Sometimes, It Just Takes an Old Burrito

Like most college students, I don’t exactly get a high from doing laundry, organizing
my closet or doing the dishes. Growing up, my parents would give me “clean your room
or else” ultimatums and so, when I applied for housing freshman year, a single seemed the only option that wouldn’t result in a “freshman murdered by roommates for messy room” news headline.
Sometimes I like to fool myself into thinking that I have such an exciting and action-packed life that I don’t have time to clean my room — but let’s be honest: I don’t.

And while I think it’s perfectly OK to have all my clothes on the biggest shelf in the apartment (the floor), the rest of the world apparently doesn’t share that same sentiment.

Typically, my room goes through a six-step cycle:
1. All of my clothes are hung up and organized by color, sleeve length and fabric, thanks to my miserable summer at Forever 21.
2. One by one, every item of clothing goes from my closet to my floor.
3. Laundry.
4. Instead of hanging the clean clothes up, they go back to the floor to be picked through for outfits over the next couple weeks.
5. Should someone come over, everything gets shoved in my closet and under the bed — then repeat steps two through four.
6. With the exception of step one: rinse, wash and repeat.

For the past 19 years or so, despite glares from my mother, puzzling looks from friends and the “Is that thing growing?” every so often, this system has worked out just fine.
It wasn’t until I realized that the random scrap of paper I threw out was actually my $400 speeding ticket that I realized that this “lifestyle” wasn’t as sustainable as I thought.

Unlike building up running endurance, going from slob to spotless was something I had to do cold turkey.
That weekend, my friend was flying down from Davis, so I figured it was a good a time as any to whip out the pesticides. (In case you’re wondering, that “thing” isn’t growing anymore.)

Glimpsing the piles of old essays, food my bird threw out of her cage, disposed wrappers of varying degrees of incrimination and a Styrofoam box that I think might have been pollo asado fries before winter break, “overwhelmed” didn’t even begin to cover how I felt.

Plus, even though Jillian Michaels says that it takes two weeks to successfully start a new
habit (or maybe just to give up the Kripsy Kremes), I think one major caveat is having a dirty room.

Maybe it’s just me, but when there’s decomposing food of both the bird and Mexican varieties on my desk, I’m probably not going to put my laptop there to do my WebCT reading any time soon.

To make things easier on my brain, I decided to divide my room into sections: desk, floor, closet, garbage.

First stop, my desk. With a swipe of my hand, old essay drafts and empty water bottles were
swept off my desk and into the recycling. Done.

Unfortunately, the rest of my room wasn’t quite as easy. I hadn’t made my bed since the beginning of Fall Quarter and after I dumped clothes that desperately needed to be washed onto the floor I went to work tucking and folding.

After breaking a sweat, I figured that it would be easier to just wash all of the clothes on the floor rather than trying to figure out which ones were clean and which needed to be sanitized.

Slowly but surely, my room went from being Korea’s DMZ to something that might even win Martha Stewart’s seal of approval.

Now, for the hard part: maintaining that level of cleanliness.

That night, as I threw my jeans on the floor, I stopped and told
myself, “No! Pick it up.” And I did. Over the next few days, as I tried to break 19 years of
bad habits, it was a constant schizophrenic battle with myself.

“Pick it up!”

“I can do it later.”

“NO! Drop and give me 50, Hori!”

Eventually, the military sergeant in me prevailed, and aside from a few slip-ups here and there, for two whole weeks I’ve been able to keep my room a near-socially-acceptable
clean. (Unless you count those wrappers. I sure don’t.)

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