Help! Overwhelmed by housework(20 Posts)
I am overwhelmed by housework and don’t even know where to start. I am too embarrassed to have people visit, I have almost certainly missed out on and lost friendships over not returning invites. My 3 year old DD keeps asking to have friends visit so I need to do something about this now!!
My house feels cluttered but I don’t know how to organise or what to get rid of. For example I must have too many clothes but wear almost all of them during the year.
I have tried to follow the organised mum method but I cannot find time to do the half hour cleaning she recommends, it takes me at least an hour everyday to do the basic things like cook, hang out washing, wash pots and pans, empty dishwasher and so on. My DD has just turned 3 and is still unable to play independently, I also have a 7 month old. I use the telly to get the basic jobs done that I mentioned above. I also work 2 days a week.
We can’t afford a cleaner but even if we could I don’t know how they could clean around the mess.
So as not to drip feed as a child DM would get very anxious about us having friends over. The build up to having a friend over was really horrible, DM would clean and tidy manically and could be in a mood with us for days. DM would make comments about other peoples houses being nicer and tidier than ours. Our home was quite cluttered but not terrible. This has obviously rubbed off on me and now that DD is asking for friends to visit I need to snap out of it and find a way to feel in control of the housework so she can have a normal childhood where she has friends over to play without feeling guilty and shameful.
DP is great at helping with tidying or with the children when he is home but he works away a lot.
Do other people feel like this?
Any tips on how to organise/declutter?
How do you manage to get basic tasks done if you have young dependent children?
How can I feel ok about the house?
You need to pick one room at a time.
3 black sacks ready, one for bin (anything broken/chipped/hole in) one for charity shop or Freecycle, one for sale items that are still in great condition and then put the items you are keeping back where they came from.
Set a timer for 20 mins and see how much you can do in that time.
Everything should have it's own space (even if it's junk drawer of stuff you are not quite sure what to do with yet.
Once you have the sun rooms done, the junk drawers can be sorted last.
It depends on how bad it is. Washing left out, pots and pans etc is just normal stuff that everyone has out.
Does your daughter have her own room? Can you see the floor, or is it covered in clothes and toys?
Can you sit on the sofa, or is it covered with washing, baby clutter etc?
Work on having a clean toilet, a clean play space, get rid of broken/dirty toys.
A clean table for eating. That should be enough to have little friends round.
I would start with your own bedroom. I know that might sound bizarre, but if you completely declutter and clean this first, each night you will some somewhere to enjoy and motivate you to keep going.
Let it be your sanctuary.
Look up the Organised Mum on Instagram or Facebook. She's fab, her system has helped me stay in control.
A decluttered house is much easier to clean and gives you a clear mind so I would make that your focus first.
Can you arrange a time with dh when he will take the dcs for a few hours - maybe to his parents or family? - so that you can have a good shot at decluttering. The tried and tested 3 boxes/bags works well - one for charity, one for rubbish, one for recycling. Anything you're not sure about box it up to put in the loft or shed. Bag up unwanted clothe/shoes/textiles and put them straight in the car. Supermarkets nearly all have those bins you can put clothes in so you can easily get rid of them there.
You can get a lot achieved in a few hours. Cleaning will then become far easier. Plan a cleaning routine so that you have set tasks each day. Aim for 10 minutes per day and you'll get the basics done.
Monday - Clean bath/shower
Tuesday - Toilet and all sinks
Wednesday - Hoover
Thursday - Mop
Friday - Dust
Saturday - Beds
Sunday - One room per week - clean windows, sills, skirting boards etc.
You need to be ruthless. If in doubt, fling it out. If you have the time and patience, then you can complicate things by distributing to charity shops and recycling. If it's closing down your mental health and a barrier to being sociable, just put it all in the bin.
The organized mum method will work.
But you need to de clutter and deep clean your house at the start.
You also need to understand that the half hour doesn't include basic everyday things like the dishwasher.
I have regretfully had to accept that to have a clean and uncluttered house I have to put the work in decluttering it and then cleaning it.
Marie Kondo is pretty good to help with the decluttering.
But it is just hard work and effort that get you there.
Is it really so bad you can't have people over or is it your mum's legacy making you feel nothing short of perfect is acceptable? My standard for having people over is also what I try to stick to every day and it isn't that much, it's just a short checklist:
Kitchen is hygienic (dirty stuff into dishwasher, a few things waiting for it to be emptied is fine, floor swept/no visible crap on it, sides wiped down, rubbish/food from cooking put away)
Living room is not disgusting (dirty stuff - cups, plates, clothes, nappies, rubbish - gone, nappy bin able to close, floor clear of food/hazards etc - toys, books out are fine, evidence of v recent snack/meal/drink also fine)
Bathroom is hygienic (toilet, sink wiped down/no skidmarks, bin has space in, hand towel/bath mat clean, floor clear, empty things removed)
Hallway is safe to walk through (no dirty clothes/random things being a trip hazard)
Then in addition I keep the laundry rotation going to make sure we all have enough clean clothes but this isn't really relevant to people coming over, as tend to shut bedroom doors anyway.
My big nos/what I can't live with and wouldn't invite people over would be smells and hazards. Clutter isn't a problem, unless we're talking hoarder levels of massive piles encroaching into the living space? You don't need to live in a showhome, 3yos aren't going to judge your housekeeping skills and will have more fun if someone isn't following them anxiously around with a dustpan and brush.
Most days there are things like a laundry basket/pile (clean) waiting to be sorted, cups/baby snacks on the side, half done paperwork on tables, random stuff in the wrong place, the shelves are cluttered, dusty and look a mess, none of that really matters. If there's enough safe space to play for the toddlers and a clean space to use the toilet and prepare/eat food that's really fine day to day. We do "big" cleaning at the weekend when DH is around or if I feel especially motivated during the week (err rarely)
If you really do want to declutter I recommend Marie Kondo method but it is a bit like moving house and tends to look worse before it looks better. It's a nice approach though, and I find quite child friendly because you can do bits at a time and it stays done.
I’ve done some decluttering recently and honestly, having space in cupboards/drawers/shelves is such an amazing feeling and I know where absolutely everything is in the house now! I definitely have the messiest house out of all my friends (well, they all have cleaners too 😄) but it’s so much better.
Take one room at a time.
I keep the steam mop out in the corner by the high chair so I regularly clean the floor by the dining table. That’s a new change that has made a difference!
If you have a job that can be done in less than 5 minutes, do it there and then.
Get the kids involved - 3 year old can help unload dishwasher for example. My 18 month old loves the dishwasher, and my 4 year old loves spraying and wiping the kitchen surfaces.
Wipe around the bathroom while the kids are in the bath - maybe wait until the baby is a bit older for that one?
By the way. When I had a 3 yo and a 7 mo it was a different story 😄 since DS2 turned about 16 months, the house has really improved and things have got a whole lot easier. It’s tough with 2!!
You have you get rid of all the useless shit you don't need. Be ruthless and purge. You will be so much happier.
Oh and this may sound completely joyless but I got rid of all the toys that just end up being taken out, taken apart, and then tidied away at the end of the day. Never played with. Grimm’s Rainbow being one of them! Sorting toys and such. Never really played with, just make a mess, goodbye!
Is it objectively that bad, or is this just your upbringing getting to you?
Are the kitchen & bathroom reasonably clean?
Are there surfaces free in the kitchen on which to prep stuff?
Are the seats in the main living room free so they can be sat on?
Is there a table/surface in the main living room where you can put mugs down?
Are the stairs free from clutter (apart maybe from 1 or 2 near the bottom of 'things going upstairs')?
Can you move easily from room to room without fearing you are going to knock piles of stuff over or squeezing through piles of stuff?
If you answered yes to my questions then your house may be a bit more cluttered/messy than you would like, but it is safe and fine to have friends over.
You’ve got to get rid of things. Then everything will become easier.
Don’t keep things that you are goi g to sell on eBay one day.
Don’t keep clothes that you wouldn’t go to the shops in because they have bleach on them.
Don’t keep things that other people have given you but you don’t like.
Don’t keep things you don’t need because it’s a waste of money to get rid of them.
Your toddler can just help you. And the baby will just have to watch while you talk to him.
Declutter, being really ruthless.
Ie kids clothes, i would aim to fit all clothing in 2 drawers each for them. Freeing up space in bedroom for other storage.
Toys - they really don't need half of what many have. Maybe donate any extras now, and be super careful about getting more as they grow. If they grow out of something, get rid of an itm before bring new one in.
Bathroom stuff- bin 99%. I guarentee half of it is never used and makeup goes out of date
Use systems to help keep daily things tidy. Such as a small basket in every bedroom for laundry, and teaching even 3 year old that item comes off and into basket, at least then its easier for you to find to wash. Basket in hallway for kids to dump shoes, another for hats and gloves.
Kitchen - reduce number of stuff in cupboard sif not used, then its easier to put away.
Part of the problem is that I don't know what is "normal" for a house. I do t know if my house really is cluttered but I am sure my house is more cluttered than I would like it to be though. It is definitely messy, you cannot see much of the floor in my dds bedroom, the work surface have things on that I haven't tidied away. But also finding the time to declutter and do various jobs around the house seems hard to come by. Maybe the next few evenings will need to be spent doing this.
I have a 4 year old and a 7 month old. I've lowered my standards! How does your house compare to other friends of your DD? You don't need your whole house to be tidy, just the rooms you are using - just shut other doors. Remember that within 5 mins of any play date the toys will be knee deep on the carpet anyway!
The biggest difference I made was buying kallax units from IKEA, it's basically kallax world here. All the toys go in, your 3 year old can help (set a timer to make it a game). It might not be the glamorous look I was hoping for but sod it I've got 2 under 5!!!
P.s. top tip is that a clean-ish shower screen makes everything look better and can be achieved in 2 mins with whatever scrubby glove, Korean wash cloth etc. you use to wash yourself. Just soap it up and give the screen a once over before you next chuck it in the wash!
Your starting point would be to clear all the work surfaces, then take the time to appreciate, how nice it looks and know you can do the same to the next room you tackle.
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