The Foster's house is organized and immaculately clean; the Tuck's house is delightfully cluttered and disarrayed.
The cottage where the Foster family lives is "always squeaking clean, mopped and swept and scoured into limp submission". Winnie's mother and grandmother tolerate no carelessness, and Winnie is used to the atmosphere of order and dutifully kept organization. In contrast, the rooms in the Tucks' "homely little house beside the pond" are covered in "gentle eddies of dust (and) silver cobwebs"; in the kitchen, dishes are stacked haphazardly "in perilous towers without the least regard for their varying dimensions...every surface...(is) piled and strewn and hung with everything imaginable", and the furniture in the parlor is "set about helter-skelter".
Winnie is at first "amazed" at the thought that people could live in such chaotic conditions, but after thinking about it awhile, she decides that the Tucks' home is charmingly "comfortable". In an unwitting reference to the main theme of the story, she first wonders if the family just thinks "they have forever to clean it up", but then she concludes that, in a refreshingly carefree way, that "they just don't care" (Chapter 10).