5 Things People With Tidy Homes Don’t Do

how to have a clean house #tidy #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.

2. Tidy People Don’t Run out of Cleaning Supplies. They find cleaning products they love and they stock up so an empty soap bottle is never between them and a clean counter or tidier bathroom. Amen.

Y’all, I even found a Tidy Hack for this one!

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I’m a long time Grove customer myself (three years now!) and along with practicing the tidy tips in this post, Grove is my secret weapon for keeping a tidy and clean home.

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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. Maybe for you that means getting the entire family involved right after dinner and clean up for five timed minutes of tidying.

Tidy people take a few moments each evening for a quick reset and then they watch Dancing in peace.

how to have a clean house #clean #bedroom

4. Tidy People don’t store things on 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.

Tidy People know this secret, you’ll never see stuff stored on their floors.

5. 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’m not tidy by nature, but reminding myself of things Tidy People don’t do, somehow motivates me to pay a little more attention to making life a little easier on me and my house. It’s so worth it.

PS, Don’t forget to grab your New Customer Cleaning Kit , your future self with thank you!

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how to have a clean house #cleaning



  1. Just Khalili says

    The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning was a life changing book.

  2. Think about more important things. You’re better than worrying about being tidy. Do something to help someone else. Do something that will matter long after you’re gone.

    • I’m guessing E Barry wrote that. You have to help yourself before you can help someone else.

    • Anon, I’m betting dollars to donuts that you’re a naturally tidy person that the author says may not even realize they are tidying up! 😉 Also, if you mean we shouldn’t worry so much about tidying up if it is about what other people think, I agree with you.

      Everything in moderation, of couse. There are ways that being messy can harm your health. One is DUST everything sitting out is collecting dust. Every knickknack adds surface area for dust collection.

      Another is tripping hazards. Anyone can get hurt tripping, but if anyone in the household is more prone to losing their balance (small children, elderly, injured) keeping walkways as wide and clear as possible is a must.

      And then there is the added stress when you can’t find something urgently because it’s buried under other things.
      I’m not a hoarder but I am ADD and not good at keeping things organized. Trust me that every small step towards tidiness I make, the LESS stress I have overall and the more time and mental energy I have to spend on other things.

      • Amen.

      • Thank you.

      • Agree 100%

      • ADD is a real problem for me when it comes to cleaning. I start something then switch to something else forgetting the thing I first started! Good thought about how you handle nick-backs!

        • There is a book about that very thing. (I am the same way.) Side-tracked Home Executives Check it out. It might be life-changing for you.

          • I read it, used the suggested methods. I was cleaning dirt that wasn’t there. I still use a few of the methods, but dusting, vaccuming and mopping everyday seemed unnecessary. If there is spill clean it up, no need to redo the whole floor.

          • I used to
            Live by that book and the card system.. my boys were little & they had cards for very small things like windexing the bathroom mirro, wipe down the sinks w/ disinfectants. Of course they made their beds b4 school. The older one emptied the trash. I made sure to have the same amount of cards for each, just smaller tasks for the younger. They were so proud to be such big helpers. They are both single now & very neat housekeepers.

          • My bedroom is always like a tip because I have not long come out of the hospital after finding out I have got blood clots on my lugs

        • Grab a basket stay in one room and put everything that does
          Belong in the room into the basket while
          your cleaning that room, when you get to the next room
          Put the stuff away that goes in that room and continue with the next
          When your done with the last room everything should be back where it belongs, don’t
          Forget to gather All your cleaning Supplies Before you start with the first room

        • That’s called the “But First” syndrome.
          I have to toss these newspapers in the recycling bin, but first, let me vauum up the spilled dirt from the potted plant…

          But first I have to empty the vacuum cleaner into the trash since the last person who used the vacuum cleaner forgot…

          But first, this storage closet that holds the vacuum cleaner should be straightened up…rags on the floor, combine half used bottles of cleaners that need to be combine…

          Etc etc.

          • Wow! That is so me most of the time. Seeing the scenario paper gave me a chuckle. Being another with ADD, I wonder, does this But First Syndrome come from being hyperfocused or having a lack of focus on the task at hand?

            Thanks for the laugh.

      • I read about a decluttering strategy years ago that I still use. I call it “left to right”. Basically, you start in a corner of a room, and work around the room clockwise. The trick is to pick up an item that doesn’t belong in that area, and take it to the room where it does belongs. For example, a coffee cup by the front door goes in the kitchen. Of course you can be efficient and pick up any other items you see that belong in the kitchen at the same time. The trick is to NOT GET DISTRACTED by anything in the kitchen, Just put the item(s) there, and return to your original corner and keep going. Before you know it, you’ve worked your way around the first room and can then move on to the next. If I get distracted, I tell myself, “left to right!” As a reminder. Once the clutter is cleared, you can then dust and clean each room :)

        • I too learned about this…its called the Mount Vernon method. The estate of George Washington was so large that the housekeeper would start at the front door and work their way around. Stop at the end of the day and pick up where they left off.

      • I relate! I’m ADD also and a pile person. Those 2 things together are NOT good!

      • I relate! I’m ADD also and a pile person. Those 2 things together are NOT good!

    • JustPassingBy says

      Anon: Respectfully, you are engaging in wrongheaded thinking. If you have children, being a tidy (read: organized) person will help them infinitely. If momma’s car looks like a dumpster behind a Chuckee Cheese; if the kitchen is full of clutter and dirty dishes and if there’s “paths” instead of unobstructed or uncluttered spaces, that teaches children that this lifestyle is OK. I’m not talking about hoarding; I’m saying that being tidy leads to other very good habits. Consider this: How many truly successful people are clutterers? (Hint: none) Do their garages and basements look like thrift stores? No. Part of doing “something that matter(s) after you’re gone” or doing “something to help someone else” is showing children how to actually live in their space as opposed to existing. Big difference. Good habits are learned by example.

      • And amen to this, too!

      • Thats just crap, there are plenty of successful clutterers, tidyness has nothing to do with success

      • My friend Caroline is a borderline hoarder. Junk, junk, junk. Her 45 year old daughter is just the opposite. So, like momma like daughter doesn’t always follow.

      • I must disagree! My 23 year old son has always been messy and a person that lives in clutter and he is a self made millionaire!

      • Uh. No. I’d say I am a pretty successful person. I am wealthy. I have a career I love and a family that I love even more. I enjoy life. I am also a total slob. And you know what? I’m okay with that about 80% of the time.

        My life is too short to live up to other people’s standards.

      • Not so.,
        Plenty of very successful
        People clutter or are not tidy
        Stats said the smartest people are not very tidy
        Not talking about hoarding.. otherwise each to
        His own

      • LearningNaNa says

        Totally True….I wad a stay at home mommy & was constantly chasing my tail ADD also. I always thought that keepinh my home as clean as I possibly could would teach my k
        boys to do the same….come to gind out it just taught them to find someoñe else to do it for them…Not Good 4 a Happy Life!! I should have taught them to take care of their OWN junk….’Doing that Now for my grandSons’ we change as we learn….

    • To be honest I’m extremely tidy and I have 6 bedrooms, 2 living rooms, kitchen, 2 dining areas, a parlour, a library and 3.5 bathrooms plus a full basement and laundry room. I have 4 kids all under the age of 5. ALL of these rooms are prestigious and clean before I close my eyes at night. It’s extremely tiring and very hard to keep up on. But I find that I enjoy the discipline it requires, the commitment it takes, and I can tell my eyes levels melt away at the sight of a clean house, and then it’s all a mess before 11am the next day. A never ending cycle, I wake up at 6 every day except Sunday, and I don’t sit down and relax until about 11pm. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t do it for anybody but myself, I love the peace it brings me to have such a clean and tidy home. On that note I’ve never been tested for OCD but I’m sure if I was I would find that I have it.

      • And in a few short years…poof…those 4 kids are grown up and out of those house. You can pat yourself on the back for giving them a warm, clean, secure to grow up in.

        • You can have a tidy home and still spent plenty of time with your family. I find a lot of people use this excuse for having cluttered homes. “”I’m spending quality time with my kids”. Just an excuse to not do housework. I don’t obsess, but my son learned to clean up after himself. I never had to pick, his things up. He did that. Saves a lot of time. And he started when he was 2.

          • Sounds like you are lucky enough to not have to work outside of the home. Many of us do not have that option and thus keeping everything spotless and in its place is not as easy on an daily basis. So tips and tricks are very helpful.

          • Doris Eckel says

            That is the way to do it, for him it was normal, which it should be for everyone!

          • Anonymous too says

            You do have the option to not work outside the home. . Many of you just don’t want to. There is no reason to not raise your own children accept for the fact that you simply don’t want to. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I know many people, partner or no partner, raising their own children.

          • Anotherview says

            There ARE situations where there is no choice. A divorced mon with three children to support? “There is no reason to not raise your own children accept for the fact that you simply don’t want to.” Give me strength. Are you saying that mothers should stay home to raise their children otherwise they “simply don’t want to?” It may not be a matter of not wanting to but that it is more important to have a place to live and food to eat. By the way, our homes were clean, tidy, and comfortable.

      • People who live with OCD are people who struggle from within their minds with the nonsense within their minds. They don’t like it. People who have an obsessive compulsive personality (OCP, you might call it), not the obsessive compulsive disorder, do not have the dread that OCD brings. Maybe you have the personality, not the disorder. Just sayin’. I need to practice being tidy, myself.

      • Stephanir Knight says

        Honey, with a house that size snfmd all your little ones. Treat yourself to a helper! You deserve it!!

      • Hope you can find time to relax, enjoy your children and have outside interests. Tidy is cool, but life is too short to miss.

        • Tidy mom of teins says

          Tidy people have more time, quality time.
          We don’t spend our weekends or days off doing mass cleaning and laundry. I have messy friends that waste a beautiful Saturday making up for the mess from the week.

        • Having had my house both ways, I can say hands-down that tidy is better. I had long stretches of not wanting to invite people over, or letting the kids have friends over, because I either was embarrassed of our mess or I didn’t want their friends adding to the mess. Once we got our house in order (with an amazing friend’s help), we feel comfortable having guests over anytime. It is so much better for our social lives and, in turn, my mental health. :-)

      • I admire your energy. I keep a very clean house now that my kids are grown but when they were at home I spent most of my time at school, sporting events, church. I love a clean house but I would not trade that time with my kids growing up, for all the clean houses in the world. You will understand as your kids get older. You say you sleep late on Sunday, don’t you take you family to Church? Our house was where all the kids can and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. You will understand in a few years. Do you think your child had rather have a clean house or have you there at school participating with him or her. MY MOM can’t be here because she has to clean house. Don’t you ever pile up on the couch with your kids eating popcorn and watching a movie, or are you cleaning house. The cleaning will be there when the kids are gone.

        • I Agree! The days are long, but the years are short! I have the children. One has grown and flown, one in college and our youngest still at home. He’s 15 and such a delight! We have some days where we clean together, but I would much rather be with him and enjoy him than clean constantly. I want all of our children to remember the good times and laughter not me in constant cleaning mode. They do know how to make a bed, change sheets, wash clothes, make simple meals and clean their own bathroom.

      • Aww. Spend some time with those kids ! They won’t be little forever!

      • Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your coth,
        Empty the dustpan, poison the moth.
        Hang out the washing and butter the bread
        Sew on a button and make up a bed.
        Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
        She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
        Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
        (lullaby, Rockabye, lullaby too)
        Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
        (Pat-a-cske, Darling, and Peek-a-boo)
        The shopping’s not done
        And there’s nothing for stew
        And in the yard there is a hulbaloo.
        But I’m playing with Kanga and this is my Too
        Book! Aren’t her eyes the most beautiful hue?
        (lullaby E
        Rockabye, lullaby too)
        The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow
        For children grow up, as I learned to my sorrow.
        So quiet down cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
        I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.
        This is called the “Song for the Fifth Child'”
        Written NY Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

        I was the OCD Mom back in the 1980’s. My daughter doesn’t remember a lot of “free time” Momma and her” shared. My house was immaculate!, but to what cost? I ask myself that question every time I have the privilege to do something with my grandson.

        • I don’t know how to edit my post and didn’t know I could have expanded it to proof read. Anyone either know how to edit or remove?

          • Sara Barnes says

            Do not change a word of that precious poem. I have never read it, but it speaks truth. The art is to find the happy medium. Being the Mother of 1 living son and 1 deceased son as a baby, I valued every minute I could spend with him. And have been blessed with 2 grandsons. I was always a tidy person. I would walk up the stsirs justnto put one thing away in my room. I realized early on that the man I loved and was going to marry was a tidy person also. Removed clothing went into the hamper, coats went onto a hanger in the correct closet, we worked together as just living tify. And as our son grew, he was taughtbto,put things away as the daynprogressed and at bedtime I could look around at my total house and see that it was tidy, no time had been wasted and no one had been neglected. As senior citizens we still live thst way and I see that ourbson andbhis wifenlive that way also, thus the two grandsons live a tidy life as well. Life is easier in a clean, unclutered space, then there is quality time tongo, to watch a movie, to donwith your loved ones things that leave good memories.

        • Barbara Green says

          For children grow up, as I learned to my sorrow.
          So quiet down cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
          I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.
          This is called the “Song for the Fifth Child’”
          Written NY Ruth Hulbert Hamilton
          This was my motto when I has 5 kids under7, never regretted tme spent with my boys.

        • Imwith you. I rocked my babies to sleep. The dishes could wait. She grew up ,they grew up went to college and did the same. Our house is open to their friends who feel comfortable here, it is not a show place it is a home, with plants, animals, birds and lots of young people coming and going. Wouldn’t change a thing. BTW all those cleaning products aren’t good for your health.

        • I love these words! I cross – stitched the one about babies don’t keep.
          If you are so inclined, please have someone notify me when you pass with your information and I will be sure that there is a sign by your head that reads “She surely kept a tidy house,” because after all, that’s what everyone will say at your funeral.

      • I would really hope that you are engaging your children’s help and trying them to do some of this as they get older because if they live there they are part of the cleaning crew they need those life skills and you do them and their future spouses NO favor by not training them! All 3 of my kids were trained to load the dishwasher do laundry including folding and putting away. Basic cooking too!
        By the time they left for college they could live within a budget clean their rooms change their bed declutter their stuff and cook a few basic dishes without my “help .
        That will make you a proud momma someday not your house.

        • I record episodes of “Hoarders” then watch back to back on Friday night. On Saturday I go around with a large hefty bag and pick up anything left on the floor or clearly out of place and put it in the bag to throw away. It only took a few weeks for the kids and husband to notice when I was watching the show. Suddenly on Friday nights they started picking up their own stuff and straightening up. If it is on the floor, it is garbage. We do not store things under beds. There is a lot to be said for negative space, clean lines. We have wood floors, no dust ruffles and no fabric window treatments. Clean as you go. But I had a child with a compromised immune system, so I didn’t have a choice.

      • When do you find me time,children time and husband time.

      • LearningNaNa says

        Take it from someone who pretty much lived your life…..Your kids eill NOT Thank You for this life style…
        Not trying to hurt U…but I was just like U…& I’v raised 2 terrific men. That wait for someone else to take care of their stuff….Not what is HEALTHY for thrm or their wifes…..Please teach your kids pride im taking care of theirselves….IT WILL MAKE THEM BETTER AT BEING PARTNERS!!!
        BEST OF LUCK!!

      • I am always tidying up. I can’t function in disarray.. Everything has a place. I can’t start cooking I’d anything is in the sink. It’s a constant thing but never overwhelming cuz it’s never out of control

    • Goodness. Being tidy gives you more time and clarity to do for others.

    • Who says being a clean person means your not doing your part? I own my own house cleaning business and I pride myself in knowing that I am making someone else’s life easier by cleaning their home so they can focus on the things that most them. Being a clean person or wanting to be become cleaner is not the worst thing you could focus your time on.

    • Guess what! You can be tidy and ALSO help people

    • Those extra five minutes provide the physical and mental freedom to do lots for others….. it’s things like… just put the shirty bavk on the hanger for 2 seconds rather than cleaning up a ton of clothes and having to figure out which are clean or which are dirty for 30 minutes at the end of the week. It’s knowing that things are done so you don’t have to scramble last minute when you are asked to go do something for someone else. There is always a balance. And being tidy is not being uptight or wasting time on frivolous things it’s freeing up time for important things

      • I always told my kids that it’s just as easy – and it doesn’t take any more time – to put things in the right place as to put them in the wrong place. And then you only have to do it once.

    • If you spend a bit of time throughout the day keeping your home tidy,
      You will have more time to do those sorts of things vs having to spend
      Entire days per month cleaning and unburying your self from filth.

    • Kathy henry says

      It Doesn’t have to be one or the other. These five things make being tidy a habit no a chore. A tidy house is much more calm and soothing than clutter and chaos everywhere. It can be very freeing.

    • To the person who just posted their reply: There is no harm, no wasted time, nor selfishness on a tidy person’s home, or garage, or yard. Perhaps these people DO give back to our communities and think of others. For goodness sake, being tidy teaches self-discipline and teaches our families the dame good qualities.

    • Well said!

    • I had and have a lovely sweet Mom whose house cleaning was very important. So important that all the movies we went to, the kite flying, the fishing were all with Dad. I am not tidy and have no concerns about not making priority when raising my son, or now being happy with all the cool finds I get in our mountain community. To each his, or her own.

    • I totally agree with this! However, I live with people who don’t necessarily see things this way, so I’ve been trying to become tidier. And in doing so, I find that I feel better when things are halfway neat. And because of some organizational hacks I’ve discovered, I spend very little time tidying. Sure, my house could be cleaner and tidier, but it’s a helluva lot better than it’s ever been, and I feel more spacious in my mind, too, which creates room for contemplating more important things than how clean (or not) my house is.

    • If you’re tidy all the time, you never miss out on doing important things. Being untidy take a LOT ore time when you finally decide to tidy up.

    • I’ve read many comments and also have ADHD, always struggle with being organized yet know it is a form of OCD on either side of this tidy, not tidy coin and I’m close to a hoarder but I wish I could be organized and not have the control issues I do with making excuses because I’ve got other health issues keeping me from keeping up also. I do use the excuse too of caring more about people than a clean house, yet welcome ideas to get beyond me, the real problem if I am being honest, because I was taught to just try and never give up

  3. Think about more important things. You’re better than worrying about being tidy. Do something to help someone else. Do something that will matter long after you’re gone. Women have so much more important work to do than talking and thinking about trifling matters like “tidying.”

    • If your tidy, you can’t be helpful to others?

    • Being tidy helps yourself be more available to help others, provides a warm and comfortable home for your family, and provides a welcoming place to have friends over. It’s true what the flight attendants tell us: “You have to help yourself first before you can help others.” Clutter is controlling and holds us back from being with and, also, helping others.

      • LearningNaNa says

        “” Clutter is controlling and holds us back from being with and, also, helping others.””” I NEED TO HAVE THIS TATTOD ON MY FOREHEAD””
        Wow!!! what a profound peice of info!!
        thanx!! I needed that

    • yeah, thats right

  4. I’m a tidy person and agree with everything stated. Because I’m tidy, I have a joy knowing my house is organized and have time to have people over, can leave to help people at the drop of a hat and volunteer frequently knowing I don’t have to go home and work to put things in order. There is freedom in tidiness, as well as peace of mind.

  5. I think being tidy is a discipline that is important in life. It fights against laziness and procrastination. I know I feel so much better when I am organized and my home is in order. A home is a refuge and a place to feel peace. We all agree as a family (my husband, 5 kids and I) that we are all happier when the house is in order. When there is stuff all over, it is hard to relax. I’m not a cleaning freak, but order is important in everyone’s life.

    • Doris Eckel says

      This is exactly right, but this is not how it was when I got married, had 3 babies in a row. Since my Mom in Germany did everything I did not have chores. For some strange reason I became her when I started our household with my hubby of 54 years. I did it all, except got help with yard work. My Mom was the greatest example and I guess it rubbed off on me.
      Since we retired , I told him he is in charge of vaccuuming, his bathroom, and his laundry. No more clothes on the floor that I pick up. I will kick it all the way down the hallway until he gets the point. But he learned slowly. He has to fold his T-Shirts after I wash them and put them away too and he is supposed to keep his drawers neat because when I did all that he messed up his shirts etc in there and I was always arguing about it with him. Now he is doing it himself and I do NOT OPEN THOSE DRAWERS ANYMORE, WHAT A RELIEF!
      Sorry about the long story!

  6. I had a special guest coming to our house and I cleaned til it was neat as a pin. Some time after the visit, the guest told me that our house did not look ” lived in.” It was not a compliment. I never forgot that. I want my house to look cozy and poison clean to me is not cozy.

  7. I love a tidy, cozy home. It’s so much more relaxing to live in an uncluttered space and tidying definitely saves time for other things. Having said that, you don’t have to live in a museum where nobody touches anything to be tidy.

  8. I recently read that there is a very direct correlation between mental health and how tidy you keep your surroundings. Since I work with mental health clients I can tell you that I can gage just how depressed someone is by the state of their home.

    • Very true! I went through a state of depression and didn’t realize it. My house was a mess. When the cloud lifted, i had to get my house back in order and ies been nest and tidy since. An unhealthy mind cannot promote cleanliness. I struggled to shower every day.

      • great insight. thank you.

      • I am in this mode now. I used to be very clean and tidy.
        I do have too many things. They are nice things but I need to get rid of the clutter. I can tell you that being depressed is in direct correlation to a tidy home. My house started to get a little less tidy when I had to quit the job I loved because of chronic pain. I have been treated for depression for years, but when successful, my house was clean and today. Then about 4-5 years ago I decided to rescue all my grandmothers and my Moms and even my great grandmothers memorabilia. Wonderful photos and ephemera from all their years. I organized a bunch of it into nice boxes. But it became overwhelming as all the stuff took over ever space of my house. It is now in boxes, but there is still much loose stuff still needing a home. Yes, it is stacked in my home and my bathtub. This only added to my depression, though I had it somewhat in control at first. Then my 32 yr old son died a year ago. Now we have many of his things in the basement. My depression deepened as I mourned and the clutter grew. Then we acquired some new furniture. The old furniture is downstairs and in the garage. Some is supposed to go to the consignment store. But my husband and I never seem to get “around to getting it done.” My daughter has two boys. When the oldest became old enough for sleepovers at our house, I had to clean out this side small room. We don’t have a huge house with lots of storage. Actually, storage wasn’t built into the house. So if you with a nice size house and plenty of storage should never complain! If I had that kind of storage, what a difference it would make. So, the couch and what else was in this side room went downstairs and we have a crib and bunk beds in the side room. So..the clutter is everywhere. It is like chains holding me down every day. I make small improvements, but it’s a small dent. I even had a professional organizer come over last year and we cleaned out 36 large contractor bags of clothes and stuff out of my home. The two bedrooms downstairs were completed cleaned and looked great! But they now have shortage and stuff in them again. It is hard with fibromyalgia and a husband who has no desire to help de-clutter the house with me….I can’t get anywhere! And yes, I have turned into one of those people who doesn’t shower everyday. If you would have told me this would be my life 15 years ago I would have been stunned. I was an athlete once and lived to exercise. Always stayed the same weight. Now for the first time I have gained twenty plus lbs. most of those came on the year after my son died. I want to be the neat , clean person I was years ago. I am a Virgo and I was more of a perfectionist.

        • Anonymous in Flyover Country says

          Pam Green, my condolences on the loss of your son. Living with fibromyalgia or another autoimmune disease upends pretty much everything in life, and losing a child is the hardest blow any of us ever will suffer. You should not worry about the state of your home.

          On bad days, rest and take care of yourself. On good days, get outside for a walk, or meet a friend for a cup of coffee, and then spend an hour – no more! – in one corner of one room, culling the unnecessary, and tidying the rest. Eventually you will get through all of it. If your husband won’t help with the decluttering, he should do the routine cleaning, laundry, etc., or you should hire a helper to come in once or twice a month to do it. Your energy is very limited, so treat it as the precious thing that it is. Stress increases your pain and exhaustion, so emphasize doing things “well enough” on the days when you can.

          My wonderful mother-in-law was the tidiest person I’ve ever known. When she was dying of cancer, she told my clean-freak sister-in-law that cleaning wasn’t important (my messy home showed that I did not need that advice!), that the important thing was to spend time with the people you love, and doing things that you enjoy. She was right. Do a little on the days you can, and then – let go. Life is precious. Savor it.

      • Same thing happened to me and I’m still working on the house. I also thought the house would be cleaner once the kids were grown and gone. NOT SO, plus I miss them.

    • Very true! Now that I have managed my depressive episodes I keep my home tidy.

    • So very true. I am really struggling with this right now. The longer the depression goes on, the more untidy and cluttered it gets, the more depressed I get… Such a vicious cycle.

    • I’m not sure mental health is indicative of a clean home. I know a lady who is so obsessed about the cleanliness of her home and is on medication for severe anxiety. She apologizes to me everytime I come to her house about her constant tidying. Obsessiveness can go both ways. This article is about being tidy. Picking up your plate and putting it in the dishwasher. Not actually cleaning. There are people who keep a tidy house but never actually clean.

    • Again, uh. no. I am a total mess. My home is filled with paintings, photos, artifacts from travel, textures and clutter. I have a plant on every surface. I leave papers about. I keep things clean but messy. (Meaning, I wash my laundry and dishes but don’t care much if we have books scattered around.)

      I am really freaking happy. I would never be happy if my house was always neat and uncluttered. That, to me, is boring.

      In addition, I have a friend who has severe anxiety and her house is always spotless.

      I think that the more artistic you are, the less tidy your home will be. I’m okay with that. I have a rich life and I don’t have time to keep things spotless. This isn’t an “excuse” as some people on here are calling it. It’s just not my priority. If having a spotless home is someone else’s priority and it causes them anxiety, by all means, they should ensure they are tidy. Yet, being untidy is not a moral or ethical failure like so many sanctimonious tidy people like to pretend it is. My priorities and values are different from yours. Plain and simple.

      You can find fault in that if you want, but I wouldn’t come to your home and gasp at how boring and drab it looks because you don’t have any books or art or knickknacks about. So why gasp at my unwillingness to hide away all sentimental knickknacks just because it looks “untidy”?

  9. I love clean and I hate wasting time cleaning. Tidy is the answer. It’s very freeing knowing where things are, being able to move quickly because my environment is uncluttered, and never being concerned with my space being “company suitable”. It helps a lot keeping the gewgaws to a minimum – just the things one truly loves – and implementing a ‘clean as you go’ program. Completely agree with the author.

  10. Carolyn Beachy says

    Who cares? I’m have time for tidying up now, but for years I worked full time and had kids in two schools. We survived! Cleanliness not next to godliness, as some of you seem to suggest.

  11. The best motivating word is “company”! Amazing things take place when we know someone is coming to visit. And…the cleanest and most organized my house ever was when we were trying to sell our home! So once a week pretend Aunt Tidy is coming to visit and once a year pretend to put your house on the market. Purge your life of stuff you don’t need. Stop sticking games that are missing pieces back into cabinets. Throw them away. That coat missing the buttons you are never going to wear…donate it. Let someone else enjoy it. You know where I’m going with this…

  12. Thanks, this is helpful.

  13. I declutter 4x a year (every season). It helps with cleaning!
    I also deep clean my home 2x a year and keep up with it every week. As a teacher, parent of four, two dogs, kids’ activity, my own time and bday parties, etc, oh and let me add an OCD… I have learned to do the best as much as I can. Yet not forgetting about keeping my sanity and enjoying my family!

  14. Tidy people hire housekeepers.

    • Completely untrue statement. Tidy people who are too busy to be tidy may hire housekeepers. Some tidy people find extreme enjoyment in cleaning their own home.

    • LoL…I once knew someone who cleaned the house before the housekeeper arrived so she wouldn’t be embarrassed!

      • I do same and it’s not out of embarrassment…it’s simply easier for her to surface clean entire house of vacuuming floors, damp-mopping floors, cleaning kitchen and bath countertops, polishing huge stainless steel sink ab$ polishing appliances if everything is tidy. I have a cleaning lady because I tend to make piles on my kitchen island, on my nightstand table etc. This way I please my ocd husband as all surfaces are squeaky clean but my piles are never a staggering pile. I allow a day or two of slacking but by third day I’m hustling to stay on top of it as it’s too time consuming to do in one fell swoop…
        So yes, I clean for my cleaning lady…I find it more efficient to have her dusting and surface cleaning more in less time because she isn’t moving clutter, dishes, clothes etc. more bang for my buck, if you will. Btw, marrying an ocd husband was a bit of a challenge as 8 was brought up with clutter. I knew it was going to be a tough road and we actually had to seek counseling as we were fighting about me having shoes in the laundry/garage entry. He thought a pair of shoes should be in closet only. We agreed on one pair was acceptable. Fourteen years later we have a mudroom and I saw two pair of HIS shoes in there last week. 😉.I’m a happier tidier person than fourteen yrs ago and he has declenched a bit.
        When my son was a baby I had to constantly remind him his late mother told me she wished she hadn’t emphasized cleaning as babies grow up. She admitted to polishing his leather shoes every day he napped! She cleaned manically. Her three sons ALL have OCD.
        So as my child has gotten older I’ve had more time to keep house tidier and I don’t regret my learning curve days as it allowed me time rocking my baby and playing hours a day with my toddler. That Poem mentioned above? I never heard more than the rocking my baby stanza…I love ❤️ the poem in its entirety even more! Thank you for posting.
        I still choose a board game over dishes if it’s something he chooses before bed. Dishes can be finished up at 9pm as easy at 7pm if he wants mom-time after dinner.
        Go to sleep with kitchen counters and sink clean. No more than five items out of place on main living floor. This way you wake up to clean house and you can tidy it in minutes by picking up a tea mug, remotes, a magazine, a robe etc.
        Good luck and God Bless.

        • One musingmama says

          You straighten for your cleaning person, who then does the cleaning. There’s a difference between tidy and clean. My house is cluttered and messy but it is clean (dusted, swept, vacuumed, etc.). Clutter is tough because it is a constant battle but a tidy home is so much more peaceful.

  15. Marcy Fazzolare says

    Cool pretty much love ❤️ this. Miss my healthy days of clean and tidy home. I was a deep cleaner for years and it is still very dear to my heart. Sick and in bed I stare at dirty windows and it depresses me more. And yes cleanliness is next to godliness. God is a clean and orderly being. Can u imagine heaven any other way?

  16. Who says being a clean person means your not doing your part? I own my own house cleaning business and I pride myself in knowing that I am making someone else’s life easier by cleaning their home so they can focus on the things that most them. Being a clean person or wanting to be become cleaner is not the worst thing you could focus your time on.

  17. You had me up until “cow hide rug”. You must understand that not everyone shares your carnist views. You have 3 sons, how would you like it if I talked about displaying their skins on my floor. Think about it. It’s disgusting and not “tidy” at all to “decorate” with the skin of an animal who suffered for human their entire life.

  18. It amazes me the little things people will find to pick out of an article and “harp” on. I wasn’t born tidy. I intentionally became that way. I don’t spend all day feeding some neurosis. I do help other people. I have helped everyone in my household live a calmer more prepared life in their busy schedules. It has been the most rewarding contribution I’ve made to my family. I’m not patting myself on the back. Simply saying a few changes in habits toward the tidy has really enriched our lives. All of these things are helpful jumping off points IMO.

  19. This is hilarious! I do everything on that list everyday and it’s not a hardship! That’s what my mom taught me and I readily adopted it. I feel very organized and at peace. I can’t imagine not practicing these steps everywhere!

  20. Balance, people!

  21. A little compassion goes a long way.
    Just saying…

  22. I’ve trained myself to clean a bathroom, change over laundry, or wipe down the kitchen the second I answer my phone. It’s time I would already not be 100% engaged in conversation with my kids so I might as well be doing something productive in the house. It’s amazing how a 10 minute conversation with a friend or the cable company can turn into 3 chores being done without thinking about it. A few conversations later, the house is tidy and you have time for the real important things in life without worrying about cleaning the house hanging over your head. It’s amazing how quickly you can get in this habit and not even realize how tidy your house has become!

  23. I try to keep my house what we call “family clean.” Clean, so that it is comfortable and we can relax but not so clean that touching anything messes it up. Everyone has a place and space to do their thing. This means I wipe down surfaces when I notice they need a wipe and spot clean the floor… Try to keep on top of the dishes and deal with clutter regularly. I like to have my kitchen table and countertops clear and the living room and family room looking organized. People aren’t allowed to just leave their junk out in common spaces. I try to pull out the vacuum regularly or whenever I notice it needs it. I keep cleaning supplies in each bathroom and under the kitchen counter so if I notice something I can give it a quick wipe. That way, unless we are having expected company, I don’t spend much time cleaning – only minutes here and there. And if someone arrives unexpectedly, well, they get what they get but I try to keep things nice enough I wouldn’t be embarrassed to invite them in. We actually do have a lot of people regularly dropping in with having kids and them having friends over and all the picking up and dropping off that happens. Parents usually come in and chat for a bit. Then when planned company is coming I do a more in depth clean – mopping and dusting. I do try to get rid of stuff we’re not using and not buy stuff we don’t really need. And I don’t know if I’m exactly tidy but it feels good to our family and it seems manageable without taking much effort.

  24. My mother was a clean freak, and followed me around the house all day complaining and scrubbing. My art teacher had to beg her to let me leave an art project on a table overnight so the glue could dry — my mother refused! When we had guests, my mother was practically rigid with frustration if they so much as dropped a crumb on the floor — when they left, she sterilized the house. I could hardly wait to leave home, and now I rarely visit. My own house gets cleaned once a week, and it is delightfully cluttered — full of books, cooking, friends, cats, and tons of creative projects (I’m an artist, author, and dancer). When my mother visits, she criticizes everything. There is no joy in her life, but her house is very tidy.

    • Thank you! My response to this patronizing sales pitch … er … opinion piece is fu. “Tidy” in this case is a euphemism for “stick up one’s ass.”

  25. This is the way I see it, house work has to be done sooner or later. I’ve found that it’s much easier to do a little each day, than to wait till your house needs an entire day of intensive work to catch up. I had a sister-in-law ho did the latter, she was always embarrassed if anyone dropped by and said she admired how I kept mine so clean. I really never spent a lot of time on it. I was always busy doing things with my kids, going to ball games, spending time outside , when the weather permits. Tidying up just frees you up to do the enjoyable things.

  26. Grove unfortunately does not take prepaid debit or credit cards. And sadly, after having my identity stolen, i refuse to allow my “real” credit cards be exposed for online orders. So this service while very cool is not as easy to use as your local grocer which will typicalky have online ordering and many same day delivery services, AND take your ppd cards :-)

  27. Another ad for Grove disguised as an article. Get smart people. Tidy people and untidy people simply have different priorities. That’s not going to change by stocking up on cleaning supplies.

  28. One thing I can’t seem to manage is what to do with the clothes that are between 100% clean and not really dirty enough to wash yet. Do you hang them up on a hook or what/ I am struggling with my pile in the bedroom. Thoughts/

    • I got an idea from a friend that works really well. She hangs the ‘not clean but not dirty’ stuff inside out. So it’s hung up but it is obvious that it’s been worn. Jeans, you could hang them opposite of the way you normally would. Or my hubby hangs his longer than I normally do after he wears them.

    • I have a hook on the back of my closet door. I put nearly-clean clothes on hangers on the hook, out of sight.

  29. I’m so thrilled for the people who want to be tidy people who have overcome their messiness and learned tidy habits.

    I’m also so thrilled for the people who don’t care if they are tidy and have embraced their personalities and priorities in life.

    I am NOT so thrilled about people who pretend they are morally superior to others because they spend their time cleaning and then say things like “We have MORE time because we clean.” No you don’t. You just don’t. There are only 24 hours in a day. Maybe some people waste an entire Saturday cleaning because they didn’t spend each weeknight cleaning. Maybe some people let dishes pile up while they are watching tv and others record the show. Whatever. There are still only 24 hours in a day. The good bit of life is that you and I get to choose what we want to spend our lives doing. If having a super clean, decluttered home is peaceful for you, GREAT! If spending your hours in a messy pottery studio, covered in clay while you have mail strewn about your kitchen is for you- GREAT!

    Can we just knock it off with the arguments over who is better or happier?

    • We’re all in this life together. We should support each other’s choices instead of knocking each other down. At the end of the day we die and will no doubt regret some things. Can’t help that. Live your life as you think best and ignore those who would belittle you.

  30. Being tidy may be a discipline, but that very trait can do be sabotaged if you are marred to someone who is a spoiled slob. My husband’s sisters were 14, 16, and 18 when he was born. They evidently followed along behind him picking up any messes he mad. If he opens a candy bar the wrapper goes on the floor as he walks through the house. If he eats a sandwich on a paper plate the plate is placed on the nearest table and forgotten about. If he takes off an article of clothing he flings it over any available chair and leaves it. His side of the bed is a pile of clothes, wrappers, shoes, empty food containers – you name it! I am not only a senior citizen but a senior with a plethora of health issues. My doctors have directed me NOT to clean because of the damage the dust and chemicals do to my lungs and what the lifting, etc does to my back. I also have cancer and will be on chemo for the rest of my life. I obviously am unable to spend ten hours a day cleaning house. I do hire someone to come in once every week or two, depending on what I can afford. I’m curious. What do you suggest for some
    Rome in MY situation!

    • I’m only replying to you because I know the struggle! My husband was also a slob! And while there are still some things I hate, he has gotten a lot better with a little training ;) However, I am more concerned with your health issues. I have a Zero Tolerance immune system and dust and cleaning chemicals make me SICK! I found a product or company called Norwex! They make microfiber cloths that only need water to clean! And they are fabulous! I no longer have to make plans to be in the bed after cleaning my house! It is absolutely wonderful! If you are interested in, visit my website jessicalamar.norwex.biz You won’t be disappointed! All products come with a 60 day money back, no questions asked, guarantee!

  31. You make a lot of great points. It is hard to get out of the habit of saying you will deal with the mess later. When ‘later’ comes, we are often too tired and therefore everything piles up. I have to say, you can think clearer and feel better when everything is clean and orderly.

    Sometimes I use housework, cleaning and organizing as my weight loss program and it helps. You get your day to a good start, your mind is on organizing and staying tidy causing you to eat less and move more! Thanks for posting!

  32. We all find time to do what matters to us. Cleaning is not that big a deal to keep up with, and if it matters to you, you can integrate it into your life without sacrificing other things. Most of my life I’ve worked full time while raising a family. My bed is made before I leave the house. It’s just as easy to put breakfast dishes into the dishwasher as pile them in the sink. We toss in a load of laundry in the morning and dry it when we get home…takes 5 minutes to put clean clothes away. Those of you making a big deal about how impossible it is to keep up your house–you really just don’t care!

  33. Most of my life I’ve worked full time while raising a family.

  34. I’m so thrilled for the people who want to be tidy people who have overcome their messiness and learned tidy habits.

  35. Like Very good

  36. You can’t be tidy when your husband is a walking disaster for not putting anything away.

  37. i love the way you wrote the blog post. its so awesome and useful . thank you very much

  38. Thanks for sharing such a good article and for informative things. Your articles are really amazing and I got a lot of information and guidance reading them. It helped me a lot and I will surely follow your article techniques. Waiting for more useful updates and new things

  39. A good start : flylady.net

  40. Rebecca Nugent says

    These comments chiding anyone for desiring to be tidy or for encouraging anyone else to do so are total BS. Of COURSE we all wish to be or desire to be tidy! If we’re honest, we’d all love to walk into a clean home. It’s like trying to convince people that you never wish you were thin or fit. Of COURSE you wish you were thin or fit! The issue isn’t that nobody wants those things (or shouldn’t want them.) The issue is that they’re WORK to attain. And instead of being honest about it, we attempt to glory in our laziness and then despise others for stating the obvious. Please. Grow up, Ladies. (Cue the predictable comments about how I’m self loathing or something to that ilk…)

  41. I love this

  42. I love tidiness, it’s just really hard. If I don’t see it, I don’t know I have it and buy another one.

  43. Why are not comments posted?

  44. tankyu were good websit and weblog

  45. Salespeople have an “ABC” mantra: “always be closing.” The tidiness version of this is “always be cleaning.” Like you note in your piece, tidiness is a lifestyle, not a one-time clean-up. I remind myself to “always be cleaning” whenever I feel an urge to leave a mess for another day.

  46. Ugh, this whole thing was written to sell Grove stuff

  47. Hands down, the best tip is to pick things up and put them away as you go. Also – no need to buy a lot of products . . .the number one NATURAL home-cleaning product is plain old white vinegar, mixed with water. Can’t beat it.

  48. Donna L Bosmans says

    I love the ticking striped bedspread in one of the photos above. Can you tell me the source?
    Thank you!

  49. I would also like to know where the ticking stripe bedspread is from! It would be perfect in my guest bedroom! Thanks!

  50. One piece of advice my dad shared with me about cleaning is, “never leave a room without something for the next room.”
    If you are going upstairs, grab something that belongs up there. That small action got me in the habit of a constant state of tidying so it doesn’t get overwhelming.

    Also a friend shared with me a strategy that she used with her kids when cleaning their rooms. She told them to clean up by category. Start with paper (books, school papers, etc), then clothes, then toys, then miscellaneous. It really helps with big messes when the mess just seems monumental and your not sure where to start!

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