Some of you know what I mean by an overwhelming mess.

We’re not talking about a few books out of place on the bookshelf and dust on the furniture here. We’re talking about floors that haven’t been vacuumed for a couple of weeks, forgetting what your countertops look like because they’re covered in clutter, dishes perpetually breeding in the sink, dirty laundry all over the floor of the bathroom/laundry room, clean laundry still in the baskets you dumped them into a week (or more) ago.

I realize that some people do not get this—I’m not talking to those people.

I applaud those people and am very happy for them, but I’m talking to the people who get the paralyzing effect of a very messy home. It can be debilitating—depressing.

If you’re a Spoonie like me, you never know when you might wake up in a flare day. Things that aren’t on the priority list tend to go untouched for a while.

Even healthy people have this problem when life just takes over and your house seems to explode. I get it.

But for whatever the reason, you’re house has been overtaken by mess, and there’s no shame in that! You just have to make that first step and get started. These are some of the things that I do to get started when my home is overwhelmingly messy.

Where to start when you're overwhelmed by mess.
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1. Set a Timer and Clean

This is one of my favorite methods and one that I use on the regular.

Pick one room and gather anything you may need beforehand—Laundry basket to throw dirty clothes and clutter in, cleaning rag, trash bags, etc.

Then set a timer for 5-10 minutes and do not leave that room.

Quickly pick up anything that does not belong in that room and place it in a laundry basket or (my fav) a reusable shopping bag. That way it’s gone and you can spend a couple of mins putting those things away later.

Throw all dirty laundry in a basket, straighten pillows, close drawers and doors, gather all trash into a bag, and put clean clothes in a specific place. If you’re in the kitchen put dirty dishes in the sink but don’t wash them yet. Unless you have some extra time on the clock.

This is my favorite method because you get immediate results. I can spend 10 minutes cleaning almost anything without feeling too tired. And, since I have 6 rooms in my home, I can have my house looking good in about an hour.

2. Only One Thing at a Time

This method is tedious and takes longer but it does give results. Sometimes I’ll use it after using the timer method just to get all those clean clothes put away that have piled up on my bed and spilled into the floor.

Focus on one item. Pick it up. Do you need to keep it, trash it, or sell/donate it? Then put it away and pick up another item.

Something about only looking at one thing at a time makes a mountain of clothes seem a little more manageable.

You can also apply this to sections. Do only one section of something at a time. For instance, focus on a nightstand or a dresser. Seeing just part of a room look tidy really helps motivate me to keep going.

3. Ask for Help

This is my least used method, but sometimes you just have to call in the reserves.

It doesn’t have to be a professional cleaner. Any sister, mother, or friend that you can trust. You don’t want someone who is going to put you down.

You need someone that’s not going to make you feel bad for letting your house get in this shape and understands that your illness keeps you from doing a lot of things you would like to.

Having my mom come over after I’ve had some flare days and let things get really rough can be a huge help. With her here I’m less likely to get overwhelmed and just leave it again.

Just realize that none of these methods are going to lead to a deep clean. They’re going to help you get started and, hopefully, make you feel better about your home and yourself.

Learning this really helped to change my home from an overwhelming mess to almost-always-manageable. Making a priority list can help keep the mess from creeping in as well, but do not get discouraged. We all have to start somewhere. Just keep doing little things to make improvements and eventually they will stick.

Have your own methods for dealing with overwhelming mess? Share them with us below!