Cinderelly, Cinderelly

Jan 20, 2014 by

          Aware that my remaining days in my apartment are limited, I’ve been taking time to appreciate it whenever I’m home. Despite this winter’s bitter cold and my move being less than a month and a half away, I’ve been out a lot lately (winter hibernation is obviously happiness-experiment unacceptable), making any time spent at home extra precious. I’ve been catching myself pause my writing mid-sentence just to look around and I’ve been keeping my eyes open for as long as I can put off sleep at night, trying to memorize the character of my home before it’s no longer mine.

          On Sunday, prior to heading to Holy Chuck for the second weekend in a row (surely impairing my health, but those truffle fries make impending cardiac arrest seem totally worth it), I cleaned my lovely apartment, motivated only by the first showing that my landlords were scheduled to host that evening. Don’t get me wrong; my apartment is typically clutter-free. I get distracted when things are out of place. (My girlfriends absolutely love it, swearing that their homes would look like mine if they didn’t live with boys. Dear future husband of mine, cleanliness is mandatory, bud.) However, there is a difference between putting things away and cleaning. I fucking hate cleaning. If the guy I marry will take cleaning, I will take cooking until death/divorce do us part, no probs! I get too anal about cleaning. I’ve gone Swiffer on the outside of my apartment windows (which span an entire wall across both my living room and bedroom), I’ve used Q-tips to attack the dust bunnies (those little mother fuckers!) stuck in the tracks of my sliding mirror closet doors, and I’ve gone so far as to clean my cleaning products (oh, I wish I was joking). #perfectionismisadisorder! Since I make cleaning out to be a far bigger ordeal than it should be, I dread it like a guy dread’s his girlfriend’s period.

          This is quite frustrating. My loathing of cleaning aside, I love a clean apartment. Every room is scented with green apple, the place looks like a friggin’ model home (although that’s always the case, because my apartment is so, so pretty), and the beautiful hardwood becomes both a temptress for bare feet (from a socks-on-except-in-bed kind of girl, bare feet on freshly cleaned floors feel amazing!) and a proud safety hazard (warning to fellow solo-dance partiers: clean hardwood is effing slippery!). Even so, sometimes, the end result simply isn’t worth the means; but, with my landlords’ showing only hours away by early yesterday afternoon, I accepted my Cinderella fate, blasting music as I whirled around my apartment, Lysol in hand. I framed the task as a basic cleaning to prevent myself from giving into urges to get on my hands and knees to wipe the baseboards and strip the beds down to their mattresses. This made all the difference. Because I was just conducting a basic cleaning, as I told myself, I didn’t feel the need to make the apartment look pristine. (It definitely did when I was done, though. Hmm, a lesson that cleaning doesn’t have to be a two-day production to be effective, perhaps?)

          Another factor that stopped me from driving myself to sleep deprivation in favour of furniture polishing was an externally imposed deadline. My landlords were going to be at the apartment by 5:30 pm, and recall that I had evening plans to damage my heart at Holy Chuck with a friend. I had to be done cleaning by then, so I was. The key was that my time limit was not self-created. Had it been, I wouldn’t have taken it seriously. I would have cleaned until I absolutely had to stop for some other external reason, such as work the next morning. (I’m Italian; the longer I have to do something, the longer I’ll take. #Italiantime) With a deadline that was out of my control, I cleaned the entire apartment in a mere afternoon! (I should have contacted Guinness. That is a definite record.)

          Now, I’m reaping the benefits. Eyes soaking in every angle of my beautifully clean apartment as I breathe in its smell, I’m hardwiring the happy feeling of accomplishment that comes with its fresh scent, its sparkling features, and its deadly floors. There are only so many post-cleaning moments like this left.

Happiness Tip: Clean – but don’t get obsessive compulsive about it.

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