How to Get Tidy

Messy bed, messy head. 

I never heard the saying above until said by a classmate in university one day.  It was odd coming from her mouth, as it sounded much too grandmotherly for her. Perhaps she did learn it from her grandmother. Perhaps I just missed out on that little quip from my grandmothers. For some reason, the saying stuck with me.

I grew up being meticulously organized in my school and work life. My common living spaces were kept clean of clutter. My bedroom on the other hand, was a disaster zone. Was it passive teenage rebellion using messiness to claim my space as my own? Definitely. But after my classmate said those wise words, I went home and cleaned. And I felt so much better.

Of course the saying isn’t supposed to be taken literally. It refers to all aspects of your physical surroundings at home and work (and for some of us, our car!). Research has proven that it is easier to concentrate and you are more productive if you have a tidy space. It eliminates visual distraction and frustration. Ever try to find your favourite stapler (admit it, we all have one) only to have it mysteriously disappear to be found six days later in the most unlikely of spots? How much time wasted? How many curse words uttered? The key is to get organized and maintain it.

Below are some tips on getting your physical space organized and tidy.

Do it Now.

This concept is the easiest to understand and the hardest to execute. The idea is to do it now, as soon as you think of it. To me, it involved retraining my brain to catch the little voice in my head that justified looking over any mess. Don’t just walk by the pile of clothes and think I will do it later, just do it now. Have a dishwasher? Don’t stack your dishes in the sink; put them straight in the dishwasher. It will take you ten minutes of your day, rather than a whole weekend (or week) of cleaning later.

Everything in its Place.

You have probably heard this one a thousand times, and then immediately thought that’s all well and good, but I don’t have enough space for everything. If that is the case, time for a storage overhaul.

  • Time to downsize. If you have too much stuff for your space, do you really need it all? Is holding onto the sixty towels with holes in them really important? Imagine how much space you will open up! Each time you go through a drawer or closet, set aside things to be donated, tossed, or gifted. Just don’t let that donate pile sit in your front hall for weeks on end!
  • Search for new storage ideas. Google, Pinterest, Facebook, or whatever your preferred mode of searching for small apartment storage ideas. Have a big house? Doesn’t matter. Small apartment storage ideas can be applied anywhere. The plus side is these ideas are normally cheap, cute, and funky alternatives.
  • Once everything has its place, keep it there. This goes back to the Do It Now idea. Put that stuff back where it belongs!

Make it Yours.

The best way to keep your space tidy is to have pride in it. Loving your space will motivate you to keep it clean, with the added bonus of making you happy. So make your space yours! If you want a rad KISS memorabilia pencil holder on your desk, do it! Add funky lights, pictures, storage baskets; whatever makes you feel like this space represents you! If you are not sure, then look through magazines or Pinterest for ideas. Use search words that will give you the feel you are looking for: cozy, funky, unique, antique, metal, etc. It is not just about organization, it is how you want to feel in that newly organized space.

Maintain Your Tidy Space.

So, you are now organized. It looks great. That’s just the beginning. What is the point of all that work if you aren’t going to maintain it?

  • Tidy Daily. This doesn’t have to be a chore. The easiest way is when you are in a room, clean one thing up. Just one. Soon it will become a habit. If you see something in your current room that doesn’t belong, take it with you when you leave and put it back where it does belong. There, in 2 minutes you have already tidied 2 things. See how easy that was?
  • Clean. Make a schedule and actually clean the space. Difference between tidy and clean? Soap and water. Nothing says satisfaction like a freshly swept and washed floor.


Often the biggest block to getting tidy is becoming overwhelmed. Just relax. It will happen. Tackle one little thing at a time, and if you need to, walk away and work on something else. Step by step you will have yourself a tidy home and a new mindset!

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