Are you a tidy person with a dusty house? Are you a clean freak with a cluttered house? Or maybe your house is both messy and dirty – eek! It happens to us all sometimes.
Generally, I am a very tidy person who is only somewhat of a clean freak. I will tidy my heart out and not sit down until my house looks put together, but I get tired before I get to the dust in the corners or footprints across the kitchen floor and let those go. They don’t bother my brain like clutter does. And the dirt just. never. stops. coming. I feel like I can’t keep up with it as well as I can with clutter.
I came across this article online the other week and wanted to share to inspire some discussion: 5 Things People With Tidy Homes Don’t Do. (Sidebar: The Nesting Place kitchen – gaaahhhh! Love!)
Here are three of The Nester’s observations that I can totally relate to:
“Tidy people are in a constant state of low-grade tidying, I don’t even think they realize it.”
This made me laugh out loud. I am a self-proclaimed tidy person, and I am indeed constantly tidying. I don’t leave one room without picking up whatever I used while in the space.
When I wake up in the morning, I take anything on my nightstand (tea mug, magazine) back downstairs.
When I leave the living room, I give the pillows a chop and refold the blanket.
When I am done in the office, I close my computer, bring any water bottles or drinking glasses with me to the kitchen.
The kitchen is the spot where I have the hardest time keeping up – there are always dishes and crumbs!
“Tidy people do not watch Dancing With The Stars while there’s a sink full of dirty dishes sitting in the kitchen.”
Or The Bachelor. Or Survivor. This is true for me too, as I can’t sit down to relax at night until the whole house is tidy. Even a load of laundry still in progress is in the back of my mind! This is why doing low-grade tidying during the day leads to an easier night. It definitely helps to have a partner to tackle the kitchen after a big meal. I even have a hard time leaving a pan in the sink to soak because I like to start my mornings on as clean a slate as possible. If I leave a dish overnight, I start the day scrubbing. So, I avoid that whenever possible.
“Tidy people don’t over decorate.”
Y’all know I am always talking about minimalism and simplifying. This one is a bit harder for me to maintain because I live with someone else (my charming husband) who thinks that bare walls and surfaces looks too sparse. So it’s a balance, but I still try to err on the side of less.
Here are a few new ones from me:
Tidy people involve their children.
I would say that Mazen has generally nature/nurtured his way into a tidy personality. While he does make a mess sometimes and also sometimes refuses to clean up his toys, he generally understands that his toys live in his room and they need to end up back there by the end of the play session. I have always tried to set the example by helping him clean up one toy set before moving on to another. No, he’s not perfect, but on the spectrum of kids, he’s on the tidy side, and that helps keep our house from looking like one giant playroom.
Tidy people recognize life will trend towards chaos.
I am squeezing my brain to remember the definition of entropy from high school science class, so I had to look it up: “Gradual decline into disorder.” <— Yes, this. Your house will gradually get disorganized, even with tidying habits in place. Decluttering or organization days are not one-time events. They need to happen regularly so you stay on top of the s t u f f that comes into your house. Most of the time this isn’t even stuff I buy – it’s stuff that is given to me, brought home from school, comes in the mail, or is contributed by others, like gifts from grandparents. Stuff accumulates, and we need to regularly sort it all out. (One thing that drives me nuts: When you need a teaspoon of a spice and they don’t have it in the bulk bins so you have to buy a giant jar of it and now you have 100 jars of spices in your cabinet, most of which you will never use all of before they expire.)
Tidy people know that several smaller projects are easier to manage than one large one.
Whether we’re talking about laundry, running the dishwasher, or simply cleaning in general, when you let the project build up to a mountain, it’s going to take you so much longer to do. Part of what is so annoying about laundry and emptying the dishwasher (the two most common daily tasks that most people dislike) is the variety of pieces and all the sorting that must happen. Shirts, jammies, socks, underwear x3 people, for example. The smaller the load, the more like-with-like you put in, the less time it takes you to put away. So stay on top of it as best you can. Do one small load of laundry a day instead of spending all day Monday doing 5 loads. Do a dishwasher cycle each night (or each morning) and then empty it in 5 minutes or less rather than cramming three day’s worth in every single slot and running it 110% full. (Plus, dishes never get as clean that way. Trust me, I know.)