I used to think it was a complete waste of time, I mean, there's so much to do that is so much more FUN than cleaning, and why would I want to waste my time making a space clean that's only going to get messy again? Useless, I said to myself, content to lie about in my own filth. When I would try to clean, it was usually because I either got so fed up with the mess I couldn't take it anymore, or I had to because I wanted to have people over and there was just no room for them or something. In those times, I'd stare blankly at the mess, not knowing where to start with it because it was just so random and vast, and I had a LOT of junk I didn't need that had no place.
In the past year or so, however, I've realized that my brain works a lot better when my space is clean. It's as if the clean room is like a conduit for clean thought. Now, this probably makes a lot of sense to a lot of you who might be reading this, but it never made sense to me until recently. "A clean house is a sign of a sick mind", I'd read somewhere once, and thoroughly agreed with it. But I've discovered the opposite is actually true. A messy room fosters a sick mind. I'm using "sick" here to define a sort of mental dis-ease. A lack of peace. Keeping a space clean is similar to honoring your body by feeding it healthy food and treating it to exercise.
So now, cleaning has become the first step in getting myself to a comfortable place where I can focus my thoughts. I feel a little ridiculous for taking twenty-six years to get to this point, but it really is something of a revelation for me. It also helps that I've spent a lot of time drastically reducing my clutter. I have things I could still do with getting rid of, but now the task of actually cleaning up a space is considerably less daunting.
It's still something of an effort for me to break out any hardcore cleaning supplies, to scrub any floors or get at those "hard to reach" areas, but regular straightening has turned into almost a necessity. I used to identify myself as a "slob", and that was something that people who knew me just had to accept and deal with. But I'm finding myself moving away from that identification now, because it doesn't suit me anymore.