I like to clean. I know — it weirds me out, too.

Although I guess I should clarify: on a day-to-day basis, I’m not really that much of a fan. Like, I don’t voluntarily pick up a vacuum or dust rag if I don’t have to and stuff does pile up quite a bit in my room because I can be pretty lazy and not put stuff away promptly.

But about once a month, I get something of a “craving” to clean my living space, where I’ll put everything away and vacuum and dust and stuff, and two or three times a year I’ll want to do a very deep cleaning.

My process for that is to take everything out of my room, including as much furniture as I can manage. Dust, vacuum, change the sheets, the works, and then carefully put everything back in, purging stuff as I go.

Every time I do one of these thorough cleanings, I feel like I can breathe just a little bit easier. Maybe it’s an anxiety thing or a stress thing or a control thing or whatever, but after a cleaning I feel as if it’s like I was holding a cup of water that was about to overflow, but I took a sip and now it’s OK.

My mom likes it when I clean because sometimes I’ll do more than just my room and bathroom. I think she’s hoping I’ll do the attic and garage one of these days.

Sorry mom.

With the new year and especially after the year we’ve just had, this clean out is something I value more than ever. Of course, it’s the feeling of starting with a clean slate, but there’s more to it than that; even if the “clean” doesn’t last, even if stuff does start to pile back up again, maybe next time I’ll be better at keeping stuff from piling up, or I’ll be more consistent about keeping things clean, or maybe I’ll even find a better way to manage my stuff so that I don’t feel the urge to deep clean as much.

With every new year comes resolutions. While I absolutely believe in setting goals for yourself, I think the majority of people put too much pressure on themselves to achieve these resolutions and that things have to be done “perfectly” or a certain way.

My suggestion is: clean — or if not cleaning, find something else that gives you that clean slate feeling and then don’t be afraid to do it again.

Resolutions should be personal goals, not black-and-white deadlines. The point is to get better, to do things better, easier, more efficiently, healthier — not “do it perfectly or don’t do it at all.”

Even a little bit of progress is still progress. Don’t give up if things don’t go perfectly or stay perfect — just learn from the experience and keep moving forward.