As a recovering slob myself, I wish I had come across this simple method to become tidier about a decade earlier.





and decide if the sentences below are

True or False?


1. The author has always been a messy person.

2. Sloppiness is often associated with increased creativity.

3. Uncluttered, tidy spaces have been linked to healthier eating habits.

4. The Washington Post article starts with tips on how to become tidier.

5. The task of recovering from a lifetime of messiness was intimidating for the author.

6. The ski slope technique involves anything but working from one side of a room to the other.

7. The author prefers to clean thoroughly on a set schedule.

8. The author believes the ski slope method could help rebellious individuals become less messy.

Key: 1F; 2. T; 3. T; 4. F; 5T; 6. F; 7. F; 8. T



  • slob – ​a person who is lazy and dirty or untidy
  • perpetually – constantly
  • detritus – miscellaneous remnants; odds and ends
  • doodad – an often small article whose common name is unknown or forgotten; gadget
  • to buck – (informal) to resist or oppose obstinately; object strongly
  • flip side – (informal) an opposite, reverse, or sharply contrasted side or aspect of sth or sb
  • faltering – becoming weaker or less effective
  • to pen – put down in writing
  • to dispense – to provide something such as information
  • to traverse – to move or travel through an area
  • slant – slope; a way of looking at something
  • dig in one’s heels (AmE) –  to refuse to give up or modify one’s opinion, policy, attitude, etc., esp. when faced with opposition


Practice makes perfect

Read the first 9 paragraphs of the article: https://ideas.ted.com/why-every-office-should-scrap-its-clean-desk-policy  and answer the questions below:


1. What is the 5S system of management and where did it originate?

2. According to the text, what is the flaw in the vision of a “lean office”?

3. What was the participants’ feedback on the lean office layout?

4. What were the components of the enriched office layout and how did participants feel about it?

5. What distinguished the empowered office from the other layouts, and why was it considered successful?

6. How did participants react to the disempowered office layout, and what were the outcomes in terms of productivity and morale?



Match the underlined words/phrases

to their meanings below:


1. When I looked around at the papers, books, and mismatched shoes scattered around my apartment, (…)

2. The psychological toll of being messy

3. Stuff piled up, priorities shifted, and my youthful urge to buck every convention softened.

4. My battle against messiness was long, faltering, and not especially pleasant (to this day, I despise cleaning).

5. Rather than trying to zip straight down the steep slope, which would be unnerving, she recommends traversing it (…)

6. I use something similar when faced with mind-numbing repetitive tasks.

7. I work in short bursts as the mood strikes instead of thoroughly scrubbing on a set schedule.


a) making you feel worried or uncomfortable

b) extremely boring

c) amount of damage that happens as a result of something

d) covering a wide area

e) rubbing hard with a brush, cloth, etc., or against a rough surface in washing; cleansing something by hard rubbing

f) a strong desire or impulse

g) to regard as negligible, worthless, or distasteful

h) a short period of a particular activity that often starts suddenly

i) increased in quantity

Key: 1d); 2c); 3i), f); 4g); 5a); 6b); 7h, e)


Explore more to create your own teaching-learning experience!


What Being Neat or Messy Says about Political Leanings