It is challenging to create and maintain a home environment that you enjoy and that really works for your style of living. It sounds like you are taking this opportunity to make a fresh start and create the home you really want to have. Moving in with your boyfriend is a great motivator, but it also means more “stuff” and more mess and dirt to manage. Be careful that you are not setting yourself up for failure by expecting perfection when you are actually moving into a more challenging situation.

I’m really not certain what role your “clean but cluttered” childhood home life may have had on your tendencies to be messy and disorganized in your own environment. It’s amazing to see how children from the same home can emerge with utterly different levels of interest in keeping a clean and orderly house. One may be messy and not care at all, another may be disorganized but wish it were different, and yet another might be a “neat freak”, obsessive about housecleaning and having things in their proper place at all times.

It’s really more important to find your own level of housecleaning comfort than it is to analyze why you have been disorganized and messy. There is no need to feel discouraged or self-critical about your past or overly demanding of yourself about your future housekeeping. As I’m sure you know, some of it also depends on your boyfriend and how messy or neat he tends to be, as well as how you distribute the homemaking duties. Do you both see it as mainly your responsibility to keep up the house or do you both expect to pull your weight in the housecleaning-laundry-dishes-lawn-care departments? It would be great if he values a relatively clean and tidy home as well. Otherwise this issue can become a big source of conflict for the two of you.

The task of creating the perfect home is not only daunting—it is impossible. You do not need to attain perfect housekeeping to have a wonderful home. Improving your living style by several degrees of orderliness will probably add a great deal to your contentment and your enjoyment of your house. If you have your boyfriend’s support and willingness to work with you in creating and maintaining the environment you both want, it may even bring you closer together.