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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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  • Random Hijabi

    Nice article!

    I know some adults who see a messy child and say: “it iz aaaall the pareeeents faulttt!”. Not really! I have trouble sleeping at night knowing my room is a bit out of order; my brother on the other hand can’t sleep at night if he knows his room is clean. I think the cleanliness of our rooms reflect our personalities! And don’t forget, cleanliness is a part of our faith! 🙂

  • Emily

    At night I always lay in bed thinking okay i’ll clean my room the next day but i’m always to tired i’m just a kid but i’m tired all the time!:sad:

  • Emily

    Emily, try to get good sleep at night and make sure you eating healthy food and exercising. A good lifestyle can help with tiredness. But, lots of people struggle with tiredness to do jobs we don’t want to do, it is part of our nature. Sometimes making a big job into many smaller jobs can help it from seeming so overwhelming. And once you get the big job done, it is often possible to prevent it from becoming a big job again by taking a little more time each day to put things away when we start out.
    Also, we just have to keep in mind priorities – a perfectly spotless room is not necessarily an ideal achievement if the time, effort, energy, and obsession put into that detract from other more important things. There is balance in all things.

  • Alice

    Or should i call it – my ALWAYS messy room… I really dont know… My room has been messy as far as I can remember. And i remember always spreading my mess further arround the house ;-);-)
    I had a desk mate once.. a tiddy one 😉 ok, i think we know where this is going to. And after a month of sitting next to me he really started to get all messy, his hand writing too. Was it becouse of my handwriting? People tell me that my handwritin is like… lets say a doctors, but i realy dont get it – i love my hand writing:o
    But ok, lets get to the point again – even if i tiddy up my room it gets dirty like in a week.. if lucky.

    errr… i dont know the point of this, but writing this makes me feel better ;-):D

  • Mohsin

    Really well written and struck a chord with my room too. Thanks, I’m off to clean my room now!

  • Midhat

    my room stays messy all the time even after i clean it i cant see to keep it clean.
    My maid cleans the while i am in school but as soon as i am home my gets
    allll messssy!!!:cry::cry::cry::cry:

    • ani

      The key is *attitude* . When i was a student, i had experience of living in many diferent houses. The clean ones were clean because people do not CREATE mess there, not because they clean it often. And also, when people live next to neat person they get “infected: with neatness, because naturally humans like it. It seem too long for us to put things back in place when we take the, or to fold and hand our clothes.. but in fact it would SAVE us lots of time and stress if we PREVENT mess. It took me a lot of time to explain this concept to my husband, but now he appreciates it! It just makes you feel more human! Whenever you do something (eating, studying, doing wuthu, changing clothes0 – right away remove any changes that were created by this. Pick up the crumbs, place the clothes you took off in a right place folded nicely, dry the counter after wudhu, arranges the papers and books, throw away unneeded papers righ away. It really helps to save a lot of time and give your mind that nice organized feeling!

  • Emma!

    I love tidiness .. I’m a neat freak but for some reason I cannot keep my room clean .. 😐

  • Rafay

    This is hilarious!

  • Be realistic

    Having an untidy room doesn’t necessarily mean “it’s the parents fault” because you are your own self. You also know the difference between what is right and wrong. So get off your lazy butt and clean up.
    Yes, having a messy or neat room does reflect on personality. If you have an untidy, messy room, then you have an untidy, messy and lazy attitude towards the cleanliness of your room.
    You might say, “Well I’m generally a neat and tidy person because I can clean everywhere else, just not my own room!” No luv sorry… you’re not that “tidy” person whom you think you are. Realistically, your room looks as if a bomb hit it. The only reason your tidy everywhere else is because you don’t keep all your belongings in “other rooms”, you keep most of your things in your bedroom where nobody else will go in.

    Just wake up and realise that being untidy isn’t exactly a confidence booster, nor is it a good for your own self esteem. Habits are difficult to break off; everyone knows that, that’s why we call them “habits”.
    Be mature, pick up after yourself. Maturity is cleanliness. Clean your own dishes, clean your own clothes, sort out those papers into folders and get rid of what you REALLY don’t need any more.
    Could every single object that you own have some sort of a sentimental attachment upon that you must not get rid of? Honestly?
    For the ones who haven’t yet moved from your parents home, we all move out someday (most of us), and you’re not going to bring with you every piece of object you have in your bedroom. You’re going to want to start off nice and fresh. Sort out and get rid of the things which you don’t need. Then you will have more space.

  • Omar Zari

    I was going to clean my room until I found out that I wasn’t the only one with a messy room thanks guys!