February – Take Control Of Your Environment

I have found that the state of my environment affects how I think and feel.  If I live in a messy house or apartment, I spend my time thinking about all of the things that need to be done.  I need to put away my laundry, sweep the floor, do the dishes, etc.  It makes me feel bad because I feel like I have failed in something.  Failed to be a responsible adult enough to have a clean living space.  I feel like I can’t have anybody over until my dwelling reached a level of cleanliness, even though few people have ever been to visit me where I currently live.

Some people may read this and say that I may be overly OCD about how my place looks.  That is not even close to the truth.  When my depression was worse, there have been a number of my things broken because they were covering my floor and I stepped on them, not realizing what I was stepping on.  There have been a number of times where I or someone else was injured due to my inability or inattention to the cleanliness of my living space.

But there IS something about a clean environment that makes me feel better.  I don’t mind visiting a friend who has a cluttered living environment.  I had a friend in high school whose mother was a pack-rat with floor to ceiling, wall to wall boxes.  I had another friend whose house you couldn’t walk barefoot in because the carpets were thick with dirt, hair, and in places, cat vomit.  However, when asked to spend any length of time in those places, it bothers me.  I once got snowed in at the latter friend’s house for five days.  By day four I found myself cleaning the house for them.  Considering I don’t actually keep my own living spaces terribly neat and clean, I couldn’t help but clean THEIR house.

I believe that the place where you live and spend your down time does have an effect on you, for better or for worse.  I also believe that when it comes to keeping your own environment clean everybody has different hurdles.  What I am doing may work for me, but it may not work for others.  If I go through this year successfully, I will come up with alternatives for other people who have different clean environment issues.

For the purposes of my experiment, I am going to stick with simple instructions: spend 15 minutes straightening/decluttering and 15 minutes cleaning something (actually scrubbing, sweeping, etc.) for every day that I am home.

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