Does a messy house make you feel anxious, angry, guilty or even dumb? If I’m being honest, a messy house covered in clutter makes me feel clinically insane. I can’t be the only one. Let’s talk about why clutter makes us so nutty and what to do about it.
If you’re the queen of clutter-free living, I need your expertise. I’m seriously hoping you’ll comment to tell me every trick you have up your sleeve.
In this post, I’m not talking about a dirty house. That’s a different animal. A messy house doesn’t necessarily mean it’s dirty, and a dirty house doesn’t mean always mean it’s messy. Right?
There is a reason Marie Kondo is the most popular thing online since we were all trying to figure out if that dress was white and gold or blue and white.
Some people (my hand is raised here) can’t think straight when they are surrounded by clutter. Marie Kondo gets it.
Messy House = Crazy Mom
I feel overwhelmed when there is a big mess all over the house. It’s like my body and my mind can’t function. I can’t pay attention to what I need to pay attention to if there is a trail of toy dinosaurs from the living room to the kitchen.
I’ve always said that if I had to take a kindergarten-level test in the middle of a kitchen full of dirty dishes, empty chip bags, and a full trash can, I wouldn’t be able to recite the alphabet.
I’d get to A, B, C is for CLEAN THIS MESS UP!
Psychology Today featured an article about this very thing back in 2012. In it, they suggested that not enough focus is put on clutter as being a significant source of stress in our lives.
According to them, the stimuli of all that stuff around us overwhelms our senses. Signals are sent to our brains reminding us that we have things that are undone and so we must keep going, and going, and going.
No rest for the weary… or the messy, I guess.
We look at a pile of toys on a coffee table, a mound of laundry all over the floor, and a sink full of dishes, and we don’t even know where to start. It’s too big for our senses to handle.
I feel stressed even thinking about it.
The one thing I didn’t realize about having a messy house is the guilt it creates. The moment the article pointed it out, I was like YES!
It is the kind of guilt that makes me feel like I’m a total loser and that other people don’t have a house as cluttered as mine.
Messy House + Helpful Family – Too Much Stuff = Calm Mom
Even the most cluttered home in the world can be organized.
If you’ve ever watched Hoarders (guilty) you know that all it takes is one therapist, a team of about 15 people in hazmat suits and an 18-wheeler garbage truck to make a house neat and tidy.
Try these 3 things.
Step over the Legos, take a right at Laundry Mountain and walk past the sea of smelly towels on the floor. This is Day One of your new decluttered life.
1. Have a courageous conversation with your family.
“Mommy is tired and stressed and if you don’t help me keep this place picked up, I’m going on strike.” Maybe you’d prefer some milder, less dramatic language. Whatever works.
2. Get rid of stuff.
Get stuff you don’t need out of your life and out of your house. If you only wind up with one bag full of stuff to donate or toss, you haven’t done it right. Try again.
Your daughter doesn’t need 85 dinosaurs. Your son will be just as happy with something less than a gallon of broken crayons. (Even though they’ll both tell you otherwise.)
3. Pick a place.
The pencils go here and the shoes go there. The dolls go in this bin and the forks go in that drawer. Whenever something strays away from its special place, it has to be put back.
Help, help, help!
I hope you’re going to share all your decluttering ideas in the comments. If you have a friend who is pretty much the organization queen, ask her to help as well.
I’d love to create a thorough list of tips and tricks to make it easier for moms to manage the mess. I’m counting on your expertise to help me, so thank you!