Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Embarrassing confession time. Growing up, I had the messiest room of anyone I knew. It was a normal day if you couldn't see the carpet. In fact, it was a normal day if you still couldn't see the floor even after excavating a layer of clothes and toys.
Because it wasn't just soft clothes, walking through my room was like walking through a mine field. The unwary traveler could end up with a stubbed toe or an unfortunate face plant.
This lasted all the way through high school and was a constant battle between my parents and me. Despite their best efforts, my room stayed a disaster area. I vividly remember many times my mom said I couldn't go play until my room was clean. Rather than just cleaning it up, though, I found the most interesting places to stuff all the junk without actually having to put it away. I don't know if this was just my act of defiance or if I really thought this was saving time and energy, but it meant I could never find anything later.
Then, a miracle happened. I went to college.
A few weeks after moving into the dorms, I realized with a shock that my side of the dorm room was spotless. My bed was always made, and everything was put away as soon as I was done with it. I was baffled. What caused such a complete transformation?
After thinking about it for entirely too long, I realized that my room at home was used for sleeping and dressing. Any other activity was done in another part of the house. I never actually lived in my room, so it was more like a storage closet. As soon as I moved into the dorms, that 3 foot by 5 foot space was the only place I had to live. Suddenly, my OCD tendencies began to apply to my room, and I was finally clean.
I think my mom was grateful she didn't have a total slob for a son after all, but I'm sure she wished I had figured this out several years earlier.