Mess Of Woe

"I remember you dressed in pale blue silk at Mass one Easter morning, yes, like a lady wearing a—piece of the—weather! Oh, how proudly you walked, too proudly!—But now you crouch and shuffle about barefooted; you live like a convict, dressed in the rags of a convict."
Father de Leo, The Rose Tattoo

A character is growing the Beard of Sorrow and indulging Drowning My Sorrows in his woe — both so seriously he Forgets to Eat. Naturally, he's not going to be picking up after himself.

May overlap Men Can't Keep House, because this trope is more male than female. Can also involve Rage Against the Reflection.

Compare Trash of the Titans, Seriously Scruffy and Room Full of Crazy. See also Skewed Priorities.


  • X-Men: Days of Future Past: In 1973, Charles' neglect of his mansion is a reflection of how utterly forlorn he is. His bedroom and study are extremely cluttered, plus the grass on his estate is overgrown. Hank does his best to clean up some of the mess that Xavier carelessly leaves behind (at one point we see McCoy picking up empty liquor bottles).
  • A rare female example occurs in PS I Love You after the protagonist's husband dies. She stops leaving the house, eschews bathing or cleaning up the piling trash and dishes in favor of slumping around in her dead husband's shirts, reenacting old movies line-by-line. (Luckily he knew she'd react this way and has set a plan in motion to snap her out of it.)

  • Happens to Harry Dresden in the space between the books Grave Peril and Summer Knight in The Dresden Files due to traumatic events in Grave Peril. Not that it was especially tidy to begin with, Harry being a perennial bachelor who doesn't receive many guests.

Live Action TV

  • In The Rose Tattoo, Serafina dresses very properly for husband, but after he dies, she doesn't leave her house for years and wears only a dirty pink slip, having grown too fat to fit into her former clothes.

Video Games
  • In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Adam Jensen's apartment is a complete mess. Although the game implies he's also depressed about his unwilling augmentation as well as finding out his dog got euthanized not just about Megan's death.

Visual Novel
  • Happens to Takayuki in Rumbling Hearts after Haruka falls into coma. If it weren't for Mitsuki, his place would have been even worse off.

Web Comics

Truth in Television
  • Depression saps your will and makes doing simple things feel much harder than they are, seem pointless, or both. Cleaning can go the way of grooming.