Most people remember their halcyon days of being a messy teenager: the piles of clothes and footwear, unwashed plates and discarded CD’s. Most people will have recollections of their parents’ despair, constant requests to tidy and the adolescent sulks that ensued.

Many adults wistfully pine for the days when the unpaid maid known as ‘Mum’ magically picked up discarded socks and underpants and the washing appeared to do itself. In fact, the constant parental entreaties to be tidier were meant with the best of intentions; many people move into adulthood struggling to keep their homes tidy, wishing they had picked up the tidy habit at a younger age.

Being tidy is not about the act of tidying up a messy house; it is about developing positive habits. Many chronically untidy people regularly do housekeeping, but instantly find that a new mess appears as soon as the last one is cleared. Learning to be tidier is a state of mindfulness where everything is done in an orderly and organised manner.

Untidy people are often in the habit of setting things down ‘just for a second’, instead of putting things away in their proper place. In no time at all, large tottering stacks of paperwork and other items appear, and the act of getting things tidy again looks like an impossible task.

The expression ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’ should be the mantra of those seeking an ordered life; everything has a place where it ‘lives’, and when it’s not in use, that’s where it goes. The amount of time saved that would be otherwise spent looking for things will make this beneficial in the long run.

Learning to be ruthless with unused possessions is also part of the key: if it never gets used, get rid of it. Many untidy people suffer a ‘pack-rat’ mentality that convinces them that useless objects will come in useful ‘one day’.

Tidy is as tidy does; practicing the habit of being tidy all the time will save the dreaded return of the teenage bedroom, and bring order and calm.