My desk is clean. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but I’ve had comments (“Wow, I can see the top of your desk!) from colleagues.
For as long as I can remember, I have been a bit of a slob. I used to invite people over just so I’d be forced to clean my house. I’d have papers strewn across my kitchen, on the dining room table, by the couch in the living room. My desk at work looked like it had been swept up in a tornado. But at some point I realized that the amount of clutter in my house seemed to correspond to the amount of chaos in my head. I started minding the mess.
And so, gradually, I have been cleaning up my act. I can’t pinpoint exactly when it started, but I think it was after I began hanging out occasionally with someone who had a touch of OCD; everything had to be not only put away but it had to be in exactly the right place. I noticed when things in my own environment were askew: clothes piled on a chair, cosmetics strewn across the bathroom counter.
Now, the bed is made, the clothes are hung up, the dishes are put away. Home was easier than work – corralling the chaos there is a challenge: I deal with a lot of paper for a lot of different things. My filing skills are minimal, and I have multiple projects going at the same time. But I got tired of having to sort through the stacks when my phone rang and I suddenly needed a specific piece of paper. Yes, I still have a tower of files on the floor – my filing cabinet is full – but I can see my whole desk again.
Don’t get me wrong – I haven’t become a neat freak, and I won’t ever love to clean. My dust bunnies have their own pets. I still have a few (mostly) tidy piles and my moments of messiness, and I spend too much time hunting down misplaced documents. But give me a little time, and order will be restored in the spaces I inhabit. If only I could say the same for the space in my head.