It’s that time of year when the sun shines (on and off) and we go to work on and off due to a string of bank holidays. If you’re anything like me then your mind will, sadly, turn to the dull subject of cleaning.

I’ve always had a bit of a minor obsession with cleaning. Maybe it’s because I’m descended from a long line of Northern housewives. Bleaching net curtains and scrubbing steps is part of my heritage. I don’t quite go as far as donning a crossover pinny and a headscarf though.

It started in my youth. My father was an obsessively tidy man and would set us all off into cleaning missions at the weekends. This was compulsory. I soon managed to gain a little number where I would get extra pocket money if I helped out as a regular thing. I quickly learnt that the power of creating order out of chaos was a cathartic, as well as financially lucrative, act. Pushing round our old feeble vacuum cleaner with its crinkly brown paper bags and flicking away at dust with a bright yellow duster bought me an enormous sense of satisfaction.

A psychologist once told me that my desire to be clean and tidy was a way of exerting order into my often-chaotic life. Although I have little control over my stressful job, the sometimes-dodgy men in my life or my family, I can control how shiny the bath taps are. She definitely had a valid point.

I’ve bought every gimmicky cleaning product on the market, over the years, damaging not only the environment but also my pocket and probably my lungs. I’ve staggered out of chemical warfare clouds in foggy bathrooms, burnt my hands with excessive bleach and teetered on rickety chairs to reach nooks and crannies that really don’t need reaching. I’ve washed the numbers off the controls of a brand new cooker by using neat detergent, taken the surface off loo seats and generally caused a lot of mishaps.

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I’m much more moderate than I used to be. Maybe I’m more mentally healthy than I used to be or maybe just too tired to be bothered with it all. I’ve learnt to live with the odd streak on the mirrors or a dusty crevice. It’s not the end of the world and certainly no terrible reflection on me or my morals and decency.

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I definitely see a solution ahead but it’s a complex and difficult goal. It involves a rich husband and a fleet of maids. I’m not sure that my partner would approve though.

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