At first I thought I was the only one who cleaned when I was angry or anxious. When I did a bit of research as to why I do this – I actually found out “angry cleaning” and “cleaning rage” is an actual thing. Most people feel a compulsive urge to clean something when they are annoyed or frustrated about or with someone.
Now don’t get me wrong – my house is very very far from sparkly. Which you could interpret in two ways – one, that I don’t get angry very often. Or two, that I clean only certain areas or things. If at this point you are thinking, “Well – she has kids?” you would be right. So I do get stressed, anxious and angry – and get this huge need to organise some stuff. People I work with, know that when I start unpacking my drawers and repacking them. It usually means, I have a lot going on. Is that weird?
I mentioned that I did some research into the “why” behind this phenomenon, and couldn’t come up with any good reasons. I have theories of my own, which make some sense to me.
Theory 1 – Control
My first theory is that I clean because it gives me a sense of control. I sort and organise the little things (sometimes big things depending on how stressed I am) that I can, and it makes me feel like I am in control of something. It makes me feel better that there are certain things that I actually can control, change, make better. I actually think that seeing and being in an area that is more organised and sorted makes it easier for me to process things that are stressing me out.
Theory 2 – Time to process
My second theory is that it gives me time to process. While I clean, I usually talk to myself. Listen – I do this a lot. It’s actually a little scary, I will have a full conversation with myself about why I am upset, and what I should do, playing out the different scenarios. When I am done cleaning usually I have had all the time to sort through all my thoughts. I have decided on a way forward, and I feel accomplished. PLUS! My washing is done, my house is clean and I’ve possibly cooked too.
I’m actually leaning toward a mixture of both theories, I get upset with my husband, as you know, and then my house gets a good clean – hooray. He leaves me be – because he just knows I need the time. He is a wise man, I must say. Now that I have said all this – I am starting to feel a little crazy… do you angry clean too? Or what other ways do you cope with overwhelming emotions?
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In the meantime – I am guilty of angry cleaning, and probably a lot of other crazy things. All of us girls are a little crazy right??