Why crash diet clear outs never work

Sheila Chandra - Thursday, July 20, 2017

When your house is a mess, the idea of a crash diet clear out is oh-so-tempting! There’s a satisfying ‘New Year detox purge’ feeling about it. One that fills you with a sensation of virtuousness. And it’s true that in those blissful 10 minutes after it’s done, everything looks and feels great.


Do crash diet clear outs work?

But when has your spontaneous crash diet clear out ever lasted longer than a week? I’m guessing it’s never. If it’s a myth that crash diets work, it’s an even bigger one that those almost hysterical clear outs you do when you just can’t stand the mess anymore, do. Hardly anyone ever challenges this idea though. In fact, it’s a myth that even some best selling de-clutter books perpetuate. That’s is a real shame because if you believe that a good clear out is all it takes to live clutter free, then you’ll continually waste a lot of energy on clearing rooms that revert to their former state (i.e. chaos…) very quickly.


So why don’t clear outs work?

Well, both crash diets and clear outs are designed around a basic assumption i.e. that you want a fast solution that looks good for a while, but that longevity isn’t important. That you want a ‘by any means necessary’ method. That you don’t have the patience to plan what you’re doing and work at it sensibly in increments, with a larger system in mind, so that the results last. They play on your desperation for a quick transformation and they bribe you with feeling ‘virtuous’. These are things that tempt us all, but only because often, we haven’t realised the benefits we could so easily have if we thought about tidying in a different way. Too often it’s because even clutter authors haven’t even told us there’s an alternative.


So how do I get over the ‘needing clear outs’ mentality?

I’m going to ask you a question so basic, that you probably haven’t ever thought about the answer. Why is it important to you be tidy?Is it all about ‘looks’ for you? Because if it is, that may be the thing that’s tripping you up. Let me explain. If I put one of those ‘time lapse’ cameras in your house, and you could see the way you use it over the course of a week, within the space of a few minutes, you’d realise a couple of importantthings. To begin with, you’d see that if you rely on ‘tidy ups’, even if you do it regularly and religiously, that your house is actually messy most of the time. That’s dispiriting isn’t it? And you’d see that the way it looks for one particular moment isn’t as important as the fact that the messiness gets in your way and stops you using the things you need to, easily.


You should be aiming to make your space easier to use, rather than looking tidy

So by now it should be pretty obvious that ‘looking tidy’ in itself isn’t as important as making the space easy for you to use all the time. If you’ve simply been aiming for ‘tidy’ then you’ve been short changing yourself. To do that, you need a working system which helps you to find the things you need in order to complete your tasks easily, while also remaining organised. Yes, you can have both. The reason crash diet clear outs don’t work is that they assume your house is static (like a display cabinet or as if for a photo shoot in House & Garden) when in fact, as you’ve discovered via my ‘time lapse’ thought experiment, it’s a fluid working system. If you want to maintain good order easily, you have to understand and plan around that reality.


The secret that ‘naturally tidy’ people know automatically

Naturally tidy people sense this. They unconsciously arrange all the items in their houses (even the smallest ones) so that they’re close to the task they’re needed for, and easy to access. That means that each of these items is less likely to ‘migrate’ to somewhere inconvenient over time, where it gets in the way. Arranging things near where they’re needed makes putting things away correctly and immediately much easier. And when you do that consistently, huge clear outs are never needed.

To find out how to avoid having clear outs ever again, download a pdf extract of my first book ‘Banish Clutter Forever’. It’ll save you hours!


Post has no comments.
Post a Comment

Captcha Image


Recent Posts


collections pop music innocence business-speak overwork work efficiently business-like buying wealth Sheila Chandra author visualising hobbies cupboard of shame work priorities critical acclaim creative people streamlining routines creative career coaching introverts copyright work/home life balance organisation professional creative career absences cleaning your desk elevator pitch mess new year living clutter free fine art guilty purchases housework much quicker lifetimes quality writing funding campaigns career strategy boredom organise why organise diary being organized stardust well curated closet loving your audience symptoms of creativity how to be naturally tidy dynamic spaces tidier spree tidy desk card green room artistry creative organising good art work domestic life hotel room emotional support fall of innocence childhood normality celebrity endorsed products how to save time home life inspiration hijacking creativity nurture creativity to do list nascent artists anxiety brands culture creative identity minimalists effortlessly tidy subconscious mind artist goals email bankruptcy tips for clearing letting go staying in control clarity of thought peer-to-peer networks work life too busy sheila chandra coaching parent car smart artists clearing in short bursts focus living mess free : clothes artistic conviction options brilliant creator artistic chaos clear desk too many commitments creative magic platform proposals just in case mornings wind down artist materials VIPs low maintenance clearing as you go professional mentors control being tripped up touring good creative habits emotional resilience nurturing creative work multiple lifetimes confident in clothes feeling creative nipping things in the bud well organized criteria for letting go of stuff clearing clutter 2018 goals commitment creative spark vocation pop culture cleaning great artists binge grief loss resentment emotional balance crowdfunding morning routines great art creativity diary working class artists magic hostile clutter stay on top of email creative commissions storage funding network creative confidence self promotion buying happiness branding missed opportunities imagination home care low maintenance strategies artists creative culture slim-line wardrobe email overload ‘creativity’ social media exhaustion productivity creative person creativity creative wellbeing business friends warm down how to work efficiently stop hoarding stuff static spaces creative career stop cluttering clear outs artist mentors buy fewer clothes time clutter trope much better friend good friend cry professional encouragement social media networking the void email chaotic sacrifice tidy clean desk clearing tension buying hope procrastination inconvenience efficient work patterns peacefulness long-term artistic development temperament home organising successful artist myth motivation clutter appointments jealousy networking effectively popular culture goals compulsion creative ambitions lazy display items vulnerability friendships stay tidy automatically clutter addict partners feel like creatiing hoarding workspaces artist workspaces tidy people double standard bulk buy theft mature artists artist wardrobe tortoise and hare tidiness in living spaces saving time proposal writing working class culture concentrated creative time arrogance work trips under-confidence ‘stories’ about your possessions disorganization networking buying youth getting ready for work diagnosis artist mentoring precious memories making decisions organizing for creative people emotionally secure artist business interface to creative businesses slow and steady buying stardust