This morning did not go smoothly. I was met with a flat tire on my car in the driveway. Also, my husband accidentally took off to work with the keys to the car. The kids were late to school, and I had to buy a new tire. Ughhh! Ever had a day like that? I’m sure you have.
My goal today was to get the house back in order after a busy weekend, but plans were delayed. Today, I thought it appropriate to talk about how to clean house when you are completely overwhelmed by clutter.
We’ve all been there. It is beyond frustrating when you have an overwhelming project and you are stuck wondering where to start. I get it. I want to help you create a cleaning and decluttering game plan. We’re going to break it down into simple, actionable steps.
First, I though it might be thought provoking to look at some statistics on clutter.
- US consumers buy 40% of the world’s toys, but bear only 3% of the world’s children.
- Most people wear 20% of their clothing 80% of the time. (source )
- 9.4% of U.S. households rent a storage unit. (source)
- People do not look at 80% of the papers and information they keep.(source)
- The average American house is double the size it was in the 1950s–and getting bigger. (source.)
- The U.S. Department of Energy reports that one-quarter of people with two-car garages have so much stuff in there that they can’t park a car. (https://www.becomingminimalist.com/the-statistics-of-clutter/)
- According to the National Soap and Detergent Association, getting rid of clutter would eliminate 40 percent of housework in the average home.(https://www.becomingminimalist.com/the-statistics-of-clutter/)
Maybe your house is clean but cluttered. If so, you need to know a few declutter motivation tips before you start using the Step By Step Decluttering plan I use.
Does a Cluttered House Cause Stress? Let’s look at a reputable, mental health site to answer that question. They have given us 8 ways mess leads to stress. According to Psychology Today:
Clutter can play a significant role in how we feel about our homes, our workplaces, and ourselves. Can a Messy House Affect Your Mood? You bet! How Does Clutter Affect Your Life? Messy homes and work spaces leave us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed. Yet, rarely is clutter recognized as a significant source of stress in our lives. (source)
Why does mess lead to so much stress? (source)Getting rid of all of that stress can be one of the best declutter motivation tips.
- Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli (visual, olfactory, tactile), causing our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren’t necessary or important. (source)
- Clutter distracts us by drawing our attention away from what our focus should be on. (source)
- Clutter makes it more difficult to relax, both physically and mentally.(source)
- Clutter constantly signals to our brains that our work is never done.(source)
- Clutter makes us anxious because we’re never sure what it’s going to take to get through to the bottom of the pile. (source)
- Clutter creates feelings of guilt (“I should be more organized”) and embarrassment, especially when others unexpectedly drop by our homes or work spaces. (source)
- Clutter inhibits creativity and productivity by invading the open spaces that allow most people to think, brainstorm, and problem solve.(source)
- Clutter frustrates us by preventing us from locating what we need quickly (e.g. files and paperwork lost in the “pile” or keys swallowed up by the clutter). (source)
Today, we’ll look at a few solutions for how to clean house when you are completely overwhelmed by clutter. Also, you can get the complete digital printable copy of the Year Long Thorough Declutter Series Calendar and Checklists here. The printable digital download is delivered to your email. It includes 25 pages of printable calendar pages and checklists to help you declutter every room in your home. You can grab that here.
Struggling with the daily housekeeping chores? Check out my ebook on this topic, entitled Make Over Your Homemaking. Use this link to get it at a discounted price. Better yet, get it FREE when you subscribe to my email list.
Many people would assume that I always have a neat and orderly home, since cleaning, decluttering, and organizing are my topics of choice. But, that’s not always so. I’m just like any other woman in many ways. I am a mom of three, a wife, a blogger, a daughter, a volunteer, and the list goes on.
We, ladies, wear many hats, but studies are showing that the majority of housework still falls on women. While my husband is amazing and helpful, housework is largely my responsibility. I have a feeling I’m not alone. After all, you came to find this post for a reason, I assume. We’re not here to point fingers, though. We are here to take action.
When we address the problem of how to clean house when you are completely overwhelmed by clutter, we have to look at a few issues you might have going on beneath the surface. Feeling overwhelmed is definitely draining both your energy and your desire to conquer the clutter.
I’m sure just looking at the clutter gives you anxiety. It certainly does for me. Plus, it can lead to depression and a whole host of mental and emotional issues if left unaddressed. That is no joking matter. Let’s do some self-care by decluttering and cleaning up your living space.
Bonus: Need some inspiration to get started? check out this great video!
Let’s gets started the simple way. I want you to make a list. List the things going on in your home right now that need to be decluttered and cleaned. What household chores are piling up? Make the list as long as you need, but try to keep it broad, by category.
I find that when I’m overwhelmed, just creating a simple list is enough to help you feel a sense of peace as you attempt to regain control of your home. Try it. It really works!
Step 1: Create an Action Plan: It might look like this…
2. Sticky floors
3. Clutter all over the kitchen counter
4. Mail piling up
You get the idea. The plan is to get this all on paper, so we can start to minimize the overwhelm and start making an action plan.
Once you have your list, I want you to start prioritizing which items need attention first. For me, today has been all about laundry. We were running out of clean towels and socks, so this task took priority today. So, Step 2 is to prioritize your action plan.
Once your list is prioritized, I want you to schedule an action plan. Pick one day or one set amount of time to just focus ONLY on that task. Do not try to conquer all of your tasks in one day. Do not get distracted. So, Step 3 is to schedule your tasks. Focus only on one item.
If it helps, write it in your calendar to make it more “concrete.” Then, don’t deviate from your plan. I want you to see it through to completion. I want you to remind yourself to just do that one task. If you have a large task to complete, write it on your calendar and break it down into smaller steps.
It may look like this: Laundry:
1.Gather dirty laundry into laundry room
2. Separate by colors/fabric type
5. Fold & put away
This may look overly simplified, but you are working to reduce the overwhelm by creating a checklist. As you begin to conquer and complete these tasks, the simple act of checking these steps off as you go will encourage a great sense of peace and accomplishment.
It is very easy to get distracted as you are cleaning and decluttering. That’s how the overwhelm begins. Just keep reminding yourself of your One Specific Task, and tell yourself that the other “attention grabbers” can wait for another day. Like I mentioned earlier, laundry took priority for me today. Everything else on my list will have to wait until the laundry is done.
A side note: If you have children and other people sharing a home, delegate some of this particular task to them. Do not worry that they won’t do it perfectly. That comes with practice. Work alongside them with simple tasks until they master those. Then, you can move on to more complex tasks.
As you share this load with family members, talk and share with them about the importance of keeping on top of this chore. Do not nag. Instead, invite them to share ideas on how this task can be shared evenly to prevent it piling up again. Maybe you can create a laundry schedule or a chore list to help everyone to stay accountable.
So, by now, you’ve created your list, you’ve prioritized the tasks, and you’ve scheduled a day to do ONE task. After you see that task through to completion, let’s begin to schedule your next task, and so on. I want to encourage you to create a daily housekeeping schedule and follow a decluttering schedule. Get my free homemaking ebook to guide you into creating your own personal schedule.
If you are overwhelmed by clutter, this may seem like too much. That is one reason I created the Year Long Thorough Declutter Series, where we declutter 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. You can read more here.
By decluttering all year long, you’ll completely declutter every room in your home. By working on this slowly, you’ll start to feel less and less overwhelmed and more in control of your home. Subscribe by email below to join us and you’ll receive your daily task each day.
Also, you can get the complete digital printable copy of the Year Long Thorough Declutter Series Calendar and Checklists here. The printable digital download is delivered to your email. It includes 25 pages of printable calendar pages and checklists to help you declutter every room in your home. You can find that here.
Emergency Clean: If you have company coming over and you have been given little notice, you are going to want to just do an emergency sweep of your home. This is just a surface clean, and it will make your home “guest ready” in a short time.
To do that quick sweep, grab an empty laundry basket or a large box and go throughout the living area grabbing anything that is out of place and tossing that into you basket. This is just a temporary fix, but it is intended to give you some immediate satisfaction just by clearing the room of clutter. When you have time to deep clean, I have checklists below.
Next, grab some multi-surface spray and wipe every counter top and toilet seat from the kitchen to the bathrooms. Then, make each bed. Don’t have time to make beds? Just close the bedroom doors. If you have time, focus on the floors. If you have guests coming over for a visit, just focus on the main living area floors. Don’t do a “full sweep, vacuum, and mop job” if you are in a time crunch. Instead, just sweep and spot clean. Again, this is just a quick fix. When you have the time, I have some deep cleaning checklists below.
Also, I have mentioned creating a daily housekeeping schedule. This type of schedule is unique to everyone, so I encourage you to look into creating one that works for you. By doing certain household chores daily, you’ll minimize the risk of your clutter and your housework piling up again.
Read more about this here. It’s a series, so you can work through creating a schedule that suits your lifestyle. Get the homemaking ebook free when you subscribe to my site.
You can get your printable Daily Housekeeping Routine and Cleaning Checklists here. This 15 page printable kit is delivered digitally to your email for you to print and personalize. It includes a daily schedule, calendar pages, and deep cleaning checklists for every room and area of your home. Below is a sample page of what you’ll get.
Need to deep clean? I have lists for you to guide you along.
My How to Deep Clean Your Kitchen list can be found here.
My How to Deep Clean Your Bathroom list can be found here.
My How to Deep Clean Your Kids’ Rooms list can be found here.
My How to Deep Clean Your Living Room list can be found here.
My How to Deep Clean Your Bedroom list can be found here.
Also, to keep up the general housework, you may need to create a daily housekeeping schedule that suits your specific needs. To do so, I have created a helpful series you can read here.
Need to Declutter Every room? I have declutter checklists for every room and every space in your home to guide you along below.
Also, you can get the complete digital printable copy of the Year Long Thorough Declutter Series Calendar and Checklists here. The printable digital download is delivered to your email. It includes 25 pages of printable calendar pages and checklists to help you declutter every room in your home. You can sign up here.
Struggling to decide if an item is clutter? Use these questions below to help you determine whether to keep or toss any item.
How to Declutter the Guest Room or Your Kid’s Room checklist can be found here.
How to Declutter Your Laundry Room and Patio checklist can be found here.
How to Declutter Your Coat Closet/Hall Closet/Linen Closet checklist can be found here.
How to Declutter Your Home Office checklist can be found here.
How to Declutter Your Attic checklist can be found here.
How to Declutter Your Garage checklist can be found here.
How to Declutter Your Living Room checklist can be found here.
How to Declutter Your Kitchen Checklist can be found here.
How to Declutter Your Entry/Foyer/Mudroom checklist can be found here.
How to Declutter Your Clothing checklist can be found here.
How to Declutter Your Bedroom checklist can be found here.
How to Declutter Your Bathroom checklist can be found here.
To Subscribe to this Declutter Series, drop me a comment below. Your email will be sent to me but will not be posted publicly. You’ll receive a daily declutter task via email for the daily task we are working on. You can unsubscribe at any time. You can sign up here.
New to deemiddleton.com and don’t know where to start? I recommend going in this order:
Step 1: Check out this post on the 1st step you should take to get organized. Also, you can get the complete digital printable copy of the Year Long Thorough Declutter Series Calendar and Checklists here. The printable digital download is delivered to your email. It includes 25 pages of printable calendar pages and checklists to help you declutter every room in your home. You can sign up here. You can also see sample pages below.
Struggling with the daily housekeeping chores? Check out my ebook on this topic, entitled Make Over Your Homemaking. Use this link to get it at a discounted price.
Step 2: Create a daily Housekeeping Schedule. You can use this series to start to set up your own schedule. You can also use this simplified weekly schedule.If you often ask: What is the fastest way to clean a dirty house? Or, if you struggle to get organized and have tried and failed time and again, you can likely find out which of these 11 reasons cause you to fail to get organized.
Step 3: How do you remove clutter?.…Sign up for the Declutter Series and get your entire home decluttered in just 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.”Declutter Your Home” checklists are provided in each email.
Step 4: What is the fastest way to clean a dirty house? Use a timer and use the Deep Cleaning Checklists above. They will help you get your home sparkling after you’ve decluttered.
Interested in becoming a full-time blogger like me? Check out my blogging series. At the top of every page on my blog, you’ll find a drop down menu. Just select the BLOGGING category.
Check out the most popular posts on deemiddleton.com:
Also, check out a great post on decluttering over here from becomingminimalist.com. Joshua Becker has some great tips on decluttering and minimalism.
For further reading, check out the fly lady here. She has some great cleaning and decluttering ideas plus excellent organization tips to get you started.