Are you a messy person? Sorry if that seems like a personal question but neat and tidy are just two of many life skills that have eluded me.
I’m not as bad as one of my son’s childhood friends who, after a sleep-over at our house, arrived at the breakfast table with a triangle of pizza stuck to the side of his head.
My granny, the upright daughter of a Salford licensed victualler, taught me that cleanliness was next to godliness and that probably explains my hand washing obsession. But tidiness? In the grand scheme of things that’s some way behind being kind to animals and waiting your turn in queues.
In the spirit of universal suffrage and the even distribution of labour, I have been known to hang washing on a line and, as I do so, my infinitely better half follows in my footsteps ‘putting it right.’ She probably has a point; like most men, I suspect, my aim is to do it quickly so I can go off and do something I enjoy. Hers is to do it correctly to save time later down the production line. My teachers always remarked that I wasn’t much good at anything I did but, on the plus side, I always did it quickly. You can take tidiness to extremes. I once had a boss who refused to ever have more than one piece of paper on his desk. He would deal with it and then his secretary was allowed to give him another sheet. He also tried to ban wire baskets, dismissing them as places you put stuff you either don’t want to do or things that are just too hard. You won’t be surprised to read that my desk
looks like a family of badgers take it over when I put the lights out at night. I mention all this because someone said the words ‘Clutter Fairy’ to me this month and I looked blankly at them. ‘You’ll be telling me next you’ve never heard of Marie Kondo.’ I looked at my scuffed shoes and shrugged.
According to the interiors page editors, de-cluttering is all the rage and we are planning to feature what are described as ‘storage solutions’. I assume this is an Americanism and fear it’s only a matter of time before feet become ‘walking solutions’ and beer is transformed into a ‘thirst solution’. In case you share my ignorance, storage ‘solutions’ are cupboards with a few shelves and cabinets thrown in.
Pleased that Lancashire Life had once again added to the sum total of my pathetically thin knowledge of the sort of stuff the editor of a luxury lifestyle magazine should know, I took to the internet. Apparently, the Clutter Fairies are from Cheshire. Why doesn’t that surprise me? Ms Kondo, however, is a rather more exotic creature. She is a Japanese lady who appears in the scruffy homes of messy people and, after much squealing and a few tears, tidies up the house.
She tells her fans: ‘My aim is to spark joy in the world through tidying.’ Not so different, then, from Mother Teresa and her mission to stamp out poverty.
In one piece of video Ms Kondo demonstrates the ‘right way’ to fold jumpers and says we need to stroke them lovingly to ‘show gratitude for their continued support’.
I’ll remember that next time I put on my trousers. I wonder if she’d come round and sort out my sock drawer?
Have a tidy month.
ABOVE: The editor’s desk after the badgers have done their work