Most of us want a cleaner home. We feel overwhelmed by daily obligations, work, stress, and that whole feeling that comes with phrases like “tidy up” “clean the house”, etc.. So Instead of giving you “ways to be perfect and have a Stepford style, freakishly clean house 100% of the time” – I’m going to give you some real talk. I’m going to give you Small daily habits for keeping a tidy home.
This is less of a time commitment than you think.
It’s more of a mindset shift and habit commitment. But don’t stress too much. It’s easier than you’d expect.. and the rewards make it oh-so worth it!
So.. Why Keep a Tidy Home?
It’s not like Marie Kondo or other company will be dropping by every day, inspecting your house to see if it’s clean and free of clutter.. so why should you bother keeping a tidy home?
Well, there are loads of benefits to having a clean and organized space! Check them out:
If you’re always surrounded by mountains of junk (paperwork, toys, dishes, shoes, magazines, games, whatever) – you are always stressed out!
Whether that stress comes from thinking “OMG THIS PLACE IS A WRECK!” constantly, or is more of a subtle, subconscious “ahhhhh!” constantly roaring away in the background. It’s there.
Reduce the mess, Reduce the stress.
More Focus & Concentration
If you’re not surrounded by “shiny” objects (or just “objects that aren’t directly related to the task at hand”), you can stay focused on the task at hand.
It’s like giving a dog ONE tennis ball to chase, or giving a dog a tennis ball to chase through a field of tennis balls… same deal.
Help yourself out and clear the clutter!
Stop Looking for Lost Stuff
You won’t lose things if everything has a home.
There won’t be mountains of junk in every room, begging the question “where the hell is my…….?” – you’ll know where the hell your….. is, because you assigned it a home. And now it lives there.
Don’t Freak Out About Cleaning for Company
If I said “Hey, we’re coming over for a surprise dinner at your house in 45 minutes!” – would you be happy, or freaked out right now?
MANY people would be freaked!
They’d spend the next 45 minutes cleaning as much as they could (starting with the clutter, moving to surfaces, and trying to end with bathrooms or floors- up until the second the doorbell rang)
Instead of experiencing that panic / dread / embarrassment of a messy house.. just eliminate it.
You won’t worry about cleaning for someone if you house is already clean.
Less Clutter = Less Stuff = More $$
Picture it.. your house is clutter free. There are no more mountains of junk on your surfaces, in your closets, or in the drawers.
You go to Target.. look at that totally cute thing on the shelf! Don’t you neeeeed it!?
Then you think.. wait, where would that amazing thing even go!?
You realize it wouldn’t have a home, you don’t need it, and you don’t buy it.
Your tidy house just saved you money.
Read that again, but slower.
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Now that you know WHY you want to have a tidy house (day after day after day!) Here are some of the best:
Daily Habits for Keeping a Tidy Home
Leave Shoes at The Door
Just make it a habit, no, a rule – that every time anyone comes inside the house (to stay), they take off their shoes and leave them in the designated shoe area!
Adults. Kids. Guests. Everyone.
This will keep muddy, dirty, and grassy floors to an absolute minimum, and there won’t be issues of missing shoes or a big mess of shoes all over the house!
Have a Specific Place for Everything
School work, backpacks, hats, jackets, games, remotes, game controllers, water bottles.. anything you have in your house.
Give it a HOME.
Not a ‘place it should go’ – a home. Where it must go back to every single night.
Train your family to put their things back in their home. (Repetition helps). Then go to sleep each night with a clutter-free home – filled with things peacefully living in their rightful homes.
Create a Routine
For any chores that need to be done: wiping counters, cleaning toilets, folding laundry, making the bed, etc. … you can create a routine.
Routines are also known as schedules. Schedules that you simply must follow!
You can have a daily routine that includes making the bed, doing the dishes, putting everything in its home (toys, backpacks, shoes, clothes), and wiping down kitchen counters.
Then you can have a “long con” routine of taking out the trash and doing laundry every 3 days. Deep cleaning the bathrooms once a month, but cleaning the toilets and sinks once a week.
Whatever you want to get done – set a schedule for you and your family. Then stick to it! They’ll follow your lead.
So lead on, de-cluttering queen! (or king!)
Keep Surfaces Cleared Off
A great way to insure a tidy home is to keep surfaces cleared off daily!
What do I mean by “surfaces”? I mean any flat, horizontal surface that can hold things.
Counters, kitchen tables, night stands / dressers, bookshelves and coffee tables are the biggest criminals here.. but I’m sure you can locate another couple of surfaces if you try.
If an object’s HOME (as I mentioned above) isn’t on the surface… it doesn’t belong there. i.e. if a water bottle doesn’t permanently live on a bookshelf (whereas the books do).. it shouldn’t stay there.
You can either keep this habit up “as you go” about your day, or you can include it in the 10 minute tidy I’ll talk about in a minute.. and just clean off EVERY surface, every day before bed.
But however you do it, make sure you go to bed with a house full of clear surfaces, and wake up with a happy, clutter free home.. every. day.
Sort the Mail Immediately
Here’s your new daily mail routine:
Step 1. Get the mail
Step 2. Flip through the mail and sort into: a) NEED TO TAKE ACTION ON; b) NEED TO READ; c)JUNK and d)JUNK.. but with SENSITIVE INFO.
Step 3. Recycle c) Junk. Shred d) JUNK but with SENSITIVE INFO
Step 4. Read & take action on what you need to do.
Did you notice there was no step 5, “throw that mail on the kitchen table or coffee table and forget about it for months!”??? That’s because you shouldn’t do that.
Problem solved. Moving on!
Listen to 1 great song and clean HARD
Pick a room that needs a little love (decluttering or cleaning).
Then turn on a jam! (aka – excellent song you can sing and dance to)
Sing, dance, and clean your ass off.
When the song is over. Move on. You’re all done.
(sure, you can play a couple of songs if you want. But just doing this for 3-5 minutes per day will really help you out quite a bit. )
Tomorrow, pick a different room. Rinse and repeat.
Establish House Rules
This one will be a longer process at the beginning, and will then (hopefully, if done correctly 🙂 ) become a daily habit.
Set up whatever house rules you want to keep things tidy.
Here are some suggestions.
- No clothes on the floor – in the drawer, hanging in the closet, or in the dirty clothes hamper. ONLY.
- Don’t leave any trash you see. If you see any trash, throw it away. Even if it’s not yours.
- Always clean surfaces after use. Did you cook? Clean the counter. Did you eat? Clean the table? Did you do homework? Clean off your desk. etc.
- Don’t sleep in a messy room. If your room is a wreck, use one of these quick 3-10 minute habits listed here and tidy up before you go to bed. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but make sure clothes, shoes, toys, books, and trash are away.. then sleep! (you’ll wake up much more peacefully in a clean room!)
Whatever rules fit your family and your situation.. implement those, enforce them over time, and suddenly you’ve got yourself a set of daily habits to keep a tidy house!
Check out these 5 Simple Steps to Organize ANYTHING!!
Do the Dishes Immediately. Every. Time.
After you finish a meal, do the dishes.
Just do it. It’ll take 5-10 minutes, and then you can relax, play games, watch tv, have some quality time with your S.O – whatever.
Just clean the dishes. You’ll feel better finishing off a meal with a clean sink – and that feeling of productivity and accomplishment is even better when there’s not a big damn mess next time you’re ready to cook!
Keep a Donation Box Around
Keep a donation box in your family room, garage, or another place that you’ll see daily.. but is also out of the way.
Any time you come across some former ‘things’ turned ‘junk’ (that you no longer love, or don’t completely work as well as they once did) – either throw it away, or put it in the donation box.
This giving away stuff process will become easier and easier over time.. the less cluttered your house becomes, the less cluttered you will want it to be. After a while, you’ll be TRYING to get rid of all your things (okay, maybe not all, but a lot!).
By the end of a month or two, you’ll probably have at least a handful of items that still work fine, but that you just no longer need. Go on and take it to your local charity of choice!
Then bring the box back and do it again.
This is a great way to have a small, ever-present reminder in your home that you have the option of giving things away to people that have less than you… and to take it to the charity donation area, already!! 🙂
Live Within Your Means
If you go shopping and just go on a crazy spending spree.. chances are you’ll come back and your house won’t even have any more available spots to make “homes” for your new stuff.
Plus, you’ll have blown a lot of money.
So instead of impulse-buying everything you see at Target, only buy an item if it 1) fits in the budget and 2) you have a specific spot for it in your home (without creating clutter).
If it doesn’t fit the bill, then don’t do it!
Follow the 2 Minute Rule
If a task takes less than 2 minutes – do it now.
Just do it.
You’ve already wasted time THINKING about it. Just Knock. That. Shit. Out.
Toss Broken Toys
Don’t stress out about whether your kid’s heart will break over the one, random, broken toy. Chances are, they have MANY more to take its place.
If something is broken and can’t be fixed fairly easily with a simple tool, new batteries, or a bandaid… it’s probably done.
Plastic is fairly impossible to repair.
Give up the dream.
Don’t fill your house with heaps of TRASH, which is exactly what broken toys are. They’re trash. Put them in the trash.
It will be okay. I promise.
Invite People Over, Often!
Instead of your former dread of “omg, company’s coming over?! This place is a wreck! I have to clean everything!”…
With these daily habits, you’ll be overcome with a sense of peace and excitement to see your friends, rather than dread of their judgement.
So. To further incentivize your tidy house habits, invite people over more often. WAY more often.
Volunteer to have that family gathering at your house. Offer up your kitchen for that potluck. Bring your kids’ friends home, and invite their parents inside. Every. Time.
You will not only feel better, more peaceful, and proud of your tidy home.. but you’ll feel just a teeny bit of pressure to keep up the good work!
Check Food Expiration Dates Weekly
Instead of waiting until sprouts pop out of onions and potatoes, apples get wrinkly, and something in the fridge starts to grow green stuff and smell…
Just check your food expiration dates, and food freshness weekly! (maybe even daily).
If something is only good for a few more days, move it to the forefront and make sure it gets eaten soon!
If something is bad.. TOSS IT.
Don’t just let it sit there and grow things.. you probably aren’t making penicillin in there.
Clear Out Cabinets
Every month or so, you’ll want to go through and clear out all the different cabinets in your home.
(HINT: You could do one a week, and easily knock it out!)
Medicine, cabinet, pantry, make up area, bathroom cabinets, cleaning supplies… basically anything that’s stored behind a door and could be empty or expired..
Check it out every now and then, and get rid of what you don’t need, or what’s not serving you any longer.
Never Leave A Room Empty Handed
I read this tip a few months ago, and I think my house has been FAR more tidy ever since I started implementing it!
Every time you exit a room, take something back to its home.
Never leave a room empty handed. It’s as simple as that.
Going from your office down to the kitchen? Take that empty cup or bottle down and put it in the dishwasher.
Going from the car to the kitchen? Don’t forget that trash you just sat down inside.
Put everything back in its home.. just by naturally walking around as you always do.
All you have to do is think a teeeeeny bit ahead. Like the simplest game of chess! And you’ll help yourself out with keeping a tidy house!
Only Go Shopping With a Strict Budget – and Stick to It!
It’s always wise to have a working budget for your household.
This way, before you actually spend any of the hard-earned money you make.. you know exactly where it’s going.
Mortgage / rent, utilities, groceries, gas, savings, investments, travel fund, clothes, “fun” money, etc.
So each and every time you go shopping, hopefully you known how much money you’re “allowed” to spend.
Spend it wisely!
When you do that, you’re almost automatically going to STOP picking up random junk you don’t need that will simply accumulate all over your home.. increasing the clutter.
So, simply by sticking to your budget, you will create a more tidy house for yourself! (and save money! WIN-WIN!)
Make the Bed Every Morning.
I’ve got a video here in my list of Habits of Highly Effective People that specifically talks about the importance of making your bed every single morning.
I hope you’ll check it out. It’s a great video with a brilliant sentiment.
The very, very basic gist of it is this: Start out with a made bed. It sets the tone for your day, and it sets the tone for your tidy home.
Making your bed is a great way to tidy your home, one small, daily habit at a time!
Do One Load of Laundry Every Day
If you have kids, this is especially true. Rather than letting your laundry pile up (literally) into mountains, only to overwhelm you and consume an entire day of your week, and dayS of your month,… just try to do one load a day.
That’s something you can just set to “Go” and leave it.. you don’t have to give it constant care and attention.
Do one load every day, and you’ll be amazed how much time you can free up!
(Don’t worry about the ‘saving water’ thing – my mom used to only do laundry ALL AT ONCE to save water and money. But that was before these newfangled washing machines got smart and started weighing their contents, and only filling up as much as necessary. Don’t stress.)
10 Minute Clean Up Every Night
Just before bed time (or maybe a bit earlier if you have grouchy sleepyheads in your house like I do.. you don’t want a total meltdown instead of peaceful sleeping!).. take just 10 minutes for everyone in your house to clean up!
Think of it as an extended “10 Second Tidy” like they use to do on the Big Comfy Couch!
Anything on this list, or your own list that hasn’t been done for the day- take 10 minutes and knock it out of the park!
Put away clothes, toys, books, shoes, food, and dishes.
Do a quick wipe-down of all surfaces.
Make sure homework is securely in backpacks for the next day.
Lock the doors, turn off the lights, and hit the hay.
What a happy, productive way to end the day!
If you make this a true daily habit, you’ll be all set.. probably forever.. with a tidy house!
I hope these daily habits for keeping a tidy house will help you create a routine that works for you and your family!
Remember, these are just a few ideas for keeping a tidy house, not all of them! So if you’ve got more, drop them in a comment below! I love to learn new tips and tricks for tidying my house!
and remember, make good life choices!!