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Are you a reformed untidy person? With a lovely home? AIBU to ask for your tips?

83 replies

KavvLar · 30/10/2018 15:16

This is a shout out to those folk who are not naturally good at housekeeping and tidying, but have cracked it and manage to keep and maintain a lovely home. AIBU to ask for your strategies?

I have had a lovely home very briefly after a massive declutter helped by a professional. Best money I ever spent, and I LOVED it when it was all tidy. I know the upkeep is a huge part of it though, and I don’t know how to approach it.

I end up scattergunning around the house and I can just sense the chaos creeping back in. I need some sort of system to keep it vaguely visitor ready, I know there are loads out there, and I'm willing to try but would love some personal perspectives from those of you who managed to change your ways.

This is an odd way to put it I know but I liken it to weight loss and maintenance. You know when you've lost all the weight and everyone thinks the hard work is over, but the maintenance is really hard if you haven't started to think like a thin person? I need your help to think like a tidy person!

OP posts:
Troika · 30/10/2018 15:37

I haven’t cracked it (partly due to extremely messy children and partner) but I am a LOT better than I was.

This is due to
A routine for housework. Boring and never ending but it is easier when I keep on top of it.
Trying to use the one touch rule (eg instead of taking clean washing upstairs and leaving it in a pile on my bed to put away later I try to put it away straight away)
Not sitting down in the evening until dishwasher is on, toys tidied away, kitchen wiped round etc
Trying to identify the things that get left lying around and finding a solution for them.

user1485816612 · 30/10/2018 15:41

Former lazy with the housework person here

Are all of your rooms currently clean and tidy? If not the way I went about it was to completely tidy, declutter and clean one room at a time, took about a full days work on each one, going through cupboards and putting things where they belong, cleaning skirting boards, windows, basically a full top to bottom deep clean. The next day I did upkeep work (so hoover, mop, dishes, surface wipe, bleach down loo over night) in that room then fully cleaned the next.

As each room was cleared that was added into the routine.

Now my upkeep only method is as follows


Laundry put on first thing in the morning - have coffee and breakfast while it’s running then hang to dry

Dishes done and put away

Anything visibly dirty (tiles, sinks and so on) cleaned up - normally only one or two small areas each day

Surfaces wiped with zoflora (kitchen counters, windowsills, tables)

Litter trays and animal enclosures spot cleaned ( we have 7 pets, much easier to do a daily spot clean rather than clean up the mess just once a week)

Run the hoover and mop around all rooms

Put bleach in the loo before bed

Altogether doesn’t take much more than an hour


Sinks, toilet, shower and outside of appliances wiped down or cleaned

Skirting boards / doors / doorframes cleaned

Windows cleaned on the inside

Tv dusted

Hearth cleaned

Animals cleaned out completely


Fridge cleaned inside

Carpet cleaner on the carpet

Cooker cleaned

Inside of cupboards wiped

I think I have got everything there, might be a few things I missed but my method is to just spread out the weekly / monthly jobs over time so it all gets done before it looks bad, and the keeping on top of it means the work is very quick - I spend maybe an hour on the daily jobs and half an hour on the other ones, ticking off as I go. It’s so much easier when it’s kept on top of and means you don’t have to do the once a week mountain of cleaning I used to end up with.

Also work smartly - if pans need soaking put them in the sink but go do something else while you wait, bleach down the loo daily means the weekly clean is just a once over, make life easier for yourself whenever possible and just do things as they are needed. If you haven’t got round to something on the monthly list but it obviously needs doing, get it done there and then, rather than put it off an potentially forget.

HairyStorm · 30/10/2018 15:55

Move house, but only to next door.

Be heavily pregnant and totally not able to deal with this shit.

Move only the bare essentials to the new house. Have your helpful assistants chuck everything else in a skip.

Going forwards, use the knowledge that if it all gets too grim you'll have to find the wherewithal to deal with moving house again to spur you to keep on top of shit.

It's an extreme method, but six years on my house is still fit for human occupation. My old house is now being occupied by another neighbour doing the same thing minus the pregnant part.

violetbunny · 30/10/2018 17:33

Get a cleaner
Have a clearout, it's easier to manage with less clutter
Invest in good storage. Everything should have a place.

Zintox · 30/10/2018 17:48

Do KonMarie.

Have a place for everything and always put things where they live.

Don’t walk out of a room without taking things that don’t belong there with you.

dangermouseisace · 30/10/2018 17:54

I’d recommend a weekly cleaner. I have to tidy up so that she can clean, otherwise it just wouldn’t get done. Her visits give me the incentive to do it- all of it! It’s still a struggle, but if the house is tidied by me, and then clean by the time I get home, it’s easier to keep it like that.

roboticmom · 30/10/2018 18:00

Invite someone over at least once a week. Then you see the house through their eyes and run around cleaning Grin It's amazing how little time it takes once you get going!

TwllBach · 30/10/2018 18:02

I am naturally messy and untidy. I also naturally love routine and order GrinGrin a few months ago I made myself a timetable and have largely stuck to it. There are five ‘areas’ in my house - living/dining room, kitchen, bathroom, our bedroom and DS’ bedroom.

Monday - living/dining room
Tuesday - kitchen
Wednesday - bathroom
Thursday - DS’ room
Friday - our room.

I do a ‘big’ clean in each of those rooms on their respective days and I start at one side of the room and work round. By big clean I mean I come in with a bowl of hot soapy water and a cloth and clean every surface, the doors, cupboard fronts, light switches and skirting boards and any other hard topped surface. I tidy everything away to it’s proper place and I sweep/hoover/mop the floors. I’ve got it down to 40 minutes or less a room and because I do it once a week it stays to a minimal length of time!

It sounds stupid, but it honestly has changed my life. I make sure the toys in the living room are tidied away every night and the dishwasher is loaded/unloaded every day, and obviously laundry gets done but apart from that it tends to be the only housework that is done and it’s made such a difference to my house!

fluffycatinahat · 30/10/2018 18:03

Another one here who only tidies up so the cleaner can hoover/wipe surfaces.
I can't stand doing little and often
Even if you can afford an hour or two of a cleaner a fortnight it's still a deadline
I don't claim to be reformed though

WhirlyGigWhirlyGig · 30/10/2018 18:03

I started following TOMM, game changer and life is transformed.

TheFrenchLieutenantsMonkey · 30/10/2018 18:04

The Organised Mum Method! I've always been untidy and mostly because inwas disorganised.
Read Marie Kondo (laugh at the 'thanking your handbag for its service and not balling your socks because they need a rest bits) and ruthlessly declutter.
Ive been tidying/fecluttering my house for a week and the end is in sight. I feel.relaxed in my sittingbroom, can cook easily in the kitchen.
I took the itinerary from TOMM for a messy house (all downloadable.of the website) and added bits in that were necessary for me. Give yourself tume to do it too. Dont think it'll all be done in a day.
I took a room a day, some rooms (like the pit of doom that is my DD1 and DD2 bedroom) needed longer. But that includes getting rid of any excess stuff. Then tidying, then cleaning.
Hope that helps.

AdoraBell · 30/10/2018 18:05

I was, but it’s all gone to pot recently 🤦‍♀️

AdoraBell · 30/10/2018 18:08

Oh, I did sort through the shelves in my wardrobe, because I was searching for something. At least now the chaos behind the door is organised.

Oneinthegrave · 30/10/2018 18:09

Get rid of everything i kept stupid stuff ‘just in case’. I used the 6 month rule if you havent used it for 6 month and wont use it for 6 months throw it (with exceptions of course)

Looooads of storage added to bedrooms, so everything can be put away. Brought storage ottomans for the hall way and living room so random bits can be put away fast.

I clean the bathroom and kitchen daily so it takes 5 mins a day bathroom and 20 odd for the kithen but would take alot longer if i left it.

Then just clear things away every day, dust / polish and hoover every day. Only mop twice a week but you cant tell. Clean for an hour tops a day and house always looks good but getting storage was the best thing! Even things like spare bath stuff toothpaste, cleaning stuff, laundry all has its own box

Ansumpasty · 30/10/2018 18:13

Somewhat. We moved. It’s way more enjoyable to clean a clean house, than a house than feels past it. Once you’ve done that initial deep clean and tidy, it’s a lot easier to stay on top of, rather than just doing bits here and there.

I also don’t allow toys or mess in the living room. That way, if the rest of the house needs tidying, I can go into the living room to clear my head.

Set aside half of one day to do a deeper clean, like cleaning floors and wiping the bannister, etc. I do it Sunday mornings

thenewaveragebear1983 · 30/10/2018 18:14

Marie kondo (also known as chuck loads of crap away)
Decent storage- if you can’t store it, you can’t keep it
Housework routine and clean like a cleaner does (eg 2 hours, no break, no phone,)
Tidy up every day (see point 1 and 2- they hugely reduce the amount of tidying)

My house is much much tidier than it would be if I was allowed to free rein. Once you get used to it being tidy it’s much easier to want it to be tidy and it becomes the norm to do a daily whizz round.

LadyOfTheCanyon · 30/10/2018 18:16

Get rid of/freecycle/charity shop as much stuff as you can. Honestly an emptier house is easier to maintain!

I'm still not super tidy or clean, but as everything is mostly ' in its place' surfaces can be dusted and wiped that much quicker.

Also never go up/down stairs without taking something with me to put away.

And LOTS of storage boxes!

HurrahMoaningMyrtle · 30/10/2018 18:16

We put our house on the market and the shame of people seeing my untidy house was enough to kick-start a clear out.
We moved into a new build and so far I've been motivated to keep it clean and tidy. I have read up on on TOMM though as I'm worried about when my youngest starts sleeping less during the day

NameChangeyMcChangerson · 30/10/2018 18:16

I wouldn't say I'm fully reformed or that my house is completely lovely yet, but another vote here for The Organised Mum Method - I've been doing it for about three or four weeks and the transformation has been huge. What I've really noticed is that neatness breeds neatness - when a room is basically clean and tidy I remember to tidy away after myself so it stays that way; when the room is already a state adding to it doesn't feel so bad so I feel so unmotivated! And it's so true that if you keep on top of it it becomes so much less work - today was bedroom day on the method; it took me about two hours to clean and clear the room in the first week, but today it was so quick that I ended up cleaning the inside of the windows because I still had time left and everything else was done.

Etotheipiplus1equals0 · 30/10/2018 20:33

Reading this makes me realise I’m very unlikely to ever get there. An hour of cleaning every day plus weekly deep cleans!! I have neither the time or the motivation for that Confused

KavvLar · 31/10/2018 09:31

This is gold! Thank you everyone.

TwllBach you sound like my spiritual twin. Naturally messy but also very organized!

OK so consolidating the responses so far the phases seem to be to declutter, then deep clean, have a good set up and storage, and a plan for regular maintenance. I've done the first three after a fashion (although there's always more I can find to do) and now I need to maintain. I think the suggestions so far that struck a particular chord with me are :

  1. Accept that there's a minimum effort required per day /week and set myself a personalized room by room or task by task routine - TOMM sounds like a popular resource for this.

Where I think I've been lacking also is not doing those 'invisible tasks' at the end of the day - toys away, kitchen tidied etc. The bare minimum stuff. I leave that a day or two and then flap around doing that stuff and think that's my tidying /cleaning time done why aren't I getting anywhere.

I think a lot of people do that naturally and wouldn't even count it as part of their cleaning routine. I struggle to bring cups plates etc back into the kitchen of an evening so that shift in mindset will be valuable for me.

  1. Use THE FEAR. Cleaners, guests and even moving house (admire the commitment!) all seem to be good tools to help me see the house through other people's eyes, and crucially, to provide a time limit to get it sufficiently presentable.

  1. Neatness breeds Neatness. I can absolutely identify with this. When the house was first 'done' everyone kept it nice because I yelled at them and what struck me was how much easier it was for me to see what was out of place, and to fix it, when it was nice.

I think the last thing I'd love to understand is how best to involve DH and the kids (8 and 4) in any routine. It can often feel like I'm struggling on my own, and while it may be of most importance to me, we all benefit from a clean organized and tidy house. Any success with dividing up jobs or any tips?
OP posts:
HairyStorm · 31/10/2018 09:59

Only advice on involving DH and kids is be bloody clear about your goals, or you can wind up with everyone frustrated and nothing getting done.

E.g. XP (who's here daily doing a co-parenting thing) thinks it's important to me to get the washing up done. It's not! What's important to me is that the sink area and dirty pots are all left neatly stacked and not full of manky water etc so that there's nothing to put me off from doing it myself. But what he actually does is leave everything higgledy -piggledy next to and in the sink, then washes up and leaves everything higgledy -piggledy on the draining board and the bowl full of manky water. Which realistically speaking reduces the chances of my brain deciding to actually sort the kitchen out by quite a long way.


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Jackshouse · 31/10/2018 10:05

Definitely tidy as you go. So bed made, window open before you leave the bedroom in the morning. Clothes in the washing basket as soon as you take them off.

Do you need to do things straight away because if it is ready messy they it seems to attract mess because you think one more item is not a problem.

Loot at the organised mum method for cleaning and use it as a basis to create your own routine.

Jackshouse · 31/10/2018 10:07

Just seen your update unless you don’t work and DH does he should not be just involved it should also be his routine. Sit down with a list of daily, weekly and monthly jobs and divide them out together.

pouraglasshalffull · 31/10/2018 10:23

I watch a cleaning video usually on Youtube, or sometimes even the old saved Mrs Hinch ones just to get me in the mood. I put some feel good music on and by this time I'm usually in a cleaning mood!

I've recently started having a deep clean of all the rooms in the house, e.g. a re-organise of cupboards, buying boxes to keep things tidier etc and it's really helped in keeping it tidier.

On a daily basis I:
-Wash any pots left overnight in the sink to "soak" (we really just cant be bothered at night)

  • Put a wash on
  • Wipe down kitchen surfaces
  • Wipe down coffee table and dining table
  • Have a quick run round putting back any clutter or items that haven't been put away properly

On a weekly basis I
  • Hoover
  • Mop then use floor wipes (those floor wipes are incredible from Aldi)
  • Clean toilet, bath, shower and sink
  • Wash the bedding
  • Have a deeper clean of some items (it varies each week, fridge, cooker/oven, kitchen sink, under the bed where it gets incredibly dusty)

I really don't think its necessary to go overboard on a daily basis, your only human and if your like me and a naturally messy person then doing too much will be an overload and only end up unmotivating you.

Stick some good music on that will get you wanting to move. Maybe try reorganising a few rooms to help keep on top of everything too- particularly useful as we get on the run up to Christmas
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