I'm a tidyer. (And also, apparently, a maker-upper of words.) I tidy a lot and frequently, finding something really satisfying about putting things in their rightful places. As I go from room to room, or upstairs to downstairs, I'm inevitably taking something with me to put away or clearing off surfaces.
While he might not realize it, Husband is a very lucky man (and frankly, somewhat of a tidyer himself.) Not only does he live in a clean house, but The Tidying has all kinds of useful consequences for him. Need to diet? No problem. Let me clear this plate away before you finish eating. How about a little exercise? Try sprinting around the house in the morning before work, looking for something you left on the counter but is no longer there. I tidied it! Isn't this a fun game?! Wheeee!
Full Disclosure: Despite my passion for order, we still have someone clean the house once a week. When the cleaning gets left to me, I tend to do it in stages: toilet one day, shower the next, stove never, so it isn't ALL clean, all at the same time. Which frankly, doesn't leave me with the same blissful, brand-spanking-clean-home feeling. It's a luxury, to be sure, but I'm also going to chalk it up as an entertainment cost. Some people go to movies. I prefer having my oven scrubbed.
I like to blame this freakishness on living in a relatively small house. If you don't pick up after yourself, you can find yourself knee-deep in misplaced junk pretty quickly. When the washer and dryer are in the kitchen (Yes, Americans, the KITCHEN. England does not do "basements." Or "laundry rooms." Sometimes, if I'm pressed for time, I like to throw the lettuce into a spin cycle) it doesn't take very many loads of laundry to make all of downstairs look like a closet. Our open-plan living/dining/kitchen area can quickly turn into a living/dining/laundry/dumping ground very fast.
If I'm really honest with myself, it's not about the small house but mostly about me being a Neat Freak. And probably having too much time on my hands to care about this nonsense.
I do hope that I won't pass this too much on to my kids. Because while I kind of want them to be tidy(ers), I also want them to be able to enjoy mud and muck and messy paints and a roomful of toys strewn everywhere. They should feel free to dig into a big basket of toys and just start chucking things out all over the place until they find that piece of plastic crap they were looking for. And then run downstairs with the plastic crap, and drop it in the middle of the living room, because it's snack time. And eat their crumbly snack while racing around the living room, grinding pieces of cracker into the carp...oh my God, I don't even think I can finish that sentence without taking the vacuum cleaner out.
But you get my point, and there's a happy medium in there somewhere. Childhood is best with mess and dirt and joy and then perhaps a massive clean-up at the end of the day. I'm promising myself to work on it.
In the meantime, I better run. I can see a raisin on the floor.