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Trash of the Titans

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Look at all this garbage that I keep generatin'
I sit around all day and watch it biodegradin'
Bet there's a hundred health codes that I'm violatin'
Even my dog passed out and needed resuscitatin'.

Someone's Fatal Flaw is that they are messy. It's not as simple as leaving the occasional book on the floor or not cleaning up a minor spill. No, these people go all the way and create environments that should not be able to sustain human life. Trash is overflowing from garbage bags like vomit from the mouths of bloated black slugs, the air is a sickly brown color, primitive lifeforms begin to develop under the sink and don't even think about opening the fridge, but don't worry! They have A System.

Alternately, they might not just see it as trash at all and are keeping everything around for some theoretical future use. The technical term for this is Disposophobia (the fear of throwing anything away) otherwise known as "compulsive hoarding". People who suffer from this condition basically think "I might need it later" to a life-threatening degree. (Anyone who's played an RPG might relate). If they don't have the phobia they could be too lazy/overworked/sick (as in physically ill or disabled) to spend the umpteen hours needed to get the place together. Disabilities like compulsive hoarding are the number one cause, but this is rarely presented as a serious problem in fiction. Either way, this trope is usually Played for Laughs.

As the trash piles up, expect other tenants to start moving in. Mold and common vermin — roaches, ants, rats at worst — are the most realistic, and most expected, result of so much trash piling up. In more exaggerated or comedic examples, the mountains of refuse may hold cockroach civilizations, Living Dust Bunnies, exotic fungi, and alien lifeforms created from unspeakable reactions in the refuse. Any and all of these things may well be on their way to higher intelligence or have designs on the wider world.

Related to Mess of Woe. Compare Men Can't Keep House, The Pig-Pen, It Came from the Fridge, Down in the Dumps. For the opposite behavior, see Neat Freak and Soulless Bedroom. Super-Trope to Why We Need Garbagemen.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Blood Blockade Battlefront: Chain's apartment is shown to be littered with garbage and beer bottles. In fact, the embarrassment caused by her crush Steven finding out about it can be used to bring her back if she completely phases out of existence with her powers.
  • Cafe Kichijoji De has Maki, whose apartment room is practically filled to brim with dirty laundry, empty food boxes and beer cans and cigarette butts. His floor is barely even visible and the garbage piled in his room is so abundant that yanking a t-shirt from underneath results in a garbage avalanche that spills our to the front door.
  • Death Note: Matt's apartment is littered with snack food wrappers and a cereal box, in addition to the wires associated with Matt's electronics. Surprisingly, his roommate Mello doesn't seem to mind too much.
  • D.Gray-Man: Never, ever attempt to find anything in Komui Lee's office. Or Lavi and Bookman's old room. Granted, it's only paper in the end, but I can't imagine it not also being trash since they are supposed to remember everything they've read. And just imagine the dust...
  • Fruits Basket: Shigure's house in the beginning, with both Yuki and Shigure unable to bring themselves to clean it up. Later on, Tohru makes a comparison about dealing with problems along the same lines of doing a mountainous amount of laundry. Reflecting back on things, it's quite likely that metaphor was a bit more literal for her.
    • Machi also has this problem. In her case, it’s part of her pathological hatred for anything she deems “perfect”.
    • Shigure's room isn't much better. Even once Tohru's cleaned up the rest of the house, it's still a junkyard of epic proportions.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Sheska is not a slob, but her room is absolutely full of unsorted books. So much that she's introduced needing rescue from being buried under a pile of them that fell over.
  • Great Teacher Onizuka: Onizuka's apartment is not only tiny but a wall-to-wall landfill. A can of ramen with a hole in it is the least embarrassing thing there. One time in GTO: The Early Years, he and his friends turned his mom's apartment into this when she went on vacation for a few days.
  • Kamen no Maid Guy: Naeka's house is so filthy that Kogarashi has to cart out living snakes and ravens.
  • In Legend of the Galactic Heroes, flashbacks show that Yang Wen-li was this before Julian turned up and started taking care of him. It's pretty heavily implied that this was one of the reasons Cazellnu arranged the adoption in the first place.
  • Mahoromatic: At the start, Suguru's house is practically a biohazard, until Mahoro comes to provide her services. His (unwashed) underwear have mushrooms growing on them.
  • In Monster Musume, overworked (according to her) and extremely lazy (according to everyone else) government agent Ms. Smith lives in an apartment that has trash bags and piles of stuff on every available surface.
  • Moriarty the Patriot: Every time Sherlock's home in 221B is shown without John or Hudson having been around recently to clean it, they're full of a strange amalgam of things piled everywhere on the floor with very little care for anything but his lab equipment and his violin.
  • Moyashimon: The student-run dorm is a dump, especially Misato and Kawahama's room, which is just one big wall of mold spores from the perspective of main character Sawaki (who has the power to see microbes).
  • Mysterious Joker: The homebase in the Air Joker is in this state before Hachi cleaned it up, earning respect from Joker.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Misato Katsuragi. The first time Shinji enters the apartment, Misato warns him with a sheepish smile that it's a little messy. He steps in and is appalled at the piles of beer cans, instant meal wrappings, dirty laundry...
    "This is... a little messy?"
  • Nodame Cantabile: Nodame's apartment is like this whenever Chiaki isn't around to clean it. How her piano stays in a playable state is anyone's guess.
  • Onegai My Melody had a guy who was a total slob, his house is filled with trash bags and he sleeps on and under them.
  • Pecola: Taken to extremes in the episode "Robbie to the Rescue" where all of Cube Town has mounds of trash everywhere (which does get cleaned up at the end of the episode).
  • The Pet Girl of Sakurasou: Sorata finds Mashiro's room in this state after the first night moving in there.
  • In Pokémon: The Series, Professor Ivy and her assistants live like this, which is one of the reasons it seems like heaven to cleaning freak Brock.
  • The Quintessential Quintuplets: Ichika's room is, in the words of her sisters, "a disaster zone". When Fuutarou enters it for the first time, one of his first questions is how someone could live in that dump. Later when they move to a more modest apartment, her section of the bedroom also starts looking like this.
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei: In the Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei OVA we're introduced to Kitsu Chiri's older sister, Kitsu Tane, who is her complete opposite. It is explained that in their childhood, Tane chose to become The Pig-Pen in order to save the life of their goldfish, which Chiri had decided to clean. Unfortunately for Tane, she had to maintain this behavior for so many years, it eventually got stuck (literally; trash seems to follow her) and now she can't even take proper care of herself... To end on a positive note, if she hadn't kept Chiri's obsessive-compulsive tidiness in check with her Heroic Sacrifice, Chiri might've doomed humanity by the time the series started, considering what becomes of her when something is not perfectly perfect.
  • Saiyuki: Tenpou in Saiyuki Gaiden has an office/library that becomes like this frequently and would get worse if Kenren didn't clean it for him. Weirdly in their future incarnations this switches.
  • Sand Chronicles: Ann's father Masahiro is very poor at housework and thus keeping things clean by himself, as Ann discovers the hard way when she first stays the night at his new apartment.
    Ann: *stares at the apartment full of trashbags* The... House of Trash. I saw it on TV.
    Masahiro: No! I can explain! It's not usually so bad! I just forgot to take it out last week... and the week before... and the week before that... Hey, don't touch my trash!
  • Serial Experiments Lain: Lain's house gains a worrying amount of mess and a nasty brown fog near the end of the series, when Lain's family turns out to be adoptive and goes away, leaving her alone there.
  • Strike Witches: Erica Hartmann's room. She also shares the room with another girl, Gertrude Barkhorn, who has it divided in half by a wooden barrier. Barkhorn refers to the barrier as her 'Maginot Line' and is horrified if even one piece of trash finds its way past. It's so messy that in one episode, she can't even find her underwear, so she ends up stealing a pair from one of the other girls taking a bath at the time. Hilarity Ensues as they try to figure out who stole the underwear.
  • Toradora!: Taiga's apartment, with a sickening stench emanating from the kitchen sink which was polluted so heavily that its contents were censored on screen. Naturally, she is complemented by a Neat Freak co-star named Ryuuji, whose first reaction to seeing said apartment is to beg her to be allowed to clean it. Since Taiga is a very Lonely Rich Kid living by herself and only returns to her apartment to sleep (her bedroom is the only room that's not covered with a carpet of trash) she just doesn't care enough about it or spend enough time there to hire anyone to clear it for her even though she clearly has the means to.
  • Welcome to the NHK: Sato's apartment definitely counts. He at least tries to keep things marginally tidy during his 'oh god I'm a hikkikomori' moments, but for the most part, it's a sty.
  • In Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead, Akira is so exhausted by work that he never has the time or energy to clean his apartment, leaving it filled with trash bags, empty bottles, tissues, and instant food. The actual trash bin is overflowing and it's a miracle he finds any place to sleep. One of the first things he does after the Zombie Apocalypse begins is finally clean his room, leaving it spick and span while dumping the trash all over the heads of the zombies lingering below his veranda.

    Comic Books 
  • The Powerpuff Girls #27 (DC run) is "Bless This Mess," which has the girls grounded to their messy, toy-strewn bedroom until they clean it. Every time they do, Him makes it messy again.
  • Robin (1993): Tim's room is so messy Batman has given up waiting on him to track down all the parts of his costume from under the piles and come in while Tim digs through the mess to help him. Tim also reacted to a classmate's neat hotel room with horror, considering it unnatural.
  • Supergirl: As seen in Red Daughter of Krypton, Siobhan Smythe's apartment is a dumpster, and she actually likes it that way.

    Comic Strips 
  • FoxTrot: The sorry state of the Fox kids' bedrooms comes up on multiple occasions. In one strip, it's mentioned that Peter's room is so dusty that he genuinely thinks that their cream carpeting is matte grey.
  • Luann: The eponymous character's bedroom. Downplayed in that while her room is littered with clothes, uneaten food, and various clutter, it's not entirely unlivable. Even so, it causes Luann's parents no end of grief and is the subject of many standalone Sunday Strip gags.
  • Zits: This trope describes Jeremy's bedroom on any given day. At one point it gets so bad it starts growing grass. Another arc has his mother refuse to clean his room in protest of his slovenly habits, which leads to it becoming covered in layers and layers of garbage and discarded clothes — so much so that he has to dig a tunnel to get into his room, revealing some rather disturbing things in the heart of the heaps.
    Connie: Are those stalactites?
    Jeremy: Old gym socks. Don't let them touch your clothes.

    Fan Works 
  • Advice and Trust:
    • In the prologue Shinji thinks of how untidy Misato is and he remembers when he moved into her home and he found garbage in literally everywhere:
      She shook the empty can at him for a second before arcing it over her shoulder into the recycling bin without even a look.
      Shinji sighed. At least he'd managed to train her that much. When he'd first moved in, he'd spent hours cleaning and collecting the cans that had been haphazardly piled and dumped all over the apartment, including some in places that just made him shake his head in confusion. In the shower, on top of the TV, all over the balcony... in the linen closet?
    • Rei's apartment is a real mess littered with garbage. When Shinji and Asuka visit her home, Shinji notices the same dirty bandages and trash that he saw when he visited several months before were still piled in one corner.
  • In A Cure for Love L resorts to just throwing off the huge stacks of paperwork, trash, and finger puppets from the hotel's (taskforce HQ's) coffee table in order to find his missing lollipop.
  • Evangelion 303: Misato's house looks like a war zone. There's all sorts of trash — food leftovers, pizza boxes, crushed beer cans, plastic bottles, dishes, books, CDs... — scattered over the tables and the floor.
  • In The Grinning Snake, Konoka's father only cleaned his office once a month, which forces Konoka to deal with a large mess when searching for clues about his death.
  • In Hero High: Sphinx Academy, a Ben 10 fanfic, Nicole's room is filled with empty soda cans and messy clothes.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: Asuka's room looks like a war zone. As described in chapter 7:
    The place was mess; the girl who lived in it had never been one for tidiness after all. Even after Shinji had offered to clean it for her, she had refused. He walked over the threshold. The air was cold, but held a faint and distinctive smell—it smelled like Asuka. In the dark he could see discarded clothing, a few plates and cups, empty snack wrappers, magazines and a fluffy striped pillow on the floor where she had laid.
  • The One I Love Is...: Misato and Rei's apartments seem like war zones because the amount of trash, garbage, and dirt littering the floor and furniture. Rei made an effort to become tidier, but when Shinji got absorbed into Unit 01 she reverted to her old ways. When Asuka visited her apartment in the "Friends and Rivals" side-story she was surprised when she saw the mess because she thought Rei was tidier than her.
    I entered her apartment. It looked like a mess. A rather strange sight, in fact. I always heard that Ayanami was a tidy girl, unlike me. But as I saw the state of her apartment... I realized that Shinji must have been doing all the chores in there...
  • The Palaververse: Rainbow Dash's supply closet in the School of Friendship is described in this manner in "Saplings". In Sweetie Belle's somewhat melodramatic narration, in its disorganized mass of Daring Do books, stationery, and paperwork cobwebs are compressed into diamond, ecosystems form and flourish, and Order goes to die, and even Discord takes notes from its chaos. When Sweetie attempts to extract a box from its depths and causes the whole thing to come crashing down, the collapse exposes colonies of spiders to light and fresh air they had only known from myth, alongside a severely annoyed book-wyrm.
    In its depths, she swore she could hear something growl.
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Original Character Belladonna had a hoarder for a mother, so she grew up in a very filthy house, one disgusting enough to attract Grimer.
  • Sith Academy had this as a running joke; the Dark Side always leaves a visible sign of corruption on its users, and for Maul, it was that any area he lived in for more than a few hours at a time would inevitably become a pig-sty. There were mentions of civilizations rising out of the trash he left lying around, as well as at least two (maybe three) on-screen encounters with civilizations that emerged from his fridge.
  • Thousand Shinji:
    • Misato's apartment is so messy that it convinces Shinji that she's a "damned Slaaneshi daemon princess".
    • Played for Drama later. After fighting Zeruel, Shinji spends one month stuck inside Unit 01 and another month in a coma. Asuka and Misato become so emotionally dependent on him that they fall completely apart during that time. They become so depressed that they stop throwing away their garbage, cleaning, or doing chores. When he returns to their apartment, Shinji compared the piles and layers of garbage to geological strata.
      Climbing the stairs, because the elevator was no longer working, Shinji arrived at the apartment and realized after a few seconds that he no longer had the key on him. Shrugging, he unlocked it telekinetically and walked inside… to see the debris from the emotional wreckage Misato and Asuka had suffered.
      The pigsty he had discovered upon his initial arrival was nothing compared to this. Even back then, Misato made the occasional effort to bag her garbage, to do some chores on an infrequent basis. It seemed that somewhere along the line, she had simply stopped caring, and Asuka had done nothing to fix the situation.
      The piles of garbage were geological in their thickness and significance. At the bottom were the empty beer cans and instant noodle containers, but as he moved up the liquor got harder and the food cheaper and nastier. He felt like an archaeologist, but instead of sifting through the remains of a long-vanished civilization, these were the stages of the implosion of a human being.
    • Rei's house was already dirty and littered with trash before being converted to Nurgle worship. Now her house is dirty because she deliberately wishes to be surrounded by decay and degeneration. Different kinds of mold grow in the walls, all kind of trash and deceased animals litter the floor, and she will not clean it; she will let it rot and decompose on their own.
  • Touch (2005): Roxy always keeps her room messy, even when it's just a hotel room. When asked about it, she says it dates back to when she was a kid. She lived with her Great Aunt for a few months and absolutely hated the idea of going back to her abusive home, to the point where she'd rather die than go back. For whatever reason, Roxy decided that she'd stay alive as long as her room was messy. She was eventually forced back with her mother after her aunt died, but she kept her messy habit into adulthood.

    Films — Animated 
  • Howl's Moving Castle: Howl's house. Strangely enough, Howl seems to prefer it that way — but Sophie cleans up after him nonetheless.
  • WALL•E: The Earth has become covered in so much garbage that WALL•E was making skyscrapers from the blocks of trash he compacted.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo's Full stop.
  • The Fifth Element: The airport has a mountain ridge of trash running through it due to the alien janitorial staff being on strike.
  • Idiocracy: "The Great Garbage Avalanche of 2505". They had mountains of garbage at least as high as some buildings, streets were littered, etc.
  • Outrageous Fortune has spies break into and toss the apartment of Lauren (Shelley Long) and trash it during a search. She and Sandy (Bette Midler)then go to Sandy's apartment. Seeing the mess, Lauren gasps that they've been there too. Sandy just shrugs and says it's always like that.
  • The squalid, vermin-infested London flat the protagonists inhabit in Withnail and I definitely qualifies. Much Black Comedy is derived from this, most notably when the boys make a half-hearted attempt to do the washing up:
    Withnail: Don’t attempt anything without the gloves.
    • Before quickly being confronted with the sheer magnitude of the task:
      Withnail: (nervously) What is it? What have you found?
      Marwood: (lifting his hand out of the sink to show Withnail) Matter…
      Withnail: Matter? Where’s it coming from?
  • In World's Greatest Dad, the neighbor is revealed to be a compulsive hoarder, making her as much of a recluse as Robin Williams.

  • Adrian Mole: Adrian's mother is incredibly messy, her side of the bedroom being littered with overflowing ashtrays, among many other things. When she signs a contract with Adrian's father to attempt to live in mutual harmony, she vows to "keep her side of the bedroom in a hygienic and presentable condition", and to "replace cap on toothpaste after use". Adrian, however, is dead neat. His mother remarks "this room is like a bloody shrine! Why don't you leave your clothes on the floor like normal teenagers?"
  • The A.I. Gang: Wendy "Wonderchild" Wendell III's room is a disaster area, which even her parents' household cleaning robot can't do a thing about.
  • Bruce Coville's Book of...:
    • Bruce Coville's Book of Nightmares: Literal example with The Fat Man, whose living room is full of old food containers from all the takeout he gets delivered. He does leave two full cans of trash out by the curb twice a week, but it's never enough to really put a dent in the piles of garbage that keep accumulating.
    • Bruce Coville's Book of Spine Tinglers: The story Life With a Slob revolves around brothers Bob (the titular slob) and Andy (a Neat Freak). Andy eventually discovers that every piece of junk in Bob's half of the room has a bit of intelligence, and together they form a united intelligence, the Mess, which winds up becoming Andy's friend. By the end of the story, after Mess finally rebels against Bob for his poor treatment of it, Bob does his best to clean the room until Mess is supposedly gone, then moves into a separate room of his own and keeps it spotless. Andy, meanwhile, managed to keep parts of his friend safe, and within a few weeks, the room is wall-to-wall Mess again.
    • Bruce Coville's Book of Magic II: Jamie Carhart's room in Clean as a Whistle (later expanded into the full book The Enchanted Files: Cursed) is a disaster area. When her grandmother sends the family brownie to take up the job of cleaning it, Jamie is not amused and does her best to keep the room a mess. They eventually compromise.
  • Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator: Although Willy Wonka cannot stand ugliness in his factory, his pockets are always incredibly full. When he wants to find his very important recipe for Wonka-Vite, he digs for it in his pockets, bringing out objects including a trick fried egg made of rubber, a yo-yo, a tooth with a filling in it, a stink bomb, a slice of salami, a packet of itching powder, before eventually finding the recipe on a very crumpled sheet.
  • The Curse of the Blue Figurine (and sequels): In a variant, it's only Professor Childermass's desk that's a disaster area, covered in papers and old composition books, which are literally overflowing onto the floor. The back room of his study is apparently in similar shape. The rest of the house, however, stays clean.
  • Dave Barry wrote a column called "Subhumanize Your Living Room", which is essentially a tribute to this kind of decoration. He describes that his college dorm contained little furniture except for an orange blinking light and a cardboard submarine, and the walls were covered in caked crepe paper.
  • The Enchanted Files: In Diary of a Mad Brownie / Cursed, Alex Carhart's room is a disaster area (it includes clothes strewn all over, moldy food and a glass with three dead flies in it), as is her desk at school, to her parents' and teacher's consternation. When the family brownie is sent to take up the job of cleaning her room, Alex is not amused (in fact, her first reaction is to call the police and tell them someone must have broken in, as evidenced by the sudden cleaning, only to get laughed at), and does her best to keep the room a mess. They eventually compromise.
  • In Freaky Friday, Annabel's room is so messy the cleaning lady refuses to touch it.
  • The first time Himeko allows Misaki to (platonically) stay the night in her dorm in Girls Kingdom, Misaki finds it so overflowing with cardboard boxes and bags that it's hard just walk through it. After helping Himeko get changed (because she is technically Himeko's maid), she makes her help clean up the disaster that is her dorm. It takes them three days to clean out the mess with Himeko being motivated by being able to ask for anything she wants from Misaki when they're finally done.
  • In The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, Dirk Gently is having a standoff with his cleaning lady over who will open the fridge first; it hasn't been opened in several months. The rest of his flat is in a similar state. Eventually, Dirk just buys a new fridge and has the old one carted off, where it spawns a new demon/god which conveniently eats the escaping villains.
  • Nevermoor: Israfel has a dressing room comparable to a toxic waste dump. While waiting for him to arrive, Jupiter starts tidying it up, but Morrigan adamantly refuses to touch anything with a ten-foot pole.
  • Nightside: Suzie Shooter's place is like this. John speculates that the only reason she doesn't have rats is that she eats them.
  • The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks: At the start of the series, Michael's half of his and Norman's room is this trope. Described as looking like a junk heap, it's so bad that "When [he] was forced to make his bed, first he had to find it."
  • Red Dwarf:
    • One of the novels has mankind turn Earth into the Solar System's trash heap (leading to an Earth All Along when Lister recognized Mount Rushmore). At least until it "escapes" when a methane vent ignites and the Earth farts out of orbit.
    • Lister manages to create a smaller but no less deadly version of this in his living quarters.
      "No way these are my boxers. These bend!"
  • The Regulators: The Wyler/Garin household. Autistic 8-year-old Seth and evil possessing entity Tak doesn't care what the place is like, and his aunt/guardian Audrey, the only surviving adult in the household, has much bigger problems occupying her time and energy.
  • Roadside Picnic by the Strugatsky Brothers demonstrates what happens when Sufficiently Advanced Aliens have this trait. Basically, all the mysteriously advanced (or just extremely weird) materials and objects found on Earth after some sort of unexplained incident are... the trash and fast food wrappings left over from some not-particularly-careful extraterrestrial tourists.
  • In The Savant, Arlo's grandfather is a hoarder. On one side of the house, he keeps things like rusty washing machines and old broken-down cars. He also uses Arlo's dead father's bedroom solely for storing the daily newspaper, which he doesn't throw away.
  • The Shadow Over Innsmouth: There's a general degradation of the town and houses crumble in their own dirt after decades of neglect, but the reason behind this is the lack of motivation for the monstrous inhabitants to make the smallest repair since they are mutating into deep-water creatures and they will leave the town anyway.
  • In Shaman Blues, Witkacy's house slowly turns into this when Vulture starts to live in it. It takes only two days for the living room to turn into a total mess.
  • Shel Silverstein: Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout, who Would Not Take the Garbage Out and lets her house be filled with increasingly large piles of trash and food waste. The narrator refuses to say what happens to her, but it seems that she drowns in the garbage.
  • Sherlock Holmes: In "The Musgrave Ritual", Watson grumbles about Holmes' tendency to fill their shared flat with stacked papers and oddly-placed personal items, not to mention shooting decorative holes in the wall. Subverted in that Holmes actually does have "a system" — at least, he can swiftly lay hands on any document he needs — and his accumulated bric-a-brac at least isn't the sort of stuff that decomposes.
  • Shine Shine Shine: Maxon's abusive father Paul was a hoarder whose house, barn, and garage were all filled to the rafters with things he thought he might need.
  • In So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, by the same author as The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, Arthur Dent's room is in a similar state, as he jokes "Bung a fork of lightning through this lot and you'd start the evolution of life all over again." (To be fair, the house had been abandoned for months at the time.)
  • Sweet Valley High: The Evil Twin arc introduces Margo, a girl who looks identical to Elizabeth and Jessica; she is a homicidal maniac who wants to kill Elizabeth and assume her identity forever. Margo occupies several temporary living spaces that are overflowing with trash and rotting food (and in at least one case cockroaches), which is treated as a sign of her evil nature.
  • In Truth or Dare (2000), Josh's grandmother can't bring herself to throw out anything. The second floor of her house is piled almost floor to ceiling with old mattresses, broken furniture and appliances, suitcases full of clothes, and old magazines and newspapers chewed into nests by rodents.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Army Game, Hut 29 gets like this in its worst moments. In "Enter a Dark Stranger", there are branches and vines growing through the windows and along the wall; piles of dirt on the floor; and Bootsie has a pile of rubbish, including bones and an old tyre, in his bed.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon is constantly deriding Penny for her apartment's constant state of disorder. In one episode, he even uses their spare key to sneak into her apartment and clean it during the night. He doesn't understand why she's freaked out about it in the morning. One episode has Penny let Sheldon clean her closet for her and he finds a dead goldfish she forgot she had.
  • Black Books: The book shop becomes this way after Manny runs off. Even while he's there, it gets so bad that he has to eat "scrambled eggs... with a comb... from a shoe!" A cleaner put on a white glove, and it turned black when he ran it along the air. It had also begun to play habitat to "something with fur and a beak". And it got much, much worse after he left, enough so for "turn left at the dead badger" to be useful directions.
  • In Cases of the 1st Department, major Vaclav Plisek's desk at work is always disorganized and messy. Major Tomas Kozak often tries to convince him to clean it, especially if Plisek can't find important papers or his glasses. In the episode "A Policeman to Gun Down", they have to look through a suspect's garbage. Kozak comes later and jokes that he's pleased that Plisek decided to clean up. Surprisingly, Plisek's home is clean and cozy, even though he's an old bachelor.
  • Friends: In one episode, Ross goes out with a beautiful scientist who happens to live in an absolute mess of an apartment. Joey doesn't seem to care much about spilling stuff or making a mess either, but since he lives across the hall from obsessive neat-freak Monica she occasionally makes clean-house-calls. She even showed up at the above-mentioned scientist's apartment begging to let her clean it. That said, she also has a massive collection of trash in her own apartment, hidden behind the mystery door. Chandler is shocked when he finally gets it open.
  • On Glee, it's implied that Santana keeps her car this way, to the point that Brittany suggests she be on Hoarders.
  • Grey's Anatomy: When Burke sees Cristina's apartment for the first time, he is a little shocked that Cristina is messy. Cristina monologues about the mess and states that she once hired a maid... who ran away crying.
  • Hannah Montana: Jackson's room is in such a horrific state of uncleanliness that it has scared off virtually every house cleaner Robby has hired, one of whom is a former Navy SEAL.
  • Hoarders is a Reality TV series on the American cable network A&E about people with compulsive hoarding. The show tends to diagnose everybody as mentally ill, since subjects invariably go beyond hoarding valuable or at least useful items (books, for example) to hoarding junk like broken-beyond-repair appliances, trash such as rotting newspapers, garbage including long-putrefied food, and even their own waste. A Follow the Leader show on the rival Discovery network TLC ceased production in 2014, but the original is still going strong, sadly and scarily.
  • House: In "The Dig", the team treat a man who they believe to be a hoarder after seeing his house, whose illness is a result of this. When they search his house more thoroughly, they find his wife, even more sick than her husband and the actual hoarder.
  • How Clean is Your House?: The main point is seeing Kim and Aggie scream and squirm at the unbelievably messy houses they come across.
  • A Life Of Grime: Few of the reality show examples are quite as bad as Mr. Trebus, the show's unlikely star, whose compulsive hoarding of rubbish had weakened the structure of his house.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: The family's house. One episode revolves around them cleaning out a closet and finding property and mail belonging to the people who owned the house before the people they bought the house from, and they ultimately discover that the "closet" is actually a spare bathroom, but it was so full of junk that they never knew it. Another episode features Lois taking medication that prevents her and Hal from having sex and they channel all their pent-up energy into improving the house. At the end, Hal is convinced they have tripled the property value, but now Lois is off the meds and it soon goes back to the way it was.
  • In The Middle, the Hecks go on a trip and ask their neighbor to bring in the mail while they're gone. The first time the neighbor goes into the house, the place is such a mess that she calls the police, thinking that it had been broken into and ransacked. The family is embarrassed into cleaning up, but it doesn't stick.
  • Million Yen Women: Shin's apartment was quite a mess before the women moved in, as shown in a flashback. One of the most obvious effects of the women moving in is that Shin takes better care of the place in the present day.
  • The Odd Couple: Oscar Madison. A TV Land Commercial pokes fun at this by using a fake cross-section of the bed, with an increasingly disgusting and improbable item down the hundreds of layers pointed out.
  • Odd Squad: In "O vs. the Ballcano", Otto tells Olive that his locker at Precinct 13579 is full of six years' worth of trash, despite the fact that he has been working at the precinct for less than a year. While exactly how much junk is in the locker isn't shown onscreen, a cardboard box that the duo brings back with them to balance the scales has items such as a brick, a trumpet, and a large paddle, among other things.
  • Parks and Recreation:
    • The first time we see Leslie's house, she admits to being something of a hoarder, having old birdhouses she hasn't put out and stacks of newspapers dated nearly twenty years. She's forced to call in a helper to help clean and organize it. It doesn't seem to be a problem in later episodes.
    • April and Andy's house is worse; they don't seem to understand the concept of cleaning. What's worse was that they were living alone for only a week. When Ben moves in, he kicks them into high gear and they get better thanks to this.
  • The Red Green Show: Crossing over with Guys are Slobs and Men Can't Keep House, Red Green once said that if there were no more women in the world, men would eventually decide that taking out the garbage is more work than just getting used to the smell.
  • In one episode of Toast of London, Toast's Girl of the Week is a delightful woman except that she's a hoarder. Toast has to climb through a tiny hole in a mountain of trash in order to get to her bedroom and ends up getting stuck.
  • Young Sheldon: The subplot of "A Mother, a Child, and a Blue Man's Backside" involves Georgie trying to clean up a huge mess in order to not get punished, at one point appearing to have done well but having stacked everything into a huge pile in the corner behind his bedroom door that immediately collapses after George Sr. inspects the room.
  • You're the Worst:
    • Gretchen's apartment in Season 1 is an absolute terror. It serves as foreshadowing to the revelation she has clinical depression.
    • When living on her own during her separation from her husband, Lindsay leaves her home in a trash-covered mess. However, this is more due to her immaturity and irresponsible nature, and she does learn to be cleaner once she grows up a bit.


    Music Videos 
  • Donna Summer: In the video to "She Works Hard For The Money", an overworked waitress and mother of two returns home after another long day. The camera pans around her living room, which is an atrocious mess she's far too exhausted to bring under control.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • Older Than Feudalism: In Classical Mythology, Hercules had to clean the stables of King Augeas, which hadn't been cleaned in over twenty years. Poor cows! He rerouted a river to accomplish it, flushing the stable like a giant toilet. And then the Labor was invalided because he didn't use his own muscle to clean the stables, instead using the river (or because Augeas had agreed to pay him to do the job and then went back on the deal and got killed for it). Herc couldn't catch a break.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Bear in the Big Blue House: In "Too Clean or Not to Clean", Bear returns to the Big Blue House after a vacation, having left Lois in charge of it during that time. Due to the kids of the Big Blue House neglecting their responsibilities in keeping the house clean, the house is so messy that Ojo and Treelo have lost Snowbear and Rockboy, Pip and Pop have gotten themselves tangled in a pile of clothes during a game of tag, and Tutter has gotten himself lost in the cheese drawer. Bear finds out that the reason why the kids have neglected their responsibilities was because they took a lot of playtime from their schedule, and Lois found it easier not to argue with them. He teaches them a lesson on why keeping the house clean is an important responsibility, and they work together to clean the house through their iconic "Clean Up the House" song.
  • The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss: "The Cat in the Hat Cleans Up His Act" uses this premise for both its wraparounds and its second Seuss story:
    • In the wraparounds, the Cat's playhouse is so messy that the Cat has lost his red bow tie. Terrence finds it unfair that the house has become so messy since he is the Cat's roommate. Near the end of the episode, the Cat, with help from the Little Cats, Fox in Socks, and Mr. Knox, manages to clean the house through a song called "Clean it Up".
    • In the episode's second Seuss story, Matthew Katroom's bedroom is littered with piles of trash due to Matthew neglecting to clean it, so he spends the day cleaning his room, succeeding by the story's end.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • A morbid example; Chaos Space Marines of the World Eaters Legion wear power armor known for its distinctive crimson paint scheme. At least, it was assumed to be a paint scheme. As learned by a slave forced to clean a suit, their armor actually bears its original blue and white paint; the red is actually layer upon layer of blood, caked on from countless victims over the millennia. Seems here the author got the facts wrong. Old, caked blood isn't crimson, it's black, or, if it's somewhat fresh and in a thin enough layer, a kind of rusty red. In fact, dried bloodstains are often almost impossible to distinguish from the rust stains without proper chemicals. It's kinda understandable, given that the main oxygen-bearing agent in a human blood is, well, rust. Then again, they spend most of their lives in a hell-dimension where the laws of physics are the playthings of crazy gods.
    • The less said about Nurgle followers and their (lack of) hygiene, the better. Most are walking biohazards as much as they are people.

    Video Games 
  • Borderlands: Interesting variation: the Tetanus Warrens are a cave system, but not a natural one. It's all trash that got structurally sound enough for the gaps underneath not to collapse. The end result is a network of rooms made of trash.
  • Deponia: Seeing how Deponia is a Landfill Beyond the Stars, it's inevitable that pretty much everyone who lives there follows the trope. Rufus in particular is a subscriber, mostly because his hygiene is terrible even by Deponian standards.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • This is a trait of the Rieklings, a diminutive race of blue-skinned humanoids native to Solstheim who somewhat resemble "ice goblins". They are known to collect and hoard detritus of the more civilized cultures, which they "form strange attachments to" and have even been witnessed worshiping. These items range from random items, to weapons and armor, to a crashed experimental airship.
    • This is a common trait of the followers of Namira, the Daedric Prince of the Ancient Darkness, associated with all things revolting, decay, disfiguring diseases, and cannibalism. Her followers are infamous for preferring to live in dark and squalid conditions. Anyone attempting to remove them from these conditions is met with her wrath.
  • Trash isn't properly disposed of in Freddy Fazbear's Mega PizzaPlex. It's (sometimes) compacted, then dumped under the foundation of the building, leading to a giant sprawling maze of trash precariously held up with wooden beams which must be navigated to reach some essential services like generators.
  • Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy involves Diogenes (yes, the Greek philosopher who only wore a big pot) climbing a mountainous heap of garbage by flailing at it with a sledgehammer while Bennett prattles on about various philosophical topics in the background.
  • Many of the houses in House Flipper start this way, with mountains of garbage, bottles, pizza boxes, old tires, cockroaches (or broken glass if you have the katsaridaphobe safe mode on), and more nastiness that needs to be cleaned up. A lot of the early handyman jobs the player can take also involve cleaning trashed-up houses. With the Garden Flipper DLC the yards can get in on the "fun" too with piles of pallets and boards, concrete bags, gravel debris, and molehills.
  • In Ignac, you can find skull and bones under the bed of the main character.
  • inFAMOUS: The Dust Men embrace this trope, as they built their base from pieces of steel plates and garbage over a park. They also construct some of their weapons for garbage as well. From annoying little spider drones to HUGE trash robots that are controlled by psychic hobos.
  • A Kingdom of Loathing quest centres on a bunch of trash littering the Nearby Plains. The problems can be traced back to a bunch of giants rooming together in a floating castle, and the fact that the one who's supposed to take out the trash is the one known for putting things off (such that your character only knows him as the Procrastination Giant). You solve the quest by spinning the chore wheel, making it another giant's job. (Before a 2013 update, the castle would suffer other problems once the Procrastination Giant was put onto a different chore.)
  • Tamonten from Namu Amida Butsu! -UTENA- believes anything and everything he can collect will become useful in the future, and thus he is a notorious hoarder with a complete garbage dump of a room.
  • Persona:
    • Persona 2: Maya Amano's apartment is a complete pigsty. Upon visiting it in Eternal Punishment, policeman Katsuya immediately assumes there's been a break-in.
    • Persona 3: In a similar case to the above, when Mitsuru notices Junpei's door open, she calls the police assuming it was a break-in. However, Junpei states that his room is always like that, embarrassing Mitsuru and Junpei.
  • Starbound: Ironbeak's Journal describes a ship like this. It's a massive cargo ship filled with the random detritus the captain has collected and scattered about with no rhyme or reason beyond compulsive hoarding. And the occasional crocodile. In other words, it's like most players' ships. To offer a small example, directions to reach the microwave from the captain are:
    ...through the galley's ventilation shaft, past the third broken television, left at the skeleton...
  • Touhou Project: Marisa is a notorious thief that grabs anything that interests her. However, she lives in a small cottage, and it is filled with everything she hasn't bothered to sort or throw away (which considering her short attention span is a lot). At one point in Curiosities of Lotus Asia, Rinnosuke even manages to find the legendary Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi in one of Marisa's junk piles! It has reached the point that, when the Human Village was having a rat infestation in Chapter 21 of Touhou Suzunaan ~ Forbidden Scrollery, Marisa's cottage was safe since the large assortment of magical (and frequently poisonous) junk scattered in her house meant that rats wouldn't even last a minute in there.
  • Undertale: Sans, being the Lazy Bum that he is, managed a pile of trash in his room so impressive it actually became some sort of self-sustaining trash tornado. Which occasionally includes the Annoying Dog.
  • In Vectorman, by the year 2049, the Earth has become so overrun with pollution that the human population has fled to the stars, leaving mechanical Orbots to clean the Earth for them.
  • The substory "One Man's Trash..." in Yakuza: Like a Dragon has Ichiban run into a mountain of garbage in Yokohama. It's supposed to be a pawn shop and the garbage outside is "merchandise," but it smells terrible and attracts bugs. The town officials have tried to make the owner move the heap, but he threatens to sue if they touch his property.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, The "Wright Talent Agency"— formerly known as the "Wright and Co. Law Offices"— has been transformed during the seven-year Time Skip into pigsty that's been littered with Trucy's old magical props, with the only recognizable features being a few mementos of Phoenix's deceased mentor and Charley the houseplant. It represents how much Phoenix let himself go after being disbarred, given that he used to be a downplayed Neat Freak in the original trilogy, as well as how much his current life revolves around his adoptive daughter. Not only does it not get better in the sequels, it actually gets worse as Apollo starts leaving in his own unused junk.
  • In one night, hot springs, Erika's apartment room is a huge mess, and she reluctantly cleans it up to prepare it for the spa day for Haru's birthday.
  • Paramedium: In the first game, Mrs Clansey's house is full of garbage, mildew, and flies, but she doesn't seem to notice. In all likelihood, she hasn't cleaned the place since killing her pregnant daughter (possibly by accident while trying to induce an abortion) and perhaps the baby's father too.
  • Rose Guns Days: Nina, Charles, and Oliver's apartment is such a mess that Rapunzel initially wondered how they could even manage to live there. The first thing she does is to quickly teach them basic notions of cleaning and tidying, as the three grew up on the streets and were used to living in those conditions.

    Web Animation 
  • Gossip City: Himari leaves her house to her parents' when her mother-in-law criticized her for not apparaently doing housework. When she returned with Iori, the house was a total mess.
  • During her debut stream, vtuber Chloe Sakamata of hololive mentioned that she's so bad at cleaning her room that her parents once hired a professional cleaning service to clean out her room for her. This, despite the fact that in lore, she is The Cleaner for a secret organization. It apparently got so bad that, when telling this story, Chloe admitted that there was a "wall" in front of the actual wall. All part of Chloe's greater The Pig-Pen persona, as she's also admitted that she only showers every couple of days at best and that not only does she not use bed sheets, she doesn't even know what they are.
  • Uta's RomCom Manga Dubs: After Rena quit, Takashi lost all motivation to clean his house leading to his house becoming a trash pile. He wound up meeting Rena again when he called the house cleaning service that she works at.

  • College Roomies from Hell!!!: The dorm room of the male main characters. Spoofed when one of the characters is completely unaware of the mess because the background is blank. Another character waves his hand, and parts blank background, which turns out to be a wall of fog emanating from all the garbage.
  • Eyebeam: Ratliff. The pile of mess in his room is a running joke throughout the comic. When Ratliff moves into his own house, Eyebeam comments that it is nice how the trash piles up to a lower level, only to be reminded of "the tides". Once, and only once, does Ratliff actually clean his room; Hilarity Ensues. A quick de-cleaning restores the natural order of things.
  • In Freefall Sam Starfall's initial reaction to the sound of every loose object on the ship being pushed to the back:
    Sam: Cool! I'll finally be able to see what color the carpet in my room is.
  • Friendly Hostility: Fox's desk in an early strip resembles a trash heap.
    Collin: Fox, it's developed sentience.
    Desk: I have not.
    Fox: See? Two against one.
  • General Protection Fault: Fooker's apartment is so filthy that it spawned a sapient slime mold named Fred, who becomes a main character.
  • Questionable Content: The Shut-In Marigold has a borderline-toxic mess in her bedroom, at least before her friends enlist the Neat Freak Hannelore to deep-clean the place in a Hazmat Suit. Discussed when Hannelore tears a strip off her for letting the mess get to the point that it's a genuine health risk.
    Dora: Aww, what a cute pet rat!
    Marigold: Pet rat?

    Web Original 
  • The vast majority of posts submitted to r/neckbeardnests features bedrooms of "extremely unsanitary conditions" as the moderation team calls it. Common elements include empty cans strewn on the floor, containers of urine, and (especially) depression.
    • r/justrolledintotheshop regularly features automotive versions of this that hapless mechanics and technicians encounter, though they can and often do refuse to work on vehicles with particularly disgusting interiors until the owners clean them.
  • "Meek", a Creepypasta that lacks the supernatural elements nearly ubiquitous to creepypasta, tells us a story of a Fat Bastard MMO addict who accidentally cuts his internet cable with his long, unclipped toenails and goes searching around his filthy apartment for a phone in order to call a repairman, and it's described in excruciating detail just how filthy and piled high with trash his apartment is. The horror comes when he clears away the huge pile of trash blocking the bedroom door and checks to see if there's a phone in there. The bedroom itself is completely clean since he hadn't been inside it in ages. What is inside, however, are the decayed corpses of his wife and infant child, who he assumed had taken off after the divorce but were actually trapped inside the room by the aforementioned pile of trash preventing them from opening the door. The sight is implied to have horrified him so much that he has a fatal heart attack.
  • The story of Fridgebro, a 4chan user (and unemployed welder) who previously lived in squalor. His rental house in Arkansas is full of bugs and hasn't been cleaned to a point where drain flies bounce off his phone, the toilet hasn't been flushed since the poster vomited in it, and his(dirty) windows still has Christmas stickers from four years ago. He's prompted to open up a container of old sour cream which he microwaves and drinks. Eventually, police and adult protection services were involved, which lead to his arrest and trial as of June 2016. The landlord's quote for repairs and cleaning following Fridgebro's eviction was $29165.

    Web Videos 
  • SMOSH episode "Magic Keyboard" starts out with this, courtesy of Ian. Upon finding said keyboard, Anthony happily deletes the whole trash pile at once.
    Ian: My treasure! My sweet, sweet treasure! (tearfully) You'll pay for what you've done! (Anthony produces a dollar bill, then copies it several times)
  • In the Tourettes Guy video uploaded on Christmas 2020, it's shown why there hadn't been a video for three years: Back in 2017, Danny won $250,000 from a scratch-off lottery ticket. It then Time Skips to present day, where we see that Danny had spent those three years doing nothing but eating and drinking the entire lot of it, as his entire house is now filled with empty beer cans, beer bottles, and pizza boxes. Predictably, his house has also become infested with various insects... as well as something that now lives under the sea of trash in the rec room.

    Western Animation 
  • The Alvin Show: One episode has Dave Seville bent out of shape because Theodore's and Simon's beds and bedroom area are in disarray and junk-strewn. Alvin's is conspicuously and shockingly neat and tidy. That's because he shoved all his junk and toys in the closet, which Dave eventually opens with predictable results.
  • Dan Vs.: Dan's apartment is always shown to be a pigsty. Dan notes that his home somehow gets messier when he's not even around.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: Ed. Also an example of The Pig-Pen, his room is pretty much nearly uninhabitable for human life, including a bathtub filled with gravy.
  • Endangered Species: "Merry Garbage Day" involves Pickle stuffing the stump full of garbage to celebrate the titular holiday, much to Merl's horror.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: Played literally when Timmy accidentally ends up trashing Mount Olympus while partying there. The Greek Gods, being who they are, do the same to Timmy's house. In another episode, Timmy is ordered to clean up his room, which has become so bad that there are creatures living under his bed and grabbing anything they see as food, unidentifiable green molds, rats crawling all over, and similar stuff.
  • Family Guy: The Griffins' house becomes like this in "Breaking Out Is Hard to Do" after Lois gets arrested for serially shoplifting.
  • Fluffy Gardens:
    • Fittingly for a piglet, Rex lives in a house filled with piles of dirt (excluding the kitchen, which is clean, given his main hobby is cooking).
    • Lenny's apartment is full of garbage, but he doesn't bother to throw the trash since he doesn't mind it. Even Rex the piglet considers his house too dirty, an irony pointed out by the narrator. Only after Nigel the Naughty Rat becomes a pest in the house does he finally start to keep the apartment clean.
  • Futurama: This is shown to have happened in Earth's past in "A Big Piece of Garbage". The city of New York had become so messy by the year 2000 that all of the landfills and New Jersey were full. The city sent all of its garbage onto a barge that traversed the globe for a number of years before acquiring a shuttle to send all of the garbage out into space. This comes back to bite humanity in the ass, as in 3000 the giant garbage ball has come back into our solar system and threatens to destroy the whole planet, leaving only a "smelly crater" where the Big Apple stood. Only Fry's skills at making more garbage in order to create another garbage ball of the same size saves the Earth.
  • House of Mouse: In "Humphrey in the House", the club becomes a total mess when their janitorial staff, the magic brooms, goes on vacation, leaving Minnie to hire the bears from Brownstone Park as temporary replacements.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes: Beezy lives in these conditions, to the point that he's literally renting space to garbage.
  • Kaeloo: Stumpy, Quack Quack, and Mr. Cat generate piles and piles of trash. It's mainly food packaging since they spend most of their time eating snacks and sitting on the couch watching TV.
  • King of the Hill: Bill's house is frequently very messy covered in food and beer cans, it's sometimes so bad it attracts pests, in one episode he was able to form a large pile of debris from the garbage in his house, and his bathroom is legendary among the other characters for being especially disgusting.
  • The Loud House: In "Chore and Peace", Lincoln figures that he's got a raw deal when his chore is taking out the trash all by himself, which is a herculean task when living with ten sisters (one of them a baby) as well as a dog, a cat, a bird, and a toilet-trained hamster. He goes on strike until he can swap chores with one of his sisters, and the trash accumulates. Things get messier when his sisters go on strike in response. It gets to the point the garbage in his second-youngest sister Lisa becomes sentient. The episode ends with the garbage being taken out and the strikes ending, but Lincoln finds out the garbage workers are on strike for more money, and now he and his sisters are striking to get pay for their chores.
  • In the My Dad the Rock Star episode "Kant Buy Me Love" Rock becomes obsessed with buying things from yard sales and it eventually gets to the point where the Zillas' yard is filled with junk.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Goldie Delicious, a distant Apple Family member, is both a hoarder and a Crazy Cat Lady, both played surprisingly straight. Her house is filled with piles of dusty, cobwebbed furniture, gewgaws, mementos, and assorted junks, all swarming with cats — including a full-sized cheetah and what is either a suspiciously cat-shaped ball of lint or a cat that died and turned to dust.
  • The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: One episode involves Christopher Robin having a messy room and stuffing all of his trash under the bed rather than cleaning his room properly. The plot gets interesting when Christopher Robin and the other characters find that the space under the bed is a whole world of its own and that they're trapped there until they can find a way out, and that this world underneath the bed is not only a real dump, but also the domain of a hostile Blob Monster who thrives on dirt and wishes to spread all his dirtiness throughout the world.
  • Ready Jet Go!: In "Who Messed Up the Treehouse?", the conflict stems from the kids all making a mess in the treehouse, and not disposing of their trash properly.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: Despite being neat and compassionate, Rocko often neglects his living space and ends up leaving his house such a filthy mess, as shown in episodes such as "Trash-O-Madness" and "A Sucker For the Suck-O-Matic". Both episodes provide reasons for it; in the former, the Garbagemen have been out of business for six months before getting their licenses renewed, and in the latter, Rocko's old vacuum cleaner wasn't working properly, as it spewed dust all over the house before eventually dying.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "The War of the Simpsons" has Bart and Lisa throw a house party and trash the house so bad that Grandpa starts crying, only to learn that Grandpa faked it so he could make the kids feel sorry for taking advantage of him.
    • "Homer Alone" has Homer looking after Maggie, while Bart and Lisa are at Patty and Selma's apartment and Marge is at a resort following an arrest for obstructing traffic.
    • "Marge in Chains": Marge ends up in jail, and in her absence, the household's hygiene gets so bad that Homer is reduced to wearing Halloween costumes and, when the kids try to clean up, they accidentally step on a man underneath the carpet who yells, "Hey, watch it!".
    • "$pringfield (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)" has Marge addicted to the slot machines at Burns' casino and the kitchen is a wreck, along with Homer's room when he's scared into believing the Boogeyman is coming after Lisa.
    • "Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily" has Homer and Marge go to a spa and the Child Welfare officers find Grandpa asleep on the couch, Maggie drinking from a dog dish with the sign "I'm A Stupid Baby" on her back (which was meant for Lisa in a previous scene), and Santa's Little Helper having sex with another dog on the dining room table (not seen, but implied, according to the list of offenses one of the Child Welfare officers gave to Marge).
    • In "Bart After Dark" Homer and Bart make "garbage angels".
    • "Trash of the Titans" The Trope Namer and the 200th episode, whose plot revolves around Homer's bid for sanitation commissioner of Springfield. He succeeds but as usual, his incompetence takes charge, leading him to fill the town with so much garbage that it must be uprooted and moved five miles away.
    • There are also little examples that aren't tied to the plot, like the goats eating out of the trash Bart didn't take out in "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie", the moose going through Homer's uncovered garbage in "New Kid on the Block", the polar bear going through the garbage in "Homer the Heretic", and the fawn gnawing on the chair in the messy living room in "The Springfield Files".
    • Barney Gumble's apartment is constantly shown to be dirty, falling apart, and littered with dirty laundry and food.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: "Sentimental Sponge" has SpongeBob believing all his trash holds sentimental value, such as wrappers, burned-out light bulbs, grease, and his sweat, and starts hoarding everything in house until his entire neighborhood is overflowing with his trash.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Greg has a storage unit full of stuff he can't fit in his van. His aunt and uncle hoarded a barnful of old plane parts and stuff as well, which makes Greg wonder if their family has a problem.
    • Amethyst has a lot of junk in her room too. In "So Many Birthdays" she finds, and eats, a seafood burrito that's several years old, which proves to be too much even for her cast-iron stomach.
    • In "Maximum Capacity", the storage unit finally gets to be too full to put anything else in it, and Greg reveals that he stopped clearing it out after Rose Quartz died, which is actually Truth in Television when it comes to hoarding, and it's hinted that Amethyst's messiness is also because she misses Rose. The storage unit finally gets cleaned out by the end of the episode.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures:
    • In "Thirteensomething", after Babs aces her audition for the titular Show Within a Show and Buster is unable to find a replacement co-host for Tiny Toon Adventures, he goes into a deep depression and leaves his burrow filled with piles of trash. When Plucky and Shirley come over to visit him, they are quick to take notice.
      Plucky: Yuck! Smells like something died down here!
      Buster: Yeah, my career.
    • At the beginning of "Compromising Principals" (part of "Best of Buster Day"), various garbage falls on Buster when he opens his locker in an attempt to clean it out for the Student of the Day contest. Plucky, who is wearing a gas mask, tells Buster he'll never win the contest with a messy locker.
  • In Totally Spies!, the girls seem to have become this after they start living together, causing Sam to become a Neat Freak to get them to clean the house. Ironically, her room is also completely filled with trash.
  • Tuca & Bertie has this with Tuca. In "The Sugar Bowl", she is shown to have a filthy apartment which consists largely of random garbage that she has picked out of the garbage.
  • Work It Out Wombats!: In "Junior Supers," Zadie and Malik are tasked to clean up the Starlight Room. It's a filthy mess with junk everywhere, so cleaning it up is no easy task.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television: there are many reality shows (such as the above-named Hoarders) dedicated to professional cleaners visiting houses that have been absolutely overrun by filth. Also, you have probably met at least one person like this in your lifetime. If you haven't met someone like this, it just might be you.
  • In general, while the Romans were slight exceptions, virtually any city before the mid-1900s was this way, due to lack of public sanitation policy. These living conditions were a direct contributor to the various outbreaks of Plague (Especially the notorious Black Death), cholera, and other such diseases. It took centuries for people to brainstorm the idea of public sanitation and waste disposal, and longer still for it to be commonplace.
  • New York during the 1800s. There was so much filth and garbage it was incredibly difficult to live there without catching some sort of disease, and these awful conditions were part of what led to the New York City Draft Riots of 1863.
  • Cities in the 1800s and early 1900s were cesspools of disease. New York was one of the worst, along with London, but every crowded city would have this problem. This may have also facilitated the spread of the Spanish Flu pandemic.
    • A study in the 1890s pointed out that cities would soon be overwhelmed by horse manure. Luckily, we were saved by the automobile.
  • The filth and overcrowded conditions in Paris in the second half of the eighteenth century were a contributing factor to the French revolutionnote 
  • Perhaps the scariest real-life version of this trope would be New York brothers Homer and Langley Collyer. Over 100 tons of garbage was found in their house, and they even built traps to keep people from stealing anything. Unfortunately for both of them, Langley was killed by the very traps they set, while Homer, who had gone blind some years earlier, was trapped by the rubbish and slowly starved to death.
  • "Big Edie" and "Little Edie" Bouvier Beale, depicted in the documentary film Grey Gardens, were another famous real-life example.
  • In 2007, the entire city of Naples, Italy was subjected to this. Factors blamed were incompetent local government, restrictive environmental laws, and infighting among organized crime. The city managed to clean up the most touristy areas somewhat, but that's just about it. Garbage collectors being controlled and/or threatened by The Mafia was mitigated by police crackdowns and offering armed protection to the collectors, but then there's that insignificant problem that the main city dump is already overflowing. And all the neighbours are vehemently against creating a new landfill on their territory.
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Nice job breaking it, humans. To note, most of the debris present there is incredibly tiny, and as such, the area can't be seen from space.
  • The burning of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland. When a body of water becomes flammable, you know you have a pollution problem, and it's caught on fire at least thirteen times between 1868 and 1969.
  • The Worst Roommate Ever Warning: language definitely NSFW, narrative definitely not stomach- or sanity-safe.
  • The story of Luke. He's described as worse than Nurgle. Nurgle. (As this is 4chan, it goes without saying that there's going to be a warning for a lot of foul language)
  • Some people hoard garbage in their cars till all but the front seat are inaccessible. You can only wonder what their houses are like.
  • The infamous Eggert house. "The refrigerator from which years-old food and roaches spilled out". "To get into bed, they had to climb up a mountain of trash and slide down the other side, slick with human feces". "The toilet and bathtub were overflowing." "A baby's crib coated in gray mold". "Conception, believe it or not, occurred here."
  • Las Vegas hoarder found dead after missing for four months.
  • This guy hoarded buckets of his own urine and feces.
  • On a smaller scale, many rapidly urbanizing Third World cities don't have the infrastructure in place to handle all the garbage their citizens produce. In Cairo, for instance, garbage is sometimes stored on the roofs of houses.
  • The Cactus, a derelict Coast Guard tender moored in Puget Sound for many years, was loaded with "buckets of paint and epoxy; rusted steel plates, rubber hoses, PVC pipe, leaking pails of seam filler, old newspapers, mattresses, boxes of tiles and who knows what else" (The Seattle Times). It currently resides in a Seattle shipyard awaiting dismantling.
  • Steven Spielberg's room was like this as a child. Supposedly, he lost a gerbil in there for a few years. It was still alive when they found it.
  • Many Soviet citizens took up the scavenging & hoarding habits. As a result, their flats and dachas were gradually being filled to the brim with all kinds of old stuff of various usability. This was justified by the fact that in the Soviet command economy, it was extremely hard to get just about anything — including most raw materials — unless your line of work involved it. To their credit, many did find uses for at least parts of their hoards. Industrial junk was used to carry out small repairs at home and construction work at dachas — even today, one can see old fences and sheds crudely put together from rough planks, rusty metal sheets, and such. Cloth, buttons, and such were used to repair clothes and even sew new ones. Magazines like the famous Sdelay Sam (Do It Yourself) were full of advice how to make all sorts of useful stuff from various garbage, and equally famous imported Burda Modan included full sewing patterns for pieces one couldn't find in stores. People with higher than average skill at this were known as umel'tsi (handymen) and boasted having own-made stuff that users of off-the-shelf goods couldn't even dream of. On the downside, every such thing was one of a kind, the author had neither motivation nor capacity to produce more.
  • This is also common for those that grew up during The Great Depression or were raised by those who had – throwing something away is deemed "wasteful", so even items that have been fully replaced are kept, just in case.


Video Example(s):


Missed Bin Day

Big Greg tells everyone in Dapto to dump their trash onto Kevin's property because they blame Kevin for making them miss Bin Day by forgetting to put his bins out.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / TrashOfTheTitans

Media sources: