21 Secrets for a Tidy Home will inspire you to keep your home as beautiful as you always knew it could be. Some people can keep their house clean effortlessly, and it’s time for us non-tidy people to learn their formula.
If people list my top ten qualities, I can guarantee that keeping a neat and orderly house is not one of them. But I’m vowing to change and bring my tidy skills to the light of day.
If you’re targeting specific rooms to keep clean, you can take a look at 6 Quick Kitchen Organizing Ideas or 13 Brilliant Ways to Organize your Clothes Closet.
“I’d like to tidy up the entire planet. I would go anywhere if there were something that needs tidying.”Marie Kondo
The quote above makes me laugh. I don’t know about you, but I could use a little of Marie Kondo’s zealous attitude about cleaning in my life.
In the cozy living group, I find there are two camps of people. Some find it easy to keep their home neat and clean. And then…there’s the rest of us.
We can all learn from each other, so something that is a weakness in one person can be changed by a few simple examples and implementation.
I decided to do a little research to determine how naturally clean people go about their days and share those tidy home tips with you. You can get your life organized – one bite-sized chunk at a time.
Creating a Cozy Life Group
Since you found this article on keeping a tidy home, I’m guessing you like all things cozy living. I created a Facebook group called Creating a Cozy Life with over 121,000 like-minded souls.
It’s a group where we share recipes, pictures of things that leave you in awe, and ideas on how to make your life just a little bit more snug. Join here to be part of the virtual cozy cabin.
Here are the 21 Secrets to Tidy Homes
“We dream of having a clean house – but who dreams of actually doing the cleaning?”Marcus Buckingham
1. Keep the end result in mind
Instead of viewing cleaning as something you have to do, look at it as something you get to do. Give thanks for having a roof over your head and clean water running through your faucets.
I was watching a documentary once about how people living in developing countries lived their lives. What struck me the most was how long it took a family to do the dishes after a meal. They didn’t have running water in their hut.
When you realize how blessed we are compared to other countries, cleaning doesn’t seem like such a chore after all. Visualize how great your place will look once you get everything cleaned up, and use that as a motivation to get things done.
2. Develop your system
If you’re anything like me, you have a haphazard routine of cleaning your home. There’s no set day to do any particular chore.
Sometimes I feel like cleaning my clothes every day for a week, and then next week, I let it all pile up until Sunday. This strategy is not the best way to keep on top of all your chores. You end up with the entire house needing attention.
The best plan is to have a weekly cleaning routine that you stick to so no one task becomes overwhelming. Making sure you say on top of it on a daily basis will give you the tidy house you desire.
Tidy people work on tasks a little at a time. They throw at least one load of laundry in the wash every day, so they don’t have to spend most of one day catching up.
You won’t dislike one particular chore by spreading them out through weekly tasks because each job doesn’t take that long to finish. A tidy home will be your reward when you have your plan in place.
3. Clean out the refrigerator
I implemented cleaning out my refrigerator every week, and it has completely transformed my grocery buying habits.
Before going on my weekly grocery store run, I have to clean out my refrigerator before I go.
If I fail to do this idea, I don’t let myself go to the grocery store. So…it gets done.
Cleaning out my refrigerator is a practical idea because you know what you have already at home, so you don’t double buy items. Things that are going bad are moved up to the front of the refrigerator, to be used before spoiling.
Now nothing in my refrigerator goes bad since enforcing this idea. I know when to use up things, and I either juice them, use them up in a recipe, or freeze the item.
Here’s more information on how to prevent food waste How to Save Money by Using Leftover Ingredients
4. Clear the Clutter Today
“At some point I realized that I wasn’t organizing my life; I was organizing my clutter. That’s when I changed strategies: I went from a world-class organizer to a world-class decluttered. Instead of arranging and containing things, I got rid of them. Instead of shuffling them around my house, I escorted them out of my house.”Frances Jay
Tidy people aren’t big on too many decorations or knick-knacks. Too much stuff takes a lot of time to keep neat and clean.
Keep your home decor simple, so you don’t waste your time cleaning things that don’t enhance your living space.
My mom has had a china cabinet filled with figurines and collectibles since I was young. Seeing all those keepsakes squished together on the shelves cured me of any desire for collecting them.
Lots of little things everywhere means it takes extra time to clear everything off and clean the shelves. You also get to clean every piece over and over again.
Is it worth it to spend your time polishing things, or would you rather do something else?
5. Strategy of pairing
Jess in the Cozy Living Group uses this strategy to associate cleaning with something positive. She saves her favorite audiobook and podcasts for when it’s time to clean.
She becomes so engrossed in the book she’s listening to, and she finds that cleaning becomes way less of a chore.
Cleaning could also be when you listen to your favorite song playlist and add a few dance moves while you get things organized. You could also try listening to a new podcast.
6. Let the sunshine in
According to Women’s World magazine, pulling back the curtains in your home results in a healthier home.
It turns out that ultraviolet light is a natural disinfectant that cuts bacteria in half on countertops, door handles, and other surfaces. This information came from a Harvard study.
7. Tidy people clean as they go
This tip is monumental. Cleaning up a mess as soon as it occurs is a new habit I’m forming.
If you can only pick one routine to change at first, this is the one I would choose. If you think about it, neat people spend a few minutes here and there throughout the day, making sure they don’t create a huge mess that will seem overwhelming to fix.
The rest of us create a big mess and then feel anxiety about having to deal with all of it simultaneously.
Instead of taking moments here and there throughout the day, we have to spend a chunk of time cleaning it all up.
No wonder we don’t like to clean.
If you clean in the bathroom a little bit every day, you won’t have to clean much on the weekends. Empty the garbage, hang up the towels, spray the mirror, clean the toilet and sink.
8. They know how much time each chore really takes to finish
Have you ever had a cleaning task that you avoided because you thought you didn’t have the time to get it done, and then when you actually cleaned it all up – it took way less time than you thought?
Tidy home keepers and not-so-tidy people can look at the same mess and see it from completely opposite points of view.
A sink full of dishes is a huge mountain to climb for not-so-tidy people, while the tidy person realizes it will only take about 15 minutes to get everything done and put away.
In the long run, the non-tidy people waste more time thinking about not wanting to do the chore than it takes to complete the task.
“Your home should be the antidote to stress, not the cause of it.”Peter Walsh
9. Organized folks have a place for everything
Instead of backpacks, clothes, or shoes thrown on the floor, tidy homes have areas where everyone in the family knows where to put their stuff.
Storage spaces can get packed without having a clear plan for what goes into their rightful place.
One person learned to always keep certain items in the same place in the refrigerator. This tip alerts her to adding the item to her list if she sees a space on the shelf.
Having a place to put everything also prevents time wasted trying to locate missing items. You always know where your important things are.
10. Neat people use the power of focus to complete projects
A meme I shared in the cozy living group that showed a woman cleaning out an area of her home. She became distracted by the things she found while sorting through her stuff. She had a crown on her head and a mask on her face.
Many of the cozy members recognized themselves in the meme, including myself. How many times have you started cleaning, only to get distracted by things you were supposed to go through? Cleaning out an area of your home can lead to a lot of new rabbit holes.
Tidy people don’t get distracted by shiny objects. They know what their mission is and stay focused on what they set out to do.
As soon as you wake up first thing in the morning, make your bed. You may never get it done because of countless interruptions, so having a made bed starts the day off on the right note.
Emptying the dishwasher immediately after it’s done cleaning a load allows family members to load their dirty dishes. If your dishwasher stays full, the dishes end up in the sink and counter.
Stress from putting off tasks also affects our health, so making sure you get things done helps with a healthy body and mind.
11. Age-appropriate chores for children
Some of us not-so-neat people have taught our bad habits to our children. Not taking the time to instill good routines with our family members causes the mess to multiply.
If you teach your family to stay consistent with their organizational skills and cleaning up after themselves, your house will stay cleaner longer, and your children will learn life-long skills that will serve them well.
I read an article where the family called cleaning a “team responsibility,” so their kids felt like they were part of the big picture versus on their own doing “chores.” Each of the kids had a weekly cleaning schedule that they completed and they were recognized for doing a good job.
12. Have the right equipment
Making sure you stock up on the right supplies will make cleaning a lot better experience. Use non-toxic cleaning items with essential oils to give your home the best smelling results.Your favorite natural cleaner can easily be made at home for a fraction of the cost of store-bought.
One tidy homeowner hated ironing, so she ended up with piles of clothes with no end in sight. She finally bought a clothes steamer, and now the piles have disappeared.
I also like the idea that one cozy living member had of keeping a clean clothes basket for each family member. She sorted things as soon as she pulled them out of the dryer.
Placing trash immediately in a bin will become second nature if you have them in every room. If you don’t have a trash can in every room, clutter ends up on countertops and will take more time to clean up.
Keep cleaning supplies on every floor of the home. Something as simple as washing your bathroom sink will take just moments if cleaning supplies are kept at hand. You’ll also become more consistent with your tidiness.
To clean your microwave, cook two cups of water on high for a couple of minutes. Leave the door closed for 5 more minutes. The steam from the hot water will loosen the dried food so it will be a breeze to clean.
A simple way to clean your coffeemaker is to add white vinegar to the water reservoir and fill it halfway. Put in a filter and turn the pot on. Allow it to run through. Wait 30 minutes and fill the reservoir halfway again and run it through. Doing this cleans the inside of the coffee machine. Clean the coffee pot as normal before using.
13. Set a timer
This secret is most people’s favorite idea. Sometimes the thought of all the things we have to do overwhelms us and we get nothing done.
Several people in the cozy living group found the easiest way to keep a more orderly home is by setting a timer for short intervals throughout the day. Most people found that 15 or 20 minutes was the optimal amount of time to focus on a task and go as fast as possible in one area.
The time was long enough to get a small project done, yet short enough to breeze through it quickly. What surprised cozy living members the most about this method was how much they could achieve with complete focus.
You could also make a list of things you want to get done in a specific amount of time and try and do things faster.
14. Keep flat surfaces free of things
This idea works exceptionally well for the kitchen. Store your kitchen appliances out of sight. The more things on your counter, the easier it is to keep adding to the mess.
Your dining room table can also become a catch-all place for your family’s things. Keep it a no-clutter zone. A quick wipe down before your meals, and you’re ready to eat.
15. Invite people over to your home
I don’t know about you, but when I know someone will be dropping by my house – I jump into warp speed to make sure I have a clean home before they come over.
Inviting people over is an excellent suggestion when you lack the willpower to get started.
16. Keep your pets tidy
Those of us with pets know how much our furry friends add to the job of keeping our homes clean.
Neat people know all the tips and tricks about making their homes cleaner with pets. I stumbled upon a thread on Facebook where someone was at a loss at keeping her house clean with several pets. The tidy people jumped in the conversation and told their secrets to a well-kept home.
Several people talked about brushing their dogs outside every day with a special dog brush. You can find it here on Amazon. By brushing the dogs outside, there was far less hair every day to deal with. The dogs loved the change and looked forward to their nightly “massage.”
The pet owners also kept their dogs groomed regularly. Every four to six weeks seemed to be the time frame that worked best. I take my dogs to a self-grooming salon every six weeks.
On the same day that your dogs are given a bath, it’s a good idea to clean the dog bed simultaneously if you have a dog bed that has a machine-washable shell. Vacuuming the bed shell before washing will help keep dog fur from clogging up your washing machine. Try this pet odor eliminator here on Amazon the next time you wash your dog’s bed.
Changing air filters monthly was also something that the orderly people did. Pick a specific day of the month and put it on your calendar, so you don’t forget.
Keeping special rugs by the doggie doors also helped prevent furry feet from tracking in dirt. Their favorite rug for this chore can be found here on Amazon.
Placing floor mats under your pet’s dishes is one of the effective ways to keep your kitchen floor clean.
17. Release unwanted items
Keeping your home tidy is way more manageable when you have less stuff. You also feel better when you’re able to go into your closets and rooms, and easily find what you’re looking for.
Have a few bins in your garage for unwanted items. When the containers are full, it’s time to drop them off at your favorite charity.
Someone I know has a rule that if she has to get rid of two things if she buys something new. If your aim is to downsize the number of items you own – this would help you accomplish that task.
18. Make storage pretty
When you take the time to turn your storage areas into beautiful work of art, you tend to find the inspiration to keep things in order.
One of the ways I accomplish this is to use old-fashioned mason jars in my kitchen pantry. I use them to store grains, dried beans, dried peas, and nuts. I also use straw baskets to corral like items.
When you install vertical dividers in the higher shelves, you’ll be able to easily store cooling racks, baking sheets, and pot lids. This idea prevents them from piling on top of each other.
Clear boxes with pull-out drawers let you see what’s inside if you need under-the-bed storage. I have a beautiful woven cloth laundry basket in my closet that hides dirty clothes.
My gift wrap paper is stored in a tall gift-wrap holder, but they were constantly unraveling. I saw the idea of cutting up an old pair of tights and using them as bands around each roll of wrapping paper. Now my rolls are tidy and a pleasure to look at.
19. Pace yourself
Tidy people tend not to stress themselves out with big projects. Messy people tend to let things pile up and then try to do everything at once.
If you don’t know where to start, begin with one drawer and then focus on one room. Eventually, your whole home will become the vision you’ve been dreaming about.
20. Attend spills and stains as soon as they happen
It will take only a moment to clean a spill on your stove, but if you let the spill set – it will take much longer. This organic super cleaning concentrate is pet and child safe and will help you tackle greasy appliances and crusted spills.
Something as simple as club soda works better than most cleaners on getting fresh stains out of the carpet. Keep a chart on the best way to treat stains as soon as they happen.
21. Break down tasks
If you have a large project that seems overwhelming, take a deep breath. Tasks like these can throw us off course, and we end up not accomplishing anything.
You may not be able to complete the entire project in one sitting, and that’s okay. Break up your task into small tasks and finish as many as you can. This is one of the most important things to remember in keeping a tidy home.
Spray on your stovetop cleaner and let it sit while you load the dishwasher. Throw in a load of laundry while you vacuum the living room.
One of my favorite ideas is to pour 2 cups of white vinegar in the toilet bowl before you go to sleep – in the morning, your waterline marks should be gone.
By accomplishing two things at once, you’ll be able to get through chores much faster.
When you clean a room, work the room working clockwise. Clean top to bottom – all the dust will collect on the floor, where you can easily vacuum it up.
Tip: Never spray your cleaning spray directly on a picture. To clean your pictures, dab some cleaning spray on a paper towel and rub the towel over the glass.
Tidy Home DIY Natural Cleaning Spray
We’ve reached the end of 21 Secrets for a Tidy Home. I hope you enjoyed it.
Worse case scenario, find a good cleaning lady and treat her well!
Let me know in the comments below how you liked the 21 Secrets for a Tidy Home post and what your favorite cleaning tips are.
Make sure you join our Creating a Cozy Life Facebook group. You’re not going to believe how amazing it is.
Please pin this cleaning tips post below on your simple living board on Pinterest to refer back to it again.
Thanks for stopping by! I’m so happy you found us.
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This was so very helpful, thank you!
Friday 6th of January 2023
You're very welcome Kristen! Kelly
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Tuesday 7th of June 2022
Great tips here, Kelly! I had to laugh when I attempted to go through Marie Kondo's book. Sorting out my closet and books was find, but when I got to the part about sorting papers, I gave up. Plus, I don't agree with her statement that once your home is organized, you will automatically want to keep it that way. Clearly she is not an artist! Periodically I clear off my art table, determined to keep it that way, and before I know it, it's covered with snips and scraps and other detritus from my latest projects. Oh, well.
I have a rule that I must wash my dishes and wipe counters before bed; that really helps. Sometimes I even wash twice per day! I do my laundry once per week (not enough to do it daily), and sweep my floors on the day I take trash out. My cupboards are pretty well organized, and a lot of my art supplies are, as well. The problem I have is my home is too small for my needs and storage space is limited. So I end up with piles on the floor–mostly magazines and bags of fabric or clothing and empty containers to make into something new (I am big on recycling things into art). How I crave a larger home with room to store things out of sight!
Tuesday 7th of June 2022
Yes, I'm the exact same way - too many projects going on all at once! That's why I wrote the article - to be more accountable! Kelly