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Clean House – Cleansed Mind?


“Clean Sweep” by Lynn Kelley Author.
WANA Commons


Some of my Twitter followers know I recently cleaned out my closet (because I couldn’t find anything to wear) and rediscovered “the collection room” floor (I knew it had to be there somewhere). When Matthew Wright (no relation), member of the  #myWANA hashtag group on Twitter, realized I’d inadvertently begun cleaning my closet, he offered encouragement.

 “We have a closet like that in our house,” he wrote, “the ‘cupboard of density.'”

I thought: “Wow, what a cool way to say, “open at your own risk.” Implies anything could fly out – moths, butterflies, vampires…”  

As to “the collection room.” Motto: “Piece of clutter with no place to be — throw it upstairs where I can’t see.” This mantra works really well when I’m writing, because I have no reason whatsoever to climb the stairs to the collection room. But now the book is as complete as I can make it, the web site revisions have gone out, and my mind turns to cleaning  . . .  well, cleaning or a vat of wine, and I’m sure cleaning is somehow better for my health. Maybe.

I blame this craving to clean on an American suburban childhood. To give you an example of its effect, I invite you to watch this YouTube screening of a 1958 commercial for Mr. Clean – bald headed muscle man in white who clearly had his own traumas to work through. Never mind. Mr. Clean promised to clean my whole house and everything that’s in it. Here’s the link:

I guess Mr. Clean wasn’t too good at laundry, ‘cuz a few years later there was a commercial for Ajax Laundry Detergent with a knight on a white horse rescuing seemingly normal people from dirty clothes. Check this one out:  The image of an anonymous knight zapping my clothes is a bit creepy. Maybe that’s why I’ve never purchased the product.

Creep factor aside, both products are still around in various manifestations, and presumably, both are effective cleaners. Disclaimer. I occasionally use Mr. Clean’s magic eraser.

My point is, growing up with that kind of propaganda, I know cleaning is the best defense from being gouged by a lance. Hence motivation. But, where is the opportunity? I can’t write and polish at the same time – very bad for the keyboard.

My pattern of opportunity is when I complete a project – or am at least in the mopping up stage. That’s the moment I look around in panic – Better get cracking, or I’ll get the lance. Quick, do something.

So, I’ve done the closet and am almost done beating a path across the collection room. Please, can I go back to work now? Look, I cleaned my work surface. Just don’t look at the wires.

Photo by Author. All Rights Reserved.
Photo by Author.
All Rights Reserved.


Disclaimer: No dust bunnies were harmed in the writing of this blog.

If you’d like to check out more witty sayings by Matthew Wright, go to

Author Sandra Wagner Wright

Sandra Wagner-Wright holds the doctoral degree in history and taught women’s and global history at the University of Hawai`i. Sandra travels for her research, most recently to Salem, Massachusetts, the setting of her new Salem Stories series. She also enjoys traveling for new experiences. Recent trips include Antarctica and a river cruise on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel.

 Sandra particularly likes writing about strong women who make a difference. She lives in Hilo, Hawai`i with her family and writes a blog relating to history, travel, and the idiosyncrasies of life.