Mother and son doing laundry

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I’m a self-proclaimed “neat-freak.” My long-suffering husband can attest to the many hours I’ve spent cleaning, organizing and decluttering our home. It’s not just a chore for me – it’s how I de-stress.

You heard me right: A messy house stresses me out! 

I thought I was alone in this sentiment, but a recent Merry Maids survey revealed that 68% of adults say having a clean home alleviates stress.1 This means that a tidy house can potentially lead to a less stressed lifestyle.

However, as much as it pains me to say, a perpetually tidy house just isn’t a reality. After all, a house is a place where you live, and not, as you may like to believe, a furniture store staging area.

But, if your goal is to simply keep your home as clean and organized as possible, we have tips from a home cleaning expert at Merry Maids, Debra Johnson, on how you can achieve a tidy home.

Have the Right Equipment

You might think the secrets of the tidy belong with the professionals – those wise individuals who can get a stain out of anything by mixing a potion of ingredients from their kitchen cabinets.

The reality is no neat-freak can work their magic without the right equipment. By having the correct cleaning supplies well stocked and at the ready, you can conquer any mess.

“[Make] sure you have the right cleaning supplies,” said Johnson. “Organize them in a caddy you can carry from room to room so you are never searching for a cleaning item. Even better – designate one cleaning caddy per floor so you don’t have to lug it around.”

What follows is by no means a comprehensive list of cleaning supplies, but Johnson considers them her go-to for a clean house:

Secrets of the Perpetually Tidy: 5 Tips to an Organized House - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

  1. All-purpose cleaner – $18
  2. Oil soap – $13
  3. Vinegar – $17
  4. Rubbing alcohol – $18 (pack of 6)
  5. Melamine sponge – $8 (pack of 100)
  6. Latex gloves – $15 (pack of 100)
  7. Microfiber cloths – $17 (pack of eight)
  8. Caddy – $36 (pack of 4)
  9. Scrapping tool – $27 (pack of 25)

This is a good starting point, but customize your cleaning caddy with products that you’re comfortable with using, whether that’s store-bought cleaners or homemade, natural cleaners.

Control Your Clutter Catchers

Even neat-freaks have a dirty little secret: clutter catchers. Clutter catchers take the form of the side table by the front door collecting a pile of junk mail, the bedroom accent chair with a heap of dirty clothes piled high or even the magazine holder in the bathroom with last year’s issues of Vogue.

They’re the outlet for an organized person to be messy, but there’s a way to kick the clutter catchers to the curb: Either get rid of them altogether or embrace your clutter catchers by organizing them.

“An organized house has a way of appearing clean, even if it’s not. Having things simply contained is the first step in helping to make your home appear neat and tidy,” explained Johnson.

Johnson recommends using fabric storage bins as a means to control your clutter catchers. Magazines, toys, unsorted mail and other items can be easily and fashionably contained in fabric storage bins.

Try choosing colors and patterns that blend in with the surrounding décor of your home, in order to make the clutter inside less obvious.

Secrets of the Perpetually Tidy: 5 Tips to an Organized House - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

  1. Fashion Cube Storage Bin – $10
  2. Palm Basket – $98
  3. Magazine File Holder – $13

Create a Command Center

A command center is a central location of your home where you organize mail, schedules, car keys and anything else you need at the ready. Because of this, your command center might attract a ton of unnecessary clutter, and because it’s in a central, visible location, it can give the impression of a messy home.

“Clutter is what makes the home look messiest, so having a plan to organize clutter can help save time when unannounced guests show up,” Johnson explained.

Take command of your command center by organizing your information and items in a clean and easily accessible way. For example, Johnson recommends having a designated space for daily mail, a spot on the wall for a calendar or bulletin board and a place to put your car keys.

If you have roommates or family members in your home, Johnson also suggested creating cubbies or shelves for each member of the household. This can hold personal messages and anything else that might need to be organized and separated.

Secrets of the Perpetually Tidy: 5 Tips to an Organized House - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

  1. Entryway Holder – $61
  2. Large Wall Pocket – $44
  3. Wall-Mounted Calendar Board – $114

Make Floor Mats Your Friends

If you don’t already have floor mats, they could be the missing link in home organization. Johnson swears by a strategically placed rug or floor mat, asserting it as a neat way of containing furniture and other home items.

“Floor mats inside the home can make cleaning easier and make areas appear more organized – and organization is key to making homes seem cleaner,” said Johnson.

Johnson recommends floor mats for bedrooms, living rooms and especially the kitchen as a way to catch clutter, crumbs and other miscellaneous particles. Floor mats cut the cleaning time in half, as you can shake it outside or vacuum over it.

Don’t forget, they can also be a fashion statement to tie in the décor in a room, so choose a floor mat that works both organizationally and aesthetically.

Secrets of the Perpetually Tidy: 5 Tips to an Organized House - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

  1. Stripe Kitchen Rug – $15
  2. Kitchen Rug – $69
  3. Tufted Area Rug – $234

Get Into a Routine

The real secret of the tidy is having a schedule or routine for cleaning their home. Divided by day, week or month, those who have pristine places have a cleaning process predetermined in order to keep a clean and organized home.

Johnson suggests adopting a daily and weekly routine that will divide and conquer chores in a realistic way that has the best results – starting with the problem areas of your home.

Secrets of the Perpetually Tidy: 5 Tips to an Organized House - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

Image: Merry Maids

Based on your personal needs, some tasks, like washing dishes and laundry, might not need to be done every single day, but by getting into the habit of cleaning as you go, you can maintain a tidy house.

“Keep in mind, you can divide chores into nightly tasks so an entire day isn’t dedicated to weekly cleaning,” Johnson reminded. “Map out a plan of attack, formulate a checklist of tasks and knock them out one by one.”

A messy house can feel overwhelming, but by tackling the problem areas in your home one by one, you can clear out clutter and truly achieve a tidy, organized house. For all the messes you can’t clean up, don’t hesitate to call the professionals at Merry Maids for a helping hand.

Do you identify as a neat-freak? Share your tips for an organized house in the comments below!

1 The 2018 Merry Maids Cleaning Survey presents the findings of an online survey conducted by Toluna from May 8 – 11, 2018 among a sample of 2,093 Americans 18 years of age and older.

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