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How to Get Motivated to Clean When Overwhelmed by Mess

How to Get Motivated to Clean When Overwhelmed by Mess

If you’re trying to figure out how to get motivated to clean when overwhelmed by mess and just can’t seem to get started, listen up. I’ve been there. Most of us have at some point or another. You CAN tackle your mess with the right tips and motivation.

Related: How to Always Have a Clean House

Related: How to Get a Disgusting House Under Control

cleaning motivation


How to Get the Energy to Clean House


If your house is completely out of control or even downright disgusting, trust me when I tell you that you aren’t alone.


I get emails from readers all the time asking “why can’t I just keep my house clean?”


The truth is, the messier your house gets, the more overwhelmed you feel, and the less likely you are to take action on the mess.


It literally gets harder to get up and clean your house the more bothered you are by it.


Let me say that another way…the more the state of your house bothers you, the less likely you are to clean it.




Because you have no motivation, it feels completely impossible to make any headway, and you feel like you’ll just waste your time spinning your wheels.


If this sounds like you, you’re in the right place.


How to Get Motivated to Clean Your Messy House


First, we need to start with some quick motivation.


This is where I make a lot of enemies – but I want you to really trust me here and just give this a try.


First, throw away your dishes.

Yes, really.

If your house is completely out of control, I can guarantee you that you don’t have clean dishes stacked neatly in your cabinets.

Instead, they’re piling up in the sink and spilling over onto the counters.

If this sounds like your home, I want you to stop holding onto hope that you’ll find the motivation to clean them and instead do what will actually motivate you – throw them away!


Then, eat off of paper plates for a while and drink from plastic solo cups.


Sound drastic?


It is, but I promise you that it’s absolutely necessary in getting your home clean.

Seeing huge headway like a clean sink is what will finally give you the motivation to push forward and tackle the rest of your home.


How to Tackle a Ton of Laundry in No Time

My secret to getting through a ton of laundry (I have three kids ages 4 and under and a husband – we make a mountain of laundry every single day) is to change your method.

Right now, your laundry routine probably looks like this:

  • Sort laundry by color
  • Wait until you have enough of one color before starting a load – so piles start to accumulate everywhere
  • Finally have enough for one load, so you wash it…
  • …and get distracted and let it sit in the washer until it starts to smell
  • Rewash and hope for a better outcome – laundry is still piling up everywhere
  • Finally dry the clothes we’ve now washed two or three times
  • Let them sit in the dryer and get wrinkled…
  • Start the dryer before we need to get dressed in the hopes that some of the wrinkles will come out

Literally rinse and repeat.

Sound familiar?


Instead, I want you to do this.

Pick up some of these.  Now you don’t have to sort laundry by color ever again.

Instead, you’ll wash all of your clothes in one load (unless you have a brand new red shirt…let’s not get crazy. That thing is a recipe for disaster) and wash blankets and towels separately.

Set a timer on your phone and go back and put those clean clothes in the dryer as soon as you possibly can.

Forgot to dry them in time?

Add a cup of white vinegar to the washer and run it through a rinse cycle, then dry.

Overwhelmed by Paper Clutter

If your house is completely overrun by paper clutter, it’s not your fault!

Paper comes into your house whether you want it to or not, despite your best intentions.

I have a very simple solution that will erase your paper clutter issue in about 5 minutes.

Step 1 – Grab a box.

Step 2 – Put all of the paper in it.

That’s it!

Why does this work?

Because from now on, you’ll know exactly where every piece of paper you need is AND you’ll know exactly where to put any paper that makes its way into your house.

From now on, the paper cycle in your home looks like this:

  • Open your mail over the garbage or recycle bin
  • Throw away any useless flyers, ads, etc.
  • Add a reminder in your phone about upcoming bills, etc. Take a picture of the bill and add it to the reminder. This sounds complicated but takes 7 seconds. I know because I’ve timed it.
  • Decide whether to throw away the bill or keep it for a while.
  • If you decide to keep it, drop it into your paper clutter bin.
  • Repeat this with each paper you receive and throw papers away ruthlessly.

If I’m in a huge hurry, sometimes I skip adding the image to my calendar, but I always take a picture of my bills with my phone.

This way, I have access to whatever phone numbers, account numbers, and payment information I need.

How to Declutter When You Don’t Want to Get Rid of Anything


I could go into all of the Marie Kondo ways to declutter your home, but we’re talking about real life here.

Let’s talk about some fast ways to declutter your house and get things back under control.

First, go through each room with a trash bag and throw things away that are obviously garbage or broken.


Set a timer for 15 minutes and see how far you can make it through your house.


Next, box up anything you don’t use on a regular basis.


This is another one of those pieces of advice that loses friends quickly.


But what if I need it?

How will I ever find it if I’m looking for it?

I’ve heard it all – but what stands out to me is the number of success stories I’ve received since I got ballsy enough to write about this.

My answer for all of those questions?


Label it and then LET IT GO!

Listen, you know all of that stuff is there somewhere. It’s not missing, it’s just in a box.

Stand in front of your most cluttered flat surface.

This is probably a dresser or a section of counter space.

Toss every single thing you don’t use regularly into a box.


Either label the box with the items inside if you intend to keep it, or label it “donate” and move it to the trunk of your car.


Will you ride around with it in there for a few months?




But with donation dumpsters popping up all over the place, I’m betting you’ll find a way to get rid of it before it drives you too crazy.

I wrote out all of my lazy systems for overwhelmed people like us – check it out here!

Tough Love about Messy Homes


Listen, I’ve been where you are, I created a full system of lazy ways to tackle the mess and clutter, and now I want that same success for you.

If you’re holding onto things because you’re afraid to hurt someone’s feelings or because you assign emotional attachment to every single thing you own – we need to deal with that.

You can’t go through life dragging all of this clutter with you and expect to live a full, happy life.

Instead, you can expect to feel weighed down by it all, constantly stuck in indecision about what to do next.

Today, I want you to choose to start making decisions about your home and your life that will free you from this pattern of overwhelm and stress.


Life is so much better on the other side of clutter.


It’s so much easier than you think to part with the mess and “stuff” – the secret is just being brave enough to get started!


You can do this – I believe in you!


Are you overwhelmed by the mess in your home? What motivates you to tackle your messy house? Let me know in the comments!

Keep Tackling Your Clutter with These Tips!

7 Lazy Mom Hacks to Declutter Kids Toys Painlessly

Decluttering Tips for Overwhelmed Moms 

How to Get Your Messy House Ready for Company

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How to Get Motivated to Clean When Overwhelmed by Mess - actionable tips to get even the messiest house clean when you're completely overwhelmed! How to Get Motivated to Clean When Overwhelmed by Mess - actionable tips to get even the messiest house clean when you're completely overwhelmed! How to Get Motivated to Clean When Overwhelmed by Mess - actionable tips to get even the messiest house clean when you're completely overwhelmed!


Monday 27th of May 2019

I admit I am inconsistent in my cleaning routine. I concentrate on a clean kitchen in the a.m. , make breakfast, clean kitchen again, and sweep, do laundry, prep for dinner/or lunch- all befor work. Intermittent is much of the rest of the requirements it takes to keep a house looking good. I can't get my bf to get on board w/ picking up after hisself, and I feel just like I'm his mothersome days. The house gets a great workover mostly when company comes. I dont have kids- whew! How does a mom even do this?! I resent all the time I gotta spend cleaning, and am under motivated. I do housework tasks as part of my job description.... Very well! Thank God I dont feel compelled to in my own home! How do I get the bf to help more? How do I find the energy/desire to clean my house? Thankyou!

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