The Cleaning Frenzy

Written By

Ushasi Sen Basu

The Cleaning Frenzy Loading

I am a bit of a squirrel. I can rarely make the decision about throwing something out straight away. (What if I’m in dire need of a ratty bit of string right after I bin it?) Needless to say I never need most of my carefully hoarded provisions; but if a day ever comes when I have to create an ark-like structure exclusively out of paper, cardboard boxes, string, rubber bands and safety pins, you will be laughing on the other side of your mouths, suckers, as my family and I float away on it and watch you as you drown in your cleaning frenzy.

Right now though, I am drowning in little scraps of paper whose significance will come to me, I’m sure, when the day comes.

There always comes a time, about once or twice a year, when I feel so cluttered up mentally, (like I’ve somehow established an empathetic link with my cupboard) that I must rid it of every last scrap of crap to give myself some inner peace. The spirit moves me so intensely at the time that it takes all my will power to hang on to my academic certificates (though I suspect my marriage certificate lost that fight — it’s certainly not there anymore).

This frenzy of cleaning expends itself around three-quarters through the process. Usually at a mealtime when all I really want to do is wash the mildew off my grimy hands, fill my complaining stomach and perhaps put my feet up with a book, after.

That’s when I sneak a look behind my shoulder to make sure no one’s looking, and bundle the remaining unsorted possessions back into their homes. In my defense, I make a mental note to begin with those drawers next time the frenzy is upon me.

The sight of heaps of things to throw out or give away is always intensely satisfying. I feel like I have so much space in my head to mull over the more important things, like why my daughter needs to do her big job the moment I sit down to write/eat and what anyone sees in Kiera Knightley.

What worries me now is that over the last decade, due to the paper-free policies of banks and credit card companies (damn them) there is far, far less trash to hoard and then throw away in one fell, satisfying sweep.

In future, I’ll just have to dust more often, though that’s hardly as fulfilling. Where’s the drama in dusting? Or better still, I can spring-clean my desktop and my email inbox; which might not be a bad idea now that I think about it. Deleting 9000 unopened emails on weight-loss programs could be just the shot in the arm I’m looking for…

Let me do that right now.




Ushasi Sen Basu, 37, lives in Bangalore and is the erstwhile Editor-in-Chief of She published her debut contemporary literary fiction novel, 'Kathputli’ in early 2017, in both Kindle and paperback formats. Ushasi has been a professional writer and editor for over a decade. She also has an unpopular blog called The Crib that pokes fun at everything, including herself. Ushasi (aka Shashi, "U" and 'You-Over-There') loves literature and music, and dances like nobody’s watching. She is the mother of a five-year-old girl, who is the joy of her life and grudging guinea pig for many of her parenting experiments.

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