Of the two people living in our house, I'm really not the tidy one – yet annoyingly I hate mess. Meaning I am typically in a permanent state of low-level anxiety about how much there is to do: the classic binge cleaner. Then there are those obsessed with relentless sprucing – my dear former lodger, for example. He was an enviable neat-freak who once revealed fear was what drove him always to put his clothes away immediately. Mine sit in a washing basket hidden inside my wardrobe until only the need to use the basket again forces me to hang and fold. Pleasingly, though, Mr Lodger also admitted I'd be horrified if I ever saw inside any of his cupboards. Ha. The mess may not be visible but it exists.
The conversation took place for a piece I was researching for the Independent about the secrets of tidy people. For the same piece, I also questioned another friend and long-ago flatmate, militant about averting clutter: not once did I ever see a stray to-do list, bill, pile of coins or empty mug disrupt her pathologically clear surfaces. "But where do you put all that stuff you haven't quite decided what to do with?" I asked her. "Clutter is only clutter if it doesn't have a home," she pronounced. "Allocate drawers for things rather than creating random piles." Wise words. Though I'm still striving.
I'd have said all three of us were all fairly extreme in our own ways but, according to this research, perhaps not. Over a third of British people, it found, prioritised a tidy home over a holiday. Only 18 per cent of us (I'm saying nothing) would prefer to have sex than to have a spruced abode, while only 11 per cent would prefer a night out to a tidy home, and nearly half of those questioned, apparently, find a messy home more annoying than being stuck in a traffic jam. People, what is wrong with us?
What do you think is going on? Why are we all so obsessed? Do join in the debate by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet me at @kate_burt or comment below or on the Facebook page. And listen out for me today on the airwaves: at breakfast I'll be on BBC Lancashire and Guernsey, and at lunchtime on BBC Merseyside, with a bit of Bournemouth, Gwent and Cardiff in between in case any of those cover your local airwaves.
Post by Kate