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The Six Stages of Messy Room Syndrome

That's really not THAT bad!Messy Room Syndrome (MRS) is a common condition, and through extensive observation and collection of experiences of numerous participants, I have been able to organize MRS into six stages.

That's really not THAT bad!Too often, our lives are full of clutter; we buy a bit of this and a bit of that until, eventually, we have too much stuff – which we thought we absolutely had to have when we first saw it advertised – and nowhere to put it. In the end, we may “get rid” of a majority of the stuff by stuffing it in our basements or attics. Most of the time, this problem has nothing to do with Israf – extravagance – rather, we may just be too “busy” to put everything away in its right place after use.

Messy Room Syndrome (MRS) is a common condition, and through extensive observation and collection of experiences of numerous participants, I have been able to organize MRS into six stages. It is not necessary that everyone will go through all six stages – many people just go straight to the last stage, while others may go through only the first and last stages. The stages vary in degree for each individual, but the end result is a sense of contentment and pride at having overcome their habit.

Sometimes people relapse after kicking the habit of MRS. A victim can be very convincing in his/her arguments, and the following are examples of what they tend to say at each stage:

Stage 1: Denial

Yes, there are clothes piled up on the chair, books and papers all over the place, shirts spilling out of the drawers, pairs of socks on the floor, and the blanket half off the bed – but it’s not really messy! I mean, if you can still see a bit of floor space, you can’t call it messy, right?

Stage 2: Rationalization

Okay, okay, so maybe it’s a little overcrowded…but it’s still not “messy”! Actually, it’s “organized clutter”. If I know where everything is, what does it matter if it’s buried underneath layers of stuff? I can still find whatever I need. Besides, just because I don’t conform to the methods of society and I choose to organize my room in a different way doesn’t mean I should be labelled a “messy” person!

Stage 3: Admission

Fine, I admit it: MY ROOM IS MESSY! Happy?

Now maybe if I just ignore it, it’ll go away…

Stage 4: Occupation

So, apparently, ignoring it didn’t solve the problem, but what else can I do? What – clean my room? Ha! You must be kidding! I have absolutely no time whatsoever to clean my room! Between work, meals, TV, Facebook, and talking on my cell, how can I possibly have any time to clean my room?! I can’t miss any of my other stuff just to clean my room – they’re too important to skip! So seriously, I don’t have time.

Stage 5: Accumulation

What’s the point if I take some precious time out of my day to clean my room, only to have it happen all over again? It’ll get messy again eventually anyway, so why bother doing something which I’ll have to repeat in a few days?

Besides, it just makes things worse to try and clean it! I have to shovel out whatever it is that has been hiding out under my bed, I have to plough through my closet, and up-end my bookshelves first so that I can organize them! So when I try to clean my room, it just gets messier – you know what I mean, right? Right?

Fine, fine, I’ll clean it up eventually – but I should let the mess pile up and then clean it up all at once on the weekend…of course, until the never-ending cycle repeats itself, that is.

Stage 6: Resolution

Alright, alright – you win, Jiminy Cricket! I’ll clean my room!

So it probably doesn’t seem like great décor when it looks like a tornado hit my room, and I guess “organized clutter” is more of an oxymoron than a fancy-shmancy explanation. Even though I know where everything is, if I’m risking my safety in the process of getting something, then it’s not “organized”!

As for not having time, I think I can cut down on, well, just about all the things I do in excess. It really shouldn’t take too long if I don’t distract myself.

Of course, it does make sense to clean my room now; otherwise, later it’ll just take more time and energy to clean a bigger mess. Besides, just because something has to be repeated, that doesn’t mean there’s no point in doing it – like brushing teeth, or eating!

Although it really does get messier in the process of cleaning, I could probably work out a schedule to clean up the desk area one day, the closet another day, etc., until it’s all organized.
In the end, if I clean my room regularly, it won’t take so much time and energy each cleaning!


These are merely preliminary presentations of common tendencies I have observed in members of today’s society. This article is not a scientific study.

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