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This post is for mothers with small children because you understand how it feels to be completely overwhelmed the mess. And how frustrating it is to clean up your house and have it messy in 5 minutes again.
Have you ever walked through your house and honed in on how horribly messy and out of control things seem to have gotten? You kind of meander through the house, looking at all the dishes and crap covering the counter, the mountains of laundry in the bedrooms (or living room) and the toys that are literally strewn from one end of the house to the other?
Sometimes this trip through the house almost cripples me with hopelessness.
You think, in utter anguish-
This is going to take hours!
And then you want to cry because it’s like you’ve forgotten how to clean and don’t know where to start.
Have you ever almost had a flat out panic attack from the mess?
Here is how to clean when you feel completely overwhelmed by the mess:
START WITH ONE SQUARE FOOT
You know what the killer of confidence is?
Looking at the messy house as a WHOLE!
No wonder you lose steam before you’ve even begun! Stop looking at it like that, right now!
Start with a square foot.
Whether it’s on the floor or the counter, pick that square foot of space and pick up EVERYTHING in it (this is not about wiping down anything yet, just picking up items and putting them in their correct place.) Once that’s done, go to the foot beside it.
THINK ABOUT DECLUTTERING
Look, I know everyone and their grandma is talking about decluttering. But, there’s a reason. When you declutter and make sure that there is a space for everyTHING in your house, the less likely it will keep getting to the point of hopelessly cluttered!
Have you noticed that when you go to clean, you get angry and frustrated because you don’t even know where the eff this random thing goes? (yeah, me too!)
Find a place for it or GET RID OF IT.
It was such a freeing idea to me that I didn’t actually HAVE to find a place for these things if I didn’t want to, I could get rid of them!
If you want a rundown on decluttering, check out this article!
The Art of Tidying Up will really will change your whole perspective on material things and it’s such a positive take on it. Instead of getting rid of things in a fit of anger, it’s about calmy deciding what doesn’t bring you joy anymore and thanking it for everything it’s done for you. That makes it a lot easier to get rid of things!
ENLIST THE HELP OF YOUR FAMILY BEFORE YOU ARE OVERWHELMED
My family is a lot less responsive to my demands of them helping me when I come from a place of anger and frustration. They respond with anger and frustration, which kinda makes sense. I learned that the hard way 🙁
Try to have a conversation at dinner or calm down enough to address it like,
‘Hey, I’m really starting to feel down about the mess all the time. Can we come up with a plan that makes us all feel good about the state of our house?’
Usually my family responds pretty well to this and things get better!
But because this is real life and that idea may not work out for you-
the next go to is:
- Ask for something to be done (ie; clean up the play area).
- Give them a set amount of time to do it (10-15 minutes).
- Give them a warning that the times almost up.
- If they don’t complete the task, I grab an empty box and start throwing whatever hasn’t been cleaned up to donate.
- ACTUALLY FOLLOW THROUGH AND DONATE THE TOYS.
- I guarantee you will only do this once.
I still have not gotten to the point of actually donating. If they see the box, they will scramble to get everything cleaned up!
TURN ON SOME MUSIC
Sometimes it’s hard to remember to do this so try to make it a habit. I won’t clean anymore unless I put on some upbeat music.
And you know what it does besides boost your mood?
Gets your kids to help too!
They get excited and actually want to help!
HIRE A CLEANER
Wait, wait, hear me out!
Before you go thinking that this article is about hiring a cleaner, please hear me out.
I threw back my head and laughed when someone suggested I hire a cleaner! And also felt a teeny bit offended because who the hell can afford that and isn’t a cleaner only for rich people?
But the idea stuck with me and it kept playing in my head. In the midst of a rage fueled floor cleaning session, the idea would pop up and not seem so crazy. What if I hired someone for just an hour a week? A blessed hour to clean our filthy floors which would probably take me close to 3 hours to do, plus tears of frustration and yelling at the kids to move out of the way and stop spilling things.
So I hired someone for the cost of 25$ a week and I started thinking of it as a gift to myself.
For 25$, we got to spend that time together instead and I didn’t get angry at everyone.
Some people go for dinner once a week, or a buy a coffee every morning on their way to work. We hire someone to clean our floors for an hour and it’s the best money I’ve ever spent.
SET A TIMER TO CLEAN
Timing yourself to get something done is awesome! See what you can accomplish in 10 minutes. Set a timer for a room and GO!
This tutorial is for cleaning your entire house in an hour.
Motivate yourself with a challenge! Check out the instructions here.
REMEMBER THAT IT WILL BE OVER
Your children will grow up. One day, they won’t spill their Cheerios anymore. They’ll pour milk in their own bowls and they won’t be proud to show you.
The toys that were strewn across your house will be packed up and gone, the hallways will be silent and their messy rooms turned into offices or guest rooms.
The crumbs will be nonexistent and you’ll finally have a relatively clean house.
Will it be what you wanted in the end though?
Try to keep things in perspective if you’re struggling with young children. You may just miss the crumbly, sticky floors and their favorite toys all over the house because they will be adults who have moved out of your house and are making their way in the world.