*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.*
When I was younger I lived with a girl named Amber who was a total neat freak to my cluttered little life.
She was constantly cleaning - wiping down counters in the bathroom and kitchen, mopping floors, vacuuming, dusting, and not to mention picking up everything around the house that she didn’t think belonged.
It would annoy me so much because she would just clean right around me when I was sitting in the living room. She would pick up my coffee cup from the table to wash it before I was even finished drinking it, and constantly taking the books I was reading and putting them back on the shelves.
I thought it was annoying living with a neat freak, but it was nothing like living with my friend Liz for a little while, in her hot mess of a house.
Unfortunately a time came in my life when I was between jobs and needed a cheap place to live, and Liz offered me a corner of her small living room in her small apartment. But, there wasn’t room for me in there, because Liz was a total hoarder.
She had piles of garbage bags filled with her kids old clothes that didn’t fit anymore lining the walls of her living room almost to the ceiling, because she, for her own reasons, couldn’t let go of them. Outside on her patio, there were bags of cans completely blocking the sitting area because she was too lazy to bring them to the bottle return. The kitchen was unusable - dirty, moldy dishes piled in the sink, food and small appliances all over the counter, never put away. It was even hard to close the bathroom doors because there was so much junk in the bathrooms, I would have to move stuff out of the way all the time to even get to the toilet.
One day when Liz was sleeping since she worked nights, I took it upon myself to start cleaning her apartment.
First I took all the bottles and cans and donated them to a high school band’s fundraiser, then I tackled the kitchen, doing the dishes, organizing the cupboards and putting things away. Finally I started going through the bags of clothes in the living room, opening them up and sorting them into piles of things I knew wouldn’t fit the kids anymore and things that might.
That was when Liz came downstairs and saw what I had done.
She was FURIOUS.
“I was saving those cans!”
“I had plans for where everything was going to go in the kitchen!”
“These clothes are sentimental to me!”
She screamed at me for quite a while about how it wasn’t my place to touch her stuff and get rid of things and move things around, and she was so upset she wanted me to leave - because she thought I was being so disrespectful to her.
I left happily, but I still feel terrible for her children who have to live in that hoard.
What would you have done?