My Inability to Be Tidy

My dear friend Alex arrived last week from Singapore. Once we’d had lunch and caught up, she started to tidy up my work surface. She said, “If there’s one thing I can do for you, it’s to organise your stuff!” This is absolute music to my ears. She just got on with it and within 10 minutes I could see my kitchen breakfast bar again. Now this task would have taken me a couple of hours and still wouldn’t have been as clear!

I have many friends who have been complete hoarders. The hoarding gene is also in my family – so I compare myself to their extreme untidiness and think I’m not as bad! Paperwork is the worst for me. “Linda,” they say, “deal with it then and there and then file it or bin it!” Who ever would have believed I’d ran an office once upon a time?!

Or when my boss asked me to tidy my office… I was on a show and it didn’t look very professional to have piles of everything. Yet I knew where everything was! I love order but I can’t sustain it. That’s why I love people tidying for me… I occasionally wonder if I was meant to be born into gentry and have a lady clean and tidy after me. However, as I tell many people if I’d lived in the Middle Ages, I would burn for my outspoken modern-woman’s attitude.

<Read More: From Expat Wife to Exhausted Housewife>

I think it’s a skill which passed me by. My mum would tell me to tidy my room, but I don’t remember her ever showing me how… (Perhaps I wasn’t paying attention.) I can recall going out shopping on a Saturday afternoon when I was about 9. (I know this because my big sister had got married and left home and up until then we’d shared a room.) When I returned my auntie had tidied my room beautifully. All the clothes had been put away. Teddies and dolls were neatly on my bedside chair. It’s a very happy memory.

Whilst living at home with my parents in my little box room, I would have to dive from the door to the bed across the debris, clothes, cassette tapes, makeup, magazines, electric rollers and various other stuff. People said how perfect I would appear with my made-up face, back-combed 80’s high hair and my outlandish outfit coming out of such chaos!

Since then not much has changed. That must have been when I invented the legendary floordrobe. The only thing is that now I have other people to clean up after.

Apparently, my lovely stylist Julia of House of Colour puts it down to my “Natural Ingenue personality. She says she’s the same as me, and in her words, “As an Ingenue Natural myself, I think what I said was that although I strive for order and perfection – I must have this in my life that is the inner me! – the natural in me is a little clumsy and messy. Therefore the two classifications are polar opposites and I struggle to maintain this in my personal life.”,  I couldn’t have put it any better.  It’s comforting to know I’m not alone because I do think sometimes think it’s my crazy brain unable to process and connect.

Some days I’m on it and others I’m not. This summer I am going to challenge myself to do 15-20 mins tidying a day. I’ll see if I can keep the chaos under control. If I don’t master this, how on earth can I expect my kids to have a half a chance? One week into the holiday and the place doesn’t look too bad… there’s hope for me yet!