Operation Clean-up

It’s been over two years since I last cleaned my apartment, a fact that I am most assuredly not proud of. As I am living in a tropical country, you can just imagine the amount of dust that has accumulated on the few things I possess.

And accumulate they have. Yesterday, I dusted off one side of the place, and already I was able to gather two huge garbage bags of junk. Most of the stuff I had to throw away were paper, and many of these were fliers I gathered from a travel expo more than three years ago. How could I have let all of these garbage stagnate in my apartment all this time? Have I become one of those hoarders I once saw in an Oprah episode?

A quick check in the show’s website assured me I am not, although I sometimes slightly exhibit some of the signs of a compulsive hoarder. There were times when I did find it difficult to categorize possessions as valuable or not; thus, I would end up keeping them. I do get a little emotionally attached to a few things I own, especially gifts from friends. Yeah, I have put off deciding about what to do with some stuff I have never used, and yes, I end up keeping them.

Yesterday, however, I had only one criterion in my mind for keeping or discarding things: Will I still be using this in my life? And the answer can only be a “yes” or “no”. I forced myself to decide resolutely on the “maybes”, even on gifts from friends that are not useful to me or to anyone else, and even on that nice ornament I got for a dirt cheap price but which only served to clutter my refrigerator. Function was the order of the day.

As a result, I threw away most of the mess on that side of my apartment. Now, that corner is like a breath of fresh air, particularly after I wiped away two years of dust from the window sill. (Okay, my face is turning a shade of red.) The walls and floor seem to have heaved a huge sigh of relief and are beaming with pride of their owner. I confess I gave myself a nice pat on the back when I finished Day 1 of Operation Clean-up past nine last night.

A great part about getting a place in order is finding long-lost possessions, like the flash drives I have been looking for from my previous work; and, rediscovering things I want to get reacquainted with, such as books to fuel my love for history and a current debate with friends on Jose Rizal. These great finds were worth all the dust that covered me from head to toe when the day was done.

Today is Operation Clean-up Day 2. I look forward to the “treasures” I will uncover from the other half of my place. And I certainly look forward to a spic and span home in the city after today.


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