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It’s 12:30 in the afternoon. The time of day when you put pants on and grab a bowl of cereal: The part of the day when you reward your laziness with food.

Your phone rings. It’s your parents. They want to visit? Tomorrow? Oh boy. You look around your dungeon and gasp. There’s mold on the leftovers which make up your entire fridge, your dog shredded the Taco Bell wrappers you had three days ago, and you don’t even want to think about the explosions that are in the toilet after that food poisoning incident from the Kroger sushi.

Panic ensues as you contemplate moving to Taiwan. Fret not friends! I have before you a step-by-step guide on how to make your messy apartment less messy (but still messy enough where you won’t admit to your father that the mold he touched was not a trendy fork you got from Ikea).

Step One: Hide the Evidence

The first step is to hide any evidence of fast food. That’s the number one indicator of laziness. Take that crusty fry on the floor you were saving for later and pitch it. Shove those Chipotle napkins in the couch. Take that half eaten Crunchwrap Supreme lying on your end table and put that son of a gun in the fridge because how dare you waste a crunchwrap like that. Clean out the fridge, one box at a time. Wait, eat that last wing in the Bdubs box. That looks good as frick. Okay, now throw it out.

Step Two: Become a Magician

In this second step, you must channel your inner magician and make the clothes that are delicately strewn across your bedroom disappear. I know you have a system, right? Clean clothes are scattered on the floor, kind of clean clothes are draped on the desk chair, and the stanky clothes are on the floor with the clean ones only separated by the sniff test. The real nasty ones are tossed somewhere near the laundry basket because who has time to actually put it in the basket? Ew. It’s time to throw the system out the window, my friends. No, don’t throw your clothes out the window. Geez, sorry, should have been more specific. Throw those fabric balls in the closet. But hide them well enough just in case your mom decides to peruse your closet and steal a shirt. Not enough room? Starting shoving those sons of biscuits underneath your bed. Use the bed skirt as protection. No bed skirt? Use that sheet that always gets crumbled up on the floor by your bed and drape it to create a seamless distraction.

Step Three: Create an Illusion

Similar to the previous step, we’re going to make some things disappear. This time it is your dishes. You’re going to tackle that mountain and make it a small, less-smelly hill. If you’re fortunate enough to have a dishwasher, throw those babies in until it busts! Run it through two or three times if you have to. If you’re not so lucky, then here’s where the illusion comes into play. Wash a few dishes to create the illusion that you are actually a responsible adult who does the dishes. Otherwise, it’ll make the folks suspicious and that always leads to danger. Take the rest of the crusty food holders and shove them in every cabinet available. Put them in the oven if you have to.

Step Four: Windex EVERYTHING

Windex is the savior among all cleaning products. Most of us have a variation of it underneath out kitchen sinks. Most likely there’s plenty of it left because who actually cleans their mirrors that often? Start spraying that shiz on every surface. The kitchen, the bathroom, the dresser, yourself, the dog, the floor, your toilet. Scrub a dub dub! Get that place glistening. They’ll never know if it’s Windex or your tears. Now let’s get this dungeon smelling funky fresh. No candles? Easy. Start spraying some more Windex. Spray until your finger throbs. Better to smell like a hotel and despair than an Olive Garden dumpster.

There you have it, friends! An easy four-step guide on how to trick your loved ones into thinking you have your life together. And the best part is, it only took 2/3 of your energy to do it. Now put that last third of energy to good use. Get that Chipotle. Binge that Netflix. You deserve it.

Brooklynn Kerns is both an aspiring writer who’s chunky yet funky and a fine collector of celebrity autobiographies & books she’ll probably never read.

A proud BGSU student studying creative writing and film production, she also has a beagle/wiener dog mix named Ferris who is the love of her life except when he poops in the house – then he becomes her mortal enemy. Out of all of her accomplishments, she’s probably most proud of the fact that she did her dishes twice in one week. Yeah, you read that right. Two times. One week.

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