This is an unexpected me. I am not sure whether she will last, or for how long.

I have never been an overly tidy person. I possess the questionable ability to ignore things that are right in front of me—piles of laundry, boxes of what-do-I-do-with-it odds and ends of household flotsam, stacks of mail that I have neither the time or patience to find a place to store. Dustbunnies can grow to the proportions of mountain lions. That’s different now.

When I came to Denver, downsizing my living space from rented houses and two-bedroom apartments to a wonderful one-bedroom apartment (a return to NYC-normal), I decided to live sparely. When next I will need to move, as I will inevitably one day, I didn’t want the burden of boxes and boxes of things, of the craziness of consolidating two dwellings into one small Arkansas house.

The decision has had several notable advantages. And one of them was for the Writer Me.

My space is cozy; modern. I have all I need to make myself and my guests comfortable. And, amazingly, I have not, will not, loaded every surface with the aforementioned flotsam.  What I never expected was how glass surfaces, wood floors and black furniture make fallen cat hair glow like neon.

I find myself dusting the floors once a day and more. My Saturday routine includes dusting, vacuuming, mopping and touchup vacuuming again. By the end of the day, the floors will look like mini fur coats again, but never mind. This is a practice that simply would not be possible in the more cluttered space of the river house. In this new habit I have discovered a most surprising gift to the writer:

The beauty of clean and lean.

Unexpectedly, those satisfying, gleaming spaces are a pristine space where thoughts are glad to come; a canvas ready for the paint of ideas. I am breathing fresher air. In the cleaning, I have erased the day’s slate and readied it to receive whatever imaginings are willing to be written there.

The New Saturday Clean feels very like the silent time I give myself before bed, a space of opportunity. A way of preparing of the mind to explore and accept. I like it. I like it a lot.

How long it will last, this new compulsiveness? Who is this clean, lean, tidy person, and how long will she live? Dunno. Don’t want to.

Pardon me, now. I must go dust something.

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