Sunday, November 09, 2008

A Proponent of Maximalism

Since I am abysmal at keeping up with housekeeping, I've been assigning myself one small project each weekend. The theory is completing one small project is better than wallowing in absolute filth.

This is how I define compromise.

Last weekend we replaced the lights in the kitchen, which was a project at least 1 year in the making. The previous weekend I waded through the shred pile, which consisted of a two-year backlog. Took me a week, 15 minutes to half hour each night, to complete. And the previous, previous weekend, since it is show-and-tell time, I vacuumed the carpets and washed the linens.

Today I start to tackle the monument to scrap paper in which I have enshrined my desk. Apparently it is preferable, in my mind, to create numerous fire hazards around the apartment rather than just dealing with it.

I have this irrational guilt thing about throwing stuff away and filling up the landfills and personally destroying the planet, and when you combine that ambiguous guilt with persistent procrastination you get... well, me. I am not a hoarder but you wouldn't know it by my lack of minimalism.

Is maximalism a design aesthetic?

As a kid, I remember my parents forcing me to stay in my room until it was clean. It wasn't cruel or unusual punishment, but I remember fighting it with every fiber of my being. Sitting there, staring at the floor, doing everything EXCEPT facing the out of place toys and the piles of schoolwork. Man, I HATED that.

And yet, paradoxically, in college, my first job was on the housekeeping staff. For some reason, I didn't mind the mindless work as long as I was getting paid slightly above minimum wage to do it. Give me $5 an hour and I will clean stuff all day long.

Even now? This entire blog entry has been brought to you by procrastination -- though technically I was going to do it anyway.

Cleaning is like my own personal fountain of youth. When I contemplate it I'm instantly transported back to that old house with the yellow-ish carpet, green shelves and curtains, wishing with all my heart that the mess would magically disappear.

In the intervening years I never found a magic cure. But I got REALLY good at ignoring the mess.

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