It’s a Saturday morning and I look around the room in the light of day. My eyes bulge just a bit as I jump off the bed. It looks like a bomb went off. How did this happen? Sure, I left that shirt on the ground last night, and I remember throwing my socks off after dinner yesterday, but things are far worse than I remembered. The trash is overflowing, bits of paper and fuzz balls litter the carpet, my sheets are hanging on to the bed by a thread, and my desk looks like someone took a bunch of papers and blindly shuffled them around, then threw a random assortment of household objects on top. The urge to clean is setting in- must…do something…NOW. Thus begins the nuanced and complex process of cleaning my room.
The process starts out logically enough: I pick up items off the floor to clear a path and get them out of the way- it’s the quick fix that can take your room from a 3 to a 5 in 10 seconds tops. From there it starts to go downhill. I survey the clothes and put on my detective cap. I am now a sorting hat for laundry, one that is heavily in favor of the “clean” verdict. (Laundry in my dorm is a whole other issue that needs a manual to explain- think cutthroat hunger games and passive aggressive girl codes). The problem with the clothes part is that my drawers and wardrobe are a low to high key mess depending on the day. I could just fold the shirt and stuff it with the other t-shirts, but I should really take the whole stack and reorganize them- and maybe find a lost article of clothing in the process.
Oftentimes I don’t even make it this far without stopping for a break. Instagram checked, I find a new e-mail that I should probably reply to right now- it’s for The Crescent, or an upcoming ASC meeting, after all. But there’s also an e-mail from Powell’s about their staff picks of the month. And who am I to disregard the literary opinions of our esteemed Powell’s employees? Ten minutes later I look up.
Oh, right. The room.
After the whole clothes ordeal I mentally prepare myself for the task ahead: making the bed. I swear I must burn a thousand calories just by sleeping when I look at the twisted mess of sheets before me. I know the power of a clean bed- it can take a room from drab to fab like nothing else, but the cost is oh so high. You’d think it would be a relatively simple task, but making the bed in my dorm room is a major feat/pain in the butt. Let’s just say it takes a solid 10 minutes, depending on how many times I pause to skip to the next song on Spotify.
Vacuum, take out the trash. Almost there.
The desk is the true test of mental fortitude and cleaning prowess. It’s really the magnum opus of the whole process. You have to go into it with the mindset of a soldier or Odysseus trying to get home or something. The desk is five layers deep with stuff battling for your attention.
Channel a horse with blinders, I tell myself. Grab, sort, place, repeat.
There’s an article- don’t read it now, dummy. There’s an apple- don’t eat it, you just had breakfast! There’s your mirror (aka the Sirens)- don’t look into the super zoomed in side- even Blake Lively would look bad in it! Okay that’s probably not true, but still. There’s water bottle #2- don’t even think about finding another sticker to put on it right now. I am Odysseus. No, your books don’t need to be rearranged according to height and and color right now, focus!
Rarely do I make it through without stopping to test out a newly found guitar pick or put lotion on my wind-bitten face. But finally there comes a point when the synthetic wood of my desktop is visible again, and I step back to admire my handiwork. Ithaca at last.
The room cleaning process might not make a lot of sense to other people, say, my mom, but it is logical to me. It proceeds in a roundabout-methodical way, like a bee flying in loopy spirals before entering the hive. It’s the best way, not for it’s efficiency, but simply because it keeps me from dying of boredom. And that’s always good, right? Sometimes you just gotta take a break and watch a dog video on Facebook. Besides, I feel better going through each individual paper on my desk and knowing what’s in the pile, and sorting the clothes in my wardrobe because I often forget an item even exists if it’s buried in a corner for too long.