Why Your House is Constantly Messy & How to Stop It
I’ve had my fair share of struggles in the cleaning/organizing department of my life. No matter how hard I tried, my house was constantly messy and I could never seem to keep up. The thought of guests coming over sent me into a state of anxiety and panic. Every time I’d race around the house trying to make it presentable, but no matter how hard I tried, there was always more to clean. And, my kids would be one step behind me making messes wherever they went. I’d stomp around the house and yell and grumble at anyone or anything that had the audacity to cross my path.
After a really low, embarrassing moment in which I overheard guests talking about my mess (for the full story – which yes, includes me ugly crying in a towel at the top of my stairs – join my email list), I resolved to finally do something. But I’ll be honest, I was overwhelmed with where to start. I didn’t even really understand what the problem was in its entirety.
Why was my house constantly messy?
Was I too busy? Too lazy?
I started with researching cleaning routines and schedules, and they helped a bit, but I quickly found myself running out of steam and motivation. It would take me hours, literally, just to keep up with daily maintenance. I felt like all I was doing was cleaning. I began to get more frustrated. It felt like I was stuck with a hard choice: I could either spend all my time cleaning, or live in constant, anxiety-inducing mess. There seemed to be no middle ground.
So, Here’s Where to Start When You Have a Constantly Messy House (…HINT: It’s NOT with simply cleaning)
After contemplating this conundrum for a long time, I began to realize that I was spending so much time cleaning because there was so much STUFF to clean.
That’s when the lightning bolt hit. I needed to dig out from under all the crap in order to find space to live.
(….PSSST! If you’re ready to learn the exact process I followed to dig out from the clutter, join my email newsletter community and download your free decluttering starter guide for busy moms.)
If you’re like me you might be feeling:
- Behind, like no matter what you’re just never caught up.
- “Cleaning” consists mainly of picking up messes and putting things away, not actually cleaning anything (i.e. removing dirt). And it takes you hours.
- You want more time to spend engaging and connecting with your family or just time to spend in a way you enjoy.
I totally get it. You have way more important and better things to do than just pick up crap all the time. And, you SHOULD be spending the majority of your time on those things and not picking up crap all the time. I have yet to meet a person who wishes to spend more time cleaning up after people. Have you?
Are you ready for a truth bomb? It’s not about cleaning. It’s about clutter.
Before you can tackle cleaning, you have to limit the amount of stuff you have to clean. What you need is to declutter. It’s that simple. I’m not a math person, but I’m about to throw down a very simple equation for you:
Less stuff=less to clean=happier you.
Clutter is the real culprit lurking behind your problems if:
- You constantly feel overwhelmed or “behind” with your housework.
- It takes you hours to “clean” your home – and that is mainly just picking up the stuff that is out. You’re rarely able to get past the daily maintenance and onto the actual cleaning jobs – like mopping the floors or scouring the bathroom – on a regular basis.
- Your kids can destroy all of your hard work in seconds.
- You have storage issues – closets, drawers, under the bed – it’s all filled and it’s hard to find places to put stuff away.
- You are easily overwhelmed and discouraged when picking up because you don’t have “homes” for a lot of your stuff.
- Your home feels chaotic, even stressful, and anxiety-inducing, instead of a place to relax, escape and connect.
- You find that you’re often running late because something is always missing (your shoes, your keys, the homework folder your kids need, your phone…etc.).
If this is ringing true for you right now, odds are, you’re so buried (figuratively and…maybe literally) in stuff, you might not even realize it. You might think that you just need a better cleaning routine. Or a little more organization. But, here’s the thing. You can’t clean clutter. You cannot organize it. All the pretty baskets and bins in the world won’t do you a bit of good if you don’t have a place to put them or a way to manage what is inside.
Why You Need to Declutter, Not Just Clean
Still not convinced? Check out these stats outlined by popular minimalist, Joshua Becker: Number 19 – In our lifetime, an average American will spend the equivalent of 153 days (or 3,680 hours) just looking for lost items. Things like keys and sunglasses. And, in spite of the fact that the average size of our homes has tripled over the past 50 years, 1 in 10 Americans still needs to rent storage units to hold all of their stuff.
You have a finite amount of space in your home to live and a finite amount of time. Are you spending yours the way you want? Are you feeling the way you should about your home and your life? If you feel trapped by constant mess, the answer is likely a resounding NO.
It shouldn’t always be stress and anxiety and chaos. You can buck the trend. You don’t need to waste 153 precious days of your life searching for things you’ve lost in clutter.
You need to clear the clutter in order to really make a change. You need to find space for what is most important to you. And let go of the rest.
When you get rid of what you don’t need, you gain so much. You will find space in your home that isn’t stressful or overwhelming. Cleaning will be faster and easier because it will take you less time – you will find more time for what you love because you won’t be spending all of it cleaning and taking care of your stuff. You will find the freedom to enjoy your home and your family in ways you didn’t even realize were missing from your life because you were so distracted and caught up in the surrounding clutter.
And, what most people don’t realize, is the distance between where you are now and where you could be if you are able to release the clutter that is weighing you down, is not far. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing or some overnight dramatic transformation. It can be little things over time that can lead to a big change in the way you experience your life.
10 minutes here, an hour there. A weekend. It all adds up and every little bit you can do is progress. One thing less is one thing less. A step is still a step. Aim for progress, not perfection.
Overcome your messy house by decluttering: How to start
If you’re ready to get started, follow these tips:
- Start small — If you think you’re going to tackle your entire house in a weekend, you’ll probably wind up feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and quitting. Set small goals, even a shelf or a drawer. Only focus on one small area at a time. Soon, they will add up to more space in your home.
- Set an appointment in your calendar. Keep it a priority an don’t plan anything else during this time.
- Plan to declutter when you will have few distractions (maybe during nap time, or after your kids are in bed). It’s hard to make decisions about what to keep and what to purge when your train of thought is constantly getting derailed.
- Work in small increments of time. Set a timer for 15-30 minutes. Try not to focus on anything but decluttering during this time. When the time is up, take a break. You can return to it later or just leave it at that for the day. This will help you avoid getting overwhelmed and burn out.
- Have a plan for what you want to do with the items you’re not going to keep. Make sure you have boxes or bags ready for stashing items you want to donate — and have a pick up or drop off planned so you can get it out of your house ASAP.
- Get reinforcements! You don’t have to do this alone. See if your spouse or even your kids can help you. Find a friend who also wants to declutter and take turns babysitting each other’s kids while you declutter. Join my Facebook Group for extra support and accountability. 🙂
Check out this post for more tips on how to get started. And if you think you don’t have the time to take on decluttering – I’ve got you covered here.
I invite you to join ny email newsletter community for weekly tips, tools and inspiration. When you do, you’ll get my decluttering starter guide for busy moms — Disaster Zone to Peaceful Home — for FREE. In it you’ll find guidance and strategies to help you get started decluttering any space in your home, even if you’re a busy mom with no time. See what you can gain when you let go of the clutter in your life!