5 Things People With Tidy Homes Don’t Do

how to have a clean house #tidy #kitchen

Besides me, there are three teenage boys, a husband, a dog and two cats living in our home. And I’m the messiest of them all. After years of feeling bad about my messy habits, I’ve learned how to embrace the mess and I’ve also learned how to have a tidy(er) home.


how to have a clean house #clean #kitchen


I have a high tolerance for disorder. Until I don’t.

Two years ago we moved into this fixer upper. It’s a much smaller house than we had before and I could no longer hide my messy ways or sweep them under the cowhide rug, if you will.

I started paying attention to how those Tidy People lived in their homes. I observed my mom and mother-in-law. I even asked my Tidy Friends questions about their habits without trying to seem like a weirdo.

Here’s what I’ve discovered…


1. Tidy People don’t act like a slob all day, and then get their house tidy in one fell swoop.

Tidy People are smart, and know that cleaning up all at once is hard and not fun.

I’m my biggest enemy when it comes to keeping my house tidy. The number one thing I’ve learned from Tidy People is how valuable it is to develop some simple, non-drastic, tiny habits that when added together will change the level of tidiness in your home. Tidy People are in a constant state of low-grade tidying, I don’t even think they realize it.


how to have a clean house

2. Tidy People don’t over decorate. They value a cleared off surface more than a highly decorated surface.

Listen, I’m the biggest fan of tchotchkes that has ever been. I LOVE me some smalls and cute little decor. But over the years I’ve learned that having a bunch of pretty small things all over every surface was only making my life more difficult as someone who was already prone to being messy.

Now I’m really picky about what I allow on my surfaces. I aim for 1-3 decorative pieces per surface depending on the surface size. This allows our house to still look pretty but at the same time, it seems clean, even if there’s a layer of filth!

I enjoy this type of intentional decorating that involves editing and being more grown up about my choices.


3. Tidy People never let the sun go down on their filth. They know they’ll have to do it anyway, better now than later.

Tidy People do not watch Dancing With The Stars while there’s a sink full of dirty dishes sitting in the kitchen.

Tidy People practice the quick reset, that might mean different things to you than the Tidy McTidersons down the street, and that’s okay. Get the entire family involved right after dinner and clean up for five timed minutes of tidying.

You will feel like the Queen of Everything when you implement this, I promise. And then you can watch Dancing in peace.

how to have a clean house #clean #bedroom

4. Tidy People don’t store things on the floor.

I never realized I was doing this, until that day I decided I should probably mop the floor.

From the big decorative baskets filled with throws to the backpacks that never seemed to make it to their place. When I looked around our house, I realized that without my own consent, I was allowing lots of items to live on the floor. Tidy People know better than this.

Stacks of books, the box that should have been dropped off at the thrift store two weeks ago and the laundry basket can all clutter up the floor and make your home seem messier than it really is.

how to have a clean house #clean #cleaning #storage #foyer

5. Tidy People don’t organize papers that they don’t need. They know that clutter cannot be organized.

Even though I’m a messy creative, I can’t stand paperstuffs.

Paper comes in uninvited and so much of it is truly junk. When I walk back from the mailbox, I usually head straight to the trash/recycling bin and get rid of anything we don’t need.

We have a specific place to put bills and notices. Invitations get entered into the calendar. I might snap a photo of them, and then, GASP, I throw them away.

I will most likely regret telling you that if I receive a card in the mail, unless it’s a handwritten letter that’s really meaningful, I read it, and then instantly throw it away. This troubles my friend Greta as cards are one of her love languages. But remember, I’m an INTJ.

Because of Pinterest and Instagram, I don’t subscribe to magazines.

We have a small drawer for the boys’ important school notices too, but, now that they are all teenagers, plus we are in the technology age, we get MUCH less paper coming home for us than we used to. I like to think that Tidy People are giving me virtual high fives right now.


As a Tidy Messy Person, it’s much easier for me to practice things that Tidy people DON’T do. Not doing things? Now that I can do!



PS, here’s a little something that helps me keep my home tidy, you might like it too…

summer caldrea


how to have a clean house #cleaning


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  1. I am a firm believer in OHIO – the acronym for Only Handle Items Once! This allows for a mess or clutter to never accumulate!

  2. Jolenne says:

    I actually JUST started taking 10min before going to bed to tidy up and my house has never remained as clean as it has in the last week. I’m glad I ran across this post, I definitely learned some tips. Thank you!

  3. “Tidy People are in a constant state of low-grade tidying.” This was really helpful! My efforts seem futile as I home school 2 boys, but this has stayed in my head all week and kept me motivated, so thank you!

  4. amazing post thank you

  5. Super helpful tips! Thanks for this.
    Just this year I sort of accidentally started implementing a “constant state of low grade tidying.” I have about an hour of alone time at home in the morning, before I leave for work. I realized this is a great time to just casually stroll through my apartment and tidy up. Pick up little things, do the dishes, wipe off the counters. It makes me feel great to leave my house tidy, and then feels AWESOME to come home from work to a tidy house! Just a little bit every day, 5-10 minutes, really makes all the difference.

  6. There’s a lot of little tricks too, like everything having a place so it’s obvious when it’s out of it. Before you leave a room, look around and see if anything belongs in another room – i.e. If I’m leaving the lounge to go to the kitchen I’ll take a plate with me because that lives there. Also if it takes less than a minute to do just do it now, like a little washing up.
    Having less stuff really really helps though – I had a friend coming to visit yesterday and realised the house was a bit messy, took about ten minutes to get it looking great. He commented that it feels like a holiday home!

  7. Great tips. I need help in this area, so I will start doing these ideas. Thanks for the thoughtful post.

  8. This is a great article. I’m guilty of watching Dancing with the Stars while dishes sit in my sink and there are things on my floor and…and….

  9. This is a great reverse approach and I love it. Gorgeous photos to boot. Thank you. I nodded on all your points!

  10. That’s really informative and quite true, thanks for sharing this out it really helps me a lot to be more well-organized!

  11. “Tidy People are in a constant state of low-grade tidying, I don’t even think they realize it.” Hmmm. That must be true, as friends ask me how I keep my house so clean. They think I’m cleaning all day long. Not true, just picking up & putting away as the day goes by. Although, I do have piles on the floor. I’m working on that one!

  12. I have so much work to do! I’m a daughter of two parents out of the depression, they saved everything, I’m was just like them. But I’m slowly changing, no more estate sale shopping, no move shopping unless I really need something. Signing up for the newspaper (Internet version) Bill on line. Can go On and on, but I still have so much to do! Help

  13. All these points are very true. I always tell my mom that it’s easiest to organize and clean a little bit at a time than to do an overhaul. Put your stuff in a certain place every time and you won’t lose it. Put keys, phones, etc in the same place when you get home. Hang up jackets immediately and put shoes away in the right spot. Eat in the living room? Next time you get up, bring it to the kitchen. If needed, do a load of dishes before cooking to keep up with everything. I vacuum and clean my car weekly but because I remove trash and tidy daily, it only takes me 20 minutes to do this versus hours if I never clean it. Same thing with my house. Vacuum and mop once a week (we have kids and dogs), everything else as-needed (usually 2 weeks). Keeping ontop of everything not only ensures it gets done but then it’s not so overwhelming that you don’t know where to start. :]

  14. Great tips but if I do need the three screws in the future!!! I can’t throw them away! :-)

  15. Christine says:

    I consider myself tidy, and I think your list really summed up my methods.

  16. Very funny and true! And beautiful pictures!

  17. These are perfect! I underestimated how much the amount of STUFF you have contributes to how tidy (or not tidy) your house is. When we minimized our stuff in preparation for moving into our Airstream, the house got so much easier to keep clean. Go figure! Less stuff to clean around!

    Now that we’re in the Airstream (read tiny space) it’s essential we don’t leave things out so I follow #3 religiously and do a full sweep before going to bed. It makes waking up so much nicer. Plus we’re going paper free (in line with #5) above. Your post is incredibly timely and accurate! Thanks for the gorgeous photos too!

  18. This is a great article.Thank you

  19. Thank you for sharing

  20. These are perfect

  21. My family does almost all of these things. It really does make a difference when you clean up a little as you go. I can’t sit down to do something else if there is clutter anywhere in the house.

    I loved where you talked about invitations. “Invitations get entered into the calendar. I might snap a photo of them, and then, GASP, I throw them away.” Haha. I totally feel the same way about those photo Christmas cards. I used to feel so bad about throwing them away, so I only keep the ones that are from immediate family. My house would burn down if I kept all that paper. ;)

    Such great tips!

    • The tip for entering invitation information onto your calendar and then tossing the invitation itself is an excellent idea……if only I could remember to look at the calendar, lol! We’re not social butterflies and my kids are grown so we don’t have large numbers of formal invitations in the mailbox at this point in time. For myself, I find that putting an invitation on the side of the fridge (along with doctors appointments and the like) makes it more likely that I will see and remember it. All of the phone apps and computer reminders and calendars in the world are not as much of an “in my face” reminder as is the huge, hulking box in my kitchen! Lol!

  22. Thank you for sharing

  23. thanks for sharing is post is article

  24. Great tips! I also gave the subject the thought some time ago and I’ve come up with things to DO this time, in order to keep their place tidy :)

  25. thank you very much for this post and i like it.please again put this kind posts

  26. Thank you for sharing

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