If they say that cleanliness is next to godliness then a tidy home must be like Heaven. But while we all dream of that lofty place of perfection, that orderly haven is harder to achieve than it looks. Don’t worry though, because it’s not impossible to have a tidy home! You just need some simple tips — a simple strategy — to keep a tidy home.
First off, lets get something straight. I did not grow up in a tidy home.
If you came into my house growing up you could expect to see piles of paper on every table surface, dirty dishes and food remnants left in the kitchen, boxes and things piled up in the corners or under desks, and whatever random stuff us kids would leave lying around.
I also had a very messy room, where I often picked up clothes to wear from the floor, and sometimes needed to clear a pathway to my bed in order to go to sleep at night. So no, I did NOT grow up in a tidy home.
Please understand, I’m not saying this to bash my mother. She really tried, but she had really poor health for most of my growing up years and just couldn’t keep up with the messes we all made. Needless to say, the house was usually cluttered.
It wasn’t until I was in my later high school years (10-12) that I really “woke up” to this desire for a tidy home. It took a little maturing for me to see why I even would want to have a tidy home (or in my case, a tidy bedroom). Honestly, it took a revelation.
If you struggle to keep a tidy home I know exactly how you feel. You know you “should” have things clean and tidy, but at the same time it feels like such a monster of a task that you can’t even start. When you think about cleaning you just see the time it will take and get overwhelmed. Maybe you don’t get why keeping a tidy home is such a big deal anyway. Seriously, I’ve been there.
I have thought all those same thoughts and I understand that it is a struggle to get cleaning. But I also know how it feels to be on the other side of that.
I know how good it feels have a clean home and the peaceful relief you experience when the clutter is no longer looming over your head.
That is what I want for you!
You deserve to feel at rest in your own home without a bunch of clutter nagging at you all day long.
So first I’m going to give you some great reasons why keeping a tidy home is AMAZING (which I think will really inspire you), and second I’ll give you some simple tips that you can start applying today to help you keep a tidy home.
Why Keep a Tidy Home?
Improve Your Health
One of the best reasons to keep your home tidy is that you will also be keeping your home healthy. How? Well clutter collects dust and makes things harder to keep clean. Just think about it: is it easier to wipe off a table that’s nicely cleared or a table that has piles of mail, pens, coins, and other little things lying on it?
The cleared table is easier.
A cluttered surface will always collect more dust than a tidy one. Not to mention all the other germs and allergens that find their way into everything. So when you tidy your home you are getting rid of those dust catching messes and making a healthier environment for you and your whole family.
Boost Self Confidence
Having a cluttered home makes you feel bad, doesn’t it? You feel self conscious and discouraged whenever people come over and you just want to hide and pretend the mess isn’t there. I know exactly how that feels and it. just. sucks! You feel rotten.
Now, if a cluttered house can make you feel so crummy, just imagine what a tidy house would make you feel like.
You would feel so victorious, so confident, and so capable! Don’t you want to feel that way? I know I do, and you absolutely can too.
Give You More Focus
You’re probably scratching your head on this one wondering how tidying your home can give you more focus, so let me explain.
When you are constantly looking here and there at all your messy things, your brain you can’t focus as well on whatever task you are doing. Whether you are constantly thinking and worrying about the mess or not, the visual stimulus the clutter gives you has a dividing effect on your brain!
Unless you have extreme self control or tunnel vision, having clutter around your house will automatically catch your eyes and take up space in your mind. But if there’s no clutter, then there’s no unnecessary distraction.
And BAM! More focus.
Have Peace of Mind
When your home is cluttered, you know it’s cluttered, and it weighs on your mind.
A chronically messy house is kind of like a tiger off in the distance that’s stalking you. In the back of your mind there is fear and anxiety because you know the tiger is coming after you. You can’t relax because then it would over take you. There is no rest.
A chronically messy house won’t leave you alone. It won’t disappear all of a sudden. It’ll hang out in the back of your mind and stress you out, unless you face it head on.
When you kill that tiger, or in our case, clean out the clutter, all that fear and anxiety disappears. Having a tidy home will give you peace of mind because you won’t be fretting about the clutter anymore.
Be an Example
Do you have children? What are they learning when they see a cluttered house all the time? They are learning how to be sloppy; how to not take care of their belongings; how to be lazy, undisciplined, disorganized, and irresponsible.
I know you don’t want any of those things for your child and you can be the example for something better.
Children learn by example. You have the awesome privilege to show your little one how to care for his property, work hard, and use discipline.
Don’t be discouraged if you haven’t been the best example thus far, you have not destroyed your kids. Remember that I grew up in a very messy home and I survived. In fact, I love keeping a tidy home and it’s something I’m keen on doing, but it took me a long time to learn that.
You can start today to be an example to your children of how to keep a tidy home.
Create a “Soft Place to Land”
You may have heard me say this before, but if not, I’ll say it again.
You have the amazing privilege and responsibility of making your home a haven of rest for your husband and your children. Think of your home as being a “safe place to land” like a duck landing on a still, clear pond, rather than trying to land on a choppy and stormy sea.
This means that when your family gets home they aren’t being bombarded by stress or responsibility, but they can come home and be totally comfortable and totally at rest.
This is especially important for your husband.
All day long your husband is out working hard “slaying dragons” to provide a shelter over your head and food on your table. Doesn’t it only make sense that he would want to come home to his castle to enjoy his beautiful wife, his children, and be able to unwind?
He desperately desires that haven of rest.
You are such an incredible blessing to your husband and your children when the house is tidy, and what a privilege it is to be able to do that for them! And don’t worry, your home doesn’t need to be spotless (mine certainly isn’t!), it just needs to be a little tidy.
The Next Step
So what do you think of those reasons. Are you challenged? Inspired?
I sure hope you’ve been encouraged to see that what you do actually makes a difference.
Having a tidy home has some powerful benefits for you, and for your family and now that you know “why” lets get on to the “how”.
5 Simple Tips to a Tidy Home
1) Leave the room looking better than when you came in.
This is one I heard some time around the age of 13 and it’s stuck with me. When you keep this rule in your mind it’s not hard to do a little tidying here and there. If you go to the bathroom and see some towels on the floor or some products on the counter then you quickly straighten things up a bit and carry on you way.
It’s that simple!
Make it a rule that you’ll pick up one thing in a room and then you can go. Chances are that if you pick up that one thing, you’ll probably pick up another thing and just like that you’ve quickly cleaned up a whole room! Or a whole table.
So always remember to leave the room looking better than when you entered the room.
2) Five Minute Flash Cleaning
If you feel like you never have enough time to clean (thus never starting) try five minute flash cleaning. Set a timer for yourself and choose something small to declutter (a pile of papers, the top of the piano, the coffee table, etc.) and work on it as fast as you can for only five minutes.
This accomplishes two things.
- First, it frees you from the expectation that you need to clean everything.
- Second, five minutes is a tiny amount of time that anyone can dedicate to cleaning.
3) Pick a Pile of Pickled Papers
When in doubt, try a nursery rhyme!….
Or maybe just choose a pile of papers to sort through.
I know it is very easy to “tidy things up” by just piling the mess instead of having it all spread out, but those piles aren’t supposed to become a feature on your table, so determine to sort one. Just one. And be ruthless!
Discard any flyer, magazine, or promotional letter that you will not be reading or responding to in the next month. If there’s anything that you think might be helpful, ask yourself if it will still be helpful in three or six months. Chances are you won’t look at it again and it’s junk.
4) If You Open it, Close it…
I know you’ve seen them too, you know, those “family rules” wall hangings. They’re the ones that say things like, “If you open it, close it. If you empty it, fill it. If you take it out, put it back.” and so on, and so forth.
While they may seem corny, these are actually great rules to live by.
Simply put, clean up what you mess up. Do it promptly and do it quickly, because if you always clean up and put away things when you’re done using them you will cut through the clutter before it even happens.
5) Give Yourself Some Grace
Yes you want to work hard to get a tidy home, and yes you want to have a high standard, but remember to leave yourself some room for grace. The truth is, we all have busy lives and we all have a messy home some times.
The key to having a tidy home is not stressing yourself out trying to keep up to the image of perfection. It’s all about having a mindset of excellence and being ready and willing to work to keep things in order.
If you teach your eyes to see the small things that you can clean up now, you won’t have to find yourself in a chaos of clutter later. It’s the small, consistent effort that makes the biggest difference.
So be encouraged! These are simple little things you can do to cut through clutter and keep a tidy home. And you will be so glad you did!
Remember, keeping a tidy home will:
- Improve your health by eliminating dust and germ collecting clutter.
- Boost your self confidence because you won’t have to be self conscious about a messy house.
- Improve your focus by giving your brain a rest from seeing all the chaos.
- Give you peace of mind because the shadow of clutter will no longer be looming over your head.
- Set an example of excellence and diligence that your children can follow.
- Create a haven of rest for your husband and your children to come home to.
Let those reasons inspire you to keep a tidy home.
Then all you need to do is apply those five simple tips of
- leaving the room looking better than when you came in.
- five minute flash cleaning
- sorting just one pile of papers
- using the “If you open it, close it” rule
- giving yourself a little grace
Keeping a tidy home is a continual process and it’s best done in small pieces. The little steps you take to cleaning every day will build up, and before you know it you will have the tidy home you’ve always dreamed of having.
Stressing out over the clutter will never solve the problem. It will only leave you feeling more discouraged and depressed about your home.
But making little changes every day will build your confidence and bring you farther than you could ever imagine.
Just look at my story.
I grew up in a messy, cluttered home, but once I learned the benefits of having a tidy home and started working on getting there every day, I was able to get to that dream.
That is all it takes, and if I got there, then I know you can do it too.
Faith Filled Friday
- Faith Filled Friday with Laura of Missional Women