Tidying is my #1 most important home task. As soon as I moved into my first home, I started making it a priority and I’ve done so ever since. After Bible reading, it’s always the first item on my list, followed closely by sweep and/or vacuum. I can get by with a lot less cleaning if my #1 and #2 chores are done daily.
At this stage in my life, my house doesn’t get quite as messy as it used to – except when the grandkids are here. Then it gets pretty awful! Thankfully I have a good system in place to deal with the chaos the little kids leave behind.
But sometimes, even with my system, I get a bit overwhelmed by the mess. For example, this morning. The house had gotten out of control while I was sick. I hadn’t been doing more than the bare minimum for at least four or five days and it showed. That’s probably why Ivy’s room overwhelmed me. It really didn’t look any worse than usual, but combined with the rest of the house, it was just too much for that moment.
So I took a deep breath, entered the room and started following my “tidying when overwhelmed” rules:
Pick something really easy. In this case, I started with the stuffed animals. We keep those in a bookcase in her room. I gathered them and put them back. I didn’t bother making them perfect because I knew as soon as Ivy got back from school, she’d be getting them out again. So I just put them on the shelves.
That leads to rule #2. Do the amount of tidying that’s beneficial for the situation. If you know it’s going to get messed up again, like within a few hours, don’t be too picky about how you arrange things – just get them picked up. If the room/area will be untouched for days or weeks, take a little more time – if you have it. In the case of Ivy’s room, she was coming back so I did the bare minimum.
Continue choosing easy tasks by category. Put away the stuffed animals. Put away the books. Put away the lego’s.Then start tackling the harder stuff that has a home. I found the pieces to Ivy’s medical kit and put them in the top drawer of her nightstand. She always knows where to find the medical kit because that’s always where we put it. I put the doll clothes and doll blankets in the top drawer of the other nightstand.Then tackle the hard stuff. I’m talking about the things that don’t necessarily have a home. Do those last when you’re less overwhelmed. In the case of Ivy’s room, I tossed them into the various containers she has in her room because I knew she was going to get them out again.
Look around and see if anything else needs done to make the room look good. In this case, I made the bed and dumped the trash.
Was the room perfect? No. But I told you why – she was going to mess it up again in a few hours. Did I feel better about the room? Oh, yes!!!
Anytime you feel overwhelmed by an untidy room, whether it’s a bedroom, the kitchen or the living room, these steps can help you get started. They’ll work for any room. If you only choose one step, it should be #1 – start with the easy stuff. Usually a lot of it is easy and once you get started, you won’t have any trouble with the rest.
What are your strategies for tidying a REALLY untidy room? Do you ever feel overwhelmed?