Finally, a cleaning strategy that works. For real.

One girl’s expedition into the uncharted territory of being a fully functioning member of society

More stories from Faith Hultman


My room has never been this clean for this long. Ever. It’s practically sparkling.

Every day this week I took a few minutes to clean my room if I noticed it was messy. Eventually, I progressed to putting things away before they even made a mess. Revolutionary, I know.

For example, by Sunday I was hanging my coat in the closet instead of tossing it over the arm of my couch or letting it sit in a crumpled heap on the floor. This might seem like a small change, but for a girl who’s been stuck in her messy ways for the entirety of her adulthood and adolescence, it was a dramatic shift.

Sundays are normally the only day of the week I make time to clean my room, and as a result, the sun rose on every other Sunday of the semester to a pathetically messy living space. Not dirty, per say, but definitely cluttered and unnecessarily strewn with clothing.

This commitment to room-cleaning was due to the “if, then goals” I set for myself all last week. if my room was messy, then I would take a few minutes to clean it.

This kind of simple goal-setting activity just might be enough to save a life, but I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself.

Last week I decided if these “if, then goals” worked, I would set another one for the following week, so here are my refreshed goals.

If, on any given day, my homework and other obligations aren’t completed by 9 p.m., then I will finish them as soon as possible, without wasting time reading or on social media. I’ll also stick with the other goals I set and met last week.

I googled “how to become conscientious” this week, and found an article by Harvard Health, which says it is virtually impossible to change your personality to become more conscientious. I won’t let this stop me, however.

“If, then goals” worked last week, and they’ll continue working this week. I’m going to get my homework done at a decent time this week and it is going to be great. I’m convinced this could work for anyone.

I want to add more long-term strategies to my plan, however, so I’m going to work to increase my short term memory this week.

I took a very interesting personality test that told me I have virtually no memory ability. Needless to say, I’m concerned.

People who don’t have good memories are surely poorly functioning members of society. However, Harvard Health informed me it is possible to increase short-term memory with practice and dedication.

Like Sherlock, soon I will have a memory palace in which I can store everything that happens to me with perfect accuracy. Or at the very least, a memory woodshed.