What a mess!

Published 2:42 pm Wednesday, August 14, 2002

By By Lindsey Sherrill, Columnist
As I write this I am sitting on the floor in the midst of the contents of my dresser. I've decided that it's time for me to have a serious clear-out-throw-out cleaning. I don't know why, but whenever my life is a mess or I'm worried about something I clean my room. And for some bizarre reason, something told me that I absolutely must have my room clean before school starts.
I don't understand why. It's not like I'm worried. Somehow, it just seemed like the thing to do. So here I sit, surrounded by fascinating odds and ends. I'm not much of a "hoarder", in fact, I'm a little bit of a "neat freak". But even in the room of this Martha Stewart-wannabe there are quite a few items that might leave other people shaking their heads. For instance, in my top drawer, I found a pair of barrettes with blue and red balloons and my name on them. I have to laugh. I was four years old when a friend's mother gave them to me. My reaction to the gift? "It's spelled wrong!" ("Lindsey" was spelled with an "a" rather than an "e".) Hopefully, I've learned to be a little more gracious since then! I also found a band of bright orange hearts that I remember finding inside of an Easter egg when I was little. I think the egg was bright purple, but I could be wrong.
While on my cleaning rampage, I also decided to rearrange my bulletin board (Yeah, I know, who rearranges their bulletin board?). That turned out to be an adventure too as I found buried beneath the notes and phone numbers my collection of favorite quotations. I keep them because they inspire me and remind me to think. My favorites? "Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee and just as hard to sleep after" (Anne Morrow Lindbergh), and "Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one" (George Orwell, 1984).
Through all this I finally realized why it is that cleaning out and tidying up seems to put things in perspective for me. I think there's more to it than just the symbolism of setting everything straight. It's because it reminds me of who I am, what I am, and, essentially, what makes me be me: the memories, the things that inspire me, the things that make me laugh and, sometimes, cry.
Now I think I know why I've felt like I had to have my room cleaned before school starts. Maybe something in me knew that I needed to get back in touch with myself while I still had the time to listen. And maybe that's why cleaning my room always makes me feel better. Besides, after I've tackled killer dust bunnies armed only with a rag, what could defeat me?
Watch out world. I'm cleaning under the bed tomorrow.
Lindsey Sherill can be reached via email at lindsey_sherrill@hotmail.com

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