Green Girl Maneuvers Messiness

I think that it is time to admit something to you. Something that I am not proud of. I, Lily Berthold-Bond, am a very messy girl. I simply cannot be clean. My laundry piles up, my dishes don’t get cleaned, my books and papers get strewn across the room, the dust coats everything in sight … basically, it’s not a pretty sight. Well, normally I simply accept this mess as the sad norm and continue about my daily life. But this week was different.

Last Thursday, I woke up sick. Not kind of sick, really sick. So sick that I couldn’t go to class and had to lie in bed without moving all day. Well, my friend Marysa, who also happens to be a complete neat freak, decided to come take care of me. Bad idea. She nearly keeled over upon entrance to my room–literally, almost had a conniption right there in the doorway. The cause? The overflowing pile of laundry, the dirty cups and mugs, the mountain of papers and binders on my desk (and on the floor), and the dank, smelly air in the room.

Yes. I had reached a low point. I am quite embarrassed to admit it, but my sickness was probably caused in part by the disgusting state of my room. As Marysa struggled to open the window (it is very sticky) and grabbed my dishwashing soap and the dirtiest of the mugs, simultaneously chanting, “this is not okay, this is not okay,” I realized that I needed to take control of my living habits. It is simply not healthy to have molding tea festering in the corner and weeks’ worth of dirty laundry strewn about the room, particularly when the heat is on and there is no fresh air circulating. Add on the amount of dust that had accumulated over time, and you have a terrible situation. I admit it. I was a disaster.

So, I have taken a stand. I am going to be healthier, greener, neater. On Sunday night (partly to procrastinate studying for Logic), I went on a whirlwind clean of my room: I did five loads of laundry, cleaned my dishes, vacuumed the floor, organized my books in the proper shelves, made my bed, and reorganized my closet. My roommate (who is just as messy as I am) looked on in obvious distress as I cleaned, finally exclaiming, “Oh no! You’re making me feel like a terrible person. Our sides look like two completely different rooms!” And it was true. There was a clear divide between my cleanliness and her messiness. I was proud.

My goal is to continue to live in this state of neatness, because it is incredibly beneficial in many ways. I do not blame those of you who are messy–I fully understand the perks of it, and understand how you can be organized within the mess. However, I will urge you to try out being particularly neat for a while. I have been so much more calm since I cleaned. There is something about having a clean, organized space that clears your mind, and I honestly believe that my messiness made me more stressed, more anxious, and more unhappy. I am just so pleased when I look at my side of the room now! I have literally been sleeping better, working harder, and been happier since I cleaned. So, my goal is to make a lifestyle change. Remain clean, remain calm. All of you who are stressed and not sleeping well, if you have a very cluttered living space, give it a try, too!

Note to self: Cleanliness is good for the psyche.

Lily Berthold-Bond grew up in a chemical-free zone and has struggled her whole life to understand and accept this non-commercial lifestyle. Now a sophomore at Tufts University, she has embraced her green life and hopes to share its possibilities with the rest of her generation.


April Theberge
April Theberge7 years ago

I live with a clutter bug so I know what it is like to have a mess everywhere, although it is getting better. I am proud to say that I think that my cleanliness has finally taken over the clutter.

Good for you!

Monica D.
Monica D8 years ago

I am with Anne Karine on this one. If you don't bring anything home, it is easy to stay tidy. Not buying "stuff" is good and links in with my reduce, reuse, recycle philosophy. It is so simple.

Geeta Bhagia
Past Member 9 years ago

Yes, I did this recently and I I do feel so much better. I too am sleeping, studying, working better and I feel less cluttered emotionally. I good idea is to go through your stuff every 2 weeks and find soemthing to let go. It feels great !

Katie Simon
Katie Dauser9 years ago

There is no such thing as chemical-free, dear. Think about it.

Brenda Stephenson

Thanks for sharing Green Girl. I agree with neat and tidy, and clean, to a degree. My daughter named her cleaning company Clean Freaks after me. I clean for a extra income because I love to clean. But, some people's neat and tidy goes way overboard - or should:)
I feel great with free uncluttered space to move about in. I also have piles of books and papers - here and there - I call it organized chaos - it works for me. Vive la difference.
For green cleaning tips -
Happy peaceful recycling day! Saryanavat

Linda Sang
Linda Sang9 years ago

For all you clutterbugs (and I'm another one, or how would I know?), you might want to check into the FlyLady program if you haven't already. It works if anything does--granted, for me sometimes NOTHING works, but I've had more success with this program than anything else.


Sandra Bowling
Sandy B9 years ago

Thanks for your encouragement! I will Try!

Evie A.
Evie Abat9 years ago

Green Girl,
Clutter is in my genes. My parents are clutter hounds, and passed the trait onto me! So, I battle with it everyday. I just remember what it was like to live with my parents to motivate me. Also, if the stuff has been sitting there for months without my touching it, then I figure it's time to let it go. It probably wasn't worth having around anyway. Same goes with clothes. Good luck!

Anne Karine
Anne Karine9 years ago

Hey Green Girl,
Congrats on getting organized. Here's a green tip that's helped me...if you don't bring it home, then you won't have to live with it. I put the brakes on a lot of clutter just by saying "no" to new junk.