top of page
  • Writer's pictureJordan Abbruzzese

The Messy-Roomed Mantra

Updated: Apr 2, 2020

I will clean this up. I will be motivated and won't put it off any longer. I will have a spotless room.

It doesn't matter how many times I repeat encouraging lies to myself, I know that I will never pick up my shit.

I have always thrived in mess, surrounding myself by papers and sticky notes clinging to multiple books cracked like an open-faced sandwich. Where is my draft of this poem? In the pile of stuff to my right, near the bottom because I haven't looked at it in a while. Where is this text book? Under my bed because I needed somewhere specific to place it so I wouldn't forget where it was! I have a system.

There is a distinct difference between messiness and filth. I am in no way dirty, just unorganized. I attempt to sound deep and say that it reflects how my brain works, but in all reality it is probably some combination of comfort and laziness. Filth is when there is trash, dirty dishes, crusty tissues, food crumbs, and moldy smelling towels piled on top of a brush that badly needs to be cleaned of broken hairs. Messy is the innocence of being ignorant of organization. Things, although clean, exist in piles and cracks. You constantly surprise yourself by finding a knick knack that has been tucked away under your mattress or in a shoe. Every day is a treasure hunt, finding notes from a middle school friend that you haven't talked to in eight years, or being frustrated because you can't find the new hair accessory that you JUST bought the day before and would look awesome with your work outfit--but you are five minutes late and five minutes can mean fifteen minutes late with traffic. Life becomes a live-action I-Spy book that you never quite finish.

Besides the normal stuff that one usually keeps in a room, my mess is mostly comprised of small "collections" of things that I find interesting. For example, I have specific places where I store tags from clothes. If a tag is super cool, or happens to have an awesome sticker of a sassy looking girl with pink pigtails and bell-bottom jeans surrounded by flames, then I want to save it. I might use it someday, or an archaeologist could be searching my room 200 years from now and learn about how clothes were priced before society all magically got dressed like in The Jetsons or Cher in Clueless. Early 2000s "junior's" departments from JC Penney and Kohls shouldn't be forgotten. And so they live strongly, in my jewelry box.

I also have a rock collection, coin collection, a quarter-specific collection (which totally differs from my coin collection because it has a portfolio where I can collect a quarter from each state), a glass doll collection (that I actually tucked away because they were actually scary as hell), a pez dispenser collection (I didn't even mean to start collecting these, like, I am not that kind of collector. I think that people just assumed that I would be the type of person to have pez dispensers and began giving me Disney Princess and Star Wars themed ones), a Wizard-Of-Oz novelty item collection complete with the Madame Alexander dolls that McDonalds gave out in happy meals, all of my Pokemon cards, puppets (hand, marionette, and finger), well over one hundred Beanie Babies, and a playbill collection--which seems pretty normal overall. I have also been recently acquiring pictures of scenes with anthropomorphic dogs and tacky holiday decorations. I'm still open to expanding with whatever else piques my interest. I have the room.

While sitting wrapped in my bed comforter and staring at my kingdom of junk, I am reassured by what I have. It shows that there is life here, that there is life in me. During my senior year of college, there was a period of three nights where I slept with a McDonald's bag full of empty trash. Okay, I know that sounds like it is spilling over onto the filthy side, but I was elated that I had driven to the fast-food restaurant by myself and gotten food when I had been scared to drive anywhere alone or even leave my bed just a few days before. It was a reminder that I could do things, and plus it became so hilarious to me that I felt that I couldn't part with my McDouble cheeseburger wrapper that had become my new teddy bear.

I have tried to clean my room. To label boxes and shelves, to neatly fold and color coordinate, to throw away things that I no longer need. Every time that I try, I am surged with panic, or sadness, like I am throwing away parts of my life. Parts that I will never live again, and the only things left over are in the backs of nightstand drawers and mason jars on closet floors. I regularly donate my clothes, but when it comes to the tiny bits of the mosaic that has become my life, I am hesitant. As I packed up my stuff to move out of my childhood home into my first apartment, I cried. I saw things that I had, things that should not have been transported, organized, or thrown away, because they have their space in my old room. They co-exist, breathing and insulating any fear or wisp of hope that I had ever had by nightlight. If a human body can be so compact with guts and muscle and bone, then why can't a space that is just as alive?

I am slowly starting to become "cleaner". My work desk functions well, and my apartment is coming together hesitantly but surely. I have gotten rid of many items and also have learned to let things go. But I want you to understand that it has never been a matter of having physical things, for I am not a materialistic person, but rather holding onto them and having control over the nest that I have built. An actual sculpture and interactive scrapbook of a life that can be hard to live, but a smile that will be brought on by a craft that you made in the first grade that still hangs over your bedroom mirror.

I will clean this up. I will be motivated and won't put it off any longer. I will have a spotless room.

Maybe tomorrow.


Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page