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Welcome to Stinkytown! TikToker Makes Cleaning Fun Again

If you hate cleaning, you’re not alone. One TikTok creator has started turning her daily chores into a game, and she might be onto something.

befores and afters of Melissa's cleaning journey
@melitsmoi/TikTok

It’s no secret that cleaning can be a drag. Whether it’s procrastination or shame surrounding it (how did I let it get this bad?), many find it difficult to keep tidy. 

Enter Melissa (@melitsmoi), a TikTok creator and Etsy vendor from Germany. A seamstress by trade, Melissa’s usual content rarely centers around her work. Instead, Melissa focuses on “Stinkytown,” or her chronically messy apartment. Melissa has stated that she has difficulty keeping clean and remembering to put things away, sarcastically claiming that she “only [has] two brain cells.” In the same breath, she states, “Snails also only have two brain cells and can even make complex decisions. From now, I aspire to be less like me and more like snails.”

@melitsmoi

The wheel spins wuhuu🤝 if you have a good way to get a routine into chores please let me know♥️ because if theres anything i am horrible at- its getting a system into my cleaning behaviour🕺🐌🪲 #organize #kitchen #declutter #cleanup #chores #cleantok #spinningwheel #cleantok #gamification #fyp

♬ Mii Music but It Makes You Uncomfortable – lukeitslukas

Chores at Random

Melissa’s most successful method on her journey to Snaildom? A spinning roulette wheel with every single task she needs to complete. From menial chores like dishes and mopping to more significant undertakings like selling furniture, each task has a slot on the wheel, spun 4-5 times daily. As the viewers, we are invited along on this journey to tidiness, peering down through a camera set up in the house’s rafters. Narrated through text-to-speech, Melissa walks us through her cleaning process, stating that some projects are on there not because “they are good for my body but good for my soul.” Over a week, her space transforms from a whirlwind of clothes to a warm, tidy apartment set up for success.

@melitsmoi

Tiktok still didnt give me my text to speech function back so editing is super tedious thats why this is from a week ago… I need to edit the video on this account, screen record it, send it to a old phone which has a old tik tok version on it, making the voice over there, screen record that, send it over to this phone and putting it over the video as an overlay…… and if i wanna change one word in the voice over i have to repeat it all over👁️👄👁️ So the etwy things are all already shipped out for days🫶🫶🫶 #spinnywheelofchores #wheelofchores #spinnywheel #gamification #mayormel #cleaning #chores #cleantok #stinkytown #dayinmylife #hotgirlwalk #fyp

♬ Mii Music but It Makes You Uncomfortable – lukeitslukas

Community in Cleaning

Though the most prominent user and trendsetter of the “spinny wheel of chores,” Melissa is hardly the only one participating in the movement. Others across TikTok have taken a page out of her book and begun doing the same, often with the same background music and text-to-speech format, indicating an upcoming trend. I have also started doing this (yes, me, the author), and it’s made keeping tidy much easier. I’m a cluttered person by nature. The use of the wheel makes cleaning feel more like a game than an obligation, a sentiment shared by Melissa.

By putting the occasional “reward” on the wheel, as well, makes it a much more pleasant experience. Having to take out the trash is much easier when you know that “nap” or “dance break” might be next. Cleaning a litter box is less disgusting when you know that you might spin “take a bath” immediately after. Basically, it’s low-risk, non-monetary gambling.

From a Bore to a Blast!

A woman cleaning her house, dancing at the same time. She is holding a mop and has one hand in the air.
House cleaning doesn’t have to be a slog! (Source: Shutterstock)

The idea of “gamification” is nothing new, and the phrase has been used since 2013. Defined as “adding game mechanics to non-game environments,” this makes previously tedious undertakings much more approachable. Duolingo has gamified language learning. Corporate workplaces might gamify dull training sessions with team-building exercises and competitions. Have you ever worked somewhere with a “leaderboard?” Well, guess what? They gamified it. Now, Melissa and others on TikTok have gamified cleaning.

In addition to being good for mental health, the “wheel of chores” has been an excellent boost for Melissa’s popularity. Her Etsy’s seen notable traffic since beginning the series, and all of her designs (like these wrap pants) have been selling fast. As more and more people choose to ditch fast fashion, hand-sewn clothes like this are an excellent, ethical way to embrace slower living and enable someone else’s “clean girl” era at the same time.

Are there any other ways to gamify chores? Is the spinny wheel the next big trend in the world of cleaning?  The only way to know for sure is to give the method a try and see how it works!

Written By

M. Risley is a flash fiction writer and University of Colorado graduate. When not writing for Trill Mag or submitting creative works to journals, they can be found crocheting, playing tabletop RPGs, or tenderly holding their cat, Beetle.

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