Cleaning Up My Act

AUGUST 14, 2019

I have to get some cleaning done. I mean, “don’t we all,” right? My whole space, my whole life, my whole existence kind of feels like a mess right now. (I’ll always make the best of it though!)

I think most adults – and especially parents – feel like we’re kind of falling behind with everything that we do. There’s so much pressure to do so many different things. We’re expected to excel at everything. Sometimes it feels like too much.

One area of my life that’s really been bothering me lately is the state of my immediate environment. I’ve had so much clutter around my room and on my desk that it’s made it difficult to get things done. When doing a livestream, I’ve often had to pay extra attention to where the camera is pointed so I did’t have distracting mess in the background. It’s kind of embarrassing, to be perfectly honest.

So embarrassing that I decided to make a video about it.

More Than Decluttering

I wanted to do more than just put some things away and reorganize a bit. The kind of cleaning that I really needed required a change of habits. I needed to form entirely new routines and establish new patterns to actually make a worthwhile difference. There is a direct link between clutter and stress. I’ve always believed that I thrive in an “organized chaos,” but that only works if there is, in fact, some sort of of organization involved.

If I want my environment to be a place that allows me to be both at ease and at my best, then I need to take care of it on an ongoing basis. As any parent will tell you, once you clean something, you can’t just expect it to stay clean. However, it is possible to create a space that’s easier to keep in shape. That’s what I’m trying to do.

This seems like a good time to make a quick note about my OCD, which I have been very open about. A lot of mainstream media portrayal of people with OCD shows them as constant cleaners. I want to clarify that while cleaning may be a common coping mechanism for OCD, it is not a symptom. Not everyone with OCD is good at keeping tidy. In fact, extreme hoarding is also frequently found in those with the condition.

The Starting Point

Alright, so it was bad. That video up there? If you haven’t watched it yet, in it I mention that I had already been cleaning for a while. I had already made a bunch of changes and done a lot of decluttering. Here, let me show you what I was originally working with. I first realized how much junk I had around when I bought a new bed and hadn’t gotten rid of the old one quite yet.

My very messy room before I started cleaning
Two beds are better than one?

Honestly, even once I got the old bed and those boxes out of my space, there was still a lot that I just didn’t want nor need to be staring at whenever I was trying to either relax or focus. My room should should be a sanctuary, a refreshing retreat, not stress me out. Instead, I had this:

Nothing I looked at was making me feel good about where I was. Nothing was pretty. It was making me feel antsy and restless all the time.

First Stage of Cleaning

The first thing I had to do was get rid of all the excess stuff. I had a lot of items that I was holding onto simply because I’d owned them for years upon years. It was silly. That bed and the bookcase in the pictures? Those are my childhood bed set. I think that was my very first “big kid” bed. Of course I haven’t been using it this whole time, but it’d been around, and still fully functional.

It’s still fully functional. I listed both on the Facebook marketplace, and they were both snatched up quickly. A lot of the items I ended up posting were. I didn’t need these things, but other people did.

Depending on the level of wear and tear that everything had, some items went for free. The others I was able to get small amounts of cash for. I turned that cash around and invested it in ways to improve my space. You might also be surprised at the kind of stuff you can find for free on there.

I’ll show off my new furniture later, but I will mention that some cheap decor from Amazon can spruce up a space real fast if you use it right.

Tapestries can hide your clutter!
Shelving Rack – $40
Tapestry – $18
Hiding that clutter – Priceless

Then Comes the Scrubbing

It’s easier to do that deep cleaning when there’s less stuff in the way. The more furniture I got rid of, the more I was able to attack the previously-inaccessible dust bunnies. I was victorious.

Having more usable space around me took such a huge weight off of my psyche. My whole day every day just seemed to flow more easily. I wasn’t getting as agitated and distracted when trying to be productive. When I was trying to meditate or otherwise relax, I was much more able to sink into a state of calmness. I even had space in my room to do yoga, so if I wanted to sink into a few poses before bedtime, I no longer had to go all the way downstairs to the living room.

I’ve actually made quite a bit more progress since these photos were taken, and I still have a lot more that I want to do. I’ll try and keep you all updated on the process!