Grandma’s 3 simple tips for keeping a tidy home

Thank you to reader Kay for sharing her thriving at home tips.

I am a grandmother now and have been married for almost 50 years.

When I was a young mother and literally struggling to cope with babies, husband, housework, shopping etc. My mother told me to be sure to try to do three things that will help to keep a tidy home:

  1. Make the bed
  2. Keep the sink free of dishes
  3. Fold the clothes as you take them off the line.


There was still quite a mess at times but having those three things done seemed to make the other chores less stressful.

My two daughters used this “plan” and I believe they still think it’s a good one, even though other things might be pretty chaos the essentials seemed to be done.

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Sarah @theroutinequeen June 11, 2015 - 6:58 PM

Love it! So simple but so true

Katrina - The Organised Housewife June 11, 2015 - 7:15 PM

sometimes it’s the simple things that can make such a big difference 😉

Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages June 11, 2015 - 7:11 PM

I always feel better if the kitchen is clean and the floors are swept. I always mean to make the beds and it does do wonders but I hardly ever do :/

Katrina - The Organised Housewife June 11, 2015 - 7:16 PM

I make my bed after I have my shower, some mornings I may not feel like it, but it’s just something I do now out of habit before I leave my bedroom in the mornings.

Sandra Liddicoat June 11, 2015 - 8:45 PM

I always make my own bed. I grew up doing it everyday and can’t bare to get into an unmade bed. However, making my children’s beds is another story. Whose mother did that for them. My husbands mother did, I think she deserves a medal. I try to teach my children to make their own bed, not always successfully ????

Tane June 12, 2015 - 4:46 PM

I’d love to make my bed straight after getting up but it’s hard to do with the husband still in the bed 🙂
(Un)fortunately my mother-in-law does it but not the way I like. She tucks everything in at the foot but it suits her height. She’s almost a foot shorter than me, no covers to for my shoulders to snuggle under unless I pull it all apart again.

Jen Rowston December 31, 2015 - 4:42 PM

Hi Kat! I too make the bed before I leave the room each day. It makes me feel so good when I get home at the end of the day! Kay’s post reminded me of a conversation I had with my grandmother when I was newly married.
‘And do you like housework, darling?’
‘No, Grandma!- I hate it!’
‘Then don’t do it! You play with the babies – the housework will wait!’
So Zi did.

Robyn June 11, 2015 - 8:51 PM

Great tip. I live by this rule too but I include one load of washing to my list. If the beds are made, dishes are done and a load of washing is washed and hung up (with yesterdays load folded and put away) than I feel like I have accomplished something, even if i don’t get to anything else.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife June 12, 2015 - 8:25 AM

I like to do a load of washing everyday too, Robyn. I find it is a greatway of keeping on top of it.

Kirstie June 12, 2015 - 1:52 PM

Omg, you get away with one load a day? I do a minimum of 3 a day and never have a day without any washing to do!
I need to do these, but the folding one just doesn’t seem doable to me! But I need to fold all my clothes, hubby’s clothes, kids clothes separately or I feel really stressed over it

Bev Lange December 31, 2015 - 10:27 AM

Hi I have found that since the fires that swept thru this area, and then the horrific dust storms that followed, I have been doing one or two small loads of washing a day and hanging it inside on clothes horse.Outside is too dusty and it dries well enough inside and makes it more manageable.

Kate June 12, 2015 - 7:37 AM

I hang clothes on coat hangers on the clothesline, when dry they can be placed straight into the wardrobe, it’s saves handling time.
Anything that goes into a draw I fold in half before hanging in the clothes line, then it only takes one more fold when removing from clothes line.
I also place clothes in the basket by family member so when I bring the washing in it doesn’t need sorting, I just walk into each room and place that persons pile in their bed

Katrina - The Organised Housewife June 12, 2015 - 8:25 AM

Great tips, Kate!

Lisa May 27, 2016 - 3:35 PM

I like it!

Jude June 12, 2015 - 12:05 PM

Great! Thanks so much, Kay, for sharing. I just treasure those tips from those who have “been there, done that.”

My Nana had 3 tips too:
1. Make the beds
2. Clean up the dishes after each meal
3. Sweep the verandah.

When friends of mine got married at their pantry tea we organised to make a book of tips from all the friends, aunties, grandparents etc about housekeeping and marriage. I remember getting all sorts of funny, useful, practical and bizarre tips!

My Grandma’s tip:
Don’t put it down, put it away.

Ruth Ward June 12, 2015 - 7:30 PM

Hi Kat,

my daily essentials top 3 are:

1- wash, dry and put away dishes

2 – do the laundry

3 – empty the bins

fairly similar!

Ruth Ward

Katrina - The Organised Housewife June 15, 2015 - 8:40 AM

Perfect Ruth! I too love to get all those 3 done and dusted out of the way.:)

Fiona June 12, 2015 - 9:12 PM

Love these tips – l do an old-fashioned nurse’s practice which helped a lot on busy wards in the past for us. We did a simple “tidy round” which works at home too. A quick tidy-up of surfaces which really makes a difference all over. ?

sue June 12, 2015 - 10:03 PM

I always make my bed as soon as I get up.
I always empty the dishwasher and put the dirty dishes in for the next run.
I always sweep the floor or do the washing.
Folding up clothes is always helpful too although the ironing pile always grows out of control.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife June 15, 2015 - 8:41 AM

I love your daily routine Sue! A great way of staying on top of things.:)

Cammie June 12, 2015 - 11:05 PM

These tips sounds great! I grew up making my bed every day but as a wife and mom now I usually let it go. Just recently started trying again! I’m not sure how my mom got me to make my bed when I was little…she is amazing! I have been trying to do dishes more often too, which makes my whole kitchen look and feel better! I work full-time and so does my husband so that makes its hard to keep up sometimes. Thanks for the simple tip reminder!

Katrina - The Organised Housewife June 15, 2015 - 8:42 AM

Sounds like you are getting back on track and doind a wonderful job, Cammie.:)

Sheila June 27, 2015 - 11:26 AM

I separate twenty minutes every day to rearrange something: drawer, closet, refrigerator …. Another thing that even I who is very tired is how to take the makeup know? I spend a damp handkerchief in the sinks, weights and bench. Collect all that is out of place and put in a basket if not lively to save time. Tidy the sofa cushions and sleep with their house in order. This makes it easier and my life the next day. I learned from a friend of San Diego.It changed my life

Kerry May 25, 2016 - 1:12 PM

I normally have a couple of empty washing baskets and collect things that don’t belong in that room and take them to the next room and so on. I’m trying to organise the house so everything has a place – but with two little ones and a husband that don’t understand this makes it tricky. Thinking of putting pictures on every draw/shelf to make this easier for them 😉

Katrina - The Organised Housewife May 26, 2016 - 1:00 PM

labels work wonders Kerry to help the others in the house return things to where they belong.

josie May 26, 2016 - 11:42 AM

I too.. have a habit of making my bed before i leave home for the morning, my children have sucessfully followed suit of doing so each day too.

My routine is very smilar

Beds made
dishes washed dried put away
laundry load on – I normally do the same via folding washing after taking off clothesline. depends on the day if its full on busy ill just put in order into the basket – underwear socks etc first in laundry baske, tshirts, pants etc, just easier when i fold it up and put into their stacks.

Lisa May 27, 2016 - 3:33 PM

I’ve often struggled with making the beds! All the dishes are done, the laundry is washed, hung and dried and folded (5 kids, no mean feat!) but the beds elude me. Mind you, no one has complained either…? Usually my sheets all stay well tucked, as my mum taught me to do it as she learned in her nursing days. My tip for decreasing your own work load is to always hang your wash as quickly and as straight and particular as possible. And sagging hemlines, un-aligned side seams, towels and jeans not flicked out and straightened all give you more work to fold and/or iron! I am the fussiest laundry-hanger-upper I know!!?

Anna Cunningham November 22, 2016 - 9:31 PM

Just a thought but how about instead of perpetuating unhelpful stereotypes of women being homemakers you expand your tips to men and boys as well? Grandma’s guide to help families work as a team to keep the house tidy perhaps. You know, because it’s 2016 not 1956…

Judith February 10, 2017 - 1:09 PM

Yes Anna Cunningham, men have become acquainted with the idea of the equality of the sexes, but it’s amazing how the old STEREOTYPES remain to this day.
It’s 2017, women work long hours away from home, and men still come home and assume they’ve done their job for the day so they can relax, because anything to do with the home is WOMEN’S WORK. Of course I’m generalising, but women have a lot to answer for re this attitude, e.g. their husband/partner doesn’t do the job the same perfect way they do etc etc
Time to wake up ladies. Men can learn to do every job you do. If it’s good enough to teach your children to do jobs around the house, it’s good enough for the adult male.

Angela October 31, 2017 - 4:56 PM

I also believe in these three tips, but would add a fourth that will make a huge difference. Put things away as you use them or as someone else commented – tidy up after yourself – and that includes all family members. A few seconds spent putting away things or cleaning up when doing the dinner, when the family comes home with all their bags each afternoon, putting away the make up and hair stuff when getting ready to go out, putting books/games/toys away when finished with them is so much easier than trying to put it all away when you actually need to clean the floors, counters, etc.


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