For as long as I can remember, I dreaded hearing the words, “Clean your room, Casse!” I hated going through the garbage I accumulated with somebody watching me. It was a shameful experience altogether; the sorting, the washing, the throwing-away-of-things-I-wasn’t-supposed-to, and the “no, you should keep that”s. I tried to put my room in a semblance of order while I was alone at the house, that way, I wouldn’t be under supervision.
But, I had no qualms about cleaning other people’s houses. I reveled in the junk that other people collected, and I loved washing the grime off of anything that could accumulate grime (and trust me, that’s just about everything). I’ve always been the kind of person who is amazed by before and after photos. I love the marked change in both places and people. I’ve even found myself taking before and after pictures, just so I could have a point of reference. A set of before and after photos shows how much you’ve accomplished.
When I got here to college, I was an angry cleaner (that’s actually a lie; I was an angry cleaner at home, too, but it became overwhelming here); when I was upset or frustrated, I headed to the broom closet and swept my room, throwing clothes at my hamper with the force of a baseball pitcher. It calms me, puts me back in my right state of mind, and most of all, it takes the lazy out of me.
I’m a lazy person by nature. I would rather lay in bed, eating and reading all day, rather than get up and do anything. (The concept of cooking or baking will sometimes get me out of bed, however.) Here, with no one to tell me what I should be doing, I tend to do that quite often. Clothes pile up, dust (and massive amounts of hair, because my roommate and I both sport long locks) accumulates, and papers congregate on my desk. It’s not just dirty (I do everything in my room; eat, cook things in the microwave, sleep, read, etc), but sometimes it gets to smelling funky (and most of the time, I’m too lazy to open the windows), and it gets so cluttered that the floor is swallowed up by a mass of clothing. Sometimes, I’ll be looking for a shirt, and its at the bottom of the clothing mass, covered in long hair and dust. Needless to say, I shake it off, spray some perfume on it, and then pull it on.
But, if my room is a mess, Kyle’s room is a disaster area. He’s not an angry cleaner; he’s not really a cleaner at all. In the case of lost things, the conversation goes (most often) like this:
“Let’s go, Kyle! We’re going to be late!”
“I can’t find my keys.”
“Well, where did you leave them?”
“I always put them right here on the floor!”
For room inspections (something we get before every break to make sure the rooms are okay, haven’t sustained damages, and are reasonable clean), my room passed (the roommate and I were both shamed into cleaning), and so did Kyle’s room. But, under the “Cleanliness” section, where my form was marked “Clean”, his was marked “Excessively dirty”, and the comment underneath read, “Please clean [large space, like the inspector didn’t know what all needed to be cleaned] everything.”
Hazardous things tend to end up on Kyle’s floor. Like one time, as I was hopping down from the bed to the floor, a bunch (probably about 15) of staples, all hooked together, embedded in the bottom of my foot. There are stains and dirty marks on the floor, crumbs (I’m surprised he doesn’t have any rodents in his room), an excessive amount of garbage, and dirty clothing everywhere. When I read his form, I was appalled. His room always makes me nervous to go into, especially wearing no foot coverings. Right then and there, I decided to take action.
I told him that I was going to clean his room, from top to bottom. “But Casse,” he said, “I always clean my room on Friday. It’s always this dirty on a Thursday.” His kind of cleaning was not enough for me.
I made him hand over his keys, and told him to just leave and get out of my way. I was like a woman possessed; picking up trash, and shoving furniture aside. There were little remarks under my breath, “this is disgusting.” “how does this get so bad?” When I picked up the large pieces of trash (enough to fill a large trash bag, even smashed and crumpled), I went in search of a broom and dustpan. There were naught to be found. I checked every room, but the cleaning lady tends to lock the doors on her supplies over the weekends.
Finally, I found a broom, grabbed some antibacterial wipes, and headed back up. I had the windows thrown open, and the sweet spring air was gushing in the room, keeping me from overheating in my haste to clean EVERYTHING.
Guys would stop and stick their heads in the door, “Where’s Kyle?” they would ask, and I would tell them, “I made him leave so I could clean this room.” They then proceeded to look at me in disbelief. “By yourself?”
The process took a little over 2 hours, from the picking up trash stage, to the Swiffer vac and wet cloth stage. I cleaned all ledges, windows, and every inch of the floor I could reach. When Kyle finally saw the room, he was in awe. People would stop by and joke, “You made your girlfriend clean your entire room by herself?” and he would brag, “I have the best girlfriend ever.”
I have to admit, I didn’t just clean the room for him. I didn’t clean it just so I would feel comfortable in no shoes, either (although both come into play). To tell you the truth, I cleaned his room for the sheer thrill of an awe-inspiring set of before and after photos.
(Ugh! Sorry it’s blurry…I took both with my phone and I was in too much of a hurry to get my real camera!)