Tidiness is a topic I’ve been in a kind of love-hate-relationship with for a long time. I think people – as in many other areas too – are influenced by the environment of their childhood and youth. When I was a child I sometimes visited friends whose house or flat was totally styled in the Ikea look. Everything was tidy, chosen and draped with style and classiness (okay, maybe it was not only from Ikea … ) and I was a little in awe of touching something or moving around as a child. On the other hand side there were these cozy homes that made no secret out of the life inside and their age. Everywhere you could find interesting details and stuff whose purpose wasn’t quite evident to me. That’s why I repurposed them. It could have been the scrub or the box of costumes of the mother (aka her wardrobe and make-up) – it was getting creative when there was something to explore.
How was your childhood concerning these things? Do you have memorys of furnishing and tidiness of the houses and rooms that you played and lived in or that you visited? Are you shaped by it?
I would say that the shaping in the area of tidiness and furnishing depends on four factors:
- the impressions of models that we lived with
- the visual weariness of „too much“, „too less“, „too colourful“, „too barren“, …
- the emotional weariness or lack of abundance, variety, uniqueness, existence of a clutterer, …
- the trends that are presented by the media, designers and furniture shops
This topic is interesting to me because I deal with the question of what the composition of the living space is revealing about my character (strenghts, weaknesses, visual and emotional weariness and lack) and what is valuable and pleasing to the people in my social environment or potential children. Does clean minimalism provide a person with a clear mind and organized tracks of thoughts or am I spoiling the access to inspiration, a plenty of impressions and individualism exposed in colour, stuff and potential for discovery to me and others?
Of course I can’t fully answer these questions using my commonsense psychology. But I can draw my conclusions from the lessons and experiences I face in my everyday life. I, for example, was sick of my intense drive to decorate too much while my adolescence. That’s why I was rigorously getting rid of it. But how much (seeing) habits can be anchored inside of a person showed the feedback of other people: Woah, that’s a lot of stuff!
These are the moments I have to gulp and realize that change is developing gradually. While I am seeing my own progress, others may not. And that’s not what matters – it’s important to accept my challenges again and again and to face it when I’m pointed to it: Am I collecting treasures (on earth, see the Bible) that in fact are none? (You don’t have to store magazines for eternity … ) Am I trying to overwhelm myself with inspiration so that my focus on the single elements are getting lost? (I love quote images but recently I ditched some of them hung on my wall because until then I was only watching the overall picture and didn’t focus on the message of the single pictures … ) Does the proximity of my working material on my desk really only lead me to approach it or does it also clutter my field of vision and my thoughts with unsorted, towering piles of sheets of paper?
These are examples how habit and emotional linkage with void, fullness and other visual impressions can be both constraining and liberating.
If you are reflecting yourself from time to time you will probably know what kind of person you are – for example a person tending to chaotic surrounding. Maybe you are failing to tidy stuff that can’t be classified that easy which means it’s accumulating anywhere with its relatives. Seen practically it helps to create a simple system of categories and boxes in which you can put the incidentals. (What insight … it was recently that I got it.) This hasn’t to be too complex, plastered shoe boxes do serve the purpose very well. A further step could be to keep shelf space of dressers, tables and desks mostly free (of decoration). Inspiration won’t get robbed by this, instead you get space for work and creativity. In my mind the free space on my desk is great to concentrate more, to have enough space and to arrange some flowers instead of dead decoration. These are methods – and of course you are able to find your own – to make your living space calmer and organized.
These suggestions are kind of general. When it comes to concrete furnishing and taste I don’t want to dictate something to anyone. It’s great when people integrate wilful styles in their living space and find themselves in it. What is important in my opinion is the consistency (What does it tell me – apart from the lack of money – if chaos is dominating a living space because one corner is arranged in plain Bauhaus style and the other is mixing baroque elements with Ikea?) and the question of what is contributing to the development that you are wishing for yourself and your housemates. Are you are creative person, a parent, an entrepreneur, a pet owner, an athlete? Do you believe your living space and your influence on it can affect your life in a positive way?
On the lower level, apart from taste, social status, inclusion in work and obligations and lack of time, there is the examination of your own story, your personal and superior life goals, the emotional state and the potential of its maturation. At this point I want to emphasize that the glorification of interior design and the expression of status can’t be the fundamental pillars of life (as well as the hoarding of stuff and hanging on to chaos). To have an eye for aesthetics, a personal taste and tidiness can make a living space good-looking. But what makes it really cozy is the life that it’s filled with. A living room can be filled with hilarious laughter of children while the carpet has stains of cocoa. Made to measure and furnished with a lot of love for detail the room can still be shaped by arguments or subtle sadness in it.
„But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.“ The Bible in Matthew 6:20
Concerning this topic consciousness and productivity are going hand in hand again. And because I am a learner myself and have still a lot of things to work on I am happy to read your comments about your point of view regarding that issue. :) Do you take your time to reconsider and revise your idea of living and tidiness?