Humor Magazine

Cleaning My Room in 12 Steps

By Katie Hoffman @katienotholmes

After two long years of procrastination, I finally cleaned my room. By the time everything had been vacuumed and Windexed, three and a half hours had passed, two bags of garbage had been collected, and five loads of laundry were assembled. I had also amassed a new hat collection

As a person who truly, madly, deeply hates cleaning, over the years I’ve noticed that a lot of people like to pretend they hate cleaning. Most of these people are exaggerating just to fit in with all of us genuine slobs. I can’t blame them–Messy People is probably the most elite lazy group you could belong to. Usually, when someone admits that they actually enjoy cleaning, others respond with a look of horror and concern not unlike the reaction Nickelback fans and chocolate doubters have grown accustomed to seeing. The thing that truly separates the brandwagoners from the true anti-cleaners is a person’s actions. You see, when you truly hate an activity, you do not do it. So when I say I hate cleaning, there’s none of that weak-minded “but it has to get done” or “but I care about dust coating my belongings” or “but people might think I’m a hoarder.” I’m fully committed to my hatred. I leave plates everywhere and let someone else worry about it. I try outfits on and throw them on the floor when I don’t like how they look. I leave unopened mail and bank statements lying around like bait for an identity thief.

I am messy, and if you met me on the street or saw my desk at work you would truly never guess just how grievously untidy I am.

But the thing is, I’m not proud of being messy! It probably sounds like I am, but when you’re a messy person, being defensive about the way you live is the only way you can survive. Everyone wants messy people to change. “Why can’t you pick up after yourself? Is it so hard to put the dishes in the sink? Why can’t you put your dirty laundry in the hamper? Would it kill you take out the trash?” I don’t have the answers to those questions. I appreciate all the benefits of a clean, organized house. After all, I don’t like seeing breeding dust bunnies or stepping over piles of dirty laundry, but you know what I like significantly less than those things? Cleaning up after myself. As a messy person, I don’t feel the same obligation to keep everything spotless that all those clean people have woven in their DNA.

It should be said that I’m not a complete slob. I do have some standards of cleanliness. For instance, if something gets spilled (except water, I have a theory that left out long enough it will evaporate), I will get a paper to towel clean it (if it’s something the dog won’t/can’t lick up). Any pet-related void must be thoroughly cleaned. The toilet needs to be bleached on a weekly basis. Excessive dog hair on furniture needs to be addressed. Sheets need to be washed frequently. Beyond those messes, I’m not interested. It’s troubling because I don’t consider myself universally lazy. I really don’t mind doing things! I wake up at 4 AM! I go to the gym every day! I’m capable of doing things I don’t always feel like doing! Cleaning is the only exception.

So you’re probably wondering why I finally broke down and cleaned my room. Well, I’ve heard/read multiple times that a clean living space helps you de-stress, focus, find nirvana, etc., so I figured since I’m trying to write a book and work on my “personal brand” it might help me or something. I also feel like I’m well into the age range where being messy stopped being a cute representation of my stubbornness and has instead become an example of immaturity. With all those things in mind, let me take your through the 12 steps to cleaning my room.

Cleaning My Room in 12 Steps

Step 1: Decide to clean room (for real).


Step 2: Eat a huge lunch while watching Project Runway and putting off the actual start of Apococlean for as long as possible.

I’ve put it off for two years, what’s two more hours? I’ve officially decided that it’s going to get done, so it doesn’t really matter when I start. I can’t clean on an empty stomach, anyway.

Step 3: Find a better term for this massive cleaning other than “Apococlean.”

Never got around to that one.

Step 4: Assume every clothing item on the floor/desk/chair/bed is dirty and dump it in the hamper so the room looks instantly cleaner and less intimidating.

Deal with the laundry later. What’s most important is now I can see the carpet again, and maybe this isn’t as awful as I thought it was going to be.

Step 5: Turn on Beyoncé playlist, but end up only listening to “Upgrade U” for 30 minutes straight while trying to mimic the dance moves from the music video.

No cleaning got done during this interval, but I was grateful every reflective surface in the room had a fine layer of dust on it to minimize the horror of my dancing as much as possible.

Step 6: Make three separate piles for paperwork.

  1. Unsolicited (and unopened) credit offers from CapitalOne
  2. Catalogs and ads that I meant to look at, but never looked at
  3. Greetings cards from my loved ones that I’ll keep in my hoard drawer until the end of time because I feel guilty throwing them away


Step 7: Discover that I own five hats that I never wear and do a selfie photo shoot

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Step 8: Sit on the floor and hate myself for having unworn clothing items with the tag still attached.


Step 9: Discover my prized bar of Candy Apple glycerin soap from Bath and Body Works that was purchased over ten years ago and remains unused because it smells too good to waste; spend ten minutes sniffing it.


Step 10: Go through closet and jewelry box and harshly judge past Katie’s shopping choices.

a. Question what circumstances lead me to buy super long earrings that reach my boobs


b. Wonder if I’m actually the commander of the see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil monkey Emojis


Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 4.48.27 AM

c. Recall that I’ve worn this fake leather miniskirt exactly once because it’s less forgiving than Mussolini


 d. Attempt to recall what substance I was under the influence of when I thought I could walk anywhere in these babies


Step 11: Spend 15-30 minutes envisioning a complete bedroom redecoration that will never come to fruition.


Because now that it’s clean the possibilities are endless!

Step 12: Turn Beyoncé’s “Upgrade U” back on and enjoy the clean floor before it goes back to being hazardous.

Maybe this will be the time I’ll actually keep it clean, but until then…

upgrade u


Note: An actual image of my messy room could not be included with this post because a dirty pair of underwear appeared at a part of the photo that couldn’t be easily cropped. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

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