My friend Arlene, who lives in Baltimore, drew my attention to an article which divides the world into tidy and untidy people (she should know – she is a proper, tidy lady). Here are a few of the questions we can ask ourselves:
- Do you always push the chairs back under the table?
- Do empty containers in fridges etc amaze and annoy you?
- When entering a room does your eye inevitably focus on things that are out of place?
- Do you try to find polite ways to ask others to tidy up after themselves?
- Do you find it impossible to sit down and relax in a messy environment?
- Do you notice dirt around you and want to attack it (not because you enjoy cleaning, but because you don’t feel comfortable in a grubby space)?
- Does your eye tend to focus on crumbs, stains or shabby cuffs rather than the person who is talking to you?
I may have become a tidy person.
It is a bit of a nuisance but I have discovered the truth in the saying that everything should have a place. I used to be inspired by Einstein who had a messy desk. I used to smoke a pipe too (only joking).
I used to associate messiness (not dirtiness – there is a difference) – with creativity.
How we laughed on a Swiss walking holiday to see that every single Alpine household had their logs beautifully arranged into neat piles. We arrogantly, and immaturely, decided that the Swiss were “boring” on account of this. We even asked local people how they forced themselves into to such tidy uniformity. “Well we make our children return their crayons into the box that they came in, and we show them how to put away effectively. So we are trained from an early age”.
But to be honest the downside of “creative messiness” was that I was forever losing things. I even formed something of a relationship with Leroy in the Transport for London lost property office. He would telephone me at home if they found something. Only three months ago I left two of my priceless SWAP items on the train from Preston to London. Although I have a responsible job in a £350m pa turnover company I can be a bit scatty and disorganised.
Despite minor chaos cleanliness and neatness have always been important to me – for example if preparing a report all the figures have to line up, the boxes need to be one style; when laying the table I want everything to be symmetrical and attractive; I dress in a coordinated way; I find badly tiled bathrooms and uneven hair cuts irritating. So I was probably a fairly tidy person rather than a complete disgrace, but nothing to write home about. I would leave stuff in piles on my chair and only tidy up once a week or so for example.
So, now after weeks of Kondoing my home, has it been life changing?
Yes. I have become a tidy person.
And it hasn’t undermined my creativity at all. I do spend a few minutes tidying away my daily things, putting everything back into its home. And I keep my surfaces clear. These two small changes have reduced the stress in my life by a considerable amount. And actually having a greater amount of order in my life has helped me be creative.
If you are considering becoming a tidy person, here is a diagram that might help, from the Book of Awesomeness.