How to Dig Out When Your House is a Mess

sad child

Do you sometimes feel like the baby in the photo? You’re drowning in a messy house and you just want to throw your hands up and cry? I hear you! Granted, what looks to one person like an orderly space might seem chaotic to someone else (and vice versa), at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. You know your personal threshold and can sense when you’ve crossed over into that place where there’s so much mess you don’t know where to start. This is for you!

Here’s how to work through a messy home. We’ve all been there, and we can all climb out! The key is preventing (further) overwhelm by starting small, one task at a time. None of these should take any longer than 10 minutes, with the possible exception of the dishes (but that one is definitely worth it, so get after it!) These can be done in any order, but starting with the kitchen is my recommendation:

  1. Do the dishes. This is the single most impactful thing that contributes to feeling like you’re either relatively under control OR living in an out of control mess.
  2. Clear countertops. Consolidate countertop clutter into one area, as a first step. This process alone has a positive mental impact – even if the same amount of stuff is there. Then, in 10 minute increments of time, chip away at handling the piles. Don’t just shift and relocate clutter. You’re making decisions, item by item. Trash, recycle, donate, sell, or put away where it belongs.
  3. Take out the trash. Going room to room with a trash bag, emptying all the trash cans is a great job for a kiddo.
  4. Clean the floors.
  5. Spend 5 min. per room picking things up and clearing clutter.
  6. Start a load of laundry.
  7. Go through one stack of mail.
  8. Open all delivered packages.
  9. Clear the kitchen table.
  10. Ask for assistance. Enlist help from your family, a cleaner, or an organizer.
  11. Keep perspective. Sometimes a messy home is the aftermath of having fun and building memories. Clutter and mess aren’t permanent. And, you’re NEVER past the point of no return.