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As my current roommate Monique knows all too well, I hate trash (more specifically: dripping bags), clutter, and rotting food. The smell is enough to make me dry heave, and the sight of an overflowing garbage bin puts me in a state of frustration. Luckily my OCD cleaning tendencies, which date back to my toddler days in the early 90s, have served me well as an adult.

Childhood buddies and immediate family members say I take after my dad, who became a clean freak upon dealing with a messy roommate in college. He raised me to always take out the trash, set and clear the dining room table, load and unload the dishwasher whenever necessary, wipe down all countertops, make my bed, vacuum each bedroom, and fold my clothes no matter how busy I became. We were the family cleaning crew, so when he became ill in 2005, I took it upon myself to scrub our house spotless. I struggled to live up to our standards without his help, but mastered the art of cleaning a two-story home as a result.

To my relief, New York City is just the right place for neat freaks like me, as many Manhattanites simply don’t have the luxury of being disgusting.

1. No garbage disposals = fewer bad smells

As I learned last night, sinks in the city have no garbage disposal system, therefore gross food remnants cannot go down the drain. For the past month, my rancid sink drain in DC has discouraged me from spending any time in the kitchen, so I’m glad I won’t have to deal with a malodorous sink in NYC.

2. Smaller trash bags

A year ago, I adopted my buddy Lola’s habit of not using a trash can. Because she thinks garbage bins are repulsive to place near an eating area, Lola fills up plastic grocery bags with trash before taking out her waste. Such a routine requires daily effort and dedication, so you have to be invested to constantly take your trash out. My New York friend does the same to keep mice away (apparently rodents are a huge problem in NYC digs), so I’ll probably do something similar for my own living situation. Either that or I’ll fling my trash bags into the apartment compactor every single day! Fine by me.

This is the first and last time I will ever post a photo of trash on my blog.

3. Old buildings

Growing up in Los Angeles, I supposedly lived in a haunted house. I never saw anything but other family members did, and when we decided to move, they vowed to only purchase a new home to get a clean slate. Though I appreciate the amenities of modern style residences, I prefer older buildings because they have character. For the time being, I live in a brand new DC area apartment complex, which is efficient, clean, and mold-free but void of rich history. Hopefully my next residence will feel more like a home and less like a hotel.

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