MY ROOM IS CLEAN. That has not been the case in, like, years. Not even kidding there. When I make a mental map of my room, there are no longer areas labeled with question marks!
I did it with THINKING, and YOU CAN TOO! That is, if you want to.
1) Approach your room as a complex system with a minor malfunction, rather than a simple system with a major malfunction. Don’t assume that you know why your room needs to be cleaned. Don’t try to distract yourself from the task. Instead, take this opportunity to study your room, since it’s probably not something you dedicate a lot of thought to. Otherwise, it’s unlikely it would need cleaning.
2) Do not attempt to organize your organizational efforts. Just like making lists of all the lists you need to make, this is a pointless waste of time. What’s ore, if you really knew what needed to be done, you likely would have done it already. So enter your room, and start fixing the first problem you come across. Proceed to other problem areas as they begin to impede your progress.
3) Do not try to impose an organizational scheme onto your room. As you make your way through your room, experiencing it as a complex system, make small alterations to that system to increase its efficiency. For example, I did not designate a glove basket because I thought I should have a glove basket. I designated a glove basket because I kept finding gloves and had nowhere to put them. Likewise with the bowl for loose change.
4) Don’t perpetuate errors. If a facet of the system of your room is generating mess, then tidying that area up and moving on will not prevent it from continuing to generate mess. Take the time to move things around so that they function properly and can be maintained easily. And the shirt you got in high school, but never wore? You’re probably not going to wear it any time soon, so get rid of it.
5) Channel entropy, don’t try to block it. When tidying up, the impulse is to arrange everything perfectly, but this could well be a mistake. If a towel basket, for example, only contains towels effectively when the towels are neatly folded, then 2% of the time, the towels will be highly ordered (folded and in the basket) and 98% of the time, the towels will be highly chaotic (all over the room). If instead, the towel basket holds the towels when they are neatly rolled, but also when they are stuffed into the basket, then 10% of the time, the towels will be highly ordered (rolled and in the basket) and 90% of the time, the towels will be moderately ordered (stuffed in the basket). The less energy it takes to maintain a system, the more often that system will be maintained.
This all might sound very much counter to a good deal of advice on cleaning a messy room, much of that advice professional. I myself have never found any of that advice particularly effective.
First of all, it is not conceptual. It is very easy to come across instruction on what to do when cleaning your room, and very difficult to find any on how to approach it.
Secondly, such advice often suggests that one try to do anything but clean while one is cleaning- to turn cleaning into an opportunity to do crafts, for example, or to listen to interesting music, or to listen to a good book. This is the very definition of boredom, and will actually make it harder to clean your room.
But worst of all, these other pieces of advice are not written in the most absurdly complex manner possible. And what fun is that?