When you own your own “crib”, chances are, you begin the year with minimal amounts of stuff, then as the year progresses, more stuff accumulates, and what stuff you have spreads out into disorganized heaps so that by the time the year’s over, you have no clue what you have and packing and unpacking it becomes a royal nightmare.

Needless to say, my living room currently looks like WW3 hit at the same time the biggest cyclone the world has ever seen did.

Part of the reason it look so awful is that I’ve been trying to clean it. When I first moved in, everything I didn’t have time to organize, was arranged into boxes and plastic containers on one side of the room. Now, junk’s everywhere. I feel like I stepped into an episode of “Hoarders.”

I hate my living room right now. It used to be the place I went to chill out, but now…I just close the door and back away slowly.

The way I clean doesn’t seem productive in the initial stages. My rule is that for there to be order, there must first be chaos. The room will explode during a purge—stuff’s everywhere, thrown in piles, heaps of donations, heaps of trash, heaps of stuff that doesn’t even belong in the room, trash bags, my playlist blaring something upbeat. There is a method to my madness—if I can see clearly what needs to go where, I get things sorted more easily. So everything needs to be out in the open, thrown around, discarded or kept. I try not to leave myself time to linger over something worthless that the pack rat within me wants to keep.

It drives me and everyone else around me absolutely crazy. But it works. Once the process is over, I look like I have a brand new crib.

To my credit, I’ve always had one of the tidier rooms among my circle of friends. I remember being smaller and going over to a friend’s house. It seemed that no matter which friend it was, their bedroom floor would be so littered with toys and junk that I couldn’t walk anywhere. One of my friends even purposefully left straight pins on the floor in her room—in her mind, that was the rightful and obvious place to keep pointy needles, right where her (or her unsuspecting guests’) feet could find them easily.

I can learn from a negative example. As a result, my floors have always been kept empty of stuff.

It’s the closets that are a little mysterious.

My goal is to get the room clean by the end of the week. At least mostly clean. Trust me, under normal circumstances, my living room is beautiful. But right now…

I’d rather simply walk into Mordor…