The Insider: How to be tidy

 

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The Independent Online

January is the month for a spring clean of bad habits. I've tackled clear-outs here before but, if you're like me, the mess creeps back fast. So I'm in awe of tidy people: what are their secrets?

Everything in its place

"Clutter is only clutter if it doesn't have a home," says my tidiest friend, Lizzie. "Allocate drawers for things rather than creating random piles." She also sorts paperwork weekly, "so it's never daunting". But where to find such self-discipline? "Fear," says another tidy friend, Paul. "I visualise how overwhelmed I'd feel if things got out of control."

Molehill out of mountain

I thought I'd try Paul's advice on the clothes mountain in my bedroom: now, when tempted to hurl things on a chair, I focus on how Zen the room is without it, and the time it takes to clear. So far, the method is surprisingly effective. pack up "It's grim hanging clothes in an over-packed wardrobe," says Lizzie. "Put out-of-season clothes in suitcases."

True colours

I've just colour-co-ordinated all my books and discovered an unexpected side-effect: my shelves look so untouchable that they're now immune to shelf-tat.

Pin it down

Make a cork pinboard: a top cheat for hoarders of scraps of paper. Or use presentandcorrect.com's colourful tape and combine postcards and photos, neatly, to turn the chaos into a feature.

Hide and chic

If all that fails, consider Monica's "messy cupboard" in Friends: "Tidy people aren't necessarily organised," says Paul. "Just because you can't see the mess doesn't mean it's not there. I'm tidy – but you probably know where to find your things..." I love a silver lining.

Find Kate's blog on affordable interiorsat yourhomeislovely.com

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