I used to be a neat person. I used to care for order and beauty in my home. I used to buy flowers. The summer before moving into my apartment I researched blogs, magazines, and design books to compile a style for my new dwelling. I scoured vintage shops and local ads for curious furniture, to be both artistic and environmentally conscientious. I found paintings of young, poor artists to adorn the walls of my spacious, New York style apartment, 400 square feet in all. But now, I live like a hoarder, all I’m missing is a few cat skeletons and compulsion to call my stacks of notes “my babies.”
Med school housing takes two distinct paths: obsessively clean or post-tornado messy. The cleanliness does not come from a positive situation, however. To avoid studying, to channel anxiety, to use up insomnia time, some people clean. Others, my people, we just leave everything where it drops and each time an inkling to organize comes to us we simply claim we have absolutely no time. Of course much of study time is actually spent on facebook or other internet ventures. Still, we have absolutely no time. Both factions are extremes, and neither is healthy.
I don’t actually like living like a reality show special so I have devised a clever trick to force myself to clean. I invite friends over for dinner. See, I am too Russian to allow anyone ever see my house in anything but photo shoot quality condition. I have been indoctrinated with a policy of pristineness for oneself and one’s things. The most effective technique is to invite someone I’m not wholly close with, someone I would be embarrassed to show imperfections to. This ensures that I don’t give up half way through and just stuff all my laundry into my closet or hide it within shoes boxes (still occupied with shoes) under my bed. Yes, this is what I have to do to myself to still live in sanity.