‘the line’. What does an acceptably clean space look like to them, and just how much cleaning is too much?

Once you’ve both compromised, you can divvy up the cleaning tasks to take some pressure off.

3. Create a daily cleaning schedule and stick to it

If you’re living with your partner, you could end up stressing him or her out with your obsessive behaviour. If you’re already wiping the table down while your other half is still eating, it’s not going to make for the most enjoyable dining experience.

So make a rule – you’re only going to clean at the end of the day, in the morning time, or after dinner. No matter how much your fingers are aching for the dust pan, sit on your hands and go about your life. You never know, you may finally finish that box-set or book.

4. Analyse the mess

Sit back and analyse why you’re cleaning something. Does this really need to be done? If yes, does it really need to be done right now? Do you need to wipe down that counter right away or tidy the table in the middle of a film?

Force yourself to take a breath and think about your cleaning habits.

It can be healthy to practice leaving things untouched if they really don’t need to be tidied.

5. Touch base with your friends

Worn worktops or old fixtures can be hard to adjust to if you’re used to shiny new surfaces. If in doubt, ask friends or family what they think. The chances are that you’ll have plenty of visitors after moving house so sound them out to see if they share your opinion.

Just make sure you ask people whose opinion you trust.

Maybe your new place actually needs a revamp, in which case you’ll need to calculate the budget and see what’s possible in the short term. Or it could just be a case of worrying about nothing.

It’s no harm to get a second opinion and you might also get some peace of mind. If you get some reassurance from your trusted mates, it can go a long way to helping you accept that your new place doesn’t need to be cleaned to within an inch of its life!

Still looking for a home to make your own?

If you’re still hunting for your dream house, the problem of excessive cleaning may seem like something you could happily deal with.

Why not call into your local EBS office to see if you’re eligible for a mortgage or check out our First Time Buyer guide for more information. Find out how much you can afford to borrow with our mortgage calculator or book a mortgage meeting to suit you with one of our mortgage experts.

Don’t forget to visit our Facebook page for the latest home inspiration, news and great competitions.

The content of this blog is expressed in broad terms and is limited to general information purposes only. Readers should always seek professional advice to address issues arising in specific contexts and not seek to rely on the information in this blog which does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by EBS d.a.c.

EBS d.a.c neither accepts nor assumes any responsibility in relation to the contents of this blog and excludes all warranties, undertakings and representations (either express or implied) to the fullest extent permitted under applicable law.

EBS d.a.c is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

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