Last night, around 9 pm, I started bustling around the apartment, straightening couch cushions, gathering crumpled tissues and stacking abandoned magazines. Shay, a friend who has been my roommate while I’ve been between roommates, looked up at me from her computer on the dining room table, and said with bemusement in her voice, “Oh, that’s right! It’s time for the Sunday Night Routine.”
I paused, half bent over one of the throw pillows that belongs to my brown, secondhand loveseat. For a moment I felt self-consciously naked, caught in the act of a mildly compulsive habit, but then I relaxed again and said, “It’s just that I like to start the week out organized.”
For years now, I’ve reserved an half-hour or so on Sunday nights, to get myself in order for the coming week. It’s a time to fold and put away laundry, return to their homes the seven (or so) pairs of shoes that lay where they were kicked, wipe the kitchen counter of crumbs and throw away any food that’s started to curl, mold or mush. I put books back where they belong, gather the trash from several cans and empty the recycling bin. I heartlessly toss junk mail and typically find a couple items that belong in the Goodwill pile, an empty brownpaper Trader Joe’s shopping bag by the front door.
I realize that some people might find this habit suspect, akin to repeated handwashing or door locking. For me, it is a way to reset myself for the coming week, as if my life and home are a clock that requires weekly winding. When the apartment is neat and all things are back where they belong, I feel comfortable, ready to welcome the coming Monday and the days that will inevitably follow. I don’t worry as the clutter mounts throughout the week, because I know I’ll tame it into submission once more.