Working towards a tidy house

BoogieBoogie Heaven Host
The 'books' thread got me thinking ...

I dislike tidying but I love a tidy house. I find tidiness calming.

When we moved here we got rid of two thirds of all our stuff and furniture - so we don't have any clutter or things we don't need. It's a very small house.

But, even so, it's never really tidy.

Any ideas, thoughts or tips?
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Comments

  • RockyRogerRockyRoger Shipmate
    Boogie wrote: »
    The 'books' thread got me thinking ...

    I dislike tidying but I love a tidy house. I find tidiness calming.

    When we moved here we got rid of two thirds of all our stuff and furniture - so we don't have any clutter or things we don't need. It's a very small house.

    But, even so, it's never really tidy.

    Any ideas, thoughts or tips?

    I'm afraid only prayer and fasting, or perhaps psychotherapy, or a lobotomy can cure your perverse desire for tidiness. As Emily Dickinson wrote, "The World is dusty". Even if my home was tidy (perish the thought!) my body looks untidy. As do the cats.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    Heh.

    It might be worth sitting down with a pencil and paper (or screen, whatever floats your boat) and brainstorming a bit. What does "tidy" mean to you, specifically? Is it clean surfaces--nothing on the table, counter, etc.? Does it mean having fewer small objects visible (like a cluttered mantel)? Does it mean not having visible dust, dog hair, etc.? What bugs you the most, and what bugs you the least?

    For example, my husband thinks "tidy" means "no dust, no dog hair, counters newly wiped" but he doesn't care at all if there are a hundred objects sitting ON those counters; I'm pretty much the opposite, which makes life interesting.

    Once you get a handle on what "tidy" means to you yourself, you can probably see where you'll get the most return on your effort.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    What has worked for me, has finally understanding you can’t have tidiness if everything doesn’t have a place it’s meant to go.
  • BoogieBoogie Heaven Host
    Really good questions @Lamb Chopped

    I'm not worried by dust or dog hairs. I like clean, tidy counters and tables.

    My mantle piece has little ornaments and bud vases with flowers in, which I often rearrange.
    What has worked for me, has finally understanding you can’t have tidiness if everything doesn’t have a place it’s meant to go.

    Yes - need to keep working on that!
  • North East QuineNorth East Quine Purgatory Host
    Our issue is definitely "too much stuff."

    That said, I have a friend whose house looks tidy, but she stuffs things into cupboards and drawers willy-nilly. If you looked inside our cupboards they are generally organised and usually tidy. Our upstairs landing cupboard is a disaster because that's where everything which doesn't go anywhere else goes.

    My bugbear is cleaning. The house is never all clean at the same time. If the ceiling corners and lightshades have been recently swiped over with a fluffy cobweb catcher, the skirting boards are dusty. If the mirrors are shiny and spotless, the glass panels on the doors are smudgy. If the toaster has been de-crumbed, the salad drawer in the fridge has something decomposing in it. If all the wastepaper bins are empty, the recycling needs sorted.

    Nothing ever gets to the point of being insanitary, but it's never, ever, all clean simultaneously.

    Can I ask a question? Recently we were expecting visitors to stay, arriving at lunchtime. At 11am I was still in my PJs, because my plan was that my son would shower, then I would shower, then I would clean the shower. However, my son was still in bed, and I was getting increasingly irate. My husband couldn't understand why I didn't get showered and dressed, then clean the shower after my son, and I said it was because I clean the shower immediately after showering, and I don't get into a wet shower fully dressed.

    My husband was horrified at the concept of "nude shower cleaning." I couldn't understand why my husband thinks it's ok to be nude in the shower when the shower is on, but not when it's off. He's worried "someone" i.e. him might see this and be turned to stone. I reckon if we've been married for 35 years and he's not noticed me cleaning the shower so far, the danger must be low.

    But he was so disconcerted, I found myself questioning myself - cleaning the shower immediately after showering, before getting dressed isn't weird is it?

    (N.B. My husband has never cleaned the shower himself. For decades he assumed they were self-cleaning, and only discovered that "cleaning the shower" was a thing when we stayed in a hotel which had a a squeegee attached to the shower wall and I explained what it was for.)
  • Leorning CnihtLeorning Cniht Shipmate
    edited July 8
    My husband was horrified at the concept of "nude shower cleaning." I couldn't understand why my husband thinks it's ok to be nude in the shower when the shower is on, but not when it's off. He's worried "someone" i.e. him might see this and be turned to stone. I reckon if we've been married for 35 years and he's not noticed me cleaning the shower so far, the danger must be low.

    I'm assuming he's seen you naked ;)

    To my mind, the question of whether it's better to put on clothes or take them off for some messy activity comes down to the dangers of the chemicals and the ease of cleaning. If we're talking about water-soluble paints, those are generally easier to clean from bodies than from clothing. When our kids were little, we'd often strip them naked before letting them go to town with the finger paints, because it made for less clean-up.

    If you're using caustic cleaners, you probably want to wear clothing to protect your skin against spills, and you accept that you might destroy some clothing, but that's better than getting a chemical burn.

    (Personally, I prefer to give the shower a proper clean at the same time as I'm cleaning the rest of the bathroom. So what usually happens is a day spent cleaning, after which I feel all grimy, and have a shower...)
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    I think you could tell your son he needs to clean the shower.
  • BoogieBoogie Heaven Host
    edited July 8
    I have a friend whose house looks tidy, but she stuffs things into cupboards and drawers willy-nilly.

    Some of this definitely goes on here (by me) :blush:

    I do naked shower cleaning too. In fact, I clean the whole bathroom after showering.

    Funny thing - if I see dog hairs in the shower I fondly think 'ahh dog hairs'. If I see man hairs in the shower I think, irritatedly 'ew ew yuk man hairs'!

  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    This is quite good in working out what kind of storage systems will work for you.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    I clean the shower in our house. Clothed mostly because I do not want to get the cleaners on me.
  • HarryCHHarryCH Shipmate
    A desk with nothing on it is a desk on which no work is being done,
  • Caissa wrote: »
    I clean the shower in our house. Clothed mostly because I do not want to get the cleaners on me.

    If I read "cleaner" to mean "person who cleans", then this conjures up an entirely different image :naughty:
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    I find it perfectly normal to clean naked. Why do i suspect your husband does little of the cleaning?
  • BoogieBoogie Heaven Host
    I find it perfectly normal to clean naked. Why do i suspect your husband does little of the cleaning?

    He does none of the cleaning. He does all shopping and cooking. I do all washing up, laundry and cleaning.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    I’m not at all sure he gets to have an opinion on the cleaning, then!
  • RoseofsharonRoseofsharon Shipmate
    Boogie wrote: »
    When we moved here we got rid of two thirds of all our stuff and furniture - so we don't have any clutter or things we don't need.

    We did the same thing, but when we moved into our tiny bungalow even 1/3 of our old possessions made it cluttered from day one.
    As I've mentioned before Mr RoS is a hoarder, and not only never throws anything out but gathers in stuff other people ask him to take to the tip.
    I despair!.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Caissa wrote: »
    I clean the shower in our house. Clothed mostly because I do not want to get the cleaners on me.

    If I read "cleaner" to mean "person who cleans", then this conjures up an entirely different image :naughty:

    I'm glad it wasn't just me who read it that way! 😂
  • RoseofsharonRoseofsharon Shipmate
    Much of the clutter we have is furniture, in or on which other, smaller, clutter is placed.

    There are extension cables everywhere because all the power points are inaccessibly hidden behind bookcases and cabinets.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Piglet wrote: »
    Caissa wrote: »
    I clean the shower in our house. Clothed mostly because I do not want to get the cleaners on me.

    If I read "cleaner" to mean "person who cleans", then this conjures up an entirely different image :naughty:

    I'm glad it wasn't just me who read it that way! 😂
    Me too!

  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    Boogie wrote: »
    When we moved here we got rid of two thirds of all our stuff and furniture - so we don't have any clutter or things we don't need.

    We did the same thing, but when we moved into our tiny bungalow even 1/3 of our old possessions made it cluttered from day one.
    As I've mentioned before Mr RoS is a hoarder, and not only never throws anything out but gathers in stuff other people ask him to take to the tip.
    I despair!.

    We have this problem too, but it’s not uncommon among refugees (and survivors of the camps). Haven’t found a very effective way to cope with it, though…
  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    My answer to keeping a tidy house is in one word: routine.
    Thanks to both my late beloved and self having hospital stays when the children were small, we divided up everything that had to be done into three categories (Must, Should, Would-be-Nice) and allocated it a time or day - Monday equals tidy, vacuum and dust of the downstairs, for example - and stuck to a weekly routine. The other thing I've found useful is to limit time spent on general pottering (completing the crossword is my besetting sin) and set a timer.

    Don't beat yourself up if your home doesn't look like a Show House - as the cushion reads People with immaculate homes lead dull lives.
  • I think tidiness is a mixture of two things, discipline and necessity and I do think people have tidiness personalities. I’m a tidy up most of the time as you go. I always found that vacuuming was my nemesis. I hated lugging big cleaners and emptying the bags. Solved by a hand held cordless with a small barrel emptied straight into a supermarket bag and when full, taken to the outside garbage.

    Deciding the rules around tidiness is important as is divvying up the tasks in a fair way so that one person doesn’t carry all the burden. When husband worked away from home and our daughter was a baby and I worked full time I paid for a cleaner. I just could not do everything all the time, just to not having 50 hours in a day and the demands of a small child.

    When life was particularly bad for us, sick kid, no spare time, exhausted physically and mentally we would get a skip at the end of the year and try to have a concentrated effort on decluttering the garage, including old furniture which we thought we would restore, but had no time to do so. That gave us a little bit of a boost and I think having success with that gave us the oomph to keep going and to look for solutions and containers that might make our lives easier. We also tried to paint the inside of our house, as I found having a more pleasant environment gave me incentive to keep things tidier.

    We live mostly in our family area, the boys have another room for projects, so the family area only really requires weekly vacuuming and the benches in the kitchen being wiped down daily. I have found that some containers in the kitchen drawers have helped us keep things tidy. Our kitchen is all drawers, with each drawer being solely one “thing” according to job mugs near the kettle and glasses down the fridge end of the kitchen. When we first moved house, I had to label the drawers to help me keep things straight but now it’s just automatic.

    The only way we found to cope with excessive toys that a sick kid accumulates was to buy containers. One container for every set of stuff and beginning this helped us to organise other areas of life. The kid also had a high bed, with desk underneath to maximise a small room. As well as a desk there was a small cupboard which we stacked containers into.

    Having enough space is a big issue, you can’t fit the stuff of 4 adults into a newlywed’s home, it’s just not possible unless paying out big $ for storage units. We contemplated that but decided to rehome ourselves and not everyone can do that, I recognise that it is a privilege. I am grateful every day that we were able to move, chucked lots of stuff when moving, have only essentials now, and I include books as essentials. Husband doesn’t hassle me about the books and I don’t hassle him about the dvds, though I think we probably could give away the ones from when cheery son was small, we were keeping them for visitors. However covid risk means we minimise visitors, so might be able to detach from those.

    There is a lady who used to be on ABC radio in Oz, called Shannon Lush and she has written many books about stain removal and keeping things clean. One of her books is called speed cleaning and even though I have a copy I’ve not read it exhaustively. I think it helps people work out what they should do daily, weekly, monthly etc and probably good for those struggling to establish a routine. If you don’t come from a family of tidies, I think knowing what, when and how often requires guidance and I think she could be a good starting point.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    One thing I’ve noticed in my family—some people have super tidy drawers and cabinets but the outside looks messy, others look immaculate until God forbid you open a drawer. Anyone else seeing that contrast? My mother was one, and I the opposite…
  • Same here @Lamb Chopped ! I do find myself "turning into Nan" as I tell my kids. I'm getting more organised and tidier as I get older. I am sure Mum would be pleased to see it!
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    I am preparing for visitors on Friday- not overnight, just my French conversation group in the afternoon. I am tempted to leave all the tidying and cleaning until Friday morning, but I now think I will pretend they are coming this afternoon and look at the house with fresh eyes and do something about it today, in case it all proves too much. At least I can shut the bedroom doors with impunity.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    My plan worked. I’ll still need to do a bit of last minute cleaning but the main rooms are now much tidier, even if only because I have moved things upstairs.
  • I always struggle with the difference between tidying and actual cleaning/scrubbing. Today I'll clean behind some furniture in anticipation of visitors at the weekend. Bathrooms will also be done in case of calls of nature. The kids are supposed to keep that bathroom clean, but we have different standards!!

    I started the weekend visitor preparations by taking newspapers to the recycling bin yesterday and today will be tidying the mess corner of the dining room. Daughter has her work set up stored there in case of work from home need arising and I also keep the document wallets there with son's medical stuff, one folder for each speciality.

    One thing that has been a gamechanger for me is electrostatic cloths. Great for keeping the shower screen unspotty if we wipe it after each use. Great for dusting and wiping over the tiles. Has made life so much easier in terms of keeping dust-free.
  • TelfordTelford Deckhand, Styx
    Boogie wrote: »
    The 'books' thread got me thinking ...

    I dislike tidying but I love a tidy house. I find tidiness calming.

    When we moved here we got rid of two thirds of all our stuff and furniture - so we don't have any clutter or things we don't need. It's a very small house.

    But, even so, it's never really tidy.

    Any ideas, thoughts or tips?
    Employ a cleaner. I am instructed to tidy up everywhere before she turns up.
  • BoogieBoogie Heaven Host
    edited July 10
    Telford wrote: »
    Employ a cleaner. I am instructed to tidy up everywhere before she turns up.

    I did when I earned the money and didn't have the time.

    Now that I'm time rich it's a different story. 🙂
  • Jane RJane R Shipmate
    Step 1: tidy house.
    Step 2: evict all other members of the household so the house stays tidy.

    I can do step 1 all right, but foolish sentiment gets in the way of accomplishing step 2.
  • RockyRogerRockyRoger Shipmate
    Telford wrote: »
    Boogie wrote: »
    The 'books' thread got me thinking ...

    I dislike tidying but I love a tidy house. I find tidiness calming.

    When we moved here we got rid of two thirds of all our stuff and furniture - so we don't have any clutter or things we don't need. It's a very small house.

    But, even so, it's never really tidy.

    Any ideas, thoughts or tips?
    Employ a cleaner. I am instructed to tidy up everywhere before she turns up.

    Mrs RR's strategy is to invite visitors to stay. Panic ... things cleared away .... We just hope said visitors will never notice there is one room they never get to see! Not that they could ever open the inwards opening door of course!
  • Encouraging all my friends and family to drop by anytime unannounced if they are in the area is a real motivation to stay on top of things. Oh, that and never letting on the back porch works, too.
  • So good to have found my people here, those who panic re visitors. We hope ours are coming at the weekend (but will stay away if they are sick), just finished vacuuming and dusting in preparation!

    When I was very young I remember hiding all the dirty pots and pans in a cupboard because we'd been too tired to wash up and invited someone on the spur of the moment for coffee.

    My sister in law had a very large shower and if needed that was her stash place
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    I was thinking of designing a cross stitch piece for myself ;

    Cleanliness may be next to Godliness
    But tidiness is next to impossible.

  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    @Cheery Gardener , how come you had a cupboard empty enough to stash dirty pots and pans?
    I messed up my tidy sitting room last night as I sorted a briefcase of paperwork in time for recycling bin day.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Cupboard stuffing all very well unless someone opens it while visitors present (guess what I did when I was three).
  • @Puzzler, that's such a long time ago, but I think it was a horrible cupboard that we'd bought to make a base to add some bench space. Our first kitchen had a sink cupboard and that was it!!! I don't think we used those cupboards they were so yuck. At one point I think all clean kitchen stuff lived in the walk in pantry (one of the few upsides of that house). About 3 years after moving to that house we bought a former display kitchen and installed that ourselves. That house was a total fixer upper.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    I would kill for a walk-in larder. I have a cupboard in the dining area which I can almost walk into, but not quite ...
  • I used to have one, 20 years ago—sigh.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    My childhood home had one, including a cold slab, before the advent of a fridge. My daughter has one but she lives in a former farmhouse.
    All I can muster is a cupboard under the stairs accessed from the dining area of the kitchen. More of a broom cupboard really.

    It was a delight to have a tidy home today
    ( downstairs at least) to host my French group today. Only one person had been here before and she could see what a huge achievement it was.
    I guess I had better get back to decluttering upstairs, which will lead to a hall full of bags and boxes again.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    We have six walk-in cupboards, three with windows.
    1. Off scullery - boiler and miscellaneous mops, buckets, light bulbs and cleaning stuff
    2. Off scullery - paper goods, laundry and dishwasher soaps, tea towels, bath mats, ironing board, vacuum cleaner
    3. Off dining room - wine, spirits
    4. Off hall - suitcases, toolbox, small heating/cooking appliances, bags of old clothes, conference bags
    5. Off study - books, games
    6. Off sitting room - books, LPs

    I don't even know where to start.
  • ChastMastrChastMastr Shipmate
    (Looks at apartment. Starts laughing hysterically.)
  • BoogieBoogie Heaven Host
    My whole kitchen is not much bigger than a walk in cupboard. 🤣
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Same here, Boogie! 😂
  • Mine is a bit bigger, but contains four doors and two window walls! So great for putting storage…
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    Firenze wrote: »
    We have six walk-in cupboards, three with windows.
    1. Off scullery - boiler and miscellaneous mops, buckets, light bulbs and cleaning stuff
    2. Off scullery - paper goods, laundry and dishwasher soaps, tea towels, bath mats, ironing board, vacuum cleaner
    3. Off dining room - wine, spirits
    4. Off hall - suitcases, toolbox, small heating/cooking appliances, bags of old clothes, conference bags
    5. Off study - books, games
    6. Off sitting room - books, LPs

    I don't even know where to start.
    And stuff accumulates to fill the space available?
  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    edited July 13
    Four walk-in cupboards, two upstairs and two ground-floor plus a cellar with a light-well.

    The walk-in pantry was made from a space discovered when survey measurements didn't make sense. It is huge and has a meat-safe, freezer, large utensils (fish kettles, maslin pan, etc)

    The second GF cupboard is the old loo and has been empty since the works were done four years ago. With the arrival of grandchildren I suspect it may become a toy space.

    Upstairs the old water tank/airing cupboard has become a spare bedding storage cupboard - it is windowless so nothing else would really work.

    Second upstairs walk-in is now used for all those things we need like suitcases, spare back-packs, sleeping bags, etc, that used to be in a traditional box room.

    I don't have a fitted kitchen. A vast dresser for crockery and cupboards under and around the sink and that's it apart from storage under the window seat.
  • RockyRogerRockyRoger Shipmate
    Mrs RR insists we have a 'cupboard under the stairs'. Here we keep the vacuum cleaner, mops, shoe cleaning stuff and loadsa shopping bags. And Dobbin our clothes horse.

    We live in a bungalow.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Puzzler wrote: »
    Firenze wrote: »
    We have six walk-in cupboards, three with windows.
    1. Off scullery - boiler and miscellaneous mops, buckets, light bulbs and cleaning stuff
    2. Off scullery - paper goods, laundry and dishwasher soaps, tea towels, bath mats, ironing board, vacuum cleaner
    3. Off dining room - wine, spirits
    4. Off hall - suitcases, toolbox, small heating/cooking appliances, bags of old clothes, conference bags
    5. Off study - books, games
    6. Off sitting room - books, LPs

    I don't even know where to start.
    And stuff accumulates to fill the space available?

    Absolutely. The items I mention are only the headlines; there's loads of other stuff.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Every two weeks, we have a housecleaner come in. She has been working with us for several years, now. The deal of it is, we have to pretty much get the house picked up before she arrives.

    In the interlude wife and I split the chores. I do my own laundry. I have done this since I was 14. Wife and I have different approaches to laundry anyway. Less arguments when we do ours individually. Kids followed our example. Each started doing their own around middle school.

    Does turn out I do nearly all the vacuuming. I did not realize this until my wife asked how to empty the canister in our Dyson vacuum, which we have had for ten years

    Books don't bother us. Since Mrs, Gramps is a retired librarian, we have books everywhere.
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