Besides me, there are three teenage boys, a husband, a dog and two cats living in our home. And I’m the messiest of them all. After years of feeling bad about my messy habits, I’ve learned how to embrace the mess and I’ve also learned how to have a tidy(er) home.
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 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 enjoy this type of intentional decorating that involves editing and being more grown up about my choices.
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. Get the entire family involved right after dinner and clean up for five timed minutes of tidying.
You will feel like the Queen of Everything when you implement this, I promise. And then you can watch Dancing in peace.
4. Tidy People don’t store things on the floor.
I never realized I was doing this, until that day I decided I should probably mop 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.
5. Tidy People don’t organize papers that they don’t need. They know that clutter cannot be organized.
Even though I’m a messy creative, I can’t stand paperstuffs.
Paper comes in uninvited and so much of it is truly junk. When I walk back from the mailbox, I usually head straight to the trash/recycling bin and get rid of anything we don’t need.
We have a specific place to put bills and notices. Invitations get entered into the calendar. I might snap a photo of them, and then, GASP, I throw them away.
I will most likely regret telling you that if I receive a card in the mail, unless it’s a handwritten letter that’s really meaningful, I read it, and then instantly throw it away. This troubles my friend Greta as cards are one of her love languages. But remember, I’m an INTJ.
Because of Pinterest and Instagram, I don’t subscribe to magazines.
We have a small drawer for the boys’ important school notices too, but, now that they are all teenagers, plus we are in the technology age, we get MUCH less paper coming home for us than we used to. I like to think that Tidy People are giving me virtual high fives right now.
As a Tidy Messy Person, it’s much easier for me to practice things that Tidy people DON’T do. Not doing things? Now that I can do!
PS, here’s a little something that helps me keep my home tidy, you might like it too…