A Manifesto for the Messy: Ten Points to Consider

Not everyone lives in a house that looks straight out of Pottery Barn. There are people who do, but they often pay people to clean for them. You can’t afford that, and you don’t have time or energy to do it either. You might apply to be one of the families that are tidied up in that new Netflix series, but chances are you’re not telegenic enough.

There are two extremes of anality. One is anal retentive. This is the preferred end of the continuum in modern society. Keep everything in. Keep it all tucked away. Be constipated. Do not park your car on your street, but in your neatly organized garage.
The opposite extreme is anal expulsive. Artists tend to lie closer to this end of the spectrum, though not always. We throw our garbage around and splash paint and glitter glue on it. We give it to our relatives for holidays. Sometimes this work turns into something so beautiful we don’t want to waste it on our relatives. Then we can sell it, and then we can afford to hire someone to clean our house.
We may not need all types of people in the world, but we have all types, including the messy. Accept them. If you are one, accept yourself. Don’t ever invite people over. Wallow in your filth. Own it. Who are you trying to impress anyway?

Messy people are often the kindest. Also, overweight people tend to be nice as well. Not spending all their energy on cleaning or dieting frees them up to be kinder and more interested in other people. They also have better pastries.

Of course, there is a point of no return, where your messiness can become so out of control that it drives everyone in your life away. If you hate people, this is not a problem. If you care what others think, cultivate relationships with other messy folks.

If you are embracing your mess, do not live in a neighborhood with an HOA. You cannot have a bowling ball garden in a neighborhood with an HOA. You also can’t grow food or raise chickens or create glitter-glued garbage sculpture in your front yard with an HOA.

Try to simplify your life so you don’t always have to sort through things. Maybe just move into a refrigerator box on the side of the road. You can visit your junk occasionally, if you still pay your rent or mortgage. Likely you can’t, if you’ve done this. Sometimes simpler just isn’t better. You’ll have to be the judge.

Don’t be so judgy. Everyone has quirks. Some are worse than others.

Have patience with the obsessively neat and controlling. Especially if you marry one. In fact, if you’re messy, you probably have done this. Try to remember that they married you because you put them in touch with a side of themselves they can’t access. They are messy inside, and you are messy outside. Wear them down. They will crack one day. Then they will kill you and dispose of your body in neatly tied plastic bags with the pine scent that you aren’t ever able to find at the grocery store because you’re just too disorganized.

Even if you’re hopelessly messy, you may eventually negotiate your way through the stacks of stuff piled in your home over to where you left your cellphone. You might even find your charger and call a therapist who specializes in hoarding disease and its accompanying compulsions.

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