I don’t think I’ve told many people about this.
When I was little one of my favourite books on my shelf was literally titled ‘How to Tidy Your Bedroom’. I just did a quick Amazon search and couldn’t find it, otherwise I’d be linking you all to it stat!
Quite literally, it was all about how to tidy your bedroom. I don’t even really know where it came from. My inner child reminds me I saw it on the big bookshelf and was so intrigued I claimed it as my own, but who knows.
What I know is that I found it so mesmerising.
It guided you through step by step with awesome illustrations how to give your room a complete overhaul without it being overwhelming and with it even being a game as such i.e. it inserted fun! It made me feel so excited reading through all the steps, like I had some sense of authority and control over my room and my stuff could be freshened up in a multitude of ways.
It was around about the time that I’d just been ‘upgraded’ to my very own bedroom. Not that I didn’t like sharing with my sister up until then (in fact as the ‘little’ sister I quite liked the privilege of being in my older sister’s space! Doubt she felt the same way ?). Being in your own room though just felt like some kind of magical fairy tale. I was instantly upgraded in life itself. I was now somehow, powerful.
So, coupled with finding the treasure of my little ‘Tidy Your Bedroom’ book it really did feel like I was free to create me. And the book gave me a way to do that.
I remember one of the very first steps it told you to do was essentially to gather everything that was out of its place from all over your room, even if you had messy shelves or stacks of books, into the very centre of your room, putting everything on top of your bed. From there you would sort, category by category. There were some other steps in between like where or how to clean… But the bit I loved most was this system. This categorisation. This easy to follow, here’s the very first thing you do, then you just take things one step at a time, approach.
I’d actually often return to it almost seasonally. When I felt in a funk. When I was bored on the weekend and looking for an activity. When I started a new school term. Even through my university days I recall revisiting it! Perhaps I didn’t need to read it page by page at that stage. I’d have memorised the system and it had become part of my ritual. My practice of clearing and freshening up.
What it taught me most was the value of:
Having clear steps towards the biggest of tasks makes anything feel more manageable. I’m sure I’ve applied that thinking to tackling school assignments, brand new projects and plenty of report writing throughout my careers. Put everything in the middle first, then take it one step at a time.
2) Letting go.
While I have always been a fan of tidy spaces, less stuff, and not holding on to unnecessary things, in practice this ain’t always easy. So quickly I find no matter where I am – moving house, countries, or simply on holidays – stuff can accumulate. Both physically, mentally and emotionally. Practicing this process seasonally of gathering everything, dusting, and putting it back gave me a way of letting go of what was no longer needed in my life. (Not that I was consciously thinking this at the time). I really believe that’s stayed with me and really helps me to continually review what’s working and what’s not in my life right now.
3) Starting afresh.
In some ways this one is the biggest for me. The power of a reset button is immense. Knowing that each new day really is just that – it’s new. You can make it and create it as you please. If you’re feeling in a funk, start afresh. If you’re stuck and frustrated, hit the reset button. The ‘Tidy Up’ approach doesn’t just have to be limited to keeping your room tidy. It really has become more of a philosophy in life too, because I know how good it feels after. There’s lots of ways this same premise plays out in day-to-day, but one that’s so simple yet pretty impactful is this: “Thank you. But I got this.” I say this out loud to myself (well, my ego) so often when I feel all the gremlins and ifs buts and maybes showing up. When the voices of “hang on are you good enough to do this?!” rock up, I simply hit reset and refresh with: “Thank you. But I got this.” It’s a way of acknowledging that your brain and ego are just trying to protect you and that sometimes they don’t get it right and you really do ‘GOT THIS’!
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