I’m a messy person and my live-in boyfriend is a tidy person—a very tidy person. I actually had to prepare to live together by beginning to train myself to be neater for half a year before we moved in together. I would choose one new thing to focus on each couple of weeks, get in the habit of that, and then add a new, tidy habit. My partner is very grateful for this, and definitely says I’ve improved. In fact, my level of messiness no longer gives him panic attacks! (Okay, almost never gives him those). But, at the end of the day, it’s sort of in our DNA to be messy or tidy, don’t you think? Messiness comes natural to some, while tidiness seems to feel easy to others—like my boyfriend. At the end of the day, it’s my habits that give my partner anxiety and not the other way around, so I try to make accommodations for what he needs in the home, even if I don’t always understand it. Here are things messy and tidy people can’t see eye to eye on.
Tables are for things
I’ve had many roommates point out how many things I keep on the tables, from the coffee table, to the side table, to the desk. As far as I’m concerned, aren’t tables for things?! I mean, at least I didn’t put those things on the floor.
My boyfriend wants a shoeless apartment. I agreed to it, and came around to the idea because I’ve definitely noticed it keeps our floors cleaner. But also, it’s not like we eat off the floors, so what’s a little shoe dust? We clean the floors twice a month either way.
Dogs on the bed
When I first started dating my boyfriend, he had a no-dog-on-the-bed rule. Admittedly, the dog is mine, I’ve always had dogs, and my boyfriend had never lived with a dog. But I assured him that, even though he made valid points about her dragging in dirt from the street and getting hair everywhere, he’d fall in love with her and change his mind. And he did.
Making the bed
Why do we make the bed? Only to mess it up again every single night? I’ll pull the blankets up and arrange the pillows a bit but, I leave the tight sheet tucking and top of the comforter folding to my partner. That’s his preference.
Cleaning the cleaning tools
Why do we clean cleaning tools?! Tidy people clean the things they use to clean things. They wipe down vacuums, they clean the insides of trashcans—it makes no sense to me.
Appliances on the counters
We use the coffee maker, toaster, and canister of spatulas several times a day. It makes perfect sense to me that they would live on the counters, but my boyfriend wants them to live in the cabinets.
Wiping down food surfaces
My boyfriend wipes down the kitchen counter after making every tiny snack. I see a point in doing this nightly, to keep flies and cockroaches away. But I find it a little pointless to wipe away crumbs when I’m going to make more in two hours.
Clean the thing that we use to clean other things? Sinks clean themselves! They see mostly soap and water! Come on.
See my points on cleaning the sinks.
Regularly washing towels
When I use a towel on my face or body, it’s because my face and body have just been cleaned. So, if you ask me, towels practically never need washing. Okay…I know that’s not entirely true, but my boyfriend washes his body towels after a few uses, and that seems excessive to me.
Saving up dirty dishes
My partner is a clean-as-you-go type. When it comes to dishes, I like to clean all of my dishes, from all three of my day’s meals, at the end of the day. But the little pile that creates on the left side of the sink gets my boyfriend pretty anxious.
Putting accessories in drawers
I like to keep my jewelry, headbands, and purses displayed on my dresser. I like to be able to see them, all at once, when deciding which ones to wear. My boyfriend really wishes I’d put them all away in drawers and closets.
Taking out the trash daily
I say, make the most use of every trash bag, and only empty the trash when it’s totally full. My boyfriend likes to take it out around every day or at least every other day, because he doesn’t like the idea of food rotting inside the apartment.
Saving paper/plastic bags
I guess I’m a bit of a bag lady, but I like to keep grocery store bags and use them to put our recycling in. That being said, we don’t seem to recycle at the same pace I collect these bags and our under-the-sink cabinet is bursting with bags. My boyfriend, naturally, doesn’t like this.
Noticing the one dirty thing
If I look at an apartment in which there is only one, small, messy area, I think, “This is a clean apartment!” If my boyfriend looks at the same place he says, “This is a messy apartment.”