Hide a Mess in a Hurry: Quick Fixes for Man Cave Cleaning


HEY. Part of being a finished man is to not be a disgusting slovenly lazy ass with a bio-hazard for a home. But, with that being said- sometimes, the stars align and you have a special visitor on her way and not a whole lot of notice. How do you hide a mess in a hurry so you can cover the most ground? 


Earlier this week, I had to use a variation on this tactic. We just bought a house, and our moving crap is EVERYWHERE. Piles to be sorted, piles to be wrapped, piles to be donated; boxes stacked in the living room and furniture items broken down into their components. We hadn’t agreed to showings yet, so when we found out we had three appointments coming at once, in less than an hour, we needed to hide a mess in a hurry to the Nth degree.

By the time the people arrived, our place was clutter free with a second very neat stack of containers, and we got a deposit about fifteen minutes later. Why am I telling you this? Because all we did was throw everything into boxes, marked the decoys with an X, and came back to them later. Since you won’t have moving boxes in your place, here are some ways you can quickly de-clutter that will have your surfaces and floors visible again quickly enough that you’ll even have time for a wipe and a vacuum.

  • Hide shoe problems: not all guys will have this one, but if you’re the type of man who has a shoe pile in the hallway because you’re too lazy to walk them to the closet, here’s a tip before you panic and throw them all in in a mound. Tie the laces together on each pair before you huck them in; that way, when you come back to straighten it out, you wont have to waste time looking for matches.
  • Hide desk clutter: stuff has a way of piling up on your computer desk or work surfaces. Trying to hide a mess in a hurry is only useful if you can keep things straight and together, so you don’t have to redo all your work again later. Stacking papers into one neat pile with a squared off edge does wonders. To make sure it stays put, discourages snooping, and looks purposeful, place one magazine or book on top. For little items (like pens and knick-knacks and other very important business things) sweep them all into a ziplock bag,  deflate and seal, then stash in a drawer or closet elsewhere. The ziplock bag trick is the perfect way to deal small items that need to be sorted: keep everything together and contained so you don’t lose it while fumbling around the house in a panic for a ton of little hiding spaces.
  • Hide tools, work gear, and outdoor items: the problem with hiding things you use a lot is that if you have a great night with your lady friend, your brain will likely be mush in the morning. Any gear laying around that needs to go with you to work or the gym can be taken out to your car and stashed in the trunk. If you have a truck, invest in a storage system or tonneau covers; mostly, because it’s a good idea so your stuff doesn’t get stolen, but also so you can hide whatever you need to in there without anyone judging you.
  • Hide bathroom clutter: the shower is the tried and tested place to hide a mess in a hurry. Instead of throwing EVERYTHING in the room on the floor into the tub, tie a garbage bag around a clothes hanger, and hang it from your shower head. You can then put clothing or toiletries (or whatever terrifying thing lives in the recesses of your washroom) in the bag, and in the morning when you need to use it, you can easily grab everything at once without any noise or mess. It will also protect everything from moisture or soap residue. If you’re worried about her looking, hang one towel over the closed shower curtain like it’s drying; any extra step that someone has to take to snoop puts them off, as it’s extra time to get caught.
  • Hide kitchen clutter: most of the time, this will be dirty dishes, and most of the time this is a totally gross way to hide a mess in a hurry. (Oh, the things we do for love!) If you can’t just cram everything into the dishwasher, you have a few options. Stack offending items in the oven on a baking sheet, hide dirty glasses and smaller stuff in a crock pot or large pot with lid, or utilize any extra cupboard space. If you do this last one, put them in a bag first, and tie it tightly! Also, the second you hide any dirty items, put a reminder in your phone for the next day. Hide a mess in a hurry too effectively, and you’ll have a disgusting surprise waiting for you later. Perhaps you may even just want to clean it up right away?
  • Hide bedroom clutter: if things go well, this could be the room that makes or breaks it for you. If you’ve got clothing everywhere and you can’t stuff it all in a hamper, the garbage bag is your friend! Stuffing clothing in every drawer might seem like a good fix, but you’ll lose track of what’s dirty, and you’ll have to pull it all out again in the morning to get to fresh clothing. Place clothing in a garbage bag and sit on it to flatten it and force the air out. Tie it tightly and slide it under the bed, or into the closet.  If you have a washer and a dryer, get as much as you can crammed into both. If your hamper is overflowing, stuff everything down, and fold the top two items of clothing to make it look like it’s orderly all the way down. Use the Ziploc bag trick to quickly clear off surfaces while keeping your wank station accouterments together and accounted for.
  • Hiding dusty messes: in general, your place will look way worse than it actually is if your tabletops and television are dusty- focus on the spots that you spend the most time at. In a pinch instead of pulling out a bunch of cleaning supplies, use a new dryer sheet to give everything a once over. It will sweep up the dust, the anti-static properties will help prevent it from all settling again immediately, and it might even make your place smell a little better while you’re at it.

When you don’t have enough time to get your man cave in order and you need to make a good impression, you can use these tips to hide a mess in a hurry. Just remember: if you took a little time each day to get your shit in line and build a few good habits, you’d spend a lot more time getting finished and a lot less panicking . We’re rooting for you.

(Photo by Le Mai)


  1. jonny says

    I had to stop reading. I was reading my life . Your moving story is my daily existence. I call it churning.

    • Gina says

      Don’t get down on it- change it! All it means is that when you do finally get your place together, you’ll have tested and true strategies to help you keep it looking its best when you just have no time. :)

      That being said, if you’re totally a mess and all you do is shuffle it from one place to another, it can be hard to get that push to get things cleaned up in the first place. While I’m willing to bet you’re not a hoarder, nor living in squalor, you may find this site useful: http://www.squalorsurvivors.com/

      There are a lot of people dealing with a dearth of ‘stuff’ and sometimes, it somehow becomes sentient and morphs into garbage, and before you know it, is out of hand. Getting your place clean enough that these activities become only ‘once in a whiles’ vs. ‘lifestyles’ will make such an amazing difference in your life. I’ll totally be your personal cheerleader.

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