When I was a child, my parents organized household work “parties.” These events centered around cooking, cleaning and garden work. The price to pay for being a part of a large family was bigger messes everywhere. Oddly enough, some of my best memories hold moments of working together on a summer morning, or days before holidays.

Work on the domestic front was not thankless, we were all proud of ourselves for the creative results. Even when alone, there is a calming feeling of everything being in order.

Remembering all the moving parties of promised pizza and beer, the tradition goes on. What  other clever incentives can we create to cajole ourselves, our family members, into tending to  chores? This writing is prompted by the complaints of others dreading unfinished business. When self-gratification is not enough incentive, or we put things off another day because we would rather do something else, nothing gets done.

In PsychologyToday, an article mentioned that our surroundings reflect our state of mind. It is also possible that an organized environment might influence our mood. According to Nobel Laureate winner Judy Dutton, those that make their bed in the mornings are more likely to be  happier. After taking a survey these were the results: “59 percent of people don’t make their beds. 27 percent do, while 12 percent pay a housekeeper to make it for them…71 percent of bed makers consider themselves happy; while 62 percent of non-bed-makers admit to being unhappy.” She did not conclude that all non-bed-makers were unhappy, but odds were they might just be unhappy. By the way, she admitted to being a non-bed-maker herself, but was willing to give it a try after analyzing the results.

There is no judgment from me if I enter your home and the dishes need washing, clothes are on the bed, there are piles of stuff on counters and floors. Been there, done that. I’ve met people that are groomed as sharp as pin, but their home is tornado struck. Its a message to me that the person has conflicting public and private life. If it is not matching their values, most people apologize and recognize that their home is messy. It is for these people that I reach out in support.

Here are some incentives for getting your personal spaces tidy: 1. It is worth it to take care of  your purchases, its hard-earned money; 2. We tend to have less lost items; 3.We feel calmer, our space is welcoming to ourselves; 4. We are ready to socialize at a heartbeat, no embarrassment; 5. It’s easier and faster to tidy up small messes than pile ups.

Getting started. If things have gotten out of hand, the work party is the way to go. Asking a  friend for help, hiring an outside service, asking family members to pick a day dedicated to  inside/outside work, will shift a circumstance quickly.

When I was a young adult, leaving home was my first lesson in trying to keep everything in order. It was mostly not. At the time, I had a 1969 Chevy Nova hatchback that became my dumping ground. Between shopping and visits to the laundromat, that back area was full of scattered clothes and pantry items. This was not how I was raised. Dealing with daytime stress interfered with my ability to confront my personal habits. Fortunately, my boyfriend helped me clean the back. When we ask for help and get it, it can be a bonding experience with others.

Now that I am older, my own messes will leave me feeling stressed, so I am tidy. Occasional  messes are sometimes a sign of relaxation. We can say, “not today,” and feel comfortable. There are also psychological conditions where a person suffers from over cleaning due to obsessive compulsive disorders or mysophobia, an extreme fear of germs. Somewhere there is a happy middle to having an organized space, where either extreme is not disrupting our lives.

An organized environment is subtly helping us to be at ease, even at distance. Does having a  messy space mean you have a messy mind? It can mean a variety of things according to board  certified science writer, Emily Swaim. It could mean that we have no time to ourselves. It can  indicate depression. It can be we are overwhelmed. Some people are hoarding and need help.  Changes in our health can also create temporary conditions. Then again, an odd study suggested that messy rooms spurred creativity. There are some people that simply have a personality that thrives in messiness.

Overall, the study found that tidier people also had other healthy habits and made better health choices. Reflecting on our lifelong habits, how tidy are we today? All judgment aside, clean or messy I will still have an iced tea with you, but let me know if I can help.


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