There is something very distracting about mess.

I personally find it hard to concentrate when I’m surrounded by clutter … my thoughts get lost in the jumble and finding clarity becomes a game of hide and seek.

Mess doesn’t happen all at once though. It gradually builds. It’s sneaky and persistent, but easy to combat if you’re committed to a few simple ‘tidy’ principles …

  • Put things away. Sounds kind of obvious, right? But when you’re in a rush, it takes effort to not just leave the scissors on the bench, your clothes on the floor, and towel hastily thrown over a chair as you run off to the next thing. If you use something, put it back where you found it. (Mum, it may have taken years but I’ve finally got this one!)
  • Clean as you go. Whenever I cook, my goal is to finish with as few dishes as possible. I’ll clean the pan while something else is heating, wash the dishes as food is cooking in the oven, and always rinse, rinse, rinse along the way! It’s very satisfying to finish making a meal and not have any work to do afterwards. This applies to everything – wipe the benches, dust when you see something needs it, clean the mark on the carpet when you spot it, not a week later.
  • Not using it? Time to say goodbye! I don’t want to reach 70 and have a house full of presents I didn’t use, mugs at the back of the cupboard no-one reaches for, clothes with tags on, boxes of useless knick-knacks that my relatives will have to clean out when I’m gone … I think humans tend to be hoarders by nature. There’s always something that might come in handy, the ‘save it for a rainy day’ philosophy at work. Most of the time, if we don’t need it now, it’s unlikely we’ll need it then. (or even be able to find it if we do!) Have a garage sale, donate to the Sallies, or give your unused thing to a friend who will do something with it. It’s much easier to be tidy when you have less things to find places for.

I’m convinced that being tidy gives you more brain space. Your environment reflects your thought-life and your work-life – as it becomes more efficient and spacious, so will you.

Pay attention to the space around you, treat the things you do need with care, let go of the things you don’t, and soon you’ll find it’s easy to …

Be Tidy.