{GUEST POST} Where to start to gain control of your home

by Katrina - The Organised Housewife

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.

Find our guest: Blog | Facebook | Twitter

This post was written by a guest contributor. If you are interested in ‘being my guest’ please visit Be my Guest page for more details.

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Hayley @ HappyHouseWifey February 7, 2012 - 7:20 AM

Oh my gosh! This is like a glimpse into my place! I did this almost in the exact order last week, though didn’t quite get floors finished. LOL. (I have the ‘clutter basket’ – laundry basket – still half full from the other day as evidence!) I think I’ll print this out and pop it in the back of my diary for next time I’m feeling overwhelmed, as a reminer of where to start! Great post! Hayley xx

Kate @ Puddles and Gumboots February 7, 2012 - 10:02 AM

Thank you so much for having me guest post today, I hope people find it helpful 🙂

Jude November 6, 2020 - 1:30 PM

Thanks Kate! I think your article is spot on. Maybe us Mums with older kids could spread some kindness and offer to lend a hand to some Mums with younger kids every now and again even if its reading to the kids so they can let Mum get a few things done!

Norlin February 7, 2012 - 10:06 AM

Oh I so need to get my house back into shape. Tomorrow’s my day of purging and cleaning. Thanks for these handy hints!!

Sladenkel February 7, 2012 - 12:15 PM

just what i needed to read today thank you so much

Sarah Kaye February 7, 2012 - 1:07 PM

This is a really great step by step run down for when things get overwhelming. And i think the “clutter basket” is so helpful, i’ve been doing this for awhile now, although i use two – one for around the house stuff & one for the toys. The good thing about the toy one is there’s a spot in the playroom where it sits so if i don’t really want to sort through it i can still pack it in the room neatly.

Harriet Archer February 7, 2012 - 8:08 PM

Sometimes, when I think it’s all too much – I play a “game” with myself. It’s called “Idle Hands”. The idea is that my hands are never empty – so I start by picking up ONE thing. I take that and put it away, then pick up two things from the room that first thing belonged in and put them away, picking up another thing from each room etc etc. While it’s a bit of a scatter-gun approach to tidying up, it gets me started. And it’s usually enough to fix the house when it’s all bitty. Like it is right now, actually!

Emma Carmody February 8, 2012 - 8:47 AM

Thank you so much for this timely post, I only recently subscribed and to find this in my inbox dismorning was an absolute god send. Last week I decided to update the toy room and office and as I like a blank slate to work with the entire home become chaotic and messy as the one room took over many! And I didn’t know where to start to get it all in order again but now thanks to your post it doesn’t seem as overwhelming, thank you.

MultipleMum February 9, 2012 - 9:20 AM

great post Kate. It is so true that sometimes it is all so overwhelming you don’t know where to start! This is a fab guide x

Jodie Herbert February 23, 2012 - 7:02 PM

thanks so much for this post it helped me so much i already feel more on top of my home than ever thanks again

Katrina February 24, 2012 - 9:19 AM

That’s wonderful news Jodie!

Jodie Herbert February 24, 2012 - 9:25 AM

thank you your blog helps me so much my son was diagnosed with epilepsy late last year and trying to learn how to manage that as well as the house and everything has been so hard but your posts give me hope that i can get there so thanks

Di-licious February 26, 2012 - 11:17 AM

Thank you for helping me see the wood for the trees! Its so easy to feel completely overwhelmed and just flounder. I agree that getting on top of the laundry is a great starting point to feeling back in control.
My dining table/room is the black hole of the house – something that I hat because its the first room you walk into when you come into the house! I will conquer it this week!

Katrina February 26, 2012 - 8:06 PM

It is otherwise it will just keep piling up and become a huge job. Would love to hear how you go!!

Fleur.Muller74 April 28, 2012 - 6:58 PM

This is my new go to guide!

SydneyGen August 27, 2012 - 4:14 PM

Just wanted to let you know, I started this list at 9.30 and stopped for 30 minutes for lunch and another 30 minutes for school run… it’s now 4.15pm and I’ve finally finished!!! I have needed this so much! I always, always find my house so overwhelming. 3 kids under 5 makes for a very messy, busy household and I never know where to start!!! This list had me going from top to bottom and even doing alittle bit extra, like wiping down the kitchen cupboards, and cleaning the windows!
Thank you so very much for this! I’ve never felt so tired, but from something that was worth it! My house looks great, even my 5yo commented when he got home from school!! All I have to do is fold Mt Clothesmore and continue with the never-ending laundry that seems to be the bane of my existence! I was considering taking it all to the laundromat to clean all at once and then bring home to dry! My poor small washing machine is constantly on the go!

Mel Duker October 17, 2013 - 2:10 PM

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MarcioWilges December 17, 2014 - 1:45 PM

I really like this article but I think it takes a lot more than will power to get the energy changing and moving in your home again. The first step is really to admit that something needs to be done and to do something that drastically change the way you see your house. That first step here is what I’ll agree with the most – letting the sunlight and air in can really do wonders with changing the feeling of the space you live in!

Tim November 25, 2018 - 9:23 PM

Great post on house control Katrina, I’ve shared this with my friends.

Michael May 9, 2020 - 10:49 AM

Really good blog. Worth reading it. Happy to share on my social channel. Helpful stuff


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