Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring (Summer) Cleaning

I am such a pack rat. I hang onto every little thing—ticket stubs, receipts, thingamajigs, doodads, odds and ends, and everything else in between, that without realizing it, I end up accumulating so much junk. When this happens, for the life of me, I can’t even fathom what had induced me or possessed me to keep all those useless things, or what potential use I could have possibly seen or attributed at the time to all those objects…

Which brings me to yesterday’s predicament, my ritual Spring (Summer) cleaning, well actually it’s something I do after every semester, so I suppose you could call it my biannual post-academic term purging, during semestral break and summer vacation. I actually got around to it a little late this time, because I was waiting for my grades to be complete, and almost all my professors, perhaps coming back from vacation after the long holiday themselves, didn’t submit my grades until the day of the deadline. Somehow, I can’t call any semester officially over until all my grades are in, and it doesn’t feel right putting my things and papers from the semester away because to me that’s being too complacent. I don’t like leaving things to chance, when anything can still happen. In short, I am paranoid and I hold my breath in suspense until all my grades show up in CRS, then and only then can I heave a sigh of relief, and finally close the semester.

And with that, the first order of business was going through all the papers I collected the whole semester, including photocopied reading assignments, syllabi, notes, and all that assorted material, and sorting them by subject for filing. I don’t ever throw out photocopied readings, I don’t even use them for scratch paper, because you never know when you might use them for future reference or for research, and besides I paid for all those. This is just one of the milder symptoms of my pack rat tendencies, but at least it’s on the reasonable side. I tossed out all my files from high school because I was the paper and picture burning, memorabilia throwing type; I wanted to burn my bridges and cut off anything and everything tying me to the dark days of high school (drama). I carried this over into the first semester of my freshman year, and I truly regret discarding my readings, they could’ve been useful for some of my other subjects. But there’s no turning back, and I’ve learned my lesson, I’ve kept every single slip of paper ever since then.

Luckily, this semester (bottom left) wasn’t as heavy on reading assignments as some of my previous semesters and I only had one medium sized stack to show for at the end, and just one of my subjects contributed the majority (you know who you are). But last semester (bottom right), I had a heavy stack of papers almost twice its size because I had plenty of readings from all of my subjects. You can imagine that if this is the average bulk, just how much paper I have lying around from freshman year until now. I might just be a fire hazard. I actually I wish I had an office-grade filing cabinet for it all, because it just sits there and eats up a lot of space in the bottom of my closet.  



So while I was at it, I went through my curriculum and enrollment related documents, and since freshman year I’ve stored all of those in a single envelope, but after three years of wear and tear and being battered at enrollment time, it’s already falling apart and I had to replace it with a new one. I looked through the contents and reminisced about all my blunders and enrollment mishaps and experiences, as all my Change of Matriculation forms, all my old Internet Use cards are all still there, all my old Form 5’s, printouts of my grades and schedules, even the original papers that came with my UPCAT notice! Basically it sums up my UP and BC life—all the official transactions and legal documents, anyway. It brought back all those memories of running around to and fro buildings and queuing in line. Ah, bureaucracy.

I figured since I was fixing my school-related things, I might as well straighten out the rest of my room, so I cleaned out my closet and dresser top and drawer too too. Before we left for Ilocos, my packing was like a whirlwind that swept my room, and my clothes were in complete disarray, so I rearranged my clothes separating my tops and bottoms, and I was just so amazed by what turned up, clothes that I thought had gone missing in the laundry were just balled up or buried under another pile of clothes! And there were some clothes I forgot I even had because I hadn’t seen them in ages in that mess that was my closet!

Photo0322And don’t get me started on just how cluttered my dresser was. When I unpacked my bags from Ilocos, I just dumped everything on top of my dresser, and stuffed the rest in my drawer, no order, no organization, no nothing. And inside that drawer, is my being a pack rat at its worst. 75% plastic bags, 15% trash and only 10% being worth keeping! I don’t know what to tell you. It’s full of plastic shopping bags, small, medium, and large. I do reuse and recycle, but this was beyond redemption. I remember this episode of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, when it was still running, that one of the guys they gave a makeover to had a broom closet full of plastic bags too. Mine is just a drawer, but still, I scare myself sometimes with all my completely irrational obsessive compulsive habits, like being unable to throw away plastic bags, or at least find another way to store them. I just have to keep them! That’s kind of a given, and I can’t really help myself, I can’t resist plastic bags and what usually happens is I put all the smaller plastic bags into a larger one, and somehow I end up using the plastics up over time. But they have a way of coming back and rearing their non-biodegradable heads in my drawer…

Last but not least, I was on a roll, after all, I washed my makeup brushes! The last time I washed Photo0323them was right before going to Ilocos, and that was almost two weeks ago. I know you’re supposed to wash makeup brushes at least once a week for good hygiene, I know it all too well, but sometimes it’s the last thing on my mind, especially when they’re for my own personal use, and I don’t share with anyone, so I sometimes go up to two weeks. But of course, I risk bacteria and moisture build-up, and I use these everyday, so I gave them all a bubble bath and laid them out to dry overnight. It’s so nice to see them all clean, and it’s right in time for Summer classes.

So there. Somehow, I find cleaning physically can be emotionally cleansing as well. That even as I’m taking out garbage, I’m also emptying myself of all my emotional baggage that I was carrying around from all the hardship of the semester. Cleaning and re-organizing my room was cathartic in the sense that I was no longer burdened by what the chaos reminded me of. It might seem like tidying up my room is just to keep up appearances, but actually my state of mind is reflected in my surroundings, and vice-versa, in the same way that I try to keep my spirits up when I’m tired by putting on makeup. Maybe it comes off as superficial, but it’s my way of compartmentalizing my life and in general getting rid negative energy. When I the clear rubbish, I feel lighter and I’m able to think clearly. But when my clutter goes unchecked, it feels like I’m emotionally constipated and all the unwanted, unnecessary, unpleasantness stays stuck, and lingers on, ruining my day.

Nobody likes a pigsty, except pigs, maybe. 

I always swear I’m going to keep my room neat, but life gets in the way, and the cycle repeats itself and the junk returns to weigh me down again. Le sigh. It’s all clean for now, though, let’s enjoy it while it lasts. Let this Summer be spotless.

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