How to clean up when you don’t know where to start.

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Cleaning sucks! I hate it! No really….I’d rather sit naked on hot coals than have to scrub my toilet and do the 2 billion loads of laundry that mount up every week!
I’m not proud of the photos I’m about to post. Frankly, they are damn right shameful!
The thing is though this is my reality. This is what happens to my house when I have 1 single day of crippling depression. The really debilitating kind that hits you from nowhere and means you can’t even bring yourself to get out of bed.

These pictures are what happens to my fairly tidy house if I can’t do anything at all for 24 hours!

My shameful kitchen
The bombsite I like to call my living room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t get me wrong my house is never showhome standards of tidy – I do have 3 kids after all!

My point is though that when it gets to this level of dirt and clutter I feel utter despair at how on earth I’m going to even make a dent in it.

I’ve read books on decluttering and cleaning and tried methods from big names such as FLY lady and KonMari. The problem is none of those methods work for me long term.
I’m still working on finding the long term cleaning habits that work, to be honest, but a couple that have struck a bit of a chord more than most are Unf*ck your habitat and 40 bags in 40 days.
It seems little and often is the key to success for me. Everyone has different triggers though so do what works best for you. I’m just going to share how I cope on my really bad days in the hope it might help even one person that is struggling with mess and doesn’t know where to start with cleaning and tidying.

My worst day method

When it’s all I can do to get out of bed in the morning I’m needing fast, simple wins that I can celebrate to get me back on track faster below is just my take on how I do that. I celebrate my first win before I even leave my room with the quickest, easiest cleaning win I can get…

Make your bed

Ok so on a bad day (or more accurately the day after my bad day) The first thing I do is get up and make my bed. If you don’t have sheets on it right now do your best to get some on it. It doesn’t have to be fancy and dressed with cushions and throws etc just get up straighten your pillows and flatten down the duvet.
Then give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.
The reason I like to start with making the bed is because 1: it’s quick and easy so you can celebrate a win first thing in the morning which can set you up for a more positive day all round and 2: If you get nothing else done you can flop into bed at the end of the day and feel comfortable knowing you have accomplished something and then hopefully get a better nights sleep to take on another task and get yourself another win tomorrow. 🙂

Making your bed is a win….even if you’re a T rex and it takes you all day! 😉

 

 

Pick a surface, Any surface.

Once my bed is made I’m feeling ready to get myself a winning streak going. My next priority is having space to make food. Now as you can see above my kitchen is small, cluttered and doesn’t have anywhere near adequate storage! (If you look carefully you’ll notice my cutlery is stored on the dishwasher as there is not a single drawer in my badly designed kitchen!)
Now to tackle the whole kitchen in one go is asking for trouble. Unless I’ve got an hour or 2 free to get stuck in getting it fully clean and tidy is an unreachable target and remember we are looking for the small wins today.
So what I do is I pick up any obvious rubbish and bin it. this usually gives me enough space to put a dinner plate down and then I can really pick up the pace and get me some space to work!
I don’t worry about washing the dishes there and then. I simply stack them ready to be washed later. Dinner plates first, then side plates on top of those and bowls stacked on top of those. By the time I’ve gathered them and stacked them I have space to stack any trays and pans next to them and the cutlery on top of those. Bam! My kitchen worktop is halfway empty so I can wipe down a surface and make food when needed. Just like that, I’m on a winning streak.

If tackling your worktops feels too daunting right now pick a smaller surface to try and clear instead. Maybe a lamp table or a bedside table. Something small that you can clear off and clean the surface of will be another quick and easy win that can boost you and motivate you to keep up the good work. Throw any obvious rubbish and then try, if you are able, to sort through anything that’s left and decide if you want to keep it on display on that surface, move it to a new home or remove it from your home completely via the bin or by donating/selling it.
Once the surface is less cluttered you can wipe it down to remove dust. This can be as simple as using a piece of tissue if you don’t have anything else to hand.

If you’ve done all that in one go give yourself 5 minutes to rest and admire your awesome work! Feel proud of yourself that you have tackled 2 jobs on the housekeeping list andwon!

 

Resting is important too!

Make no mistake taking a break is vital to success. If you try and keep going and going and going eventually you are going to break. The reason I like Unf*@k your habitat so much is because it is where I discovered the 20:10 method of decluttering and cleaning and I love it to avoid burning out. Basically, you go for it with cleaning or tidying your chosen room or area of a room for 20 minutes and then you rest for 10 minutes. Repeat as required/  desired. The best bit with this method is that if you struggle for whatever reason with doing something for 20 minutes straight you can tweak it to suit your needs and ability. So maybe your pattern will be 15:10 or even 10:10. It might not work for you but I do recommend giving it a try. It helps me with the feeling of being overwhelmed when I have a lot to clean at once. I know I can just turn up my music and get whatever I can done for 20 minutes, then I can reward myself with a well-earned rest. It’s actually surprising how fast the time goes and how productive you can be in short bursts!

Aim for Progress, not perfect.

I am extremely fortunate to have the support I do from my husband and family. Yes, they trash the place when I am not around to pick up after them but actually having a day in bed helps me to reset my systems as it were so the next day I am better able to cope with the mess they leave in their wake. It still takes me a few days to get back on top of things though and even now a week on from my when those photos were taken I’m still not fully back on form with the cleaning schedule. My main goal each day is to keep everything I’ve done so far looking the same. That way if nothing else gets done I still have those few clear spots to look at for motivation.

If you got up today and tried to make a difference to your surrounding be sure to stop and celebrate the win! You’re awesome!

Don’t be disheartened if you can’t make massive changes overnight. Progress is perfect enough. No matter how small the step your taking is, be proud that you are taking it and moving forward to better things and if you’ve made your bed today know that I am proud of you and you are awesome! <3

 

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