Messy dorm room in the mood to clean is like cicadasDear Kid,

I was in the mood to clean yesterday.

“In the Mood to Clean” is—in my world—sort of like cicadas: happens in odd cycles, is generally messy, impacts everyone in the vicinity, seems to go on forever but is in reality short lived, and in no time at all it’s as though it had never been.

I have always believed in having a neat and clean living area. While I have frequently achieved clean, I seem to be able to manage “neat” only intermittently. Fortunately, Auntie M explained that she and I inherited the Clutter Gene and therefore  can’t be held responsible for all the piles and accumulations. I continue to fight against my genetics (when the mood strikes) but I am not exactly winning the battle.


When I was in college, there were three times each semester when I did Outrageous Cleaning. The first was right before break. Like right before Thanksgiving. Because I couldn’t stand the idea of coming back to a crazy messy room. I’m pretty sure that is also genetic.

The second time I’d clean was during midterms and the third was during finals. There was something about studying (or procrastinating) that drove me to clean. Generally, I’d ask a friend to sit in my dorm room and entertain me (or I’d do the talking and entertaining) while I cleaned up. We’d drink Tab (the Coke Zero of the time), gossip, and I’d put things away. My process was to start in one corner of the room and work my way around. The only “rule” I imposed on myself was that I couldn’t put any mess in an area I’d already cleaned up. Once the room was neat, I’d study. Usually.

No matter how hard I tried, the neatness lasted approximately 27 seconds.

Then, the drawers would burst open, my books would rearrange themselves, and the piles would mysteriously repopulate my room.


So the Mood to Clean struck yesterday. Over the years, I’ve learned to go with it; it’s not something you can treat by lying down in a dark room and hoping it goes away. It would have been very useful to get this mood before your graduation, but it’s not something I can usually call at a whim. And we had the baby bird. I got the entire guest room cleaned and I emptied out the Dresser that Doesn’t Belong in the Hallway but is Living There Anyway.

And I did it without a Coke Zero.

Love, Mom