How to Tackle a Messy House


How to tackle a messy house using the basket method

I am sharing my quick and fairly painless method for tackling a messy house today.  I mean a really messy house.  It happens to all of us doesn't it?  Well, I guess there are some people that have full-time housekeepers, or a few superhuman people who, no matter what their circumstances, are going to keep their house spotless at all times. But for the rest of us mere mortals, life happens sometimes.  We get sick, we get super busy, we have a difficult pregnancy, or a newborn, or a child or an aging parent that needs extra care, the list could go on and on.  There are so many things that can keep us from our normal routines and it does not take long for the house to start looking like it should be on an episode of Hoarders.

I've been there.  I had a difficult pregnancy with my fifth baby, and four little kids that wreaked havoc on my home every day.  It was literally months before I felt well enough to keep up with my house.  
When we built our current house was another time that housework was on a back burner.  We squished our whole family of seven into our tiny rental property while we were building.  My husband and I did most of the work on our house, so I was rarely home and when I was, I was exhausted. So, if you are in a situation where keeping up the house had to be on the back burner for awhile give yourself some grace and when you are ready use this method to tackle that mess.

This past holiday weekend my family had the best time, but there wasn't much cleaning going on.  On Monday night I told myself that I would get to work and get things cleaned up the next morning.  Then Tuesday morning hit and BAM - Migraine. It was the worst one I have had in a long time, and I was pretty much useless the rest of the day.

Luckily, this morning I felt much better, but this is the sight that met my eyes and it was a little overwhelming.  

Yup, pretty much every space was a big mess.  Here in the dining room you can see remnants of our weekend.  Laundry that hasn't been put away and a cooler and backpack from our outings, still hanging out where they don't belong.

Even the living room, which generally stays pretty clean needed some love.

Yes - these pictures are of my actual messy house this morning.  A little embarrassing to share, but I am keeping it real.  Like I said, life happens. (And please excuse the terrible lighting.  I had to take these when it was still dark outside, because I wasn't going to wait to get to work on my house until I had good lighting to take pictures of the mess. )

If you find yourself staring down a mess at your house - never fear.  This basket method will save the day and you will have that mess cleaned up faster than you think.

I can't take all the credit for this method. I first read it on From Faye.  I would just share her post, but she has removed it, so I will share what I do that is inspired by her post from the good old days.

Now this method will work no matter how messy your house.  If it has been months of accumulation (like I said, I've been there too), it is going to take a little longer.  In fact, you may want to just take one room at a time.  If it has just been a few days because of illness or a fun long weekend, then you can tackle the whole house at once.

Now, finally, here is what you do:

The first thing I did, was tell my kids to pick up their things and put them away before they left for school.  Once they were out of the house I started my cleaning.

1.  Load the dishwasher and get it started.  Do any dishes by hand that need it. That is all - we aren't putting anything away or wiping anything off at this point.  Just get those dishes done and the dishwasher running.  You start to feel better already, now that you are not the only thing working away in your house.

2.  Throw in a load of laundry.  With the dishwasher and the washer going, now it really starts feeling better.

3.  Go grab two laundry baskets and a bag for garbage.  You will find most big messes are made up of three things.  1) Things that don't belong in that room.  2)  Laundry  3)  Garbage.

4.  Next, go through your house room by room and pick up everything that goes in the two baskets and the trash bag.  Hurry and put them in their respective basket/bag.  Don't worry about putting anything away that belongs in that room or doing any other tidying up at this time.  Just basket, basket, garbage, that is all.

5.  When you are finished set the baskets on the kitchen table and take out the trash.  The house already looks so much better, you can almost stand to live there again. ;)

6.  Move the laundry from the washer to the dryer.

7.  Now, go back to each room and tidy up, wipe down cupboards, countertops, etc., run the vacuum, sweep, etc. 

8.  Finally, go back and deal with the baskets on the table.  Put the laundry in the laundry room, and put away all the random things that you picked up during your initial cleaning burst.

It only took me about 90 minutes to get my house back in order from that total mess it was this morning, and that was with a few interruptions. 

This basket method definitely helps me take on my house whenever it feels too overwhelming.

I'm pretty sure it can help you if you are feeling overwhelmed by a messy house too.  Give it a try.  You've got this!