By Ashton Priest
If you mix a procrastinator with culture shock and the winter blues, then you’ll get me. I’m a major procrastinator. While it’s not the worst thing to do, procrastinating leads me to put off or even abandon aspects of life, including cleaning. Everyone from my parents to my friends will attest to that.
I won’t complain at length about the Aomori winter again, but my procrastination skyrocketed with that and the mixture of seasonal depressive episodes. I just wanted to bundle up and stay warm. The further into winter it got, the more messy (and even trashy) my apartment became. I realized what was happening, and decided I needed to get (some) of my life together. So with a mix of certain motivators, I was able to dedicate a week to deep-cleaning and am now living life in a cleaner-than-usual apartment.
Though cleaning can be boring, it provides many benefits. Of course, cleaning sanitizes, and that helps with the curtailing of dust and pollen, thus reducing allergies. It also stops mold from growing and germs from taking over. It also gets the body active and the brain less stressed, which could lead to someone moving on seamlessly from one project to another. But again, with how boring it is, there are motivators that help me get the job done.
No matter where I’m cleaning, listening to music and podcasts on my phone are the best choice if I’m moving from room to room. I have a bunch of music playlists ranging from heavy metal to J-pop/K-pop and everything in between, with my 2000s Top 40/Punk playlist being my favorite as of now. With podcasts, I can clean while studying Japanese, learning history, or dying of laughter thanks to the variety of podcast genres. I prefer comedy podcasts such as Dynamic Banter and The Valleycast to help liven up the cleaning.
When it comes to trash in Japan, I accidentally put off gathering all of the plastics, PET bottles, etc. from my rooms and sorting them for their appropriate trash days. This leads to me taking everything into my living room and sorting all of my trash, with the exception of burnable trash. To help with this, I watch YouTube and movies. However, I listen to commentary tracks from Pretty Much It along with the movies to add comedy banter to them. This helps a crappy movie become gold or a fantastic movie become more fantastic.
The previous motivators are great, but nothing gets my butt into gear more than when people plan to come over to my apartment. I know that there are plenty of people like me who are messy, but I don’t want others to see that messiness. My cleaning week originally began because of others coming to hang out and my boyfriend visiting and staying with me. Wanting to live under a clean façade does ironically lead to a clean home.
Now with hibernation season coming to an end, I’m taking my spring cleaning to the next level by aiming to be a better cleaner so that by next winter, I won’t be hiding under a blanket in a messy and stressful environment.