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A tidy mind

Friday 3rd January 2014

New Year’s Resolution: I want to be tidy.

I like the idea of organisation so much. I love planning. I love planning to plan (“OMG let’s brainstorm the best kind of flowers for pressing. Let’s plan to schedule in a ton of spontaneous brunches. Let’s make a list of inspirational women whose books we should be reading. Let’s let’s let’s.”)

While there are a lot of things I want to draw my attention to when 2013 turns into 2014, the main thing I’m aiming to achieve is…unsophisticated. Un-thrilling. Kind of downright immature, really.

I want to be tidier.

 The only time the house is properly clean is if a party is being thrown. So: there might have to be a party. 

I’ve never been tidy. As a child I loved arranging my Barbie dolls into elaborate tableaux (usually involving the girls being princesses or rock stars and running away to an island under the cover of darkness because I really had no idea what to do with Ken’s storyline apart from have him be like “hi, I am a generic and brief impediment to your happiness and resolved plotlines, never to be seen again”).

But could I put everything away afterwards? Nope. Something in me was incapable of digging every tiny high-heeled shoe from the carpet fibres and just basically pressing rewind on the whole “fling toys everywhere” process like a Spike Jonze music video. (Or Michel Gondry? I feel they could both do something promising with this premise.)

It got to the stage where my parents threatened and then made good on their punishment: I would have to move in and share a room with my toddler brother. This still didn’t really change anything for me. In hindsight, this says a lot about my approach to many difficult things in life: just ignore, ignore, ignore, reply with a vague “mmhmm” when asked about it, and ignore again, hoping no-one notices.

Alas, this grim and admittedly bratty picture that I paint for you hasn’t gone away. I want to be tidy! So badly! But every time I see laundry, spread evenly across the bedroom floor like buttercream on a cake, or a pile of, oh you know, bank statements and flash drives and pencils and receipts and a plastic doohickey that you know will immediately become crucial when you throw it out and a picture of a cool hairstyle that you tore from a magazine and rubber bands and –

I mean, I’m stressing myself out here just listing this stuff, but why can’t I see it and work out a place for everything…and then just calmly do it? Why do I look at it and think “ughhh this mess is burdensome and tiring” but at best end up putting magazines in a stack or arrange my books by the colour spectrum, or wearing underwear as a jaunty hat to save myself from having to stand up and go to my underwear drawer, which is full of anything but underwear.

A pile of clothes, hairdryer, yarn, messy cords, etc
I call this one: shameful shameful shame shame


So what am I going to do about it?

This time I’m going to try to be more strategic. The only time the house is properly clean is if a party is being thrown. So: there might have to be a party. Or, I don’t know, I might have to set aside a day for properly cleaning. Or…party!

Then I’m going to put in place some strategies. Like…when I get home from work, instead of panic-stripping out of my restrictive and inevitably sweaty day-job gear, throwing it on the ground, and flopping dramatically on the couch in holey tights and a large, soft tshirt, I will resolve to put away everything I’ve worn.

Be it into the laundry, hung up in a cupboard, or folded into a drawer. Before bed, I’m going to try to put away three things. If exhausted – just one. C’mon. After dinner, I’ll force myself to clear the table rather than being all “well that’s future-me’s problem.” I’m going to try to get more storage for specific things and throw out other things that are blatantly useless and not doing anything other than taking up space that I could be occupying.

If it’s so simple, why haven’t I done this before? I love a clean house, it’s so…serene. Calming. Grown-up. Instagrammable. Well, truth is I’ve never really tried hard enough. Now that I’m actually putting it out there, I feel there’s more obligation to actually make it happen. 2014: the year of the tidy house! And no more underwear-as-hats!

This probably sounds all very sneer-makingly trivial, but…go me. Find your own resolution. Or don’t. It’s just an opportunity that I’m taking.  And if everything isn’t sparklingly pristine at 9.02am on January 1, it’s okay. I’m allowing myself to achieve this gradually. I like to think that in a way, every morning is like a little new year’s day. While I’m hardly the best person to be taking advice from, it’s a nice thought, right? Tidy, even. 

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