A messy room is just a clean room in disguise. Beneath the piles of clothes, empty water glasses on the nightstand, and dust bunnies under the bed, there’s the possibility of organization, of a fresh start, of a room that looks more like a peaceful sanctuary than a place where your life just kind of fell all over the place.

I love having a clean room, because when my stuff is (relatively) organized, my brain feels (relatively) organized. But getting from messy to clean requires a lot of motivation, energy, and time that I don’t always have or feel like spending. Sometimes I wish the process were as easy as it seems in movies and on television. In these fictional worlds, cleaning is super fun! It involves magic, choreographed dance, and witchcraft! And that’s why there is really nothing I love more than a good old-fashioned cleaning montage.

When I was small, this Sesame Street song about cooperation was my jam (dig it):

Not only does it show how hard work can pay off (in the form of a community garden), but it also emphasizes how working together can make an overwhelming task seem much more manageable.

Even the worst chores, like the ones Miss Hannigan makes the orphans do in Annie (1982), seemed accomplishable with a little teamwork and a decent song to sing.

My sister and I shared a room growing up; knowing that we could get twice the work done in half the time if we just stopped fighting long enough to clean was incredibly motivational.

Togetherness and the power of music are both crucial when it comes to cleaning montages. I just really love the idea that a group of people can completely revitalize a room, a house, or a general area in the time it takes one standard pop song to run. Like the frat house makeover in (the otherwise horrific) Revenge of the Nerds (1984), or the “Touch of Love” scene from Sister Act (1992):

Of course, you don’t need an entire crew to help you if you have a magical heroine around to help do the work—like Mary Poppins, who can help you “find the fun and snap” in the most onerous of tasks:

or the queen of Weirdoville, Pippi Longstocking, who somehow makes even scrubbing seem like a blast:

Having a wizard around can be mad helpful, as well, as evidenced by Merlin’s “Higitus Figitus” spells from Disney’s Sword in the Stone (1963), which let inanimate objects take care of themselves while you’re out eating ice cream or whatever:

Alas, real life doesn’t offer such luxuries—yet. We already have vacuuming robots; self-cleaning dishes can’t be that far off! But the main, important takeaway from cleaning montages is this: Always try to work together, and always, ALWAYS have a jam playing in the background. ♦