Mess: n. being dirty and disorganized

A true mess is something dirty which was caused by disorganized behavior. We usually do not speak of messy toys which are chaotically strewn across the floor but do often say clean up the mess which is wrong. Clean up the chaos would be a more appropriate way of saying it.

Dirty clothes are washed but they are only messy and dirty when they are proof of spills which occurred from disorganized behavior. Clothes can be dirty and not messy.

Garages are frequently messy because they are both dirty and disorganized.

Clean up your messy desk only makes perfect sense if there are spills and food stains along with chaotic placement of items on the desk. Organize your desk is more appropriate word usage when there is chaos without dirtiness.

When humans say my life is a mess they should really be saying my life is chaotic or disorganized.

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