Who wants to be tidier? It's not as hard as you think. Those people with effortlessly clean homes just know a few rules that you don't and we're here to spill.
An easy sweep
Tidy people wouldn't dream of going to bed with dishes in the sink. They know that doing a quick sweep for out-of-place-items every night before bed will help them and their home get a fresh start in the morning. Keeping up with the clutter frequently makes it an easy, do-able task rather than an overwhelming chore.
When neat people take something out, they put it away. When they walk in the door and take off their shoes, they put them in the closet, not scattered in the hall. They know that they'll have to put it away eventually, so cleaning as they go makes it seamless and easy.
Utilize their organizational system
You do have an organizational system in place, non? Get it set up and then use it! The key to being tidy is to set up the conditions to be tidy. That means a place for the things that can clutter up your space: your mail, your clothes, your kitchen supplies. Each thing needs a place to live or a system to be dealt with. Then simply using the system will make it easy to keep things clean.
A long-term task
When tidy people see something extra that needs doing, they jump on it. Maybe they notice their bathroom faucet is filthy so they wipe it down even if it's not their "day" to clean the bathroom. If they see that a stack of books on their shelf has fallen down, they quickly straighten it up; easy peasy. They have specific times set aside to really clean, but they also clean up as things arise.
Okay neatniks, time to speak up. What habits do you think help you stay that way?
Re-edited from a post originally published 6.9.15-NT