Clean House vs. Tidy House | Creating a More Tidy Home

Having a “clean house” is something that many busy moms aspire for, but often fall short due to circumstances, lack of time, or any other reason one could think of.


Until recently, it was really no secret that our house often, “looked like a tornado hit it”. You can relate?


It bothered me, but it was true.


I blamed it on the kids, saying, “We are home all day long, there is no point in picking up when I know it’s going to look like this again tomorrow”.


And, although this is true, it really isn’t a great excuse.


What I have come to realize lately is that the things I am teaching my children now are the things that are going to take with them as they grow up, so I need to be teaching my kids how to clean!


By not teaching my kids to pick up their toys every day, I am beginning to teach my kids that there isn’t really much reason to keep a tidy home.


I don’t really want to be the mom who is still picking up after their kids when they are teenagers.


Not only that, but I want my kids to learn responsibility and to take care of and appreciate the things they have.


If cleaning is your thing, God bless you, I could seriously learn so much from you because I am sure you have some amazing tips that you could share with me.


For those of you who cleaning is not your thing and you want some SUPER SIMPLE tips to try, read on.



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woman holding basket of cleaning supplies



Working Parents, Take a Breath!

When my first was born, I was still working and so I used that as an excuse for any mess in the house. I was exhausted, and when I came home from work, I wanted to spend time with my kiddo rather than have a clean house.


As the baby got bigger, the toy collection grew.


Thankfully, this was about the time I stopped working to be home, so I did have a little more energy to put towards making sure I would help our toddler pick up the toys and put them away every night.


But, for those of you who are working moms, it can be hard to keep up with EVERYTHING!


As a teacher, I would often bring work home with me. Add onto that, things like kids, a spouse, and just the daily responsibility of taking care of cleaning and cooking, and your hands are full.


You have to do what you can do and prioritize what has to be done. Ask your spouse to help you with things around the house- that seriously is one of the best clean house tips I have. Seek out their help and then don’t try to redo what they “might” do wrong.


clean house tidy house pinterest pin



Did you develop your mother’s cleaning habits?

Let me give you some background about me and cleaning.


I grew up in a clean house where my mom was an AMAZING homemaker.


I aspire to have a home just like my parents’. Everything was clean from top to bottom, but I never really felt like she was cleaning non-stop if that makes sense.


And I didn’t really ever give any thought to how she was able to pull this off, until recently.



mother cleaning bathtub



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Tidy vs. Clean

It was just within the past month or so that I came across something that caught my attention. It was an article that someone had written about tidy people.


I went on to read the article that included basic ways to make your house “tidier”. And oddly enough, that wasn’t the part that caught me. It was the word, “tidy”.


I started to think about what the word tidy meant. It didn’t mean super clean, all the time. It didn’t mean picked up all the time.


For me, it was none of that.


For whatever reason, I read tidy as an action. Tidy meant that I was doing SOMETHING to make my house better.


You see, I have been getting it wrong all along.


Having a clean house isn’t the same thing as having a “tidy house”.


My house is what I consider to be relatively “clean”, but it is anything but tidy.


It meant that I was walking through the house to go to the bathroom, and if I saw socks that needed to go to the hamper, I picked them up and tossed them in on the way.


young girl holding laundry basket of clothes and toys


I would wash some dishes after dinner so that they weren’t piled up the next morning.


I encouraged our kids to take ownership of their toys by picking them up and putting them away before bedtime so that I could spend 10 minutes vacuuming after they went to bed and have a clean floor the next morning.




Have Your Kids Help You Clean

I have learned how to engage with our kids during cleaning.  My oldest LOVES to help clean.


And if they are helping me clean, then I AM spending time with them! I am also teaching them a valuable lesson about being tidy. I want my kids to grow up and be able to help take care of their home.


young girl sweeping the floor



We sweep together and dust together. We pick up toys every night together. Nothing crazy, or over the top, just a simple pick-up of the house.


I am no longer frustrated once the kids are in bed, because the house is no longer a mess, nor are my husband and I spending time picking up and putting things away.


Instead, we are spending time with each other together, taking some much needed time for our marriage.



Create Cleaning Challenges for Yourself

I started to create little cleaning challenges for myself.


Making sure the tabletops are clean of clutter before bed. Vacuuming each night. Keeping the bathroom floor clean of dirty laundry. I started emptying laundry baskets once the laundry is folded.


Once I was consistently doing one thing really well, I would add something else.


What I found was that none of these things were hard or really even time-consuming; all I had to do was be mindful and intentional of keeping up with them. I started doing this by myself, and my family started to notice.


The best part was that they were grateful that the house was tidier. So, I started to ask for help from my husband and kids so that I didn’t feel overwhelmed as I added to my list each day.



And then these simple cleaning tips made sense!

I slowly started to realize how my mom accomplished as much as she did. She didn’t have hours upon hours each day to put into keeping the house clean and tidy, but she did have 10 minutes here and 5 minutes there, and she was really good about being intentional with that time.


She was a master at utilizing time.


I am far from perfect at keeping my house tidy, but I am certainly getting better and my house is so much better.


So, what’s holding you back?


I recommend finding one thing to get started. And if that isn’t successful, don’t give up. Try something different, and keep trying until you find one that you can do.

With time, hopefully, you will be able to look around and recognize and appreciate your tidier house!



Here are a few clean house tips you could try to create a tidy house:

  • Making sure the dishes were all washed and out of the sink before going to bed, and then putting away the dishes in the morning so that as they were dirtied throughout the day you had somewhere to put them
  • Putting the laundry away that was in the laundry basket and then stacking the baskets when you were finished
  • Making sure the bathroom floor is picked up every night before bed
  • Picking up the living room floor before bed (especially if you have kids!)
  • Cleaning off the kitchen counters and sink after you do the dishes
  • Picking up the kitchen table each day and putting things where they actually belong


I’m sure you’ve heard of the 30-day rule: do anything for 30 days and it becomes a habit. So for now, I will leave you with that challenge. Let me know how you are doing and how you are creating a clean house that’s tidy!


Drop me a comment below and tell me what you’re going to change this week!



blessings to you, Lisa







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13 thoughts on “Clean House vs. Tidy House | Creating a More Tidy Home”

  • I LOVE your perspective on this, Lisa! You are spot-on with everything you say here, and you do it much better than I could have 🙂 (because these are all thoughts I’ve had at some point!). Now that my eldest is 8, it’s becoming more apparent with each day that I need to do a better job of modeling “tidy” for her. But we continue to work on a few basics – clearing her floor every night before bed, making sure the bathroom gets tidied after it’s used, etc – and I like to think there’s still hope for all of us to get better with this over time! 🙂 (thanks for the great reminders!)

    • You are totally on the right track. We do similar things with our kids because we want them to learn to have the house picked up on a regular basis. And that doesn’t mean mom and dad picking up after them!

    • Ha! So true! Starting kids out young is a great recommendation. Teach them while they’re young.

  • One thing I will change is doing dishes every night! I do not have a dishwasher so this is something I need to work hard to do so my kitchen doesn’t have dishes on the counter all the time. I really liked all of your ideas!

    • I can totally relate to you on the kitchen thing. Although we do have a dishwasher, our kitchen isn’t very big and so counter space is minimal. Trying to keep the dishes under control will help greatly! Yay you!

  • I’m not a naturally organized person, but I’m improving. Small steps have been key for me. Thanks for sharing these tips. I needed a good reminder today.

    • Small steps are the only way I am able to get anything done. I don’t have the time or energy to attack huge projects on a regular basis. I do things a piece at a time and this is what allows me to keep up with everything.

    • I can totally relate to you on that! And honestly, this still happens to me ALL THE TIME. I just know that if I can do one or two things a day, that is better than getting nothing done. The thought of my house being totally put together is just out of the question that this point in our lives.

  • Hey thanks Lisa how interesting about your mums tidying part. It made me think back to my own mum’s habits. And yes,she wasbt always running around with dust cloths and polishes,she justndid a quick wipe ofnthe table a quick hoover a quick iron here and there. I make the mistake of trying to have a spotless house everyday. I run around or sit in shame guilt and look at all the huge problems lying around me. But ive had enough of all this and am writing drawing up plans. I write down a brainstorm about what a particular problem is and write possible ways to solve it. Like why is there dirty laundry all over each room? Because the washing basket is always full to the top,so I bought a hugggge washing basket and kept the smaller one in the bathroom,now its getting a little better. I think we need a basket in each room actually. Anyway you gave me ideas about how to micro clean with kids. I have three I gotta try this. And i love the habits part. Totally agree!!! Thank you

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