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Five Ways To Feed Your Inner Neat Freak While Living With A Slob

Yes, it can be done.

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Blankets strewn across the living room floor, an open box of cereal overtaken by ants, and a shower covered in hair—it’s enough to make you mental.

There’s probably nothing you could have done to deserve this, but there is a way to combat it. Here are some tips for digging your way out of someone else’s mess:

1. Compartmentalize your belongings (and maybe your feelings too!)

While your roommate has become an expert at traversing their cluttered floor, your room can remain free of booby traps with a little categorization. You can sort your clothing into various drawers by piece and fold each item (this is especially fun to do with socks), or use a desk drawer organizer to separate staples, paper clips, pencils, etc. There are so many opportunities for organization that are sure to provide some hours of relaxation.

2. Arrange the knickknacks on your desk

While desks are a great place for self-expression, they can easily become cluttered. Your roommate might allow a half-finished coffee to spoil on their desk for weeks, but you can maintain the cleanliness of yours with one simple trick—arranging your knickknacks. A neat display of photos, figurines, and Post-it Notes will invite productivity.

3. Label everything

Once you have everything sorted, you can take things to the next level with labels. The label maker is a neat freak’s best friend. It’s also a great way to show your roommate how serious you are about maintaining the cleanliness of your shared spaces. Go crazy and label everything—the pantry, medicine cabinet, refrigerator, the dog etc.

4. Go on a neat freak shopping spree

Treat yourself to a plethora of organizational tools for your closet, kitchen, bathroom, etc. by browsing shops like the Container Store, Crate and Barrel, and Office Max. Buy a sink organizer to store brushes, soaps, and sponges; a clear seven-drawer chest for your makeup products; and one hanger to hold all your scarves. Then, enjoy playing with your new toys and gadgets all throughout your apartment.

5. Mark your calendar for a deep cleaning day

You can organize all you want, but there will come a day when your apartment needs a good scrubbing. So mark your calendar and gather supplies for a deep cleaning day. Then, while your roommate is out, slip on your rubber gloves and scour every inch of the place as you jam out to Hilary Duff’s “Come Clean” (this track is optional, but highly recommended). If your roommate arrives home and doesn’t bother to thank you, it won’t matter, because the fresh, lemon scent of your apartment is all the assurance you need of a job well done. Most importantly, there isn’t something alive and growing in a corner somewhere.

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