Spring Cleaning

Every year, around this time, I go through a special sort of battle. It is hell, pure and simple. It takes me hours, days, sometimes even weeks to claw my way out of the filth that I am buried under. I fight monstrous beasts that somehow stick to everything. They look cuddly at first sight, but the second you turn your back, they’re on you and won’t let go.

I have an arsenal of weapons, as I expect this every year. I arm myself with two long staffs, one whose head has been dipped in acid, the other covered in spikes. I don the armor I carefully preserve year round for this expected battle — yellow gloves that can withstand most enemy attempts to burn my skin, or mishandling of my own chemical weapons.

Last, I tie my hair back with a bandana, the mark of my people — the broke college students — and stand ready for the first wave of the battle that is Spring Cleaning.

I tend to be a bit of a Messy Mindy when it comes to my apartment, but I don’t let things get dirty — that’s a whole different level.

Dirty is not washing your dishes or letting your toilet get black rings in it.

Messy is not putting away your laundry and letting the occasional dust bunny roam free. Messy is papers covering most surfaces and books piled on top of writing journals piled on top of articles making it impossible to sit in one of your chairs. That’s messy. That’s what I am.

Over the winter, due to many factors, my messiness takes on a life of it’s own. In the summer, it’s much easier to keep things clean. I have more time. I have more energy. There’s sunlight pouring through my windows illuminating the spots of dusting I missed.

But in the winter? I am constantly sick. The lack of light effects how my north-facing third floor apartment looks regardless of cleanliness. I’m a full-time student with multiple part-time jobs — who has time to do more than the bare essentials of cleaning, if that?

But come spring time, everything is new — everything outside is new, it’s going through it’s own cleaning.

The dirty snow melts away, the mud starts turning into clean green grass. Trees re-leave flowers bloom, even the outside world is gussies itself up! Not to mention that a ton of religious holidays around this time focus on rebirth and repentance…the time is ripe for a little cleaning!

But the task is daunting, especially when you’re me.

I’ve got a system to my messiness, and cleaning means I need to change systems — it’s exhausting and quite stressful.

Also, if I’m being honest, I’ve grown attached to the dust bunnies — I sometimes even name them. The one at the end of my hallway (that was obliterated by my vacuum yesterday after a valiant fight on her part) was named Mitzi, after my mother.

Yet when the task is done, the battle fought and won, it is rather satisfying. The apartment is clean — everything is in it’s rightful place and the floor shines like only cheap imitation-wood paneling can.

My books are back on my bookshelves and organized according to my system rather than strewn around the apartment willy-nilly.

My sheet music is in folders organized by instrument and then genre.

Heck, even my violin and cello get freshly polished.

The whole apartment smells of lemon Pine-Sol and whichever scented-wax I put in my melter earlier that morning.

It’s a moment of pure bliss and calmness. Nothing can go wrong in a newly cleaned apartment. There is so much to do that isn’t cleaning and is fun. I can play games. I can watch Netflix. I can read whatever book I want without having to splunk the cavern under my bed to find it. I can make dinner without needing to worry if my wok is clean!

And true, the clean never lasts. Eventually there will be another dirty dish, another bed to make, another pile of cat-puke to clean up.

But for that moment when the cleaning is done, everything is at peace. The cats are sleeping on the freshly vacuumed and Febreezed couches (and are no longer hiding from said vacuum) and the dishwasher is silent. The trash is out and the positive energy is in.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I hear Sophie hawking up a hairball on my freshly mopped floor.

Kjerstine Trooien is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].