Where to Begin Cleaning When You’re Overwhelmed by Clutter and Mess

When you’re overwhelmed by clutter and mess all over your house, it’s hard to know where to begin cleaning it up. These simple steps will help you take back control of your home today!

I know the feeling. I honestly do.

I know how it feels to look around at your messy house, and even your life, and say the word “impossible.” I know what it’s like to think there is too much to do and not enough time…or energy…or arms. I know the discouragement of waking up full of ambition for finally tackling the out-of-control toys and the stacks of dishes, only to have your plans derailed by a fussy baby or a disobedient child.

I know. I’ve been there. Many days, I’m still there in some shape or form.

Woman sitting on kitchen floor with her head on her knees and the words "Where to begin cleaning when you're overwhelmed by a messy house"

Sure, if you were to stop by my house this afternoon, you might think it’s lovely and clean, but I can see the piles all over the desk that seem to grow faster than a four-year-old. And I can’t forget the mess that hides behind a certain bedroom door where there’s barely a path to get from the bed to the closet.

I know the shelves I promised myself I’d straighten up months ago, last season’s clothes I never put away, the sticky spot that’s been on the kitchen floor for at least a week.

Sometimes it seems like everyone in the world must have their lives put together.

And color coded.

And stacked in cute little bins.

Everyone except for you and me, that is. No, we feel just plain overwhelmed by homemaking.

We really want our houses clean and our stacks of mail sorted and filed away, but it’s just out of our grasp. We have every good intention of getting things done, but then we’re so weary and overwhelmed by clutter and mess that we make the choice to eat chocolate today and attack the work tomorrow instead.

And we spend one more day feeling like a homemaking failure. See? I told you I know.

At some point we have to decide that enough is enough. We must stop making excuses and then guilting ourselves into inaction. We have to quit the dramatic swings between comparing ourselves to others one moment and being satisfied with our own laziness the next. We don’t have to live like this. We really, truly don’t.

Get your FREE Simple Decluttering Cheatsheet!

Start feeling at peace in your own home! Learn how to pick the best spot to start decluttering AND step-by-step how to tackle the mess in any room in your house. PLUS get my best tips right in your inbox…and it’s 100% FREEEEE!

Your email is safe with us. We wouldn’t dream of sharing it with anyone else!

“You should see my house right now. Thank you so much for everything!!” – Carly

How to Clean Up Your Messy House

Your homes didn’t fall apart in a day, and it won’t be glued back together in one, either. That’s alright. Every step you take toward dealing with your overwhelming homemaking issues – big or small – will be one step better than things were when you started.

One of the best “first steps” you can take is to challenge yourself to turn off the phone, the computer, the iPad, and the television for one hour each day. This one hour challenge will sting a little, kind of like ripping off a band-aid, but it’s amazing what can be accomplished when you aren’t checking Facebook or replying to email. I double-dog dare you to give it a try.

Also, you need to keep in mind that what someone else’s home looks like does not matter. Your husband will not be more or less blessed because of how clean Suzy Homemaker’s kitchen counters look in those pics on her blog. And your children will not feel neglected because their toys aren’t organized just like that magazine article described.

Everyone lives with different situations, limitations, and starting points. Don’t let all those perfect images bully you into thinking it’s hopeless. That’s just a lie.

Still, even with the best attitude and resolve, the mountain of work in front of you can be daunting. Catching up is always harder than keeping up. This means the path to getting your homes into the proper condition won’t be easy, but maintaining that level of clean will be much, much easier. Trust me on this one!

Woman holding a laundry basket overflowing with laundry

Where to Begin When You’re Overwhelmed by Clutter and Mess:

1.  Take care of time-sensitive issues.

  • Check for any appointments or activities you may have forgotten.  
  • Look for bills that need paid.
  • Think about other things with a time associated, such as library books needing returned, dry cleaning waiting for pick-up, or the permission slip begging to be signed.

2.  Focus on food and clothes first.

  • Figure out what you’ll feed everyone today, and then make a meal plan for the rest of the week.
  • Decide what day you’ll go grocery shopping and start jotting down a list.
  • Gather the laundry and work at it until you see the end in sight.  
  • Don’t worry about anything else until you can feed everyone and have enough of the laundry washed, dried, and folded so there will only be one or two loads each day from here on out. 

3.  Make a simple morning routine.

4.  Make a simple afternoon and evening routine.

  • Make a list that includes only what must be done to keep things running smoothly (such as finishing the laundry, making dinner, washing dishes, etc.)
  • Get comfortable with your basic routines before adding additional tasks.  Even a few chores in the morning and afternoon will be a huge improvement!
  • Don’t get discouraged if it takes a couple of weeks for your morning and afternoon routines to become habit.  Keep working and you’ll become more and more efficient at completing the tasks.

5.  Choose one special task to do each day.

  • Pick one weekly cleaning task to do each day, such as running the vacuum or dusting.
  • Or, set a timer and work on one area of your home that needs cleaned or decluttered.
  • Don’t worry about perfection, just do something!

The company my husband works for has this motto: “Better today than we were yesterday; better tomorrow than we are today.” You don’t have to feel continually overwhelmed by the clutter and mess in your home. Keep working to make it just a little better today than it was yesterday and better tomorrow than it is today. You can do it!

Get your FREE Simple Decluttering Cheatsheet!

Start feeling at peace in your own home! Learn how to pick the best spot to start decluttering AND step-by-step how to tackle the mess in any room in your house. PLUS get my best tips right in your inbox…and it’s 100% FREEEEE!

Your email is safe with us. We wouldn’t dream of sharing it with anyone else!

“I keep every email you send out. You are so spot on with your advice.” – MaryLou

Similar Posts


  1. Thanks for the tip… I’m going to start today with just One area like laundry and dishes and see how it goes instead of trying to clean the whole house in a day thanks

    1. Thank you for putting this out there. I have felt like such a failure for not keeping a tidy home. I have been so ashamed that I don’t invite people over and tell my kids no their friends can’t come over because I am afraid of judgement from the other parents. I feel like I was the only female in the world to not meet the expectations of what should be one of my responsibilities. Why is there this stigma? Do men feel like this? I am a working mom. Why do I feel shame for not being able to keep my home clutter free? How common are these feelings? Thank you, thank you for your honesty and help.

      1. Carla D Anderson says:

        Im so with you on that note. I’m enlisting the help of my kids to get in on it too!

      2. Mary Beth Smith says:

        I really know where you come from. I was raised to never have others or friends over . I’m paralyzed by my clutter. I get exhausted just thinking about it. I was very OCD when I was younger but I had a real nervous breakdown. I knew how to run the perfect house but now I have no idea how to do it again. My brain doesn’t function the way it used to. I get upset knowing that someone may come to my house and will see the way I live now. You are not the only female in the world struggling with this very real situation. We all are our on worse enemy. Sometimes I will turn on the TV show “Hoarders” and I ease up on myself some knowing that I am not the worst! God bless you in your struggles. Marybeth

      3. Misty Jones says:

        You said exactly how I feel!!!

      4. I am a dad of a 3 yr old and a 36 yo husband . I feel like every step forward takes me back 3. When I clean the kitchen I come home to more cuos or dishes in the sink and nothing taken out of the dish washer. So after working from 7-3 I go to my second job grocery shopping for others and then come home to clean my mess exhausted. My son and husband went to Disneyland this week. So I am finding my starting point . I have grabbed all laundrty dishes and unworn clothes… Cleaning and decluttering. We moved into our house almost 2 yrs ago and I still have boxes labeled Master bedroom sitting in my bed room… Today is the day.. and it is true maintenance is always easier once you have a routine. But yes to answer your question. I am embarrassed and ashamed and frustrated and feel like the only one it bothers is me.

      5. I grew up in a home where my mom didn’t want friends over unless there was time to prepare. I spent most of my time at my friends house that was more relaxed and vowed my kids would be able to have friends drop in any time. Kids don’t care about what the house looks like just that they are welcome.

      6. OMG! I think Ive been cloned! I feel the exact same way!!,

      7. Catherine Marvez says:

        Single Senior working cancer patient exhausted all the time!!!. Add that to the overwhelmed feeling and I tend to go home, walk and feed the dogs go for a 20 nap but it ends up lasting til midnight. Needless to say…my house is a disaster. Have been blaming it on treatment for the past year but that’s old now. I do agree that small increments work. I have had instances where the energy “just showed up” out of nowhere and have been able to pick up and sweep floors, get dishes done and load a wash. Then I crash for another month! Horrible

        HOWEVER, when my brain tells me to get up and do one load of wash…it typically turns into the one load of wash and one other thing or two. So I know that works. Also, I’ve been coaching myself to let things go. I am a sentimentalist and love so many things I’ve collected over the years. So far, I have three medium moving boxes filled with “things” to donate or sell. The criteria…if it is not a family heirloom or I can use it in my decor without it attracting dust….it can go to a new family to enjoy.

        When I fail….I say…no worries…tomorrow we start again. Just keep on trying it out til you find something that works…the outcome is pleasing and gratifying. Once the basic clutter and dust is gone….I’m going to treat myself to a professional housekeeping.

      8. Don’t feel bad, you are taking care of your family. Some of these over organized people are actually making up for chaos in their personal life. Enjoy your time with your kids, they won’t remember the mess!

      9. I always wonder the same. I work too but I seem to be the only one expected to do any housework and feel shame when stuff is not done.

    2. You just read my life right now out loud. Thanks for the insightful and hopeful blog.

    3. Great, I’m moving and selling my condo in 2 weeks and my house is a wreck and its been humid and rainy.For the showings it was fine , but final walk thru is in two weeks!! Im gonna take your suggestions, but first I’m getting a cup of coffee..

    4. Thanks for the tips. I know that I am not the only one but, I have mental health problems. I am undergoing treatments right now for that and, my pancreas & liver. I feel so bad for my little girl even my big one because I have been in this situation. We barely get to the bed at night. I only have 2 bedrooms the little one is with me and, my husband in a toddler bed. I have to get out of this some how. I’m going to set a timer and, work on each room for a bit today.

  2. I love your comment about “color coded and all stacked in little bins”. I have a niece with a spotless house and even with 4 boys! If she is asked where something is she can go to the container it is in and produce it. She is OCD and can’t help it. I have selective OCD. I am so particular about certain things but when it comes to the house it is all or nothing. Unfortunately, I tend to run on the nothing side of that when it comes to clutter. I feel like I wouldn’t be embarrassed for you to come to my house.

  3. hi after a run of illiness & work being done its hard to get started
    love ur tips!

  4. I seriously needed this today! Thanks for the great tips and for the empathy!

      1. I just wanted to let you know that I am grateful for the time you have taken to write this article. Sometime it’s very frustrating to keep a routine going, with my work schedule and family it is sometime impossible. But thank you very much for this post.

      2. Thank you so much for this. I am at my wits end. I have a 6yr old daughter and a husband. Neither seem bothered by the mess and seem not to have any qualms creating more. I really need to get a handle on it for my own sanity.

  5. This post truly speaks to me and I cannot thank you enough for it. I have four boys, one of whom has a lot of special needs and is often like having 10 kids so I get overwhelmed daily. It’s the Morning Makeover series (which two months in and I’m on day-
    d 10) and lists such as those included here that provide guides that make life more manageable. My life, and my family’s life has definitely improved since I found this blog!

    1. Nancy, I’m so glad this was an encouragement to you! You have a hard job, but it’s worth every bit of time and energy you pour into your family! Remember that caring for a home and family is not a race; it’s a marathon. Take your time as you work on your home and give yourself lots of grace.

  6. Thank you for posting this! Sometimes it’s so easy to be overwhelmed by the clutter. This is a good reminder to start somewhere.

  7. I needed this too. I’ve been sick all week (worst in ages!). I had my sisters help me clean yesterday. My destructive toddler threw stuff off of tables and all over the floor as soon as they walked out the door. My health is poor and my family is either too young to be a huge help or messy (hubby). Being gone all weekend last weekend for Christmas and all the new stuff, the sickness, the mess, the clutter! Ahhh! I had my 4 year old pick up everything off the floor this evening. There are still piles on the table, piles on the counters, way too many toys to be purged- BUT today I got the laundry finished except the load in the dryer. The floor is visible. The couch is clean. We all ate leftovers. I put away a couple big things. Got some online stuff done that I’d been to sick to do. The kids got a bath. I hope to put away dishes and fold/put away that last load. Being sick and barely hobbling around, I feel accomplished. Tomorrow’s goal is dishes and clear that table. Then rest with the in laws for tamales.

  8. Thank you for your tips. I recently became the sole bread winner for the family, and I’m in school. I’ve been having trouble keeping up with the house, kids, work, school, pets, etc… I am willing to try anything at this point if it will help me keep up with the house work.

  9. I googled “my house is a mess” and came across this blog. I am so overwhelmed with work and taking care of my two kids ( 1 & 5) plus a messy husband, I have zero energy or desire left to declutter my messy home. Reading about your experience on this was like reading about what I am going through in my own life, word for word. I need to plan- meals, laundry, bills, shopping, so I can start decluttering my home, my life! I need to not be discouraged and light a fire under my butt to do this! Thank you for sharing your story, I don’t feel so alone now about this and feel less like a failure about my mess.

  10. This is obviously for people that don’t work every day.

    1. Linda Rinaldo says:

      I am a retired nurse living in beautiful Floruda.I relate to what these girls are saying.I Was super organized when working but now I can not get much done.I liked your advice,turn off the tv,facebook etc.I am going to try your advice,do one thing everyday.Thankyou.

    2. I was thinking the same thing! If I had all day, my house wouldn’t be cluttered, lol

      1. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who was thinking this!

    3. On the contrary, I think this makes working outside the home and keeping a home and family manageably organized an easier proposition.

    4. When I was working full time my house was very organized. I even had a method down to bake home made goodies vs store bought. Now that I’m retired, my husband became disabled shortly afterward. I still pretty much keep up with chores that I taught myself as a young woman, but I tire out a lot easier these days. There’s a lot more dust than there use to be, but I am teaching myself it’s not the end of the world. As long as the house is kept safe, I can live with that. Make it a habit to do one to two loads of laundry everyday and get the dishes done. You will be surprised how accomplished you will feel about those two chores at the end of the day. Littler things can be thrown in along the way and as time permits. Your homes will take shape within a couple of weeks with these efforts. Yes, turn the tv off, put down the phones and magazines. Crank the music up and you will feel yourself soar. You can do it!

      1. Barb…I agree with you. I felt more organized when both my husband and I worked and the kids were in school. Retired life hasn’t been all I expected due to declining strength. An invalid spouse would make it even more difficult. I’m inspired by you that you are accepting what is too much yet still able to keep your home safe and manageable.

  11. Can you tell me the difference to the Simply Cleansheets and the decluttering book?

    1. Sure! MY eBook Clutter-Free Clean {Clutter Free Tips + Printable Cleaning Lists} has tips and ideas on things like “how to deal with clutter-overload,” as well as specific tips for various areas of your home (ie. kitchen, bathroom, office, etc.). At the back, there are printable checklists for each room in your house. The Kitchen Clutter list, for example, will have things like “sort and organize pantry” and “sort and organize silverware drawer.” There are nine different checklists to help you declutter, clean, and organize your home. These lists are great for spring cleaning, for when company is coming, or for simply knowing what to clean and keeping track of what you’ve already done.

      Simple Cleansheets is a collection of printable to-do lists that each have a Morning Routine, an Afternoon/Evening Routine, and a Weekly Task List. Then at the bottom of each Cleansheet is a Targeted Cleaning & Organizing List that rotates to a different area of your home each week. The Cleansheets help you keep up with the basics through the routines and also help you work your way through cleaning and organizing your entire home over the course of the year. I print up a new Cleansheet at the beginning of each week and use it to keep me on track. You can get a free sample Cleansheet by signing up for my newsletter HERE.

  12. thank you , I was so pleased to see Bible reading and prayer in your morning routine . This will make a world of difference , not just in organizing your home , but your life . : ) .

  13. I love this, and so glad I found it. Do you have any suggestions for a working mom with a toddler & one on the way?

    1. Alixandrea says:

      I do! Ask for help. Seriously. And if no one in your life is able or willing, expand your circle. You are not alone in having a messy house and a chaotic life. Find mom friends, not the kind that have it all together or put their nose in the air, but those with empathy. I felt so alone, even though I was with people every day. There are moms and others out there who will help you and you can help them. Post on my Facebook “I’m overwhelmed. I need a motivator, and I can be a motivator. Who wants to be friends with a crazy mama who needs support?” Cleaning days with a good friend or family member while the kids play is gold. You show up to their house once every other week and they do the same.

  14. This was surprisingly helpful today. Thank you!

    1. Alixandrea says:

      I do! Ask for help. Seriously. And if no one in your life is able or willing, expand your circle. You are not alone in having a messy house and a chaotic life. Find mom friends, not the kind that have it all together or put their nose in the air, but those with empathy. I felt so alone, even though I was with people every day. There are moms and others out there who will help you and you can help them. Post on my Facebook “I’m overwhelmed. I need a motivator, and I can be a motivator. Who wants to be friends with a crazy mama who needs support?” Cleaning days with a good friend or family member while the kids play is gold. You show up to their house once every other week and they do the same.

      1. I have been saying all this myself for years now. It is so much better,easier, nicer to have good company while tackling an overwhelming project. Great motivation is the big plus. When your husband of 13 years passes away very unexpectantly, have a 12 yr old daughter to also care for and console daily,have vultures circling and coming in for the kill so to speak, at any given time,
        not very nice local authorities or opportunist onlyneighbors, and 10 yrs worth of living with 2 slobolla’s and 5 fur babies on a beautiful mountains doorstep in PA you haven’t been able to enjoy in yrs due to never ending messes and clutter and being the only one in the house that knows how to throw away and define garbage,put things back where you find it when your done using it, has a sense of time and responsibility and if I’m looking for one shirt in my drawer I want to wear and I take all out, find shirt then I put all back in drawer. I don’t leave a mess, piles of stuff or a stray wrapper on the floor walk by it 20xs and not take care of it properly. I still don’t get how some people can do that? So much nicer being on a team. Having a team. Nothing worse in my eyes is having able bodied pole living under same roof as you that either don’t know or don’t care past their own noses to take it upon themselves to help out. I don’t get that either. To me it’s would be better to be all by myself then. Well be careful what you wish for.. you may not want it after you do get it. My Love Jesse was,is my rock, I, we, miss him deeply everyday. I’m still waiting for him to come thru the door after home from work nughtime. Our sweet girl still texts him “Gnight Daddy We Love you. be safe coming home to us.” every ight. I can’t, won’t tell her to not do that. I kept up with house, those 2 slobolla’s but loves of my life and fur babies and working home health nursing for first 5 ,6 yrs but after that. I think I just got tired, aggravated, sad and overwhelmed. I want her to have friends over, heck I want that too , if I can find any that genuinely want to be friends and help each other, not to just see what they can get out of me. Or smear our names thru the muddy county like a few have done out of low self esteem and fear this 50 yr old little blonde widow may take their husbands. Crazy right? Crazy true story. Thank you for the tips and I wrote big and bold the motto on making days better and Just Do Something!! doesn’t have to be perfect! I’d rather not do all this alone but that’s where I’m at in my life now sadly. School starts in 3 wks It’s been a bit lonely for our girl too. Glad she will have school. She loves school. Probably main reason being only child of older Mom and Daddy. He was 56, me 41 when we were Blessed with our Heidi buggy boo. Didn’t see her coming but sure as heck knew NO wasn’t an option!!

  15. Thanks for sharing! I agree with starting with dishes and clothes. Those things can be snapped back in to place or a pile so they don’t get other things in the house messy!

  16. Marie-Ange says:

    One of the most powerful motivators I have heard is this:

    – How do you eat an elephant?

    – One bite at a time!

    That works for me!

  17. Thanks for sharing! I agree it is best to start with dishes and laundry and then a good tidy up. Mostly, it takes time, which is a scarce resource!

  18. I just about cried reading this. It’s exactly how I feel. I used to be super organized and on top of things, but then I got married, and I got lazy. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for to get me out of this rut. Thank you.

  19. Oh my word. Ty so much for posting this! Definitely what I needed to hear tonight!!

  20. Great blog. I saw u on pinterest. When i read your blog I thought about how change actually works. Thought of the old saying: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you make a difference in your life, your job or the clutter in your house. One change at a time. For many the clutter adds up each day. For me my husband bought a new car that had to go into the garage. The clutter in my house has never been the same.
    I have two teenage boys and they have tons of friends over. I keep the mess in an everchanging state of going through piles… some are pile of paper from years ago. My kitchen is always an extreme mess with dirty dishes on every inch of counter space, full dishwasher, full sink, over flowing trash and sticky floors everyday. I’m up to six loads of laundry a day, three of regular and three of catch up.
    The kids are lazy, I’m exhausted (I work full time and study for my masters degree). I give up every day when i get home from work and go to my room and do my homework.
    As of today there is only one clean room in the house, that’s the master bedroom our oasis… start with one room so you can have peace. Tomorrow is the 4th of July. There will be no bar-b-que but maybe we’ll start up the firepit and burn some paper!
    Great blog. Reminded me anything is possible.

  21. Rose Arthur says:

    Thank you so much for this encouraging email! I think it’s what I need to get the ball rolling to help me to focus and motivate me to jump in even if it takes a little while.

  22. I have completed the task of
    1. laundry
    2. dishes
    3. feeding everyone
    Papers and boxes of pictures/ memories are my stressors

    1. Rhonda,
      Wow! That’s awesome! For those papers and boxes of pictures and memories, set VERY SMALL goals to accomplish each day. If you focus on small projects at a time, you’ll get the joy of success and that little bit of progress will serve as motivation to keep on going when you have more time. You can do it!!!

    2. Me also, my husband passed away almost 3 yrs ago. I packed up most of the rooms and then started un packing everything. My life my house is chaos. I missed my husband so very much and I kept sinking further down, my neighbor kept sending her son over for this or that and conversations started to get smoother and smoother, my house got broke into and I asked him to stay as I didn’t have a door for a week so I asked this son to stay over and he did. We started a relationship from friendship and I asked him to move in. I promised to put things away and still hadn’t finished. My mess is overwhelming. Reading this has made me feel like I can start the cleaning and debunking one day at a time, thanks!

      1. Bless you. I will pray that your spirit is lifted and for you to overlook mess and clutter to concentrate on yourself.

  23. “Don’ t worry about perfection, just do something”, love this words. Thankyou so much, mommy, for opening my mind.

  24. Angie LaNell says:

    Wow, lol, I can only laugh at how right on you are, you nailed it, lol! Glad to know you made it thru this lol.. even now just to make this first comment I’ve probably ever made anywhere, I’m having to fight a toddler’s handful of colored pencils on my phone…

  25. Geez…my mother moved in wit me my husband and our 2 boys (3 & 7) and she is a very messy person..she has no sense about cleanliness and organization and I swear my boys r following her foot steps…so all that being said the frustration of trying to keep up with indoor and outdoor since she’s moved in is enuff to make a saint curse..she doesn’t seem to mind living with choas…and she tells at me if I get on her about lifting a finger ahhhhhh! I wanna move outta my own home! So with am that being said…trying to keep a clean organized house with 2 boys a husband my mother and half a farm…any pointers on how to deal w my mom and her messy habbits? God help me

  26. Wow. I’m not alone. Thank you for writing this.

  27. PennyJane says:

    As I lay here after reading this blog, along with all the comments, I realize what a nice feeling it is to not feel alone. I am going to begin with step 1 and make sure I haven’t missed any appts or errands, then move on to the next step. I have a large family and I know I need to make a chart and split the housekeeping chores between all members of the family. Anyway, I’m looking forward to my email with the checklist. I’m so grateful I found this blog on Pinterest ?

    1. Oh, I’m so glad this has been an encouragement to you! You’re right that you’re not alone. It’s hard to dig your way out of the chaos, but YOU CAN DO IT!!! I’m so happy to have you here! 🙂

  28. I needed this today. Thank you so much; This is the first time I’ve been on your blog and I plan to return 🙂

    1. I’m so happy to hear this was an encouragement to you! And welcome to Simple Everyday Home! 🙂

  29. Lauren Harris says:

    Wow, I cannot tell you how much I relate to this! It’s as you were writing it from my own mind. Thank you for this. It’s definitely what I needed to read. Have a wonderful day.

  30. Alisa M Gannon says:

    It’s so nice to know I’m not alone! Besides having a spending addiction I am chronically I’ll. I am one Amazon order away from being on hoarders. I just ordered your set and pray I can do it. Thank you.

    1. Alixandrea says:

      Awe! I was like this! Is it any better now? I am a “deal hunter” and that always gets me into predicaments.

  31. Latisha Brooks says:

    I have read many different articles, blogs, books, etc. on decluttering & organization with many great tips, suggestions, hacks, etc. to help conquer the chaos. This article is the ONLY one that actually makes me want to get up and finally do something about the way I’ve been living. As soon as I finish writing this I am going to throw away my first bag of 15 things. I guess it’s what so many other people have said, knowing that I’m not alone in this battle. Thank you so much for your encouraging words!

  32. We are a family of 5, me, my wife and our 3 children (6,2 and 1) but I feel lost, I have told my wife about the clusters in every corner of the house, I had try to clean here and there, use my (pick 30 item) technique, take one common area every other day, talk to the whole family of the beauty and need of Order, but nothing changes is like my wife does not have the principle in her because she tries for a while then goes right back to the same attitute. I would like to take a bus to the nearest mountain and never come back. Well thank you for your advices,

    1. With three young kids, I’m guessing your wife has her hands FULL and might be rather overwhelmed by trying to care for children and keep the house clean every day (I remember those days very well!). Making the cleaning a team effort is the best solution whenever possible. Offering to help and having fun together while cleaning will make it a positive experience for everyone. And then, creating simple daily routines for keeping up with basic chores will help the house stay clean longer. Maybe you can help clean up the dishes after dinner each evening, and your wife can start a load of laundry every morning. On the weekend, perhaps you can pick a room to clean up together as a family…and then go have fun together as a family when you’re done!

      Cleaning and organizing don’t come naturally to everyone, and we also each have our own level of tolerance for messes and clutter. It’s important to remember that showing support and appreciation for the effort (even if it isn’t perfect) will go a long way. Being a mom is a big job, and I’m sure your wife will greatly appreciate hearing what a great job she’s doing and knowing that you want to help make your home easier to care for and enjoy!

  33. Brenda Lambert says:

    What if you only have a few hours to do it in and then after you take your child to school you only have approximately an hour before you have to have everything done?

    1. It’s always hard to take care of your home when you have so many other things (and people you love!) needing your time and attention. I’d start by trying to take some time (maybe a couple hours on a Saturday morning?) to get caught up on necessities like paying the bills and washing the laundry. It will be much easier to keep up once you’re caught up with just those couple essentials. Then, since food and clothes are the most important things to focus on, start there. Try to do the dishes after dinner each evening and start one load of laundry in the washing machine every morning (you can toss it into the dryer when you get home later in the day). Start SMALL and get good at keeping up with food (and clean dishes to eat it off of) and laundry, and then branch out from there.

      When you’re so busy, sometimes you need to simply focus on the essentials and save the extra tasks for when you have a little more time. You’re doing a lot, just in taking care of your kiddo! So celebrate every little bit of progress you make in your home and remember that it all matters and will add up over time!

  34. golly!!! Where do I begin ? I came across this site by happenstance, and I’m glad I did . It has the really of real life. I’m almost 79 years old and I have been in the House Keeping Wars since I was 13. I did our family laundry in a wringer washer and took it out side to hang on a clothes line . Thats for starters . I was married at 18 and life began in earnest. Five children spread over 16 years and –here I am on husband # 2….. Sooo, news flash Sisters… The War against clutter and dirt never ends . There will be some peaceful interludes, some longer than others , when you can celebrate your victory over the enemy, but do not become complacent. One must be always vigilant.At this very moment I am stressing over a basement filled with the accumulation of a life time of stuff ..Some from his life , but mostly from my life. Many thing of sentimental meaning and many things from various pastimes over the years. Age is a terrible enemy. I’m not the woman I was in my prime and I’m actually in quite decent shape. So my friends, get as much control as you can while you can , I have found the following to be helpful. If it only takes five minutes —do it. The first ten minutes are the most difficult. And baring physical handicaps, anyone can do most anything for fifteen minutes. {I learned that one on the maternity ward !!). And truth be told , the super organized aren’t much fun to hang out with. Why ??? because they are so up tight !!!!! Love to us all, We need it !!! We deserve it !!! Still a warrior —sorta –kinda .

  35. Thanks for the tips. I really need to sort out my laundry situation. I always have too many loads to do at the same time and it’s a nightmare to get it all dried and put away. It would help if I did it in smaller loads each day!

    1. Alixandrea says:

      Minimalism! This sounds insane, I know. I am a lover of clothes, shoes, bags, etc. The very best thing I ever did was to get rid of the clothes. If you aren’t ready for a total overhaul, buy space bags (or use a garbage bag, vacuum out all of the air, tie shut and do the same with a second bag over the first) put them up, or far away, and see the difference it makes. You will be so ready to get rid of those bags after a few months.

  36. Motherof4girls says:

    Thanks for tips. I wish I had the energy to do any of this. I will tuck you ideas into my back pocket and hope soon I will have my energy back and I can do this too.

  37. I am motivated to start and then I am so tired from my work day and just getting the kids to point A, to point B, to point C and back to point A. I just give up. I honestly don’t know where to begin. I seriously leave the house at seven am and get home closer to 8PM. Monday thru Friday this is our schedule some even later evenings. Then it’s dinner, baths, homework, bed and it begins again. By the time Saturday gets here I’m super exhausted and try to do some things but there is again something else to do. I have to work the hours I do to provide for my family and honestly, my home was much better when I didn’t have to work like this, and then someone ask me why I don’t hire a house cleaner! Really! I’m scraping by as it is! I need ideas for an overworked, hopeless mom, that my house is over run with clutter!

    1. Hi, Kimberly. I’m sorry you’re going through such an overwhelming time. It sounds like you really have your hands full! I always recommend starting with the basics first, especially when life is moving at such a hectic pace. So, things like food and clothes (ie. meals, dishes, laundry, etc.) should be the top priority. Life can keep spinning if you can keep up with those things. Even if life is messy, at least everyone can function if they have food to eat and clothes to wear. One of the best ways I’ve found to keep up with those necessities is through basic daily and weekly routines or habits. Building those things into your daily routine means you don’t have to give them much thought, but they’re still getting done. Once those basic necessities are taken care of, you can start to tackle your clutter a little bit at a time on the weekends or when you find some moments throughout the week.

  38. Mary Ferguson says:

    Oh my Lord be! Everyone seems to have my story. I always find an excuse not to clean. My home isn’t dirty just a big pile of mess. I get so tired of being tired. I purchased some see through Rubber Maid bins to hide all my ‘important’ stuff, but they are still empty. Not sure when they will be filled! Either I need a nap or have to meet a friend for lunch, (at least twice a week). I really have to try to do something about some of the mess, but I am going on vacation and leaving the mess behind. Ha!! I need a break from trying to figure out how to find time to clean. I have given some stuff to the Good Will and better stuff to friends, but that help much. Maybe tomorrow I will start the 1 hour a day as suggested.
    Thanks you for the hints. Oh ya, I have another ‘excuse’… I have arthritis.

  39. My house continues to stay a mess and when I went into my living room. I continue to see ugly mismatched furniture, my husbands many tool bags laying around, theirs a few wet vacs stacked underneath a table, some sort of round wood cutting machine on the floor next to a side table. Different sized pieces of wood up against the wall. 2 filthy dogs who continue to sleep on the back cushions on my couch and one of them leaves his dog hair all over this felt like backing and you can vacuum for an hour and it still won’t come off. They continuously piss in the kitchen floor even though I take them out 3 x a day. One of the dogs hunts for any type of bag or paper and immediately tears it to pieces . He will get anything he can grab with his mouth when you are distracted. The ugly desk in the living room, all 6 drawers are full of miscellaneous crap that I might need to use one day. And then theirs more crap piled on top of the desk EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF FURNITURE NEEDS TO BE CLEANED or dusted or organized and quite frankly, I don’t feel like cleaning up any of it because as soon as I do…..my husband or children will notice it’s been cleaned and proceed to make it just like it was before I cleaned that area. Oh did I mention it’s still kind of hot where I live so I have tons of fans sitting about blowing hot air everywhere and they are loud so if I want to clean to some music….it will have to be turned up loud which means my neighbors will get mad at the loud music . It’s just a never ending mess and even if I spend one ounce of time cleaning…it’s basically useless

  40. I retired from my corporate job at the end of June with the intention of clearing and cleaning clutter and its November and I’m still not even close to being done- most of the time I feel paralyzed / stuck and unable to even do the smallest of tasks. I live alone and can’t blame anyone but myself. I think tomorrow is another day to start but then still no progress happens,. I throw out 3 trash bags every week and donate 2-3 bags per week – yes and yet I still unable to see light at the end of the tunnel. I wanted to have things done so I could put up Christmas decorations and a small tree but last year.. that didn’t happen either.
    I would enlist help of a neighbor daughter but she proved to be a help…ha! she stole a lot of my valuables so now I don’t trust anyone to help me get things accomplished.

  41. Curious what you suggest for people who work? From the moment I get up, I’m getting myself and the kids ready to leave. From there it’s working a full day, and caring for my little mess-makers (I mean kids) in the evening. Then it’s laundry, dishes, and everything to reset for the next day. My husband is a slob who works from home, and I have no time or energy to actually clean up. I’m lucky if I even get a single hour in a day to relax. Any secrets? Or is it a lost cause and do I just need to hire someone?

  42. I am cleaning out my messy garage that is so bad that I have to keep my car in the driveway. I am doing 1-2 hours here and there, and it is really making a difference. I just tell myself that all I need to do is 1-2 hours when can. Encouragement? Coming into the garage and seeing open space where stuff was is the encouragement. You just have to be patient w yourself, and, as said here, understand that this did not happen in one day., so it won’t be cleared out in one day. And – it doesn’t have to be perfect:just useable space. Once it is useable, you can slowly sort out the details.

  43. This was actually helpful. It focuses on a long-term plan of action instead of just this time around. I love it! Thank you so much!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *