When the outside world is turbulent, we try to create small safe havens we can control. Since the pandemic started, many people organize and clean almost obsessively to have an illusion of order in this messy world. But is that a good strategy, and is mess bad?
We look up to people who have their lives figured out, never miss deadlines, keep a healthy diet, and organize their closets regularly. That is the ideal, and we feel guilty when we fall short. But what if I told you that there is no reason to beat yourself up? Spending your life trying to keep everything neat is not only affecting your mental health, it's also less productive.
Obviously, I'm not suggesting to stop cleaning altogether. All I'm saying is, do it in a way that fits your life and keeps you happy. Here are my 4 tips to keep just the right amount of order in your life. These pieces of advice can be applied to many areas, such as home organization, paperwork, but also your eating habits.
1. Create order where it matters
Nobody, I repeat, nobody has every part of their life in order all the time. Choose some areas of focus that really make a difference in YOUR life. Maybe you couldn't care less about what your garden looks like, but you feel terrible if your kitchen is all over the place. Put your energy into what really matters to you, not into what other people expect. Yes, it's okay to order a meal for a family celebration if it means that you can spend the day with your loved ones instead of cooking.
2. Embrace the mess elsewhere
Following the above step, the mess will increase in some areas of your life, along with your overall happiness. Don't resist, just accept that some chaos will always be part of your day. It's okay, because you took care of the really important things.
Changing your priorities is always an option. Maybe in spring, you will actually feel like gardening. The same activity that used to feel like a chore suddenly brings you joy. This is what happens when you act from your heart!
3. Don’t do it alone
Humans were never supposed to do everything alone. Cooperation and task division are in our DNA. If something is too much, ask for help! One of your friends might just love doing what you are struggling with, and their enthusiasm will get to you. And doing something together makes it half the work and twice the fun!
Also, don't be embarrassed about outsourcing certain tasks, if they make your life miserable.
4. Find your freedom
Did you know that being in a messy environment actually stimulates creativity? In a study, researchers found that orderly places make us more aware of societal expectations, but that disorder somehow frees us up from these boundaries and encourages us to try new options. So it is time to get rid of the stigma surrounding messiness. You’re not disorganized, you’re creative!
Organizing and cleaning your home is a lot like taking care of your body. It can be positive when it comes from your inner needs, and it can also be negative when you are trying to fulfill somebody else’s expectations. Just listen to your heart, and everything will be okay, if a little messy.