Keeping a home that is perfectly clean and picked up all the time isn’t my gift, nor is it my goal, but I do strive to keep it tidy enough to be our family’s sanctuary. If that’s your desire as well, here are 5 secrets I’ve learned are key to keeping a (reasonably) tidy home.
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You may have clicked over to this post assuming that if I’m writing about tidy homes, my house must be immaculate. (Unless you know me in real life, in which case you’re here to out me as a fraud.)
But you would be wrong. Oh, so very wrong.
Let’s just say, I’m not going to win any “cleanest home” awards anytime soon.
Growing up, I was… *ahem*… prone to messiness, shall we say? (I owe apologies to my mom and every college roommate I ever had). Fortunately, my housekeeping skills improved drastically after I had my own home to manage, but I’ll likely never be someone with a super clean home. (My sister, on the other hand, always has the cleanest house I’ve ever seen – proof that genes are a wild and wacky thing.)
The reality I’ve accepted is that unless I strike it rich and get a live-in Alice (gold star if you get the reference), my home will never be spotless. It just isn’t my priority, passion, or personality.
That being said, I DO care about keeping a (reasonably) tidy home. Research shows that a tidy home is good for mental health and general well-being. And I believe it! When our home is picked-up, orderly, and cleared of most of the clutter, we feel more comfortable, our stress levels go down, and we’re more able to rest and relax.
Keeping a home that is perfectly clean and picked up all the time isn’t my gift or my goal, but I do strive to keep it tidy enough to be our family’s sanctuary. If that’s your desire as well, here are 5 secrets I’ve learned are key to keeping a (reasonably) tidy home.
How Tidy is Tidy Enough?
First, though, let’s talk about what we mean by “tidy.” As in last week’s blog post about healthy meals, everyone’s definition is different. So, in figuring out how tidy is tidy enough for your home, there is no across-the-board standard. It’s going to vary for each family.
Rather than declaring specific rules, then, here are some questions to ask yourself to figure out your family’s optimal level of tidiness:
- Is the state of our home causing stress in our family? Do my family members often complain or comment on it? Do we enjoy being in our home? Can we relax in it?
- Am I feeling conviction in this area? Is this something I know I need to work on? Or am I allowing unfair expectations or comparison drive me to do more than what’s really necessary or reasonable in this season?
- Do I ever put my home above my people? Am I prioritizing cleaning my home over being present with my family? (Because yes, it is possible to be too tidy.)
My goal for my home (notice I say “goal,” because I don’t always succeed!) is to keep it clean enough to be sanitary, decluttered enough to be comfortable, and picked-up enough to be peaceful. My home is not, nor will it ever be, spotlessly clean, but I strive to keep it tidy enough to be a fun, enjoyable, and restful place for us to live and love.
5 Secrets to Keeping a (Reasonably) Tidy Home
Again, I’m no cleaning wizard here, but these 5 things have helped me tremendously stay on top of the normal wear-and-tear of everyday life. (Full honesty: Do I always have a tidy home? No. But when I don’t, it’s because I haven’t kept up with these 5 habits!)
“Just clean something” every day
This is something I picked up from Rebekah Hoffer (AKA Simply Rebekah) on Instagram, and I love it. Big cleaning jobs feel super overwhelming to me, which means I’m for sure going to put them off. That’s what I do. But daily bite-sized “just clean something” tasks feel so much more do-able. This has been a game-changer!
Clean right away after dinner
I used to put off dinner dishes, counters, etc. until the next morning because I was tired and didn’t want to mess with them at the end of a long day. But guess what? I don’t like waking up to those tasks, either! Shocker, right??
So now I pull up my big girl panties, push up my sleeves, and clean up right after dinner while Levon gets some quality time with the kids. It takes a little digging down deep to summon the energy sometimes, but it always feels sooooo good to enjoy the evening knowing it’s done.
Keep main living spaces clean
While I would love for my entire house to be tidy all the time, I have to be reasonable. For one thing, I have three small tornadoes, I mean children. For another… I just flat-out don’t want to be cleaning my house all the time. Nope, that is not how I want to spend my life. (It would seriously cut into my reading time, for one thing. *wink*) So, I focus my daily efforts on our main living areas. If I can keep those tidy, the whole house feels tidy.
Put things away right away (and only touch them once)
One of the most helpful habits I’ve developed is to put away stray items as soon as I notice them. When I walk past a sock on the floor, I throw it in the hamper. If I see a dish, I put it in the dishwasher. This includes folding and putting away clothes within the day I wash them (I do one load a day, almost every day). I also try to live by the “touch it once” rule – rather than moving items/piles from one temporary resting place to another, as soon as I pick them up I take them to their proper place.
Institute a weekly “Family Pick-Up”
I’ve started a weekly tradition my family just loves (okay, maybe not) called “Family Pick-Up.” After putting on some upbeat music (optional, but highly recommended), I set a timer for 30 minutes. Then, we all rush around getting as much cleaned up and picked up as we can in that amount of time. You’d be surprised at what you can do in a half hour, especially when everyone works together! And it helps to have a time limit, so we know we only have to do it for 30 minutes.
Those are 5 ways I’ve been learning to keep my home (reasonably) orderly as a person who is not naturally tidy. What are some of your best tips and tricks? Share them with me in the comments!
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
- Why “Homemaking” Means More Than You Think
- 7 Homemaking Habits I Should Have Adopted Years Ago
- 5 Household Systems You Need for a Smoothly Running Home
- 12 Unique Ways to Enjoy Housework (Even When You Hate It!)