All That Clutter!


Three years into his marriage, I was dismayed to find my apartment which my nephew made his temporary home, full of clutter. I was able to assess the condition when the in-laws moved out, and my nephew’s wife was temporarily assigned to work abroad.  I knew my nephew wouldn’t care about cleaning or organizing his space, I offered to clean it with some help from my former house helper.  In every nook and cranny were stashed used plastic trays and folded paper bags.  Even on top of the washing machine were microwaveable plates 1 foot high. Boxes of small wedding gifts were piled together with gadgets and newly laundered clothes near the kitchen table.  The kitchen cabinet was full of canned and bottled items, pasta, condiments, and sauces with some expired or nearing expiry dates. Why don’t they give them away or use them before the expiry dates? The living room,  as well as the windows and Venetian blinds, were dusty.  No wonder that I always hear them sneezing a lot.

Going up to their room there was hardly any difference.  The windows, walls and electric fans were dusty. The top deck of the double deck bed was holding piles of clothes that could no longer fit into their cabinet.  The divan was also full of gadgets and small appliances, no one can sit on it anymore. The other room wherein the in-laws stayed was no different.  Well, at least the toilets were clean.

Paper letters, magazines, old clothes, used shopping bags, plastic trays and the like pile up so fast one should take some time and determination to throw or give away some every week.  Sometimes, we have a tendency to stash them away as we think we might need them in the future until we are surprised at how much we have accumulated. For the sake of reducing wastes, I hope stores would buy back used shopping bags and boxes.

A clean house takes so much effort to maintain. Even if you keep your windows shut most of the time dust manages to get in, there’s no other way but to vacuum, sweep and wipe regularly, at least once a week.

Some people, like my nephew, do not mind staying in a dusty, disorganized place. I should know because he used to live with me, and I know how he can get by without cleaning his room for months.  But for his health and because there will always be visitors, one should take an effort to clean up and fix one’s place.

But as for me, it feels so good to clean and declutter.

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