An Ode to Clean Spaces

I stayed in the office until a little after 6 tonight. I didn’t have any big deadlines, nothing really pressing, but I am going to be out tomorrow and a few days next week with the fam-bam, and I just wanted to sort my sent emails (nerd alert). Working in the law office with numerous cases and emails everyday made me appreciate the beauty of an empty inbox, and recognize the importance of filing your messages for later retrieval, even the sent ones. So now I do it and I was a little behind, so it took about an hour of listening to Aziz Ansari to finish.

Then I put away all my things, filed my papers, and dusted my desk. It’s a comfort to know that when I come back to the office on Tuesday, everything will be neat and ready to go. Just like it is a comfort to know that when I come home, the bed is made. Even if everything else goes wrong in my day, at least that’s done (real talk: I’ve broken the boy down and now he makes the bed because he’s the last one up usually even though he’s one of those people that says “it’s just going to get unmade again in a few hours.” Blasphemers). Credit to Hyperbole and a Half. She's amazing.

I’m the kind of person who cleans before a trip, even if I have to stay up all night to do it. Early morning flights, though convenient, bother me because then there isn’t time to wash the sheets.

It should be said that I recognize that I am particular, and that this behavior reflects my own personal preferences, not some universal code of conduct decreed from Mt. Sinai. Live and let live, I say, and then I think to myself “but maybe don’t live with me.” WWMDD?

Right now, I’m following the Unfuck Your Habitat guidelines for daily cleaning and bedtime rituals.

My daily checklist: 
Make the bed
Wash the dishes
Put clothes and shoes away
Wipe down kitchen and bathroom counters
Deal with all incoming mail (aka put it in a box and forget it but get it off the table)
Clean the litter box

My bedtime routine:
Wash the dishes (if they didn’t get washed before, which usually they don’t)
Get outfit together for tomorrow
Set up coffee/plan & prep breakfast
Set out medications
Put keys somewhere obvious
Get work stuff and/or derby stuff together
Charge phone/set alarm
Clean the litter box again
Try to go to bed at a reasonable hour

It’s not a lot to remember once it becomes routine, and it really has made an enormous difference in how hectic my mornings are. It keeps the apartment reasonably tidy so that during Saturday’s massive cleans, I can get straight to the scrubbing and skip the sorting and putting away.

The only problem with this attention to tidiness is that you start to get a reputation. Then friends will ask you to help them move, and then to help them pack and sort “since you’re so good at it.” And you’ll say yes, because packing and sorting is fun to you because that’s the kind of person you are.

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