Are You Messy?

One of the worst things about high school was the mess left on the tables in the cafeteria by students who were “too cool” to throw out their garbage. It is something I still can’t comprehend.

How do you just get up from a table, leave your pop can, paper plate, and bits of pizza crust scattered everywhere? How do you then walk out the door, knowing other people saw what you just did?

There was a garbage bin at the end of every long set of tables. Why was it so hard? Why did it feel like they “lost” whenever a teacher stopped them from escaping, and told them to go back and throw their garbage out?

Please, someone explain this to me.

Oh, and you can insert a rant <here> about how this behaviour is only exacerbated during a global pandemic. It should’ve been no surprise that there would be a large group of people not following simple instructions that benefit the well-being of others.

I remember one summer when I was working at camp, I had returned to the main room – where everyone kept their backpack and had snack – to pick something up and there was juice all over the floor from a juice box.

Without hesitation, I went to get paper towels to clean it up. I’m not a fan of the “put a paper towel on the spill and move it around with your foot” technique. I think it’s useless. Now, if you can’t bend over – fine. Have at it.

But me, I get in there with a wad of paper towels on my hands.

It should be noted that paper towels in school settings are ineffective unless you use half the roll. They just multiply the mess.

Sorcerers, all of them.

Now, it wasn’t my mess – it wasn’t even near my area – but that didn’t matter. Kids ran in that room all the time. If I left the spill and acted like I didn’t see it, I can guarantee you someone would’ve run in there and fallen.

As I was cleaning it up, someone walked by and asked what I was doing. When I explained the situation, they said, “Why don’t you just call the janitor?”

The thought never crossed my mind, honestly.

I saw a juice spill, I cleaned it up. It’s not like I stumbled upon a flood. Although, the paper towels were doing their best “liquid multiplication magic” at the time.

But I guess that just shows how we all react differently to certain situations.

And don’t get me wrong, this isn’t me trying to be all self-righteous. I’m just telling a story.

There’s a picture of me vacuuming the house at the age of 2. My mom recently told me that most babies are scared of the sound of a vacuum.

I’ve stared at that picture a million times and not once did I ever consider what it must’ve sounded like to a 2-year-old.

Maybe because I was smiling in the photo? I don’t know.

As an adult – am I an adult? – dust is my enemy. Mainly because I hate how it reappears right after you get rid of it. What are you? A boomerang?

Go play outside, dust. Always so stuck to the computer. Literally. That is where this tirade against dust comes from. Every day when I open my laptop for the first time, there is magically new dust on the screen and keyboard.

Why is it there? Stop getting stuck in the tiny speaker holes!

Scram. Beat it. Pick on someone your own size.

In university, my room was connected to my roommate’s room via a bathroom. Whenever people came over and saw our bathroom, they asked us how two guys could have a bathroom so clean.

We didn’t understand the question. And it’s not like we were actively cleaning it. There was no schedule. We just weren’t leaving a mess.

It felt like when someone compliments you on a nice shirt, and your reply is, “Pfft, this old thing? Nothing special.”

They wanted to know why our countertop wasn’t covered with all of our belongings. Still didn’t understand what they meant. We had soap. What else did we need?

“You guys keep your toothbrushes in your own room?”

Yeah, don’t you?

Girls were baffled by this. And then I saw their bathroom. You couldn’t even tell there was a counter – every square inch of it was covered.

They would leave passive-aggressive post-it notes on the mirror, telling their roommate it was their “turn” to clean. Or it was their “turn” to empty the garbage bin out in the big bin at the end of the hall.

My roommate and I found these methods to be both, hilarious and unfathomable.

Because if we made a mess, we cleaned it. If the garbage bin was too full, we emptied it. If the toilet roll was finished, we replaced it.

There was never a passive-aggressive back-and-forth, waiting for the other person to do something. We never went whispering to someone else, “I’ve cleaned the bathroom two weeks in a row.”

To us, it was just an unspoken understanding of, “Oh, we’re sharing a bathroom with another person. Let’s be cognizant of that and try not to make it awful for them.”

I lived in residence for four years. People always told me about how they didn’t get along with their “bathroommate” and 90% of the time, it had to do with cleaning the bathroom.

I’m not willing to believe that people are messy/have no regard for others because they weren’t taught to clean up after themselves when they were a kid. Every Kindergarten class had a “Clean Up” song, don’t give me that excuse.

We’re all wired differently, I guess.

Some people make a mess and clean it up, and some people take off and let someone else deal with it.

Oh, I almost forgot.

What’s the deal with throwing clothes on the floor? I used to think this was something exclusively done in television shows, as an over-exaggeration, to push the point that a character was untidy.

But then I realized it’s a real life thing.

Alright, now we can end this post.

No, wait.

What you do in your own house is your own business and cannot be disputed without the express written consent of Major League Baseball.

Just had to get that disclaimer in there before I read the comments.


Are you messy? Why are people messy? Feel free to share your stories of anything “mess” related, whether it was at school, with roommates, family members, in public, or elsewhere. I want to hear it!

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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13 Responses to Are You Messy?

  1. Barb Knowles says:

    Iโ€™m SO glad you wrote this. I canโ€™t remember that happening in my high school cafeteria (no old jokes please). But teaching in a high school was an eye opener. Occasionally I asked students with whom I had a good relationship, do you do that at home? They always said yes and looked at me like I was mad (crazy not angry). I was truly amazed. Who cleans it up? Our parents. Donโ€™t they work? Yes they work. I wanted to say who the f___ are you? Then I think what goes around comes around. They will either become adults living in filth, or they will clean up after their kids.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Paul says:

      I can only imagine all the things you witnessed that made you raise your eyebrow. Those kids were always so proud to say they act like that at home. Baffling. If I were your position, the first thing I’d ask parents on parent-teacher interview night is “Do they clean up at home?” The lack of realization that they’re making someone else’s life harder by leaving a mess behind is sad.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am a neat person who lives with messy disgusting people. I cleaned the kitchen ONCE. It took about an hour an a half to scrub all the counters and wash the dish rack and microwave and stove top. By the end of the day it was destroyed again. In our bathroom, the counter is ALWAYS soaked. Someone dyed their hair over the weekend so now its soaked and blue.

    When I cook, I clean off one counter and do all my prep there. I wash my own dished and take them to my own room where I have my own dish rack. I clean off the counter when I’m done. Thats about all the cleaning I do because I refuse to clean up after the other adults I live with. I do all my cooking Saturday morning and will take out the garbage since it is garbage/recycling/compost all in one. The rest of the week it is over flowing because the party group cooks once and then its full and they leave it for a few days until its overflowing too much. I would be more of a “team player” but with these people I refuse. My old place at least Crazy and I had a schedule. But ugh not with these people…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      A blue counter??? Do they not even feel bad about it?? You mentioned a microwave. Oh man, the microwave at school always had a layer of crust on the plate. Outside of tiny splashers, I don’t think I’ve ever made a mess in a microwave. How do people do it?

      What did your roommates do before you lived there? I just want to be in their mind’s for 10 minutes to understand. Does the thought of cleaning never cross their mind, or are they too lazy to do so? I’d be embarrassed to make such a mess while living with other people.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ew the microwave is nasty. But I cover everything I put in it so, again, I refuse to clean. And no they don’t feel bad. They do whatever they want and don’t feel bad about anything.

        Side note: phone interview tomorrow!!! Pray it goes well and I can leave these horrid people behind!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Sabrina B says:

    I do admit to having clothes on my floor ๐Ÿ˜› my room can be a bit messy, mostly because at this point I just dont have SPACE for all my things, so they over flow. I need more room and storage options, basically. BUT I’m very neat in shared spaces. I always tell or told students and campers to keep clean and cleaned up, I keep the bathroom clean, the kitchen, dont leave stuff all over the living room. If I share a hotel room it’s neat. It’s just on my own it’s like eh, I can leave a sweater there.

    I want to say I’d be the person leaving passive aggressive post it notes if I had a roommate not keeping shared space clean, but I’d more likely just call them out to their face and skip the passive part.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Haha and this is why I put that disclaimer in at the end. However people decide to live in their own room – go for it. It’s not bothering anyone. The psychology behind dropping a shirt on the floor interests me lol though I completely understand the not having enough storage space thing. My room is overflowing with stuff that needs a forever home.

      See, you get it! Shared spaces is where people should care and not leave a mess behind for others.

      Oh you would definitely call them out. The note wouldn’t get the full message across.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sabrina B says:

        Well usually if theres stuff on the floor it’s because I got changed and like threw something aside and just left it and I will pick it up another day or move it to the hamper (I cant fit a full one in my room because as you have experienced in your own room…overflowing) in the morning. But yes see I am totally considerate for others and shadred spaces!! I think it’s just so rude to make a mess and leave things everywhere when other people are going to use it too.

        Haha I am glad you can vouch for me that I would, indeed, call people out.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Squid says:


    I have a lot of ADHD-C tendencies, esp the need for everything to be visible so that I don’t forget it exists. Thus, I have always lived with (what my mom saw as) cluttered surfaces, tho I always had a functional walkway and tidied up if I had the time. I currently am sitting at my cluttered (but still functional) desk with clothes on the floor beside me. Why? Bc it’s my study room, which is outside the bathroom, which is where I take off my clothes + shoes from the day. This usually happens after my roommate is asleep, so I don’t want to throw clothes into the wrong hamper in the dark, so I leave them there to pick up later. It’s actually a courtesy thing!! I promise!! Now, I haven’t gotten around to sorting them out into dirty + clean + such because to do so I’d get distracted by like 4 other tasks. It’s… a problem.

    BUT this also means that the bathroom I share with 3 others girls often has some clutter too. Our countertop has lots on it, but it’s pretty organized and we each have a section of the counter. If we leave stuff out overnight, it’s OK, we’ll clean it up the next day.

    We have a cleaning schedule, but we don’t follow it. If something needs cleaning, one of us will do it. Probably. We’re not OCD about cleanliness, but we’re responsible. It feels balanced ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Ok I respect the method to this madness! And it doesn’t sound like you’re bothering anyone either!

      I am a proponent of the “cluttered but functional” thing and wish I had written about it in the post. My room has a bunch of stuff and by no means would I call it neat, but everything has its place and it’s fine.

      Keep doing what you’re doing, Squid! Sorry if I sounded like I was picking on you with this post.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Squid says:

        Yes!! That’s always been my dad’s one rule; leave a walkway. I’m super big on being considerate, so I need good communication with those I live with so that I can know if my tidy clutter is a problem to them! (Freshman roommate did Not communicate ๐Ÿ˜ฌ)

        I saw your heart in it and did not feel targetted! Don’t worry! ๐Ÿ˜

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I grew up with a clean-freak mother, so learned to clean house and keep my own room neat and tidy from an early age, habits that have stayed with me. While I get that housework can be unpleasant, I’ve never understood how people could be slobs, letting their surroundings become cluttered and dirty. As long as one keeps things fairly clean, housework won’t become burdensome. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I can understand clutter in someone’s bedroom if they don’t have enough space, or if they just have a lot of things and thrive when knowing where everything is. But in shared spaces, leaving a mess for someone else to deal with is just…I don’t understand the mindset.

      Liked by 1 person

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