This is a guest post by Kate, from the blog Puddles and Gumboots.
“Help! My house is an absolute chaos, I feel completely overwhelmed and I don’t know where to start.” These were the words a friend said to me recently when she rang me in tears.
I think this happens to nearly all of us at some stage or another, whether we like to admit it or not. Life happens. Someone gets sick, or the whole family does. You have to work overtime for two weeks straight, or there is seemingly an endless round of social engagements that you have to attend this month. Whatever it is, your normal routine and methods of getting things done went out the window and now your home resembles a disaster zone. As I cheered my friend up, I realised that sometimes when there is so much to be done, so much mess everywhere, that overcoming the feeling of being overwhelmed by all the mess is the biggest roadblock in the way of getting back on top of things.
So here is my step by step guide to getting back in control of your home, tackling the mess and beating the feeling of being overwhelmed by it all.
Step 1 – Open up all your windows and blinds. Let that fresh air and sunlight in! Enlist helpers if you can; your partner, kids, mum, sister or your best friend. You absolutely can do this by yourself but teamwork does make everything go quicker! Put on some cheerful energetic music that you like and now you are ready to get started!
Step 2 – Gather all dirty clothes and laundry, sort into loads (if you have more than one to do) and get the first wash going. Laundry has to be first on the list because if you’ve fallen behind with it, it is the thing that takes the longest to get back in control of, simply due to the time it takes to wash and dry.
Step 3 – Empty all rubbish bins and take out the recycling. Even that rubbish bin in the study that only has two pieces of paper in it. This is part of beating that feeling of being overwhelmed by the mess. There is something in knowing your home is completely rubbish free.
Step 4 – Load your dishwasher or wash the dishes, put away anything that doesn’t belong on the kitchen benches and wipe them down. If you have things on your benches that shouldn’t be there but don’t have a spot where they go then put them in a “clutter” box/basket (an empty laundry basket is good for this) to deal with later.
Step 5 – Pick up anything that is on the floor and shouldn’t be, such as toys, an abandoned pair of shoes etc. If these things can be quickly and easily put back where they belong then do so. If not pop them in your clutter basket to deal with later.
Step 6 – Clear off any clutter that has collected on surfaces. Such as your dining table, hall table, bathroom benches etc. Wipe them all done. Put any clutter away that has a home and pop the rest in the “clutter basket”.
Step 7 – Clean the toilets.
Step 8 – Give the floor a quick vacuum or sweep.
There! You’ve now done the worst things that will make a house seem messy. I bet you’re feeling a lot less overwhelmed by it all now can see what other things you might need to do next. Sit down and relax for a bit and have a look through the clutter basket. Put away anything that does have a home but you couldn’t easily put away while cleaning quickly. For anything left in the basket ask yourself these questions:
- Do I need this for something?
- Does it get used?
- Do I really want to keep it?
If you didn’t answer yes to all these questions then throw away or donate the item. If you do want to keep it then try to find a good place for it to permanently go.
So the worst is all done and you’re no longer feeling overwhelmed, but you now need to ask yourself was this build up of mess an aberration due to illness, work or something else or does this keep happening regularly? If it keeps happening regularly then perhaps you need to develop a new routine or system so that it doesn’t. Do your children need to start taking more responsibility and help out around the home more? Do you need to re-organise some areas of your home? You can find heaps of organising inspiration here on The Organised Housewife to help you get started. image credit unknown
About Guest Kate blogs at Puddles and Gumboots about her life with five children. She makes no claims of being a domestic goddess, but more describes her home as a happy organised chaos.
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