How to be naturally tidy

Sheila Chandra - Thursday, July 13, 2017

Is being naturally tidy a secret no-one’s ever let you in on?

 Ever wondered why some people are tidy and some aren’t? Why some people will smile up at you from a clean desk in the middle of a crisis, or a clean kitchen just before a dinner party, whilst yours looks like a bomb’s hit it all the time? If you’re really messy, it’s tempting to put this down to some form of magic or inherent superiority. Otherwise wouldn’t someone have explained it all to you? What is the secret that ‘naturally’ tidy people have?


Naturally tidy people don’t take more time being tidy than you do

Many people assume that tidy people have all the time in the world to tidy up, and that they enjoy doing it. In my experience that just isn’t so. But they do have a secret which is so automatic and feels so natural and simple to them that they can’t usually articulate it. The secret is divided into 2 parts.


Set things up so you’re naturally tidy

Firstly, they learned from someone, the secret to placing things in the best place both for their use and their storage. Perennially disorganised or untidy people tend to place things in the best place for their storage alone and don’t use the ‘use’ criteria. Secondly, they developed the natural tendency that all human beings have to complete tasks and pat themselves on the back, into a full blown habit which makes them put things away immediately. Untidy people have usually stifled this instinct in themselves, and it is easily destroyed by living with chaos in any case.


Time and volume of stuff

The other 2 factors which make this syndrome really snowball either in a good or bad way, are time and volume of possessions. An untidy or chaotic household or workspace is one in which you will tend to waste time looking for things or gathering them for a specific task. This means there is less time, sometimes no time at all, to put them back again, and it often feels as though it’s imperative to rush from task to task to stay on track at all. Tidy people don’t experience this as much. And if you are undiscerning about what you keep, it will be impossible to store the items which are essential to you for everyday tasks in the best places, because your storage space will be too full. Tidy people usually have a specific task and place mapped out for anything they acquire, usually before they take it home.


For naturally tidy people, tidiness will just ‘appear’

In other words, tidy people have a secret mental blueprint, which means that they automatically recreate order in any space they use, even if they don’t officially attempt to tidy it up. And the longer they inhabit it, the tidier and easier to use it’s likely to get, whilst the untidy people tend to make more and more of a mess, despite repeated ‘clear outs’. So unfair isn’t it!


How to be a naturally tidy person yourself

So how do you break this cycle? You need to learn how to place things where they will be used. Ideally as close to that location as possible (and certainly within arms reach of the task). Then you need to rebuild your instinct to ‘complete’ the task by putting the items you’ve used away in that very convenient (and hopefully out of sight) location, automatically and immediately. The good news is that you already do this with your toothbrush, (you never lose it or ‘tidy it up’ do you?) so you definitely have proof that a system set up on these lines is one you can maintain with virtually no effort. That is why I call this secret mental blueprint and set of habits the ‘toothbrush principle’.


How to get started….

If you have a whole house to clear, then I recommend that you get the book, which will help you to build those blueprints and habits in yourself, and talk you through clearing each room you want to clear, step by step. However, if there’s only one room or storage area you want to clear (within your living space) then try placing things so that they’re easy to use, where you use them, and not by ‘efficient use of space’ or by placing ‘like with like’. Even if you only do this with 2 or 3 regular tasks, such as placing everything you need to make your children’s packed lunches together by the fridge, so that they’re easy to do, you’ll save yourself a lot of time, and start creating a small oasis of tidiness. Who knows? It might grow!

If you want to practice the system that will teach you to be naturally tidy read more by downloading an excerpt of Banish Clutter Forever. You’ll be on your way before you know it…


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