Stumbled across this article on messiness at Green Tea Ice.
Some categories of mess:
MINIMESS — A contained, clearly delineated pocket of mess within a larger area, as on a counter, in a closet or a drawer, or on a bulletin board or a refrigerator.
CYCLICAL MESS — A mess that waxes and wanes in cycles. Some messes grow during the week (or the winter), only to be pruned back on weekends (or in the spring). Other cycles may be dictated by work, mood or pressures of parenting.
VERTICAL MESS — Anything looks neat when it’s in a pile, even unlikely objects like CD cases, magazines, mail and receipts. Gravity is a powerful glue, and the appearance of neatness can be improved by adding a bin where a pile forms.
HEAPED MESS — A large heap of items stuffed under a bed, a desk or even a couch. Oft-retrieved items do not sit around long enough to become deeply embedded, while rarely needed items become entombed at such deep levels that it can be fun to excavate them later. Broaden your notion of storage area to include spaces behind or under furniture, or between heavy appliances like washing machines and dryers.
SATELLITE MESS — There are 1.5 billion square feet worth of self-storage units available for rent in the United States. The money saved on a professional organizer could pay for a year’s worth of storage.