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When You’re Overwhelmed by the Mess, Here’s How to Get Motivated to Clean

How to get motivated to clean when you’re overwhelmed by how messy your house: If your house is out of control, and you have no idea where to start, these tips will get you well on your way to managing the mess. 

Come and take a look!

How to Get the Energy to Clean House

First of all, when planning to tackle a really messy house, it makes sense to start out being well rested. If your schedule will allow, plan to deep dive into cleaning your house on a day when you know you can get enough rest the night before.

Make sure you eat well and keep a glass of ice water ready to drink so you can refresh yourself as you work.

Also, be sure to take necessary breaks. Set a timer for ten minutes every hour or two and allow yourself a guilt free break.

Motivate Yourself to Tidy Up

I’m a firm believer in rewarding the good. Therefore, if you’re overwhelmed by the mess in your house, a simple, yet effective way to get yourself psyched into cleaning would be to promise yourself a reward when you’re finished.

Some ideas include:

  • A fun treat when you’re finished
  • A rewarding activity that you enjoy
  • Time with friends or loved ones
  • Anything you find special

When you use rewards to motivate yourself, you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish and you’ll be happy to do it!

Find The Cleanest Area and Start There (It Will Help You Get Motivated to Clean)

Go for quick a quick and small win. That means finding an area that won’t take you forever and a day to finish.

Instead, survey your house to find the easiest area to clean and straighten it first.

When my house gets messy, I like to start with a load of laundry. Why? Because it takes me five minutes to throw laundry in and get it washing and suddenly I feel like I’ve accomplished something.

Then, amazingly enough, I am excited and motivated to get the next mess tackled.

Which leads us to the next step:

Find Your Most Dreaded Cleaning Task. And Do That Next! 

By now you should be feeling a little confidence starting as you’ve found a quick win or two.

Let that motivate you to work on the hardest thing you have to do. It’s probably something you’ve let go for quite a while.

Draw from the feelings of accomplishment you gained when you did your quick task and tackle the hardest thing head on.

It will feel AMAZING when you’re done. Trust me!

The Basket Sweep (If This Doesn’t Help You Get Motivated to Clean, I Don’t Know What Will!)

I love, love, love to use this method!

Take a basket and set a timer and go through your house putting every misplaced item in the basket. Once the basket is full, sort everything out and put it away.

Then rinse, and repeat!

The reason this method is so amazing is because your house will have rapid changes quickly.

You aren’t actually putting everything away as you sweep it into the basket, but you’re making your house look neater and neater with each basket.

You already know about quick wins! I’m willing to bet that once you see the changes the basket sweep makes, you’ll be excited to keep going!

Set Up A Realistic Cleaning Routine and You Will Get Motivated to Clean

Make a regular routine for cleaning your house. It will makes all the difference! Once you get on a cleaning schedule, you’ll be far less likely to let your house get overwhelmingly messy.

  • Keep it simple
  • Stick to it
  • Do it thoroughly

A cleaning routine will make it so much easier to do the next step, which is:

Declutter….But Slowly!

It’s so important to declutter your house often. For some reason, keeping the clutter down seems to be a constant battle.

But you don’t have to do it all at once. I highly recommend using The Decluttering Binder to get a regular decluttering routine down.

I’m always amazed at how decluttering my house goes hand in hand with keeping it clean. Because less stuff = less mess. Simple, right??

Establish Clutter Buster Habits

Then once your house is decluttered, you’ll wanna work on keeping it that way.

Make sure to regularly declutter. But also, you’ll want to train yourself to dealing with things before they become clutter in the first place.

I like the “one touch rule” which is simply, taking care of something as soon as it’s in your hand. In other words, when you check your mail, don’t just toss the pile of mail on your counter to pick up and deal with again later.

Go immediately to the garbage, (or paper shredder) get rid of the junk mail and then deal with whatever needs attention. In doing so, you’ll be establishing good clutter buster habits.

Additional little tips and tricks on how to spark your motivation to clean your home:

1. Use The Decluttering Binder to help you get motivated to clean

The Decluttering Binder is so helpful if you’re overwhelmed by the mess in your home. It will help you figure out a plan and stick to it.

It’s just so helpful to have something systematic to help keep you on track.

Here's how to get motivated to clean when you're overwhelmed by the mess.

2. Use a planner or bullet journal

I don’t know about you, but I stay waaaaay more organized if I keep track of what I’m doing by writing it down.

You can stay on top of what you’re doing by using a planner or a bullet journal to record your progress and layout your plan.

(Hint: you can also use a planner or bullet journal alongside The Decluttering Binder, although you don’t have to!)

3. Start small and it will help you get motivated to clean

I know it’s tempting to want to conquer the mess all at once. But pace yourself. It’s a marathon, not a race.

If you attempt to do too much, you’ll overwhelm yourself and you’ll easily burn out. We definitely don’t want that to happen!

Small goals are a must!

4. Go for quick wins

Like we talked about earlier, find a quick win. Find something easy to clean up and use the satisfaction of accomplishment to motivate you to continue on.

5. Don’t rush it

Remember that it will take time to get everything cleaned up. It just will. Rome wasn’t built in a day and a huge mess won’t be cleaned up in a matter of minutes.

Therefore, if you have the expectation that it’s gonna be a process, you won’t be so overwhelmed or disappointed when the mess isn’t cleaned up in a snap.

Give yourself time to work through the mess and you’ll be better off in the end.

Just don’t take too much time! 😉

6. Take before and after photos for motivation

I love to see my progress. It’s a huge motivator!

What better way to track your progress than to take pictures to compare your mess to the progress you’re making?

Sometimes for fun, when I have a big mess to take care of, I’ve even set up a time lapse video on my phone and then it’s a hoot to watch it when I’m finished.

Try it! You’ll see what I’m talking about!

7. Set up “stations” for things you regularly use

Also one of my personal favorite ideas! If you know you regularly use something, then make a station for it.

It’s amazing how much having a station will cut down on the mess. Because you’ll easily be able to use something and then put it back where it goes again when you’re finished.

Some stations we currently have in our house:

  • Coffee/tea bar (station)
  • Craft station
  • Hair/makeup station
  • Baking/cooking station
  • Reading station

8. Place your cleaning supplies in a tote

It’s so helpful to have everything you need to clean your house in a little tote you can carry around from room to room.

No more searching for a sponge or a scrub brush. It’s all handy and accessible when you have everything stored neatly in a tote.

Try setting up your own cleaning supplies tote.

The next time you have to clean a bathroom, you can grab your handy, dandy tote and get to work in half the time it used to take you to gather all the supplies.

Additionally, since our house has three bathrooms, I started buying enough sets of cleaning supplies for each bathroom and they get stored right under the sink. This also saves on time spent running around gathering everything I need to clean and I’m done cleaning so much quicker.

9. Focus on one space at a time

When I clean I tend to bounce around from room-to-room, doing a little cleaning in each place.

It’s super inefficient.

Lately I’ve been disciplining myself to stay put in one area until it’s finished. And then I move on to the next.

It’s much more efficient!

10. Consider everyone’s habits in the family

I have finally figured out that with seven kids, not everyone shares my same affinity for organization and cleanliness!

It took me a while and I used to feel frustrated, but I’ve finally embraced the fact that we all have different ways of being clean and organized.

This is not to say that I just tolerate messiness and let my kids do whatever they want, but I also have learned to work around the way that they are.

Consider your family’s habits and individual flares and then find a way to work with the personalities and habits of each one.

11. Set a timer

There’s something so invigorating about racing a timer. Similar to a deadline, but much more imminent.

A timer will push you and motivate you and you’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish when you’re racing a ten minute timer!

And I’ll be you could do even more when there’s a nice reward waiting at the end!

12. Set attainable deadlines

I love working with a deadline. For some reason, the more pressure the better. If I have a deadline I’m capable of accomplishing far more than I ever would if there wasn’t a deadline.

It’s a good idea to pick a date, mark it down, set a reminder on your phone, or use whatever way you’d like to remind yourself.

Then stick to it.

Don’t compromise for any reason (except for the obvious unforeseen circumstances, of course!).

13. Don’t be afraid to outsource the work

We all need help sometimes. If you find that you’re just too overwhelmed to make a dent in the mess, then you just might need to call in a professional. And that’s totally ok.

No shame in that!

You can make the choice whether you hire someone for a one time clean up or you prefer to have them come in on a regular basis to keep your house maintained.

In fact, the latter could be used as motivation to get your house cleaned up. The thoughts of hiring a professional to maintain it for you may just be the reward you need to accomplish the task.

14. Donate whatever you don’t want or need

Donating is really getting rid of something with a purpose.

The thoughts of donating your things and helping others might just be enough to help you get motivated to clean when you’re overwhelmed by the mess.

Just make sure that whatever you donate is worthy of being donated. In other words, don’t just give away junk!

By the way, The Decluttering Binder has cute donation tags for when you’re sorting your stuff.

Here's how to get motivated to clean when you're overwhelmed by the mess.

15. Take a Course

Did you know that you can actually take a course to learn how to organize your home? 

How cool is that? Check out the link above to find out how to learn how to organize your home in a fun and easy way!

Make Sure to Change Your Mindset and Get Motivated to Clean!

It’s easy to feel defeated by a messy house. I get that. But if you want to get your house clean and under control, then you must think differently.

Stop thinking that it’s too overwhelming and start thinking that it’s not too hard. If you work on it a little at a time, you can do it! You really can! Just change your mindset!

Give Everything a Place and Keep It There

This is probably the best advice you can get right here! A place for everything and everything in its place.

It’s my motto.

Seriously! Sometimes it takes a little bit of time to figure out exactly where everything should to, but once everything has a place that it belongs, then it’s much easier to keep things clean and keep your house from getting messy.

Then it’s just a matter of disciplining yourself to put things away when you’re finished using them.

It’s soooo much easier doing it this way! Trust me!

How to Get Your Laundry Done Fast

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you any extra)! Read my full disclosure policy.

If your house is an absolute disaster, then the chances are, your laundry is probably in a state of chaos. (I’m just guessing! ;))

I could tell you to make sure and have sophisticated sorting habits and organize everything into neat little piles, but you need to do something quick and immediate to get rid of the mess.

Here’s your answer!!

Make sure to click that link! It’ll save you a ton of time!

But more importantly, let’s help keep you from getting to the point where the laundry is out of control to begin with:

How to Keep Your Laundry From Piling Up

This is a terribly simple and unsophisticated system, but it really works!

  • Throw in a load of laundry as soon as you have enough close to make a load.
  • Set a timer for the amount of time it takes for your washer to be done.
  • Switch your clothes over to dry as soon as the timer goes off.
  • Set another timer to remind you when the dryer will be done.
  • Fold the load of laundry as soon as the timer goes off.
  • While you’re at the dryer, be sure to reload the washer with another load of dirty clothes and start the process again (setting the timer, etc. 
  • Finally, put your clothes away!

How to Get Your Dishes Done Fast

The first step in the process of getting your dishes done fast is rinsing them when you’re finished using them. It will save you so much time!

But if you haven’t rinsed your dishes and you find yourself with a sink full of messy dishes, then the follow this process to get your dishes done as quickly as possible.

  • Fill a sink with hot, soapy water.
  • Pile the scraped dishes in.
  • Gather all dishes throughout the house.
  • Once the dishes have soaked for a minimum of five minutes, either hand wash them or load them in the dishwasher.

How to Keep Your Dishes from Piling Up

Keep one of these on hand to help keep your dishes from piling up. Then make sure to teach everyone to use it!

Also, this is what I use to wash my dishes. It’s a classic, but it sure works better than anything I’ve found!

How to Conquer Paper Clutter

Dealing with paper clutter is not fun, for sure, but once you’ve done it, I’ll help you develop a plan to keep it from piling up on you again.

First things first. You’ll need to gather all of your paper clutter from everywhere in the house. I know it’s overwhelming, but just do it!

Next, sort it into three categories:

  1. Keep
  2. Get rid of
  3. File

Once you’ve sorted everything, then you’ll need to decide how to handle each category.


This pile will need to be dealt with. Does it need attention (i.e. a bill to pay, or some action you need to take)?

Place your pile in a place where you won’t forget and set a reminder to take the appropriate actions.

Get Rid Of

You’ll need to decide how to dispose of this pile. You can use a paper shredder to dispose of your get rid of pile. Burning is also an appropriate way to get rid of papers.


A simple filing envelope like this one will do the trick unless you want to get into more sophisticated filing.

How to Keep Paper From Piling Up

First, the best way to stop the paper clutter from starting is to cut it off at the pass. I highly recommend sorting your mail over the garbage. Deal with it as soon as it possible to avoid a disaster before it happens.

This goes for any paperwork that comes into your house, by the way. Not just mail.

Second, go paperless whenever possible. It will eliminate so much paper clutter.

Finally, Change Your Habits

Really, getting your house clean and keeping it that way is just a matter of making new habits. That’s all it is, really.

You don’t have to feel like you can’t keep your house clean cuz you’re not an organized person, or it doesn’t come naturally to you.

If you work hard, you can change your habits easily.

When you come in the door, hang up your coat. Put your keys away. Take care of the mail. Rinse your dishes when you’re done eating. Load them in the dishwasher if you have one. Put folded laundry away immediately.

These are just examples and you’ll have to evaluate what your needs are, but truly, you can clean your house and keep it that way with not much effort at all if you just make new habits!

What if you Don’t Want to Clean Your House?

Well, that’s just something you’ll have to decide. Is it worth it to you to have your house clean and under control? Does it matter to you if it’s easier and more comfortable for you and your family?

Really, the question isn’t really is you want to clean your house or not, but rather, how valuable is a clean house to you and your family.

Don’t base your actions on your feelings, cuz I’m a firm believer that if you do the right thing (i.e. clean up your messes) you’ll feel like continuing on and keeping it clean! I’m sure of it!

What if You Don’t Know Where to Start?

Go back through and read this post again, putting each point into action. I’ve laid it all out for you in an easy to follow format.

I definitely recommend using The Decluttering Binder, because it will literally take you by the hand and walk you through the process of getting your house under control!

It’s pretty amazing!

Grab Your FREE Copy of the Decluttering Binder Mini Pack

Don’t leave before you get your copy! It’ll help you know exactly where to get started when you’re overwhelmed by the mess. I’m excited for you to get started!

Here's how to get motivated to clean when you're overwhelmed by the mess.

Related Cleaning and Decluttering Articles:

Are you overwhelmed by the mess in your house? Do you have no idea where to start? Which of these suggestions are you most excited to use? Comment below and let me know! 


This will help you to get motivated to clean when you're not sure what to do.

How to Get Motivated to Clean {When Overwhelmed by Mess}

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