Some people are slobs--neither neat nor clean. Occasionally, two slobs marry and proceed to live in disorganized filth. More often than not, a slob marries his or or her opposite so they have something to "talk" about for the next 50 years. But for the rest of us, there are, I think, very few people who are both neat AND clean. You're either clean but not neat or neat but not clean. Again, opposites attract, so sometimes you'll have a "clean" marry a "neat" and they will either (a) complement each other, or (b) kill each other. I am definitely a "neat but not clean" type. Don't get me wrong--I don't mean that I neglect basic hygiene or anything, but I'm the type who is bugged by an unmade bed but not particularly bothered by unchanged sheets. A layer of dust on my desk--no problem. Piles of paper on my desk--a crisis. I think that if I could simply arrange for all dirt to have properly squared-off corners, dirt wouldn't bother me at all. Dirt just bothers me because it contributes to an overall feeling of "untidy." This, by the way, is something in my gene pool. My mom is a shelf-and-cubbyhole person, my sister is a daytimer-and-list person. It's a blessing, and a curse.
Strangely, I married someone who is equally a neat freak. So when we get time together, one of the things we do for fun and satisfaction is de-clutter. In the past week we have attacked all three of our children's bedrooms, with a vengeance. We didn't just "straighten up." We brought a backhoe. Hefty bags full of miscellaneous "stuff" found its way to the trash, or goodwill, or consignment (to the tune of $73! Yippee!). Yes, we also used the vacuum, and half a box of swiffers. But be very clear--the cleaning was secondary. This was all about NEAT! Sadly, our kids will now begin to trash those rooms again immediately. But that gives us something to do again several months from now. If you're not a neat person, you don't know what you're missing!