Tell-Tale Signs Your Home is Tidy (and Probably Not Actually Lived in By Humans)

I get it. We all have different quirks. They are what make us unique. But there are some things that perhaps go slightly beyond the quirky line. A recent piece in Homify called “Telltale Signs Your Home is Tidy and Cared-For” made me cringe. Or rather, it made me want to find the author and let my toddler go to town on his home with Play Doh and Goldfish crackers. While some of what he describes has merit, you’d have to be unbearably Type-A, with no kids, and tons of time and money to make your home as “cared for” as he suggests. My home is plenty cared for. But it’s also a home. Which means it is lived in, loved in, and more than just a place for random people to “drop by” and admire. It’s a home, not a museum. But humor me for a moment. Let’s examine what Johannes Van Graan suggests.

1. A Neat Entrance Hall

Yes, I can see his point to some extent. First impressions and all. But he writes: “Guests walking into a messy entrance hall will definitely not be impressed, and will not have very high standards for the rest of your house. It won’t be very comfortable for you, either.” Who are these people walking into my home with such high standards?? And why do I care to impress them? Are you in my home to see me and my family or to take notes on the number of shoes sitting next to the door? Neat yes. Impressive, I couldn’t care less.

2. No Sign of Clutter

I can also get behind this one to some extent. Little knickknacks and other junk have always driven me crazy. But Johanne says: “Whether it’s the hallway or the living room, clutter is most unwelcome in any house. So make sure to break down that mess into closets, cupboards, and other clever inventions that can hide away your hoarding habit (if you have one).”  Sure, clutter is unwelcome in my house, but in any house? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Some people simply don’t have the space to put everything somewhere, and clutter is not necessarily a sign that the person is a hoarder.

3. A Neat Home Office

Every time I want to get behind him, he takes it just a step too far. See, I love a clean home office. I personally can’t focus on my work if there’s too much on my desk. But…”Yes, we know the home office tends to look quite messy, but that can severely limit your productivity, plus send a bad message to guests dropping by.” Once again who cares about these random people dropping by?? My home office is a place for me to be productive, to earn money and to get things done, not to keep up with the Joneses…

4. Ample Storage Spaces

If only we were all so lucky. My husband and I recently bought a house which happily has tons of storage. But for years we had to make do in a New York City apartment. Do you know what New York City apartments are notorious for not having? Ample anything, but especially storage space. Johannes suggests having something “like a stunning bookcase packed (but not cluttered) with a multitude of reading materials, keepsakes, and interesting little accessories that are neat and clean.” Ugh. Sure thing. I’ll squeeze that right into my 950 square feet. No need for a table.

5. Adequate Floating Shelves

I didn’t even know that floating shelves were something to aspire to. Moving on…

6. Well-Lit Spots

Now we need a lighting designer. “…[E]nsure your work areas show off proper lighting fixtures, telling your guests (and yourself) that you are serious about your responsibilities, whether that includes doing your taxes or baking cookies.” Because nothing else in my life will demonstrate that I’m serious. It really all comes down to the lighting? And I am serious about doing my taxes, which is why I hire an accountant to do them. Will my lighting say that for me?

7. Storage Boxes

This guy really has a thing for storage. “Keep them neatly underneath your desk, or store them safely in a cupboard.” Just to spite him, I want to get storage boxes and put them in the middle of a room.

8. An Immaculate Closet

See, here’s where my blood really boils. Sure, I’ll keep a relatively neat house. And my “drop-in guests” won’t know that I threw everything that was on the floor into the closet right before they arrived, because the closet will be closed. Closets are for storage and for those frantic few minutes before your doorbell rings (presumably with judgy friends, if you’re Johannes.) But now I have to keep my closet immaculate? What part of my house gets to demonstrate that I’m human?

9. Storage Space for Accessories

So now my accessories need their own storage. By the way, what accessories are these? Accessories, to me, mean things my toddler will want to grab and run around with. There are no accessories, and there is certainly no storage for them.

10. A Cleverly Organized Closet

I. Give. Up.