Staying on Top of the Mess

You know that moment of quietness you get when all chores are done and the house is clean? It lets you take a breath and feel at ease. A fleeting moment that’s usually abruptly ended by a crash or a scream – at least at my house. Well, back to work!

Keeping a home clean and organized and mess-free is an on-going effort. One that’s difficult when you’re already balancing a busy work and family life. You put your best efforts forward but there’s always more to do. Those off days become busy days very very quickly.

We try things like planning our schedules around our energy levels or burn the midnight oil to get the last bits of the list done. Yet, it feels like a losing battle. There’s only so much one person can do!


Getting the Family on Board

There are a few reasons why the family may not be helping with chores:

A.  They don’t know how they can help

B.  There’s no repercussions if they don’t

C.  They’re busy already

D.  They don’t know how you want it done

You can try to force your partner and kids to help but this may only last a day. Plus, who wants extra stress from nagging and taking orders?

Instead, you’ve got to get them on board through good timing and rewards.

You’re fighting an uphill battle if you’re trying to get them to help during their favorite show or when they’re wrapped up in an intense video game session. Try setting a time just after dinner but before prime time starts – a 15-30-minute window where everyone pitches in.

Then, offer some kind of reward: whether that’s high praise or setting a fun, family activity at the end of the week if each of the to-do boxes are checked off.

What if They’re Still Troublesome?

You could always set aside enough funds to hire a professional for the “heavy” stuff, like the deep cleaning in the bathroom or getting under the hard-to-reach spots of the furniture.

You wouldn’t want your furniture to start getting decrepit. Especially if it’s stuff you’d like to eventually pass down like that dining room set you got on or an antique rug mom gave you.

Sometimes all you need is a little coaching, too. Perhaps a professional organizer could assist you? Because the challenge of staying tidy may be caused by going about it wrong. You’re merely masking the problem instead of truly getting things into their right places. 

And If All You Need Are Tips, Well…

Let’s say the family does help a bit and you’ve got a routine going already, consider these to reach nirvana with the zen of organizing:

A.  Get into the routine where you tidy/toss one item when exiting a room
B.  Make the bed every morning to get a boost of productivity that’ll carry on through the day
C.  Consider time-saving gadgets like a Roomba or slow cooker to find more time for chores
D.  Buy and use clear totes for everything to keep it well collected (and label each!)
E.  Keep a “mess journal” to find repeating occurrences you may be able to eliminate
F.  Get rid of stuff you don’t need (less stuff = less to take care of)
G.  Plan and make it a morning, afternoon, night routine vs. all at one time
H.  Use an “everything” bin for miscellaneous toys since they’ll get everywhere anyway
I.  Print chore charts and slowly add one or two items to the family’s list

Most important: relax.

Getting too stressed and falling behind will only make it worse. Pace yourself and know it’ll eventually get done. It may not be right now but with the right routine and checklist, everything will come together, and you’ll finally be able to stay on top of the mess!

What is YOUR number one tip for staying on top of the mess at YOUR house?

Due to the amount of comments from all of my wonderful readers, it is not always possible for me to respond to each one. However, I absolutely do read them all, and if you’d like to address something specific, or have a question for me, please don’t hesitate to email me at I will respond to your email as soon as possible! Thank you for visiting the blog!

13 thoughts on “Staying on Top of the Mess

  1. It helps to know someone understands. An out of control mess can be very overwhelming. Thanks for the great tips! Found your post on #HomeMattersParty 🙂

  2. It’s hard to keep on top of the mess at my house, but I plan to try these tips. My kids saw a Roomba at the store yesterday and told me I needed one. LOL It would be nice to have it vacuuming for me. #HomeMattersParty

  3. I was doing all the cleaning/laundry on one day and now I have planned to split it as tasks like vacuum one room per day, cleaning one area in the kitchen & bathroom and so on before showering to reduce the burden. Because it was getting very difficult to manage everything by myself. These are some great tips, Kristen. Thank you for sharing with us. #HomeMattersParty

  4. Keeping a home clean and organized is really a hard thing to do but I have my routines to do all these things. Tough my house is really hard to manage I always make sure that it will be organized before I start my work. I love you A-I tips I learned a lot and make sure to do that.

  5. Routines and schedules worked out best for us. Until then, I was doing the bulk of the work, but now everything is spread out, delegated and everyone in the family is contributing. 🙂

  6. A mess is inevitable the more roommates or family members that live in the household. It’s a really good idea to come to an agreement on chores and stick to that schedule and breakdown of things to do.

  7. I think the reward system works qutite well in our home. My son has to earn his ability to use the iPad through chores. So he usually does it quite happily. Cleaning is a challenge for so many moms because it always feels like “what’s the point?” right?

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