Cluttered vs. Cleared vs. Cleaned

Taking off on a topic being discussed in the snob thread. :slight_smile:

Cluttered = not hoarder, but piles of books here and there, end tables with multiple items, bathroom counters with a fair amount of products, a dining room or kitchen table never cleared.

Cleared = not minimalistic, but clutter free? Few items or only necessary items on surfaces, most things have a place. May not be dust free though!

Cleaned = may be a little cluttered or cleared but it’s CLEAN. Floors always swept, baseboards clean, super regular cleaning routine, mostly dust free surface areas, etc.

Those are just my thoughts. You may have different definitions! (share them!)

Who are you? Which “C” word best describes how you like to live?

I’m a definite CLEARED. I need things to have a place and I will take the moment to place them. There are times I have to catch up on this but its the way I prefer and I am most calm when my environment is this way. I actually finally have been able to describe after all these years/decades of marriage, motherhood that much of my anxiety comes from NOT having CLEARED.

My motto which I firmly stand by for my sanity: Outer order = inner calm. So, so true for me.

Problem: My husband is CLUTTERED. Even more so since he retired. This is a constant strain in our household! He CANNOT see or relate to my “outer order, inner calm”. I have tried to compromise with giving him free reign for his clutter in certain spots - but he can’t seem to limit his clutter or recognize that it can be a major stress for me. :frowning:

Cleaned? My house is ok CLEAN. Could always be cleaner. I will spend more time CLEARING than CLEANING. I mean I do floors very regularly, clean the bathrooms once a week but I’m not great at having pristine windows and scrubbing baseboards more than occasionally.

Your home. What environment makes you comfortable?


I’m the same as you, @abasket . Cleared, I do like stuff but not cluttered. I lean more towards bigger items of interest.

It’s always fairly clean. I don’t have a routine, but it’s cleaned regularly. But not all at once. I do need order.

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I am definitely cleared; piles and “stuff” = anxiety/stress. My family knows if they leave something on the counter, it will be moved. Unfortunately, my memory is starting to go, so if it’s a new item, I don’t always remember where I put it :joy:


Happily cluttered. I don’t feel the need to spend time keeping things picked up.


I need cleared AND cleaned. I have routines for clearing but cleaning is is more of a to do list (today, I will do x number of chores or I will clean for y number of minutes). There is always something to do and I prefer to take care of things in smaller more manageable chunks. DH is a clutter-er. He has been working from home since last March with no signs of going back in to the office. His desk is a nightmare so I stay away but he does clean, too. D20 is just a slob. It was so nice when she was away at school. I spent 3 weeks cleaning, decluttering and clearing her room and it looked great! I think she has filters on her glasses that make it so she can’t see spills, crumbs, hair clumps, laundry piles, or toothpaste globs. It drives me crazy because I want to enjoy her being home but all I do is nag.


I am cluttered but mostly clean. Surfaces have stuff on them, but dishes are done as we go, bathrooms cleaned each week, sheets done each week, etc.
I would describe my husband as clear but not necessarily clean. He would leave stuff in the fridge forever, use the same towel for more than a week, and I don’t even know when he would change the sheets.

Definitely cleared and mostly cleaned ; ).

I also have a cleaning routine. Every Monday the house gets vacuumed (thank you Roomba), and we will occasionally run extra programs as needed. I scrub bathrooms every other week or more often as needed, the kitchen gets wiped down every day, but I hate dusting. I definitely should be doing that much more often. Thankfully we have water radiators vs forced hot air so the house doesn’t get too dusty, especially in the summer months but still I should be doing it more regularly.

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All 3???!!! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:
On the one hand, being military, we always did a purge every 2-3 years. We don’t have alot of extra stuff lying about or in storage. However, there’s a box of framed pics still in the guest bedroom that haven’t been put up yet and another box of kitchen stuff that we’re saving for S19. Really need to find closet space for those. Downstairs linen closet is a disaster (IMO, DH thinks it’s fine.) S19’s dorm stuff is still piled high in the sitting room in my master bedroom. :roll_eyes:

Now, surfaces are a different story. I don’t like alot out, even in the kitchen. Tables are mostly clear (container of dog treats on the bfast table).

Clean… well, floors were alot cleaner pre-puppy. Can’t seem to keep up w/ the constant grass and water droplets now. Baseboards are perpetually dusty, but surfaces are clean. I swear I do dishes and wipe off the counters about 6 times a day now!! Boys are supposed to keep their own bedrooms and bathrooms clean. 20 yr old is awesome at this… 13 yr old so very much not! It usually takes me standing in the doorway, yelling like a Drill Sgt. to get the 13 yr old to clean up. It’s not fun.

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I would also say that MY ideal of “cleared” might still seem like “cluttered” to someone really persnickety. Or vice versa. But your home, your vision is your decision, right?!

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Definitely (mostly) cleared and somewhat cleaned.

I love uncluttered spaces. For the most part we do OK compared to our parents, but H is a collector and probably a shopaholic. He has so… much… stuff… it’s mostly hidden away and very organized, but almost every surface has his stuff on display. I am also lazy to a degree. Things get left here and there. As long as I can pick it all up in 20 minutes, it’s OK. I don’t always feel the need to put something away if I’m just going to get it out again tomorrow.

Cleaned… I have a weekly routine. I don’t like bathroom funk, so those are done weekly. I also have to weekly vacuum all floors/de-pet hair the upholstery because I’m allergic to our 4 cats. Laundry is also done and put up every Sunday night. But there are some things that are lacking. Mopping is not frequent since I vacuum. I disinfect the kitchen counters if I’ve been cooking raw meat, but a deep clean is every month or two. I hate dusting. I will sometimes dust the more open surfaces. But all of those book shelves that are full of his collectibles? Nope. No way. They get done every couple of years. And I don’t do windows.

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DH says he doesn’t think our home needs to look like a model home all the time but I always reply that I think I deserve it!

Clutter doesn’t bother me in someone else’s home but a dirty kitchen does! I worked with someone who used to bring in baked treats fairly often but the day she brought in a picture of her daughter standing in the kitchen and the upper cabinets were encrusted with food drips and splatters was the last time I ate something she made. In my mind, there is a difference between mail stacked up on the coffee table and something that can give me food poisoning…


I’m in the “cleared” camp. After decades of marriage I have gotten H to be better about clutter but he still has too much stuff around. Biggest pet peeve is all of the stuff on the kitchen counters he feels is necessary. I can’t use the “my territory” thing here because he does a lot of the cooking.

S is here now (until September). He wrote the book on clutter…


I hire someone for windows! They come and wash outside, inside, tracks, sills, and screens. It is a couple hundred dollars every year but I don’t have to get up on the extension ladder. Of course, I still need to get my cat’s nose prints off the inside every so often but that is just Windex and a paper towel!

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Yep, I was a “brat;” it definitely created an OCD effect.

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I am cleared and cleaned. H is cluttered, and I try to accept it. I get upset every so often, though, and consolidate his stuff from several places to a few places. I am not a neat freak, so I can live with the clutter to an extent. But I would really prefer that things be tucked away. Because H seems to need easy access to things, and because I love the man, I grit my teeth & live with it (for the most part).

Cleared and clean…I’ll admit to vacuuming several times a week- have a sheddy dog plus I find it a stress reliever:)

The rest of my family are clutter types:(


Our S changed us from cluttered to cleared (did a Marie Kondo style cleaning during quarantine at home). We are fairly content and it is nice to be able to eat on dining table regularly instead a portion of the cluttered kitchen counter.

This. Always this.

I’ve been told I’m OCD for order and cleanliness. So be it.

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If it weren’t for my OCD, I wouldn’t get anything done; It’s a blessing and a curse.


Actually, what I have is CDO–like OCD but in alphabetical order as it should be.