Spring Cleaning: An Underdeveloped Habit

So, here’s the deal, every spring something strange happens. Maybe it’s the wild effects of being trapped inside by Scotland’s everlasting night, snow, sleet and rain for seven cold months. Maybe, because of this trapped feeling, I have collected a myriad of knick-knacks (that is to say, junk), so that my overstuffed room matches the oppressive weight of the world outside. Or, you never know, it is possible (not very) that at one time or another I might truly need 203 differently coloured, ‘long lasting’ marker pens and seventeen pumpkin spice candles. I just may use up (someday) the endless bottles of specialty hand creams and bodywashes that seem to replenish, by increasing force, every birthday and Christmas. That is to say, my room and its closet are full of ‘stuff’ – not useless stuff. Never useless stuff. I just haven’t found a use for it all yet. 

It’s simply comforting to know that if ever I wanted make the house smell like a pumpkin spice latte, draw a picture in 203 different colours, and then take a luxurious shower… well, I have the immediate means to do that. In other words, most of my possessions lie in wait – in a perpetual state of dormancy (but always with potential!). Nevertheless, as I said, every spring something strange happens. I suddenly realise, as if I hadn’t seen the mass slowly growing, that the hoard of junk I’ve been collecting is just too big. It is then that I let out a claustrophobic, exhausted sigh and decide to ‘clear out’, ‘make space’, ‘declutter.’ 

I delay the onerous project by twenty minutes. The time is set aside for contemplation – where to start cleaning (and, more importantly, when to end). I begin. Fifteen minutes into the process and everything is going well: three socks and a mitten make up the ‘to go pile.’ I start sorting the 203 ‘long lasting,’ coloured marker pens. There has to be some overlap; twenty hues of red must, after a while, look pretty similar. In the box of markers, I find a box of matches; I had misplaced the matches months ago. With this new discovery, the collection of pumpkin spice candles (which I had resolved to donate) must now stay, and I light one. 

But everyone knows that a candle is very dangerous business. In evidence of this fact, I have now abandoned the hard labour of my spring cleaning, hauled away a shopping bag half-filled of ‘junk’, and sat myself down enjoy the sweet scent of autumn. Of course, still wanting to be productive, I thought I should at least write about the pains of spring cleaning, having somewhat experienced them. I only wish that I had more than two coloured markers to illustrate the ordeal… 

[Reilly Dufresne – she/her]

[Art credit: Reilly Dufresne]

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