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August 24, 2013

Teenhood Today: 'Spring' cleaning a time for reflection

The Daily Star

---- — I recently did my “spring” cleaning, because who actually does it in the spring? Anyway, I was going through all the stuff in my room and mentally labeling it as useless junk, things I want, and items that are necessary to my existence.

It turns out that I “need” a lot more than I originally thought. I found that I really don’t like to get rid of things. I stumbled across school papers that I had saved from my years in elementary school. I don’t know what I was saving those for. Maybe I was just worried I might have to retake kindergarten at some point and thought I would save all those coloring sheets so I wouldn’t have to redo any. I don’t know.

As I was going through everything, I came to the realization that I have an abundance of collections. I know people who have stamp collections, teacup collections, sticker collections, stuffed animal collections, and so on and so forth. Well, I discovered that I have all of those collections and then some. I don’t think I have ever thrown away a sheet of stickers because I opened a box in the cabinet above my desk, and lo and behold I found enough stickers to last a lifetime.

The perimeter of my desk is lined with cups full of pens. I have blue pens, black pens, ballpoint and gel; green pens, orange pens too many to tell. I hope you all enjoyed that little rhyme. But I really do have every kind of pen imaginable. If anyone is ever looking for a writing utensil and happens to be walking by my house, never fear, I will save the day.

Part of being a writer is being a reader. I love to read. A few years ago I was allotted a good-sized bookcase to store all of my wondrous leather-bound adventures on. I was very excited. I neatly organized all of my books according to genre but had to layer them on the shelves because I had so many. Fear thou not, they all fit. That was last year. I have since added a significant number of books to my collection and have had to triple-layer some shelves and lay the still extra books on top of the stacks.

I have never been able to say “no” to a free or cheaply priced book. I honestly don’t think I will ever be able to walk by a “free” sign outside of a library and not cart home a few. So as I was spring cleaning, I didn’t even bother going through my books with the intent of getting rid of any. That doesn’t mean I didn’t allot time to the bookcase. Oh no, I still sat in front of it and read the first page (and sometimes the first chapter) of every single book.

I love doing that. It’s a way to remember the story and characters of a book that I’ve already read. It’s also a way to organize my reading list. The books that have a fantastic beginning and hook always climb to the top of the list, while those that appear to start off at a gentle walking speed tend to mosey their way to the end of the line.

As you can probably tell, spring-cleaning is always very difficult for me. I don’t like getting rid of stuff. But then I have to ask myself: how many bouncy balls does a person really need?

Miriam A. Thurber is a rising junior at Unatego Central School. ‘Teen Talk’ columns can be found at