I have been debating recently the merits and drawbacks, and my concerns around how organised or tidy I am. Do clear surfaces allow my mind to be clearer, so that I can think things through without distraction? I spent a lot of time at University cooking and tidying up, but I know that was because I was avoiding the work. I was worried that if I had actually read the book on the syllabus, then I would have to comment in lectures, and what if I got it wrong? When I dug a little deeper, I realised that I was giving myself a get-out clause, in case I didn’t get great marks… ‘Well, if you had read all the books, then you would’ve done better.’
I sometimes compare my home to others’. There are many jobs unfinished, there are piles of stuff waiting to be filed, some of my cupboards are overflowing. We are about to move, so I tell myself… ’There isn’t any point in building more storage now, as we won’t be living here in 3 months.’ But when I am honest with myself, it isn’t the benefit of the tidy surfaces that I am after, it is the peace of mind of knowing where things are. I recently bought some blu-tak, as I couldn’t find any in the house, and then the next week, in a box I found two packs of it. So being a little chaotic is costing not just time in looking for things, but money too.
Can you relate to this or do you keep your home and all your possessions in a state of permanent organisation? Do you have a handbag, is it clean and tidy? How many cosmetics or bottles of shampoo do you own? Where is your area of forgotten dis-order?
I need to get clear for myself why I am doing it. My time feels so precious, I don’t want to give myself a hard time for a few messy areas in my house. I have noticed though that every day I have the same thoughts about certain areas. The first that come to mind is my pantry corner cupboard in my kitchen.
I am doing this for me, not to be seen to be tidy, but to clear space in my mind. I am the mother of a toddler, my time is precious. When I have time to work I want to be able to get on with it. When I have time to play with her, I want to be focussed on that.
So, for me, I have devised a planning and doing exercise to stop things getting on top of me. I want to share it with you.
Choose an area and set aside 20 mins of planning time- answer these questions below, then put in your diary – 1 hour to tackle your area. Yes, just 1 hour! Take a photo before you start tidying, then one afterwards.
-How do you feel about this area being untidy?
-What pain does it cause you?
-How often does it cross your mind? (Everytime you see it? How many times is that a day?)
-Does it feel like a conscious pain or a niggling frustration in the background?
-What do you do to avoid sorting it out?
-How do you imagine it will feel when this area is organised and tidy?
-Is it worth doing?
-How much time will it save you?
-How much money will it save you?
-What obstacles are in the way of doing this task?
-What do you need to organise/arrange before you start the task?
-Do you need to buy anything to help you organise things? (Storage/boxes/a shelf/files/staples)
-When am I going to do this task? (Put it in your diary)
-Tell someone when you are going to do it.
-Text them when you are about to start it.
-Take a photo of the area before you start.
-Set an alarm for one hours’ time.
-It might even help to set a 20 minute snooze on your alarm to go off throughout the hour to help you stay on track and not get distracted during the task.