Have you ever had to clean a messy house when you’re overwhelmed with a huge mess? Maybe you’ve had a bad week at work and have not had the time to clean. Or, perhaps you’ve been sick in bed and just woke up to a tidal wave of mess and clutter.
But whatever the reason, getting overwhelmed by a messy house is something that can stop you right in your fuzzy slippers. I too have been through “messy house-cleaning overwhelm” and it can be completely unsettling, especially when you don’t know where to start.
One of the things I’ve done in my life is to help out my disabled mom with her housework, (up until her passing in 2020). She lived in her own home across town and while she had other help, I regularly cleaned, cooked and grocery shopped for her. Outside of that, I also spent quality time with her and worked, so my own housework chores usually came last. So yeah, it got hectic at times.
But I have no regrets and would do it all over again. The point is that life happens and sometimes we get busier and more tired than we ever could imagine. So, if you’re dealing with an over-messy house, here are some tips to help you clean and get past the paralyzing overwhelm to get your house clean.
How to clean a messy house when you’re overwhelmed
How to clean a messy house when there’s too much clutter
If you need to clean a messy house and you’re overwhelmed, it can be difficult to know where to start. But this is when you need to focus on getting items back to where they belong. You don’t have to over-think it, simply get some boxes, label them with a marker and start sorting things.
As you begin to sort things out, you may find that some things actually belong in the trash and not stored in your home, so don’t be afraid to throw things out.
Mail and bills should be sorted and put on a desk in the room where you pay bills. Get into the habit of using a mail basket and calendar to keep track of bills.
However, if your bills have already been paid online and you have a PDF statement, there’s no sense in keeping extra paper clutter.
If junk mail and statements are cluttering your space, get a shredder for your office. Make sure it’s a cross-cut shredder that also shreds old credit cards.
Backpacks, laptops, briefcases, and jackets should go to the mudroom. If you don’t have a mudroom, use a small space by your front door and get an entryway organizer. And when all else fails, return items to each person’s bedroom or office.
Items that will help to organize each family member are storage baskets to hold miscellaneous items and individual laundry baskets.
In the bathroom, small caddies for personal toiletries are ideal to keep everyone’s items organized.
Get realistic about what needs to get done.
Getting realistic means assessing the mess and figuring out how long it will take to tidy up. If you’re overwhelmed, you may think cleaning will take much longer than it really does.
If the entire house needs cleaning, start with your common areas like the family room, dining area, kitchen, and bathroom(s). By tackling these areas first, you will have clean rooms to cook in, eat-in, and unwind in.
To prevent getting more overwhelmed, focus only on one room at a time.
If you have not cleaned in a while, you want to focus on making each room livable and tidy.
Don’t overdo it. Deep cleaning can happen at a later time. Just realize that you have to start somewhere.
How to clean a messy house one room at a time.
In the family room
- Remove any dirty dishes and glasses.
- Vacuum above and underneath couch and chair cushions.
- Put dirty couch throws and blankets into the wash.
- Wipe down the TV, coffee table, and end tables.
- Sweep or vacuum the floor.
In the dining room
- Clear everything off of the dining room table and wipe it down.
- Wipe down dining chairs and cushions.
- Put out a clean table cloth or placemats.
- Remove clutter from the buffet server.
- Sweep the floor and/or vacuum the rug.
In the kitchen
- Clean off the counters and kitchen table.
- Empty the sink and load the dishwasher.
- Wipe down small and large appliances.
- Sweep the floor and shake out the throw rugs.
- Toss out stale food from the refrigerator.
- If the trash can is full, take it to your outside bins
- Put out fresh towels and sponges.
In the bathroom(s)
- Remove soiled towels, linens, and clothing.
- Clear off the sink vanity and put items back where they belong.
- Spray down the tub and shower with cleaner, wait then scrub and rinse.
- Spray the sink with cleaner and wipe it down.
- Clean inside the toilet bowl with a brush and cleanser.
- Clean outside the toilet tank with sanitizing wipes.
- Mop up the bathroom floor.
- Put clean towels in the bathroom
- Replace toilet paper.
- Add a clean throw rug.
How to clean a messy house when you’re overwhelmed with dirty laundry
Have you ever gotten overwhelmed by all the dirty laundry piled up in your laundry room? I certainly do and hate when there are too many dirty clothes and linens to wash. So, when laundry gets out of control, take control of it with these tips.
When you have too many dirty clothes to wash, don’t over-stuff the washer, you’ll only make more work for yourself and the laundry will not come out clean.
Take the time to break loads up into whites, darks, dress clothes, yard clothes, sheets, etc…
If you never have enough time to hand wash delicate in your sink, invest in a few “delicate laundry bags” so that you can wash items in your washer, on the delicate setting.
Don’t leave wet laundry piled up in the hamper. it will get moldy smelling and can stain other items if colors get too wet and run.
Take laundry out of the dryer immediately and fold it. Don’t leave dried laundry in a pile or stuffed into a basket, or you’ll end up with badly wrinkled laundry.
If you have clean laundry that is crumpled up from sitting in a basket, put it back into the dryer with a damp towel and run it for about 20 minutes to remove wrinkles.
How to clean when dirty dishes get out of control
Who hasn’t had a sink full of dirty dishes, as well as a dishwasher full of more dirty dishes, and not get overwhelmed? Just have company over or host a holiday and BOOM… there are dirty dishes everywhere.
But if every day at your house looks like you just threw a big party and no one washed the dishes, here’s how you can get on top of it, fast!
Wipe food particles off dishes before placing them in the dishwasher. Not only will they come cleaner, but you will prevent the dishwasher from clogging.
If you’re someone who doesn’t like or own a dishwasher, keep extra basins on hand, for when your sink gets over-filled with dishes.
Wash oversized pans in the sink, as they can obstruct other items in the dishwasher from getting clean. Also, dishwashers sometimes leave residue on stainless steel.
Don’t overload your dishwasher to save time; you’ll only end up washing items again that don’t come out clean.
Soak burnt pans with baking soda and vinegar to help remove burned-on food easily.
Use baking soda and water to scour off stuck-on food from pots and pans.
If you have more than one load of dishes to clean, it may be faster to hand wash one load while the second load runs in the dishwasher.
How to clean a messy house when you’re overwhelmed with depression
For those times when you’re too depressed and exhausted to clean the house, the best thing you can do is take a little break and give yourself some self-care.
Whether you need a walk outdoors in the sunshine, some meditation, or a 20-minute nap, indulge yourself.
Then if you need help getting motivated, put some uplifting music on before you start your chores.
If you need more help, get a monthly housekeeper or ask a friend to help you out
around the house. It’s OK to ask for help and every once in a while, it’s the best feeling to get a bit of extra help.
It may even help you get your home to the point where you can clean without getting overwhelmed.
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