When I was young I had a house with a room filled with rubbish. It was so full that I didn’t even know how big the room was and was too scared to open the door because the smell was so bad and shit would spill out everywhere. In some ways I was lucky because other rooms in my house were quite shiny and easy to keep clean. I got lots of positive attention from showing off these rooms but even though I kept them well presented, I was always acutely aware of the stinky room, so endeavoured to keep it well hidden.
I tried to investigate other peoples houses, as they seemed to go about their lives successfully, as if they didn’t have a room full of rubbish. Maybe it was just my house I thought…
…This was a real concern for a number of years which caused me to fracture into almost two people. An inner, aware of the stench and an outer, a portrayal of got it all together, move along.
People also constantly seemed to give me their rubbish and I felt that well I have this rubbish room, so I probably do deserve it in some way. And sometimes for sure if I found someone who would take my garbage I would happily unload it on them. There didn’t appear to be many other options. Back in those days magic room disappearing pills were not handed out like they are now. So I had to resort to more organic methods.
When I was about 18 I discovered a smoke machine that I placed by the door of the room. Whenever I got close to the room I just cranked up the machine and then the room disappeared in a haze. Problem solved at least for a few years. Unfortunately this served to only mask the stench and in the meantime the room continued to ferment.
By this stage of my life I was convinced that everyone had a rubbish room but some were better at hiding it than others. No one ever spoke about it though. For me it was always the elephant in the room. Society had two normal staples for dealing with the mess… Money and Religion…and they both failed to convert me.
Around the age of 20 a miracle of sorts happened. A friend of mine Dan, who was more hippie than I was, gave me a book by what turned out to be an actual Room Cleaner. Even on the cover the subtitle clearly stated “a book that cleans your room” (words to that affect)
This was a watershed moment. This book revealed that others had actually tried to clean their room and some had even been successful. This was an actual thing.
I started off pretty Gung-ho but soon found that if I tried to drag too much out at a time then I usually ended up getting covered in shit and would have to recover before I could regroup for the next sortie. I made slow progress and it helped to put a closed sign on my dumping ground. This alienated some people close to me but also created openings for others who acknowledged their rubbish rooms but were content with owning their own garbage.
After all these years I can still say with confidence that my room has still got crap in it. But it smells better and I go in daily to give it a wipe down and see whats happening. Sometimes old brushes wear out and I need to look for new tools and adapt old ones to do the job. But mostly its just the discipline of going in regularly and removing what I can… Just like cleaning your teeth :)