9 Habits of People With Tidy Houses

Have you ever walked into someone else’s home and wondered how they manage to keep it looking so neat and tidy? It’s possible they’re not putting as much effort into it as you might think. Here are nine easy habits of people who have tidy homes.

1. Avoid dedicated cleaning days

Skip the cleaning days? Yes, really. Keeping a tidy home doesn’t mean you have to dedicate major blocks of time to cleaning. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. Instead of spending entire weekends tackling your chore list, do a little bit every day. For instance, once you have a full load of laundry, get it done — rather than waiting for multiple loads to pile up and consume your day. Or try setting a timer each day for 15 minutes, during which you get as much done on your chore list as possible. “Whether it’s dusting your nightstands, organizing the sock drawer or vacuuming highly-trafficked areas, checking one small cleaning task off your to-do list each day will keep housework from feeling overwhelming,” HGTV says.

2. Pick your daily tidying battles

Tidy people don’t necessarily have the cleanest homes. They just know which spots to spruce up on a daily basis that make the greatest impact. “Straighten couch pillows, put hair tools back in their proper spots and store shoes neatly back in the closet immediately after you use them,” HGTV suggests. Try to remove clutter, such as junk mail, off countertops and other surfaces before it piles up. Plus, make your bed every day to feel like you’ve accomplished some tidying right away.

3. Clean as you cook

clean kitchen sinkCredit: annaia/Getty Images

One area that you probably mess up on a daily basis — depending on how much you cook — is your kitchen. So it should be a part of your daily cleaning routine, as well. To maximize your time, make an effort to roll cooking and cleaning into one. Put away ingredients as soon as you’ve used them. Wipe up messes right away. And place dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher, or hand-wash them as soon as possible. “Tidy people wouldn’t dream of going to bed with dishes in the sink,” Apartment Therapy says.

4. Organize your storage

Storage can work wonders to keep your home looking tidy — if it’s functional. Myriad baskets and bins won’t do you any good if you don’t actually use them. Consider labeling your storage, and designate certain spots where you put the same items every day (e.g., a basket for keys). Plus, make sure the storage spaces truly fit your needs. Try using organizational tools, such as drawer dividers, to keep everything neat and accessible. This way, you’ll be much more inclined to put away items in their proper places.

5. Skip the open shelves

Bookcases and shelves are great for storage. But lots of open shelving stuffed with books, decor pieces, kitchenware, etc. can make your home seem cluttered — even if the items on the shelves are reasonably organized. Plus, open shelving typically requires more frequent cleaning to remove dust and dirt. So for a more tidy appearance, pick just a few of your favorite belongings to display out in the open, and tuck the rest behind closed doors.

6. Limit kid and pet toys

A puppy lies on a teddy bear toy.Credit: Smitt/Getty Images

If you have kids or pets, you know how they can take over your entire house with all of their stuff. But you can avoid this to some extent by setting a few easy ground rules. Have a simple, yet functional, storage system in place for all of the toys. For instance, place a large basket on the floor into which you can throw your dog’s toys at the end of each day for a quick cleanup. Or aim to teach your child that they must put away any toy they take out. And to reduce the sheer quantity of toys lying around, rotate them instead of leaving everything out all the time. This practice hopefully should make tidying up a lot faster.

7. Make use of your entryway

If your house goes from tidy to disorderly as soon as you walk in the door, that might mean your entryway isn’t working for you. Instead of scattering your coat, shoes, keys, bag, mail, etc. throughout your house, consider creating a drop-off station right in your entryway. Make sure it includes functional storage — such as a closet or coat rack, a file system for mail, a basket for keys or whatever your personal needs are — so everything is in an easily accessible place. Leave items there that you won’t need until you exit the house again, so they don’t needlessly clutter the rest of your space.

8. Invest in quality items

Tidy people don’t necessarily have designer homes. But they often side with quality over quantity. Have you ever settled for a cheap piece of furniture, only to purchase a replacement that you like better a couple years later? What did you do with the original furniture piece? If it wasn’t completely damaged, many people would try to find a different corner of their home to stuff it in. And that’s a trap that can quickly take your decor from tidy to cluttered. Instead, aim to hold out for quality pieces that you’ll be able to love for a long time. This way, you’ll avoid the chaos of mismatched furniture and overstuffed rooms — not to mention it might save you money in the long run.

9. Channel your inner Marie Kondo

a large closet with an organizational systemCredit: urfinguss/Getty Images

We can’t talk about tidying up and decluttering without mentioning organizational expert Marie Kondo. In a nutshell, Kondo’s methods say you should keep possessions that you value and let go of the rest. And that’s good advice, especially if you’re having trouble finding a place for everything. Take inventory of your accumulated possessions on a regular basis, and get rid of what you know you can live without. This goes for clothes that are overstuffing your closet, artwork and other decor pieces that don’t really hold any meaning for you or even expired food that’s cluttering your fridge. When you streamline your possessions, you’ll find that keeping your whole space tidy is a much simpler process.

Main image credit: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images


Beth L
Past Member 2 months ago

Thank you

hELEN hEARFIELD2 months ago


Martha P
Mia P3 months ago

thanks for posting

Christophe B
Christophe Bazin3 months ago

Thank you.

Jessica K
Jessica K3 months ago

Don't have a big problem with a ton of books sitting on shelves. If that's cluttered, then then I prefer cluttered. Thanks.

Louise A
Lara A3 months ago

Thank you

Gino C
Gino C3 months ago

Thank you for sharing

Tabot T
Tabot T3 months ago

Thanks for sharing!

Colin C
Colin Clauscen3 months ago

Sue M
No TV for me for 11 years now, though I do watch news and documentaries on my computer.

Sue M
Sue M3 months ago

Some good tips here - thank you for sharing
Teresa W - I don't agree with you that books clutter up the flat! I have mine all neatly arranged on bookshelves - no TV for ten years now lol