Comfort in Cleaning

I get home late, dreading the long night I know I have ahead of me. I dump the contents of my bag onto my unmade bed and toss my jacket onto a preexisting mountain of clothes on the floor. I sit down to start my homework at 9:00 p.m. I stare blankly at my computer screen for what seems like a few minutes, check the time, and it’s midnight. Panic sets in. I suddenly become very aware of the random belongings strewn across the room, the empty bag of popcorn in the trash, the cluttered desk, and the clutter in my mind that feels even more impossible to organize.

After experiencing too many nights like these, I have realized that my mental state and the state of my bedroom are intertwined. Cleaning my room is an effective way to alleviate stress on a busy night.

When my room is messy, I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything, which diminishes my confidence and my motivation to work. I figure that since I have already let myself go in one area, I might as well let myself go in academics as well. I struggle to do my schoolwork and not become overwhelmed by stress. These negative effects of clutter create a dangerous cycle, so I do my best to prevent this by keeping a regular routine of tidying my room.

Although I explain my hobby for cleaning to others as just being a “neat freak,” there is something therapeutic to me about cleaning. I need this form of stress relief because if I simply attempt to do my homework when overwhelmed, I shut down and fail to accomplish anything else. When I am stressed, it scares me to even look at my work, let alone do it. Despite this, many students, including myself, make the mistake of trying to finish work while stressed, lest we lose precious time. However, it is much easier to focus and complete several tasks while switching them up instead of doing all five subjects of homework in a row. Take breaks from academics and do something different. For me, cleaning my room is a perfect contrast. I play some music and I temporarily forget about homework while folding clothes, organizing drawers, and throwing away old items.

The reason cleaning is more effective than other relaxing activities, such as going for a walk or socializing with friends, is because these “relaxing” activities are not so relaxing when one is overloaded with work. It can be difficult to get one’s mind off of school without anything else to focus on. Cleaning is a non-academic task that I can set my mind to without stressing over. Furthermore, while cleaning is a calm activity, it is also an accomplishment to be proud of. I am doing myself a favor by getting something done while taking a break from school. A clean room also makes me feel more on top of my life, because even if I struggle to keep up with my other tasks that day, at least I have accomplished something.

I strive to stay as neat as possible during school. Along with convenience, it relaxes my mind and helps me complete my homework. If school feels like too much and you feel like you cannot get through today’s work, try cleaning your room.