It’s easy to get overwhelmed when cleaning and organizing! We often sabotage ourselves by trying to do ALL the housework at once. In this post, you’ll learn how to break down cleaning and organizing into a series of small tasks that are easy to accomplish.
How to Clean without Overwhelm
Have you ever decided to tackle a household organization project, then, at the end of the day, found yourself with an even bigger mess than you started with? You’ve got a pile of junk in one corner, cleaning supplies in another, clutter covering the floor, and lost all your cleaning motivation.
It’s not your fault! It happens to everyone when we try to tidy, organize, clean, and declutter all at once. These four DIFFERENT home care acts get lumped together into one big OVERWHELMING chore we call “cleaning.”
They are easier to accomplish when we define them as a series of mini tasks – first tidy, then organize, then clean, and declutter at another time.
If you’ve never been taught how to clean without getting overwhelmed
Tidy, then Organize, then Clean
To clean without getting overwhelmed, look at each task (tidy, organize, clean, and declutter) as an individual goal. Completing one task or goal can provide a sense of accomplishment, which helps build momentum and motivates you to move on to the next task.
1. Tidy the room.
Your first mini-goal is tidying the room. Grab some sorting bins (you can use laundry baskets, cardboard boxes, or even trash bags) and remove these things:
- items that do not belong in the room
Tip: Place the sorting bins in the hallway so the room starts to clear out.
2. Organize the room.
Next, focus on finding things in the room that are not in their correct place (examples: clean laundry, toys, books, etc.) and put them away.
3. Clean the room.
Now that everything is put away or out of the room, you can clean the area (dust, wipe, vacuum, etc.) with much less effort. You won’t have to continually move and shift items to clean around them.
How to Make Decluttering Less Overwhelming
Decluttering is its own separate task (that can also seem overwhelming). It involves sorting and getting rid of items that are no longer serving you. For example, unwanted decorations or outgrown coats.
How to Declutter
Follow this simple process to quickly declutter your home:
- Pick one category of items to sort (books, toys, clothes, etc.)
- Start with four boxes or bins.
- Label one box donate, one box sell, one box memory, and the last box trash.
- Go through each item and decide where it belongs in.
- Place donate, sell, memory, and trash items in the correct box or bin.
- Put away keep items.
- Store the memory items.
- Take a break and repeat this process with the next category.
- Schedule time to declutter on a separate day from cleaning to prevent overwhelm.
- Tackle one category (holiday decorations, toys, clothes, etc.) per decluttering session.
- If you have sentimental kids/ family members, place items you are indecisive about in a “decide later” box that you tape up and put in an out-of-the-way location you do not often see (garage, basement, etc). Donate the items if not used within 3 months of decluttering (for seasonal items, you can hold onto them longer and donate if they are not used next year).
More Easy Decluttering Ideas
Parting with household items is often the most overwhelming part of decluttering. I use cardboard boxes to make the process easier. Check out the article 6 Simple Ways to Declutter Your Home with a Cardboard Box for easy ideas.
Getting Motivated to Start
Sometimes the hardest part of homecare is finding the motivation to start. (I write about cleaning and will choose Netflix over vacuuming any day!) These are my favorite ways to get off the couch and into action:
- Borrow or buy an audiobook you’ve been wanting to read to keep you entertained.
- Pick a favorite podcast and set a goal to complete one task each time you listen to an episode.
- Love checklists? Make a to-do list with each and every task listed. Cross off the items as you go.
- Listen to upbeat music that elevates your mood.
- Focus on progress over perfection. A clean home does not mean empty kitchen counters or Instagram-worthy book shelves!
- Stay away from social media “inspiration.” You get to pick the level of clean that works for you and your family.
- Choose a reward and treat yourself when you finish a task. This might be a cup of coffee, an hour of reading time, or a manicure.
Be Kind to Yourself
There are phases of life when cleaning schedules are not the most important objective. If you’re in one of these times, be kind to yourself. Maybe you only have time to wash one load of laundry, empty the dishwasher, or clean out the kitchen sink. That’s okay! Cleaning off one dresser can have a big impact.
And that’s it….
Four separate home care acts (tidy, organize, clean, and declutter) are often lumped together into one huge chore we think of as “cleaning.” Tackle each one as a small “bite-size” chunk to make cleaning/organizing less overwhelming. You’ll feel more accomplished as you check each task off and be done in no time!