Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

What would cause someone to suddenly change their cleaning habits?

(51 Posts)
Kreature Sun 28-Aug-11 17:45:35

So my girlfriend has never been house proud and has been known to leave pots for 2+ days before getting around to doing them. I'm the same so I'm not complaining. On a normal day the sink would be full of pots, there would be dirty clothes chucked all over the bedroom floor, the bed would NEVER be made and there would be at least 4 coffee cups hanging around the rooms of the house that GF had used and not bothered to wash. So anyway around two weeks ago (roughly) I came from from work and she'd completely blitzed the kitchen, I mean it was SPOTLESS. Well exceeding Mother's standard IYSWIM! I expressed shock when I walked in, we both laughed about it and I told her I'd try and keep it looking so nice. Thing is since then she seems to have got rather obsessive about housework. The kitchen has remained spotless ever since but it's that extreme that if you open a cupboard and a crumb falls out she's straight onto it with the flash spray vigorously scrubbing away. She's hoovered the back porch which is often full of sawdust because of the rabbits but as they constantly make a mess, she seems to be CONSTANTLY hoovering the back porch. The living room is also spotless, she gets really stressed out if a used cup is in sight and just can't seem to chill out until it's cleaned and put away in a cupboard. Carpet - spotless. Sofa cusions militarily controlled so they're sat at JUST the right angle and god forbid anyone mess them up. Today I came in from work and the bedroom resembled something out of a catalogue. Not only was it tidy but everything was arranged and the covers flawlessly decreased and turned over at the top etc etc

This might be normal to most of you but this is NOT her. I know it isn't a problem as such but I'm just wondering what could make someone suddenly change a habit of a lifetime and actually stick to it permanantly for this long and with such precision. Could stress cause this?

CailinDana Sun 28-Aug-11 17:48:25

How odd, I think you're right to be worried. It would be fine if she'd just decided to clean up her act but it's the obsessive element that I would be concerned about. Is there something going on in her life at the moment? Has your family made some sort of comment about the house? Are you planning to get married soon? Have you asked her what's going on?

Kreature Sun 28-Aug-11 17:50:44

She's due to start a 3 year degree in about 5 weeks which I guess could be stressing her out. She also seems to have lost her appetite which would also give hand in hand with stress. Family never mention the state of the house as they're so used to it, this is what's wierd about it, she's ALWAYS been the other way so to change so dramatically in such a sudden way is actually quite strange.

CailinDana Sun 28-Aug-11 17:56:40

I agree it sounds very strange. I think you need to talk to her ASAP. Losing her appetite and becoming obsessive are very worrying signs that could point to a mental illness. That's the last thing she needs if she has the big challenge of uni coming up. Sit her down and tell her exactly what you've said here - that you've noticed a big change in her behaviour and you're worried that she might be stressed. Just let her talk and see what comes out.

ohgawdherewegoagain Sun 28-Aug-11 17:56:44

Hope she's not nesting..... Happened to me when I was pregnant - not that I'd ever been very untidy but I became hygiene and organisationally (is that a proper word?) obsessed!

Seriously, she's probably just liking the feeling of being in control and wants to keep it that way!

DancesWithWolefCubs Sun 28-Aug-11 18:01:31

I nested too. confused

ImperialBlether Sun 28-Aug-11 18:02:54

Hmm sorry but I thought she was having an affair and bringing the bloke home! Ties in with losing weight, too.

Sorry, OP!

Poshbaggirl Sun 28-Aug-11 18:14:41

I was thinking the same as imperial. Sorry.

BooBooGlass Sun 28-Aug-11 18:18:39

An affair? Come off it. Maybe she's just fed up of living in a pit.

peggotty Sun 28-Aug-11 18:21:08

No, it's not necessarily that she's having an affair!!! Bit of a conclusion to jump to surely?! I am a really quite untidy person but have been known to become quite anal about housework but it generally happens when I am stressed or feeling out of control of some other aspect of my life. Feeling 'organised' in the home is a way of getting some control back. Although she is taking it to extremes. Is she generally quite an all or nothing type of person as well?

SingOut Sun 28-Aug-11 18:26:19

I'm afraid my first thought was affair, clearing tracks etc. Then nesting. Have you tried asking her? I think you need to.

Cereal Sun 28-Aug-11 18:30:34

The only way to find out is to ask her. Ask in a positive way so she doesn't become defensive about it. Say you've noticed the house is much cleaner than before and thank her for her hard work - then ask what has inspired her to do this.

PositiveAttitude Sun 28-Aug-11 18:30:51

For goodness sake, She is probably just decided that she likes things tidy! Once I have my house all up together I become nearly obsessive because I want it to stay like that. I am sure she will settle down over the next few days/weeks and will reach a happy medium with a tidy home, and her being more relaxed about it.

Give her a cuddle and tell her well done for getting it ll so nice looking!!smile

sleepevader Sun 28-Aug-11 18:36:50

I did this before embarking on my degree! It didn't last long!

I was told I had would have no life outside my intense degree (true) and thought if I organised and decluttered it would make it easy to find things!

WhyItsMeAgain Sun 28-Aug-11 18:37:45

what is nesting? confused

sleepevader Sun 28-Aug-11 18:40:48

It's what pregnant women do before baby due. Cleaning the nest for new arrival.

DuelingFanjo Sun 28-Aug-11 18:41:48

I think people tend to nest when they are fairly obviously pregnant!

Maybe she's doing flylady thing, or a friend of mine was posting on facebook about some kind of de-cluttering book which changed her life, maybe that?

SirSugar Sun 28-Aug-11 18:42:55


PippiLongBottom Sun 28-Aug-11 18:43:20

An affair. The weight loss is the big giveaway.

LynetteScavo Sun 28-Aug-11 18:46:01

I started nesting at 5 months pregnant.

I'd never been tidy before, but I was sudenly insistent that all CD's were kept in alphabetical order.

Or maybe she has just grown up. Or suddenly realised she has the time for house work.

But it sounds like a control thing to me. I have a friend who will puff up cusions when you stand up and clear away a meal half way through. She doesn't try to control anyone else, just the house.

LynetteScavo Sun 28-Aug-11 18:47:52

The weight loss sounds like a control thing too.

She's trying to take control of her life and be perfect.

OriginalPoster Sun 28-Aug-11 18:52:01

She has been flywashed by flylady. If I listen to her podcasts about sorting out your life strange things start to happen....

OriginalPoster Sun 28-Aug-11 18:53:38

Or does she have a secret twin?

HauntedLittleLunatic Sun 28-Aug-11 18:54:45

My first thought was she was seeing someone else - at least as far as the general tidiness is concerned.

My xp did this (he was sahd so did much of the housework). He started doing the hoovering Sunday instead of Monday. The house would be blitzed on a Thursday. Pot pouri scent topped up Sunday.

Turns out Monday and Friday was his ow's day off and he was having her back for 'a cup of tea' those days.

However, the obsessive cup out of place when it is only you 2 in the house doesn't fit that -unless it is someone you both know that might POP in from time to time.

AWimbaWay Sun 28-Aug-11 18:56:33

This happened to me after a bereavement. I'm naturally a very messy person but I suddenly became obsessed with everything being just right, I'd even dry the sink after using it! I also lost weight. In my case it was definitely a stress and control thing, once I'd worked through my grief I was back to my untidy (happier) self. Is there anything other than uni that could be upsetting her? Hopefully it's nothing and she's just decided to turn over a tidy new leaf.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now