9 Steps of Cleaning Out Your Room

Every September I become convinced that I need to clean out my desk "to prepare for the school year." However, this year, since I'm going to college, I got to upgrade to cleaning out and reorganizing my entire room.

Some people like this process -- it makes them feel like their life is less hectic and that they are more put together. I am not one of those people. If I had my way, my room would look like Cristina Yang's, or something out of A&E's Hoarders. But alas, I did clean out my room this weekend, starting with my desk drawer, and in case any of you brave souls want to try this at home (don't) I compiled a list of expert pointers for the reluctant cleaner.

Step 1: Dump all the belongings onto your carpet

Do not think, just do it. Remove that drawer and just flip it upside-down. This is a very dramatic way to begin and essential to your success, even if all those pencil shavings and thumbtacks will be permanently stuck in your carpet.

Step 2: Throw away all the food

I know it's sad, DO IT. Sell-by dates may be a little inaccurate, but not whole presidencies ago inaccurate. Seriously, that Oreo is 10 years old, put it down.

Step 3: Divide everything into piles

Examples include: "bank statements," "grandparent cards," "recruitment materials from colleges I never applied to," "free pens," "notebooks with two pages used," "stuff I consider getting rid of every time I clean this out but will probably still be in my drawer when I die."

Step 4: Put on some music

You'll want to start with boy band pop because you're a happy bubbly person who's gonna have a clean desk, but you'll end up blasting "Welcome to the Black Parade" as you lie among the desolate piles old paper clips, driver's ed paperwork and illegible to-do lists from 2006.

Step 5: Forget what the piles were supposed to be and cry

Dry your tears using that old copy of Newsweek from when Newsweek was, you know, still a real magazine.

Step 6: Find money

Yes, that is a $20 bill among the old newspapers. Have a mini-dance party because YAY at least some good came from this.

Step 7: Drink more water

I don't know why this is here either, but have you ever seen a self-help list without it?

Step 8: Get really existential about it

Ask yourself questions like:

"What if I just throw it all away?"

"What if I just keep everything?"

"What are the physics involved in the contents of a 3-by-2 drawer filling two large recycling bags?"

"Will I need this early draft of my freshman year research paper??"

"Is this stuff what makes up my life or were the Transcendentalists right?"

"How did Beyoncé fit all her stuff in that box to the left?"

Step 9: Call it a day

Just cram everything back in the drawer and tell yourself that being organized is overrated and that there is beauty in chaos.