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How to keep a tidy house (sort of)

one tidy spotI am not a tidy person.

I am a chaotic person. I am Dr Seuss's Thing One and Thing Two combined. I am Charles Schultz's Pig Pen.

I can simply walk through a room and there will be things upended and spilled, discarded and heaped. I can never remember making the mess but it unarguably there.

However I love tidy spaces. I love the calm and expansiveness.

Most of all I love the way I think in a tidy room.

I just can't seem to keep that space and become frustrated and grumpy when I try.

My compromise has become the Tidy Spot - if I can maintain the beauty of one small area, then the rest of the chaos becomes less important. I can retreat and spend time there and focus, not be distracted by everything that needs done.

I have a few of these around the house - small altars to the way I wish my house looked throughout.

I spend a lot of time in bed and my most important tidy spot is the top of the chest of drawers in the corner of the bedroom. It is a plain, almost severe, piece of furniture from 1930s, veneered in beautiful wood. On top of the drawers I have propped a vintage mirror, the top is scalloped, the mirror engraved - it is all about fine lines.

Each week I arrange flowers in front of the mirror - a small touch of nature. It is always simple, always seasonal.

My tips for creating tidy spots if you are a messy person.

Be realistic, keep the tidy spots small. My most effective is the top of a chest of drawers - it is 30 x 70 cm. If I attempted to keep a large space clear and tidy it would be doomed to failure.

Make the arrangement simple - a windowsill, a mirror, a mantle with 2 or 3 other elements such as flowers, a pile of vintage books, a treasured work of art. The simpler it is, the easier it will be to keep neat.

Make sure that everyone knows that it is not to become a general dumping ground. I am the messiest person in my household but you might not be!

Have one element that changes - for me that is flowers, they change daily under their own steam and I change them completely each week. If you don't want flowers then curate your possessions so that you see them anew.

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