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Sheila Chandra

Why crash diet clear outs and blitz tidying never work

When has your ‘blitz tidying’ ever lasted longer than a week?

Never? It might be a myth that crash diets work, but it’s an even bigger one that those almost hysterical clear outs you do when you just can’t stand the mess anymore, work either. This is a myth that even some best selling de-clutter books perpetuate. That’s is a real shame because if you believe that a clear out and blitz tidy is all it takes to live clutter free then you’re encouraged to waste a lot of energy on something that will revert to its former state (i.e. chaos…) very quickly.

So why don’t knee jerk clear outs work?

Well, both crash diets and ‘blitz tidying’ make a basic assumption. They assume that you want a fast solution that looks good by a certain time, but that the longevity of the solution isn’t important. They assume that you don’t have the patience to plan what you’re doing and work at it sensibly and in increments, with a larger system in mind, so that the results last. Most of all they play on your wish to see a quick transformation and to feel ‘virtuous’. These are things that tempt all of us, but I believe that’s only because we haven’t realised the benefits we could so easily have if we thought about tidying in a different way.

Are all clear outs good?

First of all, I think we all commonly assume that having our house look tidy is a ‘good thing’. It’s certainly not a bad thing, but is being tidy in itself ‘good’? I want to blow this assumption out of the water by asking ‘Why is it important to be tidy?’  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 important  things. You’d see that if you rely on blitz tidying, even if you do it regularly and religiously, that your house is actually messy most of the time. 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 and facilities in your house easily.

Why planning your tidying up is essential

What becomes obvious is that ‘looking tidy’ in itself isn’t as important as making the space easy for you to use all the time. That is the major benefit of planning your tidying up properly, which you’ve been missing out on. So you need a working system which helps you to find the things you need in order to complete your tasks easily and which also incorporates tidiness. What you may not have realised is that you can have both. In short, ‘crash diet’ blitz tidying assumes that your house is static (the way a show home looks in a magazine) when in fact your house is a fluid working system. And the degree to which you are able to maintain good order reflects how well you’ve understood and planned around that fact.

The secret that ‘naturally tidy’ people automatically know

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, where you trip over it, over time, because it makes putting things away as you go much more easy. So in the long term, that huge ‘tidy ups’ are almost never needed.

In lockdown, we’ve all been feeling any clutter or lack of flow in our homes get on top of us. If you’d like coaching help to make your home serve you better, get in touch with me!


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