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A Neat and Tidy Home: Real Life Solutions

Looking for a way to keep your home neat and tidy? Here are some real life solutions!

Everyone who has ever entered my home unannounced is surprised at how neat and tidy it alway looks. 

Of course I see the stray bills, dog toys, dust bunnies, and dishes but no one else seems to notice what I consider a mess 🙂

Fortunately, I’ve got some clear strategies that help me stay organized and neat.

They are real life solutions that help you pick up and put away things fast.

Fundamentally the quote from Benjamin Franklin says it all:

A place for everything, and everything in its place 

Real Life Solutions for a Neat & Tidy House

The Core Causes of a Messy House

  • Papers / Mail
  • Toys
  • Clothes
  • Laundry
  • Linens
  • Shoes
  • Dishes

One rule I have and this is a must! This is a 5 minute process that only takes 15 minutes a day:

Pick up everything before I leave a room, go to bed, and before I leave the house.

It sounds SO simple right? At the fundamental core, clean up as you go and then the task isn’t so overwhelming. Your home will be neat and tidy, with very little effort. 

To let it all pile up creates an overwhelming task – AVOID IT!

Papers / Mail / Keys / Purse

This one I think gets all of us! We are constantly bringing paperwork, bills, information, magazines, etc into the house.

Papers and Mailmail and paperwork overload
So I have a couple of ways to combat that issue. I sort the mail and divide it into a few piles:
  • Junk to recycle
  • Bills
  • Things to file
  • Important or for later
  • Catalogs
Junk to Recycle

Just do this. Pull it out of your mail pile and into the recycling bin it goes. Usually I do this IN the garage before I even enter my home.


Man I get a lot of catalogs from all of my online shopping!  They have to be dealt with and I divide them into two categories:

  1. I’ll never read it so recycle
  2. I LOVE this catalog so it gets stored under my coffee table for perusal (usually Sunday mornings while drinking coffee)

Having an extra large basket under my coffee table has been great for not only catalogs, but books and magazines plus Mick’s grooming brushes because I usually groom him on the sofa.

Baskets Under Coffee Table for Magazines and Catalogs

Bills / Keys / Purse

An area that I stay on top of constantly. I put the bills in a pile and after I am done sorting the mail I pay everything online right away.

If it’s something like a big tax bill, that gets a reminder in my calendar to follow-up and goes into This is for later” box sitting on the counter in the laundry room. This box I sort through once to twice a month to dig out anything important.

Then I hang up my car keys, house keys, and glasses in a wall mounted organizer or key organizer and hang my purse on a Command Adhesive hook.

Organized Mail+Keys+Purse+Sunglasses

Things to File

This was an area that got WAY out of control in my life. Stuff ended up in piles without any rhyme or reason.

After being really frustrated with my lack of  a system, I added hanging file rails to two drawers in my office, ordered some pretty folders, and spent an evening getting organized by putting all important paper work into a folder.

If you want to see this project CLICK HERE.

Pretty Folders Labeled

Organized Drawer with Hanging Folders

Now, as those envelopes come with the mark “Important Tax Documents” they go straight into the “2017 Tax” file folder I created for myself.  It’s been a great system that I love! A labeler and pretty folders are my friend!

Toys and Video Games

So these days, my toy issue is left to Mick the dog’s toys 🙂 This honestly I could have written about in detail about 10 years ago, when I designed a whole built-in system for toys in my former home.

It’s an entire subject I’ll leave for the mommy bloggers, with young kids, and not a mom like me who is an empty nester.

Organized Playstation Games and Movies

My son’s “toys” are now video games and components that I keep organized in drawers and baskets in a media center.

My dog Mick’s toys I keep neat and put away in a basket hidden behind a chair in my family room.

If only he would pick up his toys before bedtime like I do!

Anyway – the dog thinks he has a special hiding place and I don’t see his mess.  It’s a win / win situation for both of us.

Organized Pet Toys in a Basket

Clothes & Laundry

This one can be tough and I am not perfect on this front, but do try.  There are some nights that I am just so beat I throw my clothes on the side of the bathtub and deal with them in the morning. For the most part, I follow these principles:

  • Not dirty, hang it up or fold it and put in the closet/drawer.
  • Dirty, I have a handy 3 section laundry hamper hidden in my linen closet for towels & sheets, dark, and white clothes.
  • Pajamas I wear a few days and they get stored during the day in a little ottoman in my bathroom.

This laundry hamper is amazing! I took off the wheels to put it in my linen closet. Then it doesn’t take up precious clothing closet space and I can close the door to keep it hidden.

What I especially love is you pull the bags right up and take them to the washing machine. It couldn’t be an easier system!

3 Bin Laundry Hamper

Here is a similar ottoman to what I use for my pajamas. Plus I sit on it to get dressed and to put on lotion.

Storage Ottoman in Master BathroomSuper Important:



Everyone has their messy character flaws and mine happens to be I kick off my shoes at the family room coffee table and leave them there for others to trip over.  My parents, son, and ex-husband would all say this is an area that needs improvement with me!

To help me help myself, I decided to invest in clear shoe boxes. Luckily, I have the luxury of space for shoe and boot boxes. 

Plus I’ve installed a moveable shelving closest system to adjust to any change I want to make in order to keep my closet organized. 

If you are interested in the closet system, CLICK HERE.

Organized Women's Closet

That’s how I keep my shoes under control by putting them in those neat clear shoe boxes. Then I have a shelf for shoes I wear more often like sneakers and flip-flops.

The little booties I wear the most and keep those lined up on the floor. Remember the Benjamin Franklin motto?

If I don’t pick up my shoes before I go to bed, I pick them up in the morning before I leave.


Now let’s get real. Do NOT leave your dishes dirty in the sink overnight. I’ll give you three reasons why:

  1. Rodents
  2. Roaches
  3. Ants

You’ll attract them to the buffet overnight and that is just gross. I am currently battling ants, after my son was here for a visit and left food out overnight. Lovely.

Ways to cope and I KNOW how tired you feel, but really it just takes minutes.

    • Use the wand filled with dish detergent and wash them before you go to bed or before you leave the house
    • Put dishes in the dishwasher as soon as you are finished eating

Before I leave the house in the morning, while my Keurig is spitting out my coffee, I put away the clean dishes.  Having a neat cabinet makes all of the difference.

Organized Dishes

Then just recently, I added pull out drawers in the lower cabinets.

Organize Cabinets with Pull-Out Drawers

Keeping the pots and pans near the cooktop has been a game changer.

Use a lid organizer to keep them upright and easy to grab.


A Neat and Tidy Home

Think about it. With some simple storage solutions and picking up for 5 minutes a few times a day, your house will look super neat and tidy! You will be ready for visitors at any time.

I go the extra mile and throw my blanket I use while watching TV into a basket before bed and fluff the pillows on the sofa. OK call my OCD, but every morning when I wake up I start my day with a neat home and clear head ready for what the day brings!

Hopefully, I’ve stimulated a latent clean freak inside of you! Or inspired you to find some simple solutions of your own to make picking up and cleaning up a much easier process.

Porch Daydreamer


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  1. You truly inspire me. I can’t wait to be OCD again (used to.. till kids came). They are all gone now..it is time for me to get back to business.

    1. Georgie, thank you so much! Yes, my son heading to college definitely kicked my makeovers and organization projects into high gear. There is more “me” time, so I can disassemble a room and paint or organize it without bothering anyone 😉 Sending you positive vibes!

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