Tidying isn’t Cleaning

A query in the New Year left me flummoxed.  The email asked what my charges were for a “blitz clean” of her home.  Clarification came in “I want it all clean and tidy”.  So as a declutterer, I advised that I could help her with the tidy bit and would signpost her to regular cleaning support but she was confused.  She asked if I was going to leave her in a mess after just doing the tidy bit.  Now I was confused!   As I struggled with clarity on my services to this enquiry, Marie Kondo came to the rescue with the release of her new book, Spark Joy.   Chapter 1 gets straight to the point:  She writes that the words tidying and cleaning are two completely different things.

  • Tidying deals with objects – moving them and putting them away.
  • Cleaning deals with dirt – wiping and sweeping it away.

And here is the challenge we face with tidying:  the responsibility for your mess and clutter lies 100 per cent with you.  “Tidying up means confronting yourself” states Ms Kondo.

In contrast, dirt does accumulate of its own accord.  Therefore “cleaning means confronting nature” and this is purely physically demanding – we can think/talk/listen while cleaning.

Tidying and decluttering and getting organised requires full focus.  It is emotionally challenging and yet when it is done, it is incredibly satisfying and empowering and makes cleaning a pretty easy task to follow up with.

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“Spark Joy” by Marie Kondo was released on January 7 is now widely available on Amazon and in bookshops.  I do hope my enquirer will read it.

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