I’m guessing if you are reading this post then you have a messy house. Maybe you are feeling overwhelmed or paralyzed by the mess? Maybe you think that you’re just not one of those people that can have a tidy home?
It’s OK! You can get your house clean and it really is possible to keep it clean! I promise!
I’m going to help you step-by-step to get control of your messy house. Say goodbye to the chaos!
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I take pride in having a clean home. It’s not always perfect, but most of the time the mess is under control.
I don’t spend hours every day cleaning. Hell, I probably don’t even spend hours every WEEK cleaning! I have a busy life (like everyone else!) and I don’t have time or energy to clean like my mother used to (my mother could have put Martha Stewart to shame!)!
So I found short-cuts and quicker ways to keep my home clean. Check out my post all about my Quick Cleaning Tips for Busy People.
But my home wasn’t always like this. I wasn’t always in control of the mess. In fact, I used to live in a VERY messy house!
It’s kind of a long story, but the edited highlights are: I had three children under 4, my husband ran his own business and worked 14+ hours a day and I was suffering from depression. I literally had no desire to even get out of bed, let alone clean my messy house.
But over time, I found what worked for me and I was able to slowly start tackling the mess. I found routines and systems that helped me stay on top of things. And once the house was tidier, I found it soooo much easier to keep it that way!
Why You’re Overwhelmed By a Messy House
We’ll get to the step-by-step help soon, but first I want to talk about WHY your home is messy and you just can’t seem to get it clean.
I’m going to be honest right now – you probably feel like a failure? I know I felt like a complete failure!
My family all have super neat homes and I lived in a pigsty! I was so embarrassed! What gene did they have that I missed out on? They were just as busy as me, how could they keep their homes clean, but I couldn’t?
There was just an endless loop of negative thoughts in my head – sound familiar?
The two photos above can explain it all! The top photo is my sister’s home. The bottom photo is how my home USED to look! No wonder I always felt bad!
Over time I’ve learned that there are actual reasons why some people have a messy house than others don’t (pssst… and being “lazy” isn’t one of them!).
So here’s a rundown of some of those reasons. Which one do you think is you?
- Low Priority – for some people cleaning and tiding their home is a lower priority. They don’t mind a bit of mess. It doesn’t stress them out and doesn’t affect their lives.
- Too Busy – sometimes we are just so busy that even if we WANTED a clean home, we just don’t physically have time to do it all (my Quick Cleaning Tips will help!).
- Lack of Motivation or Energy – Lack of motivation to clean can be caused by many reasons. I actually have a whole post just about cleaning motivation! But some of the reasons might be:
- Illness, new job, new baby, mental health (more on that below, ), moving house, or another big life change
- Mental Health – This is a biggie! One of the worst symptoms of depression is losing all motivation to do the things in life that you know you should. Some days all you can manage is getting out of bed and having a shower. No way are the toilets getting scrubbed! And that’s OK. Before you can tackle the outside mess, you need to get help for yourself. Please see a doctor or therapist and they can help you on the road to recovery.
Whatever your reason for not wanting to clean, they all result in the same situation – feeling overwhelmed.
I’ve talked before about the “Stress-Cleaning Cycle”, but it’s so very true!
The messier your home, the less energy you have to deal with the problem! Don’t worry, I’m going to take you through the 5 steps to get control of the mess and stop it from controlling you!
5 Steps to Taking Control of Your Messy House!
As I mentioned above there are many reasons why you might be overwhelmed by mess.
If one of your reasons is your mental health, then please seek professional mental health help BEFORE trying to tackle your mess. Otherwise, your chances of succeeding will be less and you will just beat yourself up even more!
If you want help with decluttering your home, then pick up my FREE Ultimate Guide to Decluttering Your Home ebook. I take you step-by-step through the decluttering and organizing process… and it’s totally free!
Step 1: Commit to a Tidy House
I’m not going to promise that you will have a clean house by the end of the weekend – anyone that promises that is lying! Yep, sorry to be blunt, but there is no quick fix for re-forming bad habits.
The first step is to make the commitment to yourself and your family, that having a clean and tidy home is going to be a higher priority. It might take a bit of time, but you are prepared to be consistent until your new habits are formed.
It’s not going to be easy… but it WILL be worth it!
Step 2: Start Small
I talk about “starting small” in my “How to get motivated to clean” post. And it applies to this situation too.
Don’t try to take on too much at once. Pick a small area and tackle that first.
Definitely don’t try to tackle an entire room. Just pick one area – maybe one section of your kitchen counter, or the area by your front door.
Once you’ve picked an area, then start by putting things away. It’s really hard to clean if you are cleaning AROUND things.
So go through every item in that area and either put it away, donate it or trash it.
If you want to keep the item, but you don’t have somewhere it put it, then solve that problem right now! Don’t just put it back on the floor and say that you’ll figure it out later. Nope… figure it out now! Put it away!
Step 3: Clean
Once you’ve gone through the clutter it’s time to clean!
I’m betting that underneath the mess, it’s probably pretty dirty! That’s OK, you’re going to clean it now!
Depending on what the area is, will depend on what cleaning product or tool you will use. But generally, a good multi-surface cleaner – Method’s Pink Grapefruit cleaner or my own homemade cleaner (see Tip #2 in my Quick Cleaning Post for my recipe) are great – and a microfiber cloth is enough.
Take the time to get the area really clean. I know you might not feel like it, but remember we are just doing one SMALL area.
Once you’ve cleared and cleaned your first small area. You need to move onto the next. Don’t try to do too many in one day. Pace yourself!
You don’t want to get part way through a new area and then realize that you’re too tired (or have run out of time) to continue. Less is more right now.
Step 4: Get a System
Slowly you will work through all the problem areas of your home and get them clear and clean. But how do you stop yourself back-sliding and having a messy house again?
While you are clearing and cleaning think about what kind of clutter accumulates in that area. Is it a big pile of mail? Is it your clean laundry waiting to be put away? Maybe it’s kid’s toys?
Whatever the “biggest” problem is, you need to think of a way to solve it.
Maybe open your mail while standing over your trash can or recycle bin? I actually open my mail outside, while I’m walking back into the house, and I dump the junk, flyers etc in the outside recycle can before I even come into the house!
Find a system for your laundry. Maybe saving all the laundry to do at weekends is just too much work? Would you be more likely to put a smaller load away a few times a week instead?
Kid’s toys are always tough. First you need to go through them and get rid of the excess toys they don’t play with. If you don’t want to part with them, you can always box them up, keep them in a closet and rotate out the different toys every few weeks. This has the added bonus of engaging the kids with more because they will seem “new”.
If you can’t figure out a system, for your “trouble-spot”, then please feel free to email me at [email protected]. I’ll do my best to help – together we can figure it out!
Step 5: Maintaining the Calm
Once you’ve got your home a bit cleaner and neater, you’re going to want to keep it that way. And really the only way to do that is to stay on top of the chores! Sorry!
A clean home does take a bit of work – it doesn’t need to be hours and hours every day. But you do want to spend 15-20 minutes a day picking things up, wiping down counters or cleaning the floors.
A few minutes a day is a better investment of your time than hours and hours once the problem gets too bad! Stop yourself sliding back into your messy house habits!
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” as my mother used to say (as you get older do you find yourself quoting your parents more? Ugh… I might be turning into my mother!)
One way that I try to maintain the “calm” is by using a robot vacuum cleaner. I LOVE my robot vacuum. I schedule it to run every day, so my floors are always clean!
Want to learn more about robot vacuums? Check out my Definitive Guide to picking the best robot vacuum cleaner for your lifestyle!
You are Worth it!
You might think that it just seems like too much work to get your messy house back under control. And yes… it is going to take a bit of work. But if you are feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed by the mess – is that really how you want to live your life?
You DESERVE better! Take the time to do something for YOU (and your family!). Yes, it might feel like a chore now, but just think about how GREAT it will feel when it’s all clean!
You can do it!