Instead, with a severe amount of added pressure on myself to try some sort of linearity, I've managed to compile a list of things I have to do to get my room clean. I thought I might share it with all those other people who have messy rooms and desperately need to clean/are being hounded by their parent(s) or roomate(s) to do so. (The steps aren't exactly organized...)
- Sort all clothing/blankets/towels/things that can be stuck in the washing machine without adverse effects. And get them through. Be relentless in it. I, personally, don't do much sorting. Underwear, jeans/denim things, towels/blankets/sheets, sweaters, white t-shirts, everything else. That's my sorting process, and it works for me.
- Pick up everything else on the floor, dump it on any furniture that will contain it, and clean the floor. And the picking stuff up applies to under the furniture too, as you have to clean under them too.
- Get all books on floor/bed/other furniture sorted out. This includes your bookcases. If you own a ton of books by one author, give them their own section. Put your most-read books closer to eyelevel, least-read further down. Use the lowest shelves for the legit heavy books, like yearbooks and almanacs. If you have a lot of bookshelves like I do (I have six), feel free to put some sort of weight to hold books back once you finish a section, if there's empty space. Leave it for other books by the author that you might acquire. I've got to clear space to add new Tamora Pierce books, since the shelf they're currently on is all full, for example. If you're trying to get it more decorated-pretty-y, add little figurines and plushies you might have uncovered while revealing your floor.
- Papers found on the floor? Sort them! Have a recycle bin and a shredder handy, so you can shred the sensitive things (ie receipts, old envelopes) and recycle the insensitive things (ie printed articles you no longer need, that old math worksheet). The stuff you don't want to trash (ie speeches you wrote in high school and need to reuse in college, cool drawing you did), get it organized. Try an accordion file (ie this or this or this), and organize it by subject, age, or something like that.
- Find someplace to store your shoes and purses (backpacks and luggage included). I own shoe racks and a purse hanger from the Container Store, my backpack has a place next to my door during the school year, and stuffed inside an empty pocket in my luggage when I'm not in school and not travelling. My luggage holds all my art supplies while I'm not travelling.
- Pack up all your out-of-season clothing from your closet. You know, if you're getting ready for winter, pack up the tank tops and shorts, pull out long pants, tights, and the like; getting ready for summer, do the opposite and get those winter coats bundled the heck out of your life for the moment. It makes space in your closet. Also, before you pack them, try them all on to make sure they fit. Check for any rips/stains/whatever. Fix any you find that you can, and decide if they merit tossing the item. Don't forget mothballs if something like cashmere or wool is going in! If you're totally over it, then donate it.
- Then try on all the clothes left in your closet/dressers. Same process; check for fit, rips/stains, and either toss or donate anything you can't wear anymore or don't like anymore. Do this with your shoes too, not so much for fit (I'm going to assume you only buy shoes that fit you...) as for "is it falling apart?" and also to check if you're over them. Same process with your underwear, though no donating; straight up toss that stuff if it won't work anymore.
- Got trash you turned up? If you haven't already, throw it out! Seriously. Actually, this also goes for any ruined books. I've had to throw out books before, thanks to cat pee/shredding. Hence why my kitties don't visit my room anymore. Yes, they're cuddly and very nice to wake up to in the middle of winter when you're cold, but I prefer my books undamaged. You don't want the smell getting into your other books.
- Go through your makeup, if you have any, and toss anything that's either dead, or that you're over.
- If you haven't changed your sheets lately, change them.
- Found any broken figurines, statues, woodcarvings? If you found all the pieces, piece them together with tacky glue or some other craft glue. If you couldn't find all the pieces, toss them.
- Anything else organizational you think you need to do, like corralling your electrical cords or cleaning out the mugs/glasses/bottles/cans/plates/whatnot that have collected in your room.
- Enjoy your now-clean room. And try not to let it get that dirty again!
Hopefully that's helpful to everyone else facing this problem. It's currently working for me. (Also, this is why I'm so busy!)