5 step guide for starting your spring clean + A FREE Gift!

My 5 step guide for establishing how to organise and spring clean your home + a FREE download to make doing this even easier!

Dishes in the sink, dirty clothes in the laundry, toys on the living room floor or shoes scattered all through the garage… does this sound familiar?  We all take pride in our home, but at times it can get too much. Perhaps you’ve had a baby and routine has gone out the window, maybe you’re working full time and would rather spend your free time with the family instead of cleaning, perhaps you’re not feeling yourself, you’re a hoarder… or maybe you are just OVERWHELMED!

The clutter in our lives, homes and heads can have a negative impact on our happiness and our ability to focus, however a good plan and a little order can help you clear away this clutter. Check out my 5 step guide for reducing clutter and regaining a calmer, more coordinated life.


Trying to tackle a mountain of clutter can be overwhelming, so try to take just a few minutes to make a start, rest if you need, and start again in an hour or on another day. The best way to get something done is to begin. So let’s get started…


1. ASSESS – Assess each room of your house and add all the things you want to clean and organise to the ‘Spring Cleaning To-Do List’ (available for free via the link below). Write down everything from tidying the top dresser drawer, bathroom cupboard, or son’s toy chest. The more specific you can be, the better.

Spring Cleaning To Do List - how and where to start spring cleaning

2. UNDERSTAND – Understand why you need to clean and organise each of these areas.

Use the ‘Understand & Establish New Routines’ section (via free download below) to help you determine how this clutter was created. Either it doesn’t have a home, it’s a dumping zone, family just continually throwing this on the pile, or perhaps you simply need a new set of drawers. Writing this down will help you determine your plan going forward, and what you need to implement to tidy the area and keep it that way.

Establish a new routine for spring cleaning and clutter free house

3. DETERMINE – Determine why this happened, and then work out what products you need to complete each cleaning task and what storage solutions you need to keep it clean!

My Spring Cleaning Shopping List Free Printable

4. EVALUATE – Evaluate and review your list to get a good understanding of why things got out of control in the first place, and set a realistic date for when you would like each task completed by.

5. ESTABLISH – Establish a new routine which will help keep your home and head under control. My Organised 2020 Weekly Planner is a great tool for doing just this as it helps breaking down your cleaning tasks down into smaller more manageable areas. It features a daily cleaning routine, plus weekly and monthly cleaning checklists that are categorised into frequency and room, so that your cleaning tasks can be tackled quickly and without fuss. There’s also regular self care tasks, savings goal trackers, and countless more time-saving features to help you keep you whole life calm, coordinated, and stress-free.

  ESTABLISH A NEW ROUTINE with The Organised 2020 Weekly Planner.

Get organised with the 2020 Weekly Planner by The Organised Housewife

How to avoid this clutter in the future?

My 5 step process above will help you work out how and where to start clearing away the clutter that has built up over the last year – but how do we make sure we don’t end up here again?

I can’t advocate more passionately for products that break down your cleaning tasks, and help to free up your mind and time for more important things. I’ve already mentioned my pretty little planner that packs quite the punch, but my 2020 Wall Calendar is also a great tool for not only brightening up your walls, but streamlining your chores too! With 3 quick and easy cleaning tasks plus 1 happiness or health task every month, you can easily keep on top of your house whilst ensuring that smile stays firmly on your dial.

  GET ORGANISED with The Organised 2020 Wall Calendar.

Keep organised and clean home with 2020 wall calendar

TO DOWNLOAD: Enter your details in the form below to unlock the buttons to download your FREE planners and lists. If you already subscribe to the newsletter, please enter your details again – I promise I won’t send you the email twice!

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How this 5-step-guide helped me gain control

One of my biggest challenges when my twins were babies was I didn’t have a routine in place for after dinner. I would eat dinner, put twins to bed, realise I was exhausted and fall on the couch, only to wonder bleary eyed to bed and wake the next morning to a messy kitchen. I can’t stand waking to dirty dishes so this made me constantly cranky – not the best way to start the day. This is how I actioned this 5-step-guide to fix this problem:

  1. Assess – the kitchen bench always has dirty dishes.
  2. Understand – can’t find the time to clean them.
  3. Determine – too tired.
  4. Evaluate – spend 30-60 minutes cleaning every dirty dish in the kitchen while the babies are napping.
  5. Establish – start cooking dinner a little earlier so I’m not so tired after dinner. Wash dishes each evening after dinner while twins are happy sitting in their high chairs. Get hubby to put out the bin and wipe over bench. Put dishes away the following morning before breakfast.

Funnily enough, I have not changed from this routine all those years ago (the twins are now teenagers!), except that the kids are helping in the kitchen now too.

Where to start organising and cleaning?

When you’re feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the task it’s hard to know where to start, here are some ideas to help you find that starting point:

  • A high traffic area ie, kitchen, laundry or living room.
  • If you are having trouble sleeping start with the bedroom.
  • The first task on your to-do list.
  • I like to start at the front door and work my way from the left around the house.

There really isn’t a right or wrong place to start, simply making an effort is a step in the right direction. You’ll be surprised at how satisfied you feel when you look at this space clutter free.

Remember when you do start, try and complete that room first before moving onto another.

Can’t or don’t want to spring clean?

Perhaps you don’t have the time or the desire to give your home a spring clean. That is completely okay, and perhaps you should consider hiring help. We all have different priorities in life and outsourcing this task is a great option for those who’d prefer to be spending time with loved ones, are working full time, feel overwhelmed, or maybe don’t like cleaning or physically can’t.

Need a little more help?

Life feels busy, crazy, and chaotic, and motherhood seems to be all that and even more! Break it all down into smaller more manageable parts with The Organised 2020 Weekly Planner, The Organised 2020 Wall Calendar, or start my Declutter 52 Things in 52 Weeks Challenge.

Step 1: Determine what are your organising goals
Step 2: What is clutter
Step 3: 5 steps to clear your clutter
Step 4: Start the 52 things in 52 weeks Challenge – it’s never too late to start!
Step 5: How to part with sentimental items
Step 6: Create a to-do list

  TURN OVER A NEW PAGE with The Organised Planners.

Organise your life with weekly planner and wall calendar

What’s first on your spring cleaning list?


The 20 Day Challenge will pull you out of your downward spiral of mess and stress and gives you a clear and simple step-by-step process that will help you achieve a clean house in as little as 20 days and create a lasting system that’s realistic and effective.

Finally, you’ll have the system and tools to have the home you’ve always dreamed of and to put you back in control. And I will help show you how to get your family on board too – and enjoy it!


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Leisha April 4, 2011 - 6:50 AM

Wow Katrina you have been so busy! You are like the Nana/Mother some of us never had!

You’ve raised a lot of important things to consider today regarding decluttering and hoarding. I think that sometimes our perceptions of what we actually NEED to keep is distorted.

Your ideas are unique in that you actually provide detailed pictures and checklists of items you have, so we can use it to see whether we could really get by with less or whether there is a more suitable storage system available to use (like your washing sorting system). Thanks for helping this family!!

Renee April 4, 2011 - 8:03 AM

WOW!! Thank you so much for all the fabulous ideas that you have. I was wanting to do the above and just couldn’t get motivated to do so. Thanks to you, I am mapping out my days and planning ways to get the house up to scratch!

Aliesha April 4, 2011 - 10:54 AM

ahh’ thankyou so much for this, great help.
i never know where to start or how to start, i get half way through something and because i sidetrack my house looks even messier than where i started
i have decided to tackle 1 room at a time, and if something fromt hat room belongs in another room ill put it in that room and leave, otherwise i start on that room! yes very confusing!

karina April 4, 2011 - 12:45 PM

I can not tell you how perfect this information is. I was thinking I should email you to ask how I should ‘start’ becomming organised!!!
I found your website a few weeks ago and have picked up so many hints/tips – but have been a bit lost as to wear to start (currently the laundry, bathroom and kitchen are half organised)

Jade April 4, 2011 - 2:33 PM

I think this is wonderful. Working out WHY the area is messy is such a great thing. I find in my house – a lot of places are messy because I don’t have room to put things anywhere else – so if I can get more storage or reduce the amount of stuff… well that should fix the problem.

Julie April 5, 2011 - 2:50 AM

Thankyou so much for the “where do I start” blog, I originally found this website thru a search because i was trying to re-find an article i read on Oprah’s website –


this was the link i thought was helpful – I will be using this in my decluttering process too!!
2 down 50 to go 🙂

I have only been reading this blog a few days and i already feel so much less overwhelmed!! I feel like what i do each day is more of an achievement and less of a drudge because “it never ends, no-one seems to notice” i have an achievable daily workload (mostly!!)(well sometimes!!)and i somehow have begun to define my “job” as a SAHM instead of my lack of paid employment..
I mean I’ve always tried to live the mantra mothering/parenting being the most important job in the world but was never really sure if I was coping?? I just scheduled in “good” stuff for the kids and hoped the rest would work out!
…if therapy is a journey I think I took the scenic route…
(sad, I know but think of all the unemployed therapists!!)

wishful housecleaner December 7, 2011 - 8:08 PM

Im in desperate need to clean/tidy and declutter my house. With 3 kids aged 5 and under my energy levels are low and it makes me feel so down looking around my house not knowing how tackle it. I feel like I have started so many times but I have one little boy that is like a tornado. I go to sleep at night dreaming I have a clean tidy house! oh how times change I used to dream about winning the lotto!

Katrina December 22, 2011 - 12:39 AM

Lotto, wouldn’t it be nice!! it’s hard with little kids, however I taught mine from early on that their toys belonged in their bedrooms or the toy room, not the living ares and if I saw them their they would be mine for a day. Also get the kids to help you pack them away, or do it themselves, getting them to help is a great responsibility for them.

Jessicagurney December 30, 2011 - 5:36 PM

thankyou katrina, that sounds like a great plan! I have started making them keep the lego in their rooms but it was more so my 8month old wouldn’t put it in his mouth. Thankyou so much for all your advice and help you give on here, I am still at the where do I start stage, as it is quite overwhelming when every room is messy, except my kitchen. But I have printed off the daily planner and it is my new years resoultion to try and accomplish all on my planner each day. thankyou from a wishful housecleaner in new zealand 🙂

Katrina December 31, 2011 - 2:18 PM

Try one room at a time Jessica, soon you will find your groove and be motivated to continue through the house 🙂

brella January 1, 2012 - 8:51 PM

I am finding your tips and ideas really simple. Now I just need to put them into place. Achievable goals. Thanks a million.

Katrina January 4, 2012 - 9:21 PM

Take it one at a time and you will get there, write down the tips you would like to put in place so when you have successfully finished one you can move onto the next 🙂

GJ January 27, 2012 - 4:52 PM

HI Katrina, i have been apart of your page on FB for a little while, love your daily tasks ideas. This year my new years resolution is to be more organised and reduce my time on FB. i’m also started with Norwex and would love too at some stage create a blog to help my fellow defence family out their, But i do need to get my self organised before i can even consider taking on another challange.
Lets hope this year i can get orgainised : )

Katrina January 27, 2012 - 9:53 PM

You will, if you are determined you will do it. Get in the mind set then make the start. How exciting starting a new blog, please send the link when you have it up and running!

Irene January 29, 2012 - 5:05 PM

i dont know how to go about , how to store laundry items in a cupboard in the laundry,, im new at all this and would like to start getting organised,, really need help………

Suse T February 21, 2012 - 8:56 PM

Katrina you are awesome!
Not only do you have free printables for this page (I was looking for them in the shop), but you are helping me understand my clutter. I get the ‘normal’ stuff done. Cooking, washing, kids to bed alive, etc.

But it is my clutter that overwhelms me. Stuff accumulating because I don’t know where to put it, how to store it, if my husband will object if I throw it out or because I’m too lazy/tired to put it away and it’s easier leaving it on a flat surface in the room it’s meant to go in, than taking an extra minute to put it away properly.

Previously it was also because my small children seem to require a lot of supervisions, if I take too long to put things away, someone gets hurt or something I don’t want them to touch is just too tempting. Bit more time to do things with one starting school this year though.

I’m starting to get things de-cluttered from being addicted to your blog, now by chance I found this on the FAQ page and can develop a strategy. Instead of being all over the place about it.

Thank you

Angkotis April 10, 2012 - 1:30 PM

This is the most amazing site, I’m in total awe and am looking forward to putting your advice into effect. Well done and thank you 🙂

Heather Link November 30, 2012 - 2:26 AM

Wow. I’m usually the quiet lurker, not one to comment… but I just found your blog and already I’m hooked. I finished reading the first paragraph on this page and seriously?? ALL OF THE ABOVE. Dishes, clothes, toys, new baby, full time job, depressed, want time with the family….. it’s all so overwhelming!

All of the STUFF we’ve accumulated is too much. Do I try to sell it since we could definitely use the money? Do I just donate it and get it out of my house as quickly as possible? Will I feel guilty afterwords for whatever I decide to do? Finding a designated space for everything seems like an impossibility right now.

There’s just so much that needs organized in my life, I have absolutely nowhere to start! As I continue to read through your blog, I’m thinking that this will be exactly what I need to at least get started.


Katrina December 4, 2012 - 1:59 PM

I’m so glad you found the blog Heather, hopefully it will be able to help you. Have you seen the 20 Days to Organise Your home Challenge, start with the pre challenge tasks and take your time through the challenge, eg, take 2-3 days for each day if you find it too overwhelming and you are time poor. Please let me know how you go J

Sally January 19, 2015 - 9:22 PM

Hi Kat

I can’t find the link to the free printables…..can you help me



Gillian February 4, 2016 - 10:11 AM

Hi Katrina,
I think you mean Assess, not access, each room of your house and your areas to be cleaned.
And Evaluate, that there are dirty dishes etc.and what you need to do to remedy this.
Understand, that you are too tired, or can’t find the time to clean them.
Establish, new routine to remedy this.
Determine, to spend 30 mins cleaning all the dishes.
Or is it MY Grammar that’s wrong?
It’s great that you are helping people with ideas and solutions.
Thank you.

Marie September 9, 2016 - 10:42 AM

To Wishful Housecleane, you probably have a friend that would love to come and declutter your house. Myabe put a message on facebook? I love doing it for friends! Especially I love the Katrina’s ideas to have the baskets labelled rubbish, donate and sell all ready to go.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife September 14, 2016 - 5:59 PM

LOL, yes, I had a friend put on facebook recently that she was struggling with her toy room so I went and helped her out, I enjoyed it just as much getting my organising on!!

Jude May 9, 2019 - 11:34 PM

Baby/Toddler Sanity: Just a couple of little structures I found super helpful when my children were little that gave a little touch of order. Most mornings after they were fed they had time playing by themselves in a playpen/portacot or in their room with a gate. It was between 10-30mins. Because it was daily they were very content and used to it. Often I put in toy library toys that were new and interesting and special for that time of day. I could then clean the toilet or shower or vacuum and know they were safe and had something to do. I started this from when they were probably about 6 months old I think. My sanity saver 🙂

The other thing I often did was highchair time (toddler) or table activity time (preschooler) at the end of the day. After we packed up the toys together they had special activities while I did the last of the tidy up and tea prep. I was often a bit braindead so I had a list on the fridge of baby things to give them (pegboard, toothbrush, cold teaspoon, fiddly toy, healthy finger food, pegs and a cup) The preschooler had a cupboard space with special puzzles / art supplies / toy library games that were not available at normal times of day. Sometimes a baby was unhappy at the end of the day and sometimes a ten minute back to bed or cot even if they didn’t settle there was enough for me to whiz around and get tea finished and funnily enough baby was often so much happier afterwards even if they had let me know they weren’t impressed!

Most of the tea prep was done after lunch while the children slept/rested or looked at books or listened to audiostories.

Those days when I could fit those things were days that felt great and it was very peaceful and easy at home. Some days were busy and we were out having fun making the most of the good weather or someone was sick and things weren’t structured and that was fine too. I was so thankful that other Mums had encouraged me to establish these sanity-savers and make family life so much more enjoyable.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife May 13, 2019 - 9:45 AM

Jude thank you so much for your really lovely comment – you have some great tips for creating a little order with young ones at home. I especially loved your suggestion of using toy library toys to keep it interesting and engaging for your babies, but without it costing you the earth! Thank you for taking the time to comment.

I hope you had a really lovely Mother’s Day. Kat x

Julie August 29, 2019 - 6:15 AM

I saw the title “Spring Cleaning” and forgot what month it was for half a second haha. Cleaning can feel so daunting when there is so much to do… excited to utilize these five steps! Thanks!!

Katrina - The Organised Housewife September 3, 2019 - 9:17 AM

Haha, I know right Julie! It will be Christmas before we know it. Kat x

Sue August 30, 2019 - 6:30 PM

Hello Katrina

I find you very inspirational ??
Love yr work ????
Thk U….
Just wondering what can I do with all my photo albums!!! Trust me, I have plenty…. thx again ????????????

Katrina - The Organised Housewife September 3, 2019 - 9:28 AM

Decluttering photos is a tough job Sue! I would suggest first and foremost making sure that your photos are all saved electronically too, and then if you’d like to still keep photo albums, make them a feature. Beautiful photo albums can look gorgeous on a shelf in the home, and are nice for guests (or the kids) to flick through. You might like to read this blog: https://theorganisedhousewife.com.au/organising/keeping-photos-organised/ Hope this helps, Kat x

John McNamara September 12, 2019 - 9:08 PM

These are really great tips to stay organize. It is also proven by number of researches that organised home improves mood and saves your time. nice tips indeed.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife September 16, 2019 - 3:21 PM

I certainly feel calmer and happier when my home is organised 🙂 Thanks for your feedback! Kat x

Layla Martin September 12, 2019 - 9:14 PM

Keeping yourself always organize is really tough job and when you have little kids in home it seems kinda impossible. However I really believe reading such tips can really help you stay calm and focus on the task, when you do not understand where to start from and sit back. Nice tips.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife September 16, 2019 - 3:23 PM

Keeping organised with little kids in tow in certainly no easy feat 😉 Very happy to hear that my tips were helpful. Kat x

Francesca September 21, 2019 - 3:01 AM

Great blog post! Thanks for sharing your experiences. You keep things realistic too. As you say, sometimes that touch of order is all you need to stay feeling sane.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife September 23, 2019 - 12:40 PM

Glad to help Francesca 🙂


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