How To Clean When You Are Overwhelmed with Housework

Feeling overwhelmed with housework is common, and there can be many reasons you may be struggling to keep on top of things at home. In this post, we will discuss simple steps to help you with the struggle of everyday chores. We will give you some simple tips to follow to even make a tiny dent in your todo list.

If you feel overwhelmed with housework and are wondering how to clean a very messy house in one day, stop right there! It didn’t get dirty in one day, so you’re sure as heck not going get it tidy in one day. Drop the perfectionism, and let’s get real about your expectations!

Jump in where you can,  just start, every little bit helps!

It’s ok not to have a show home,  and we will show you how just the simplest of jobs can help you stay on track and help you stop feeling overwhelmed at home.

You don’t need to be perfect or get it all done at once just do what you can!

This post may contain affiliate links which when clicked allows me to earn a small commission.

Reasons for being overwhelmed with housework.

There can be many reasons you can’t get motivated to clean your home and get easily overwhelmed by housework.

  • Financial stress
  • Family problems
  • Ill health
  • Depression
  • A busy job
  • A new baby
  • Lack of help and support
  • Busy social life
  • After school activities
  • Demanding hobbies
  • Working away
  • Disabilities
  • Illness in the family
  • Chronic pain
  • Overwhelm
  • Dislike of cleaning
  • Anxiety over housework
  • Endless housework
  • Can’t be bothered to do housework

Finding cleaning motivation when you are in one or more of the above situations can be very frustrating, and it is easy to get overwhelmed by housework and cleaning.

How to stop being overwhelmed with housework.

The first thing to do is to recognize what is holding you back and making you procrastinate.

Take a piece of paper and write down the thoughts springing to mind when you decide you don’t want to clean. It can be something as simple as “I get overwhelmed easily.” Once you have started, you’ll find your list gets longer and longer!

We all have inner voices that make us procrastinate and destroy our motivation to do housework and clean.

  • There’s so much to do
  • I don’t know where to start
  • It’s not my mess
  • I haven’t got time
  • It’ll just get messy again
  • I hate cleaning
  • I won’t get it all done
  • I’m exhausted
  • I can’t put the baby down

If any of those seem familiar to you, you’re not alone.

I have no motivation to clean because there is always too much to do.

This is a common excuse and one which is destroying your motivation to clean.

Yes, there is too much to do, it didn’t get in a mess in one day and it certainly isn’t going to get clean in a day, and, it definitely won’t get any cleaner unless you start to clean, today!

I’m overwhelmed with housework and I don’t know where to start. 

There’s no correct place to start cleaning but there are areas which are a higher priority to keep clean:
*Food preparation areas
*Communal areas
*Anywhere small children and babies play and eat

It’s not my mess I’m not cleaning it.

Sure it’s tough living with a bunch of messy people, I’m the first person to understand that with my messy lot!

However, you need to weigh up whether you’d rather prove a point and wait for whoever made the mess to tidy it up or deal with it now and enjoy relaxing in a clean environment.

Everyone has different standards of cleanliness, you included, and if their standards aren’t as high as yours, you might just have to suck it up and deal with it. I’m guessing that you would prefer your house to be tidier because you’re reading this post!

It’s always wise to start your kids tidying up after themselves, it teaches them self-respect for themselves and respect for other people in the house, it teaches them that you are all part of a team and everyone has a part to play within that team. click here for an age-appropriate chore chart for kids.

It’ll just get messy again and I don’t like cleaning

That’s no excuse to procrastinate, get up and get it done!

I’m so overwhelmed with housework and  I don’t know how to start cleaning my house. 

Start with a little at a time, by following the steps listed below and you can beat that procrastination!

I’m too tired to clean the house.

overwhelmed with housework

If you’re suffering from ill health, are working long hours or are looking after loved ones with no time to yourself this will be a reality for you. Just do what you can, concentrate on self-care first, make sure you’re looking after yourself and try to create a basic routine to keep on top of the important jobs.

I don’t know how to motivate myself to do housework.

Nobody ever gets it all done, because as your clearing up one mess someone else is probably making another one somewhere else! Establishing a solid routine which you can follow every day will be better than expecting to clean it all at once.  Be realistic about the size of your house and the amount of free time you have,  be kind to yourself and stop beating yourself up about getting it done in one go.  Remember that even a professional cleaning company would have to send in a crew of cleaners to get it clean before the end of the day!

I can’t put the baby down to get cleaning

Having a new baby or toddlers in the house is a huge challenge, spare time can be non-existent. Concentrate on creating a routine that will cover all the essential jobs first and don’t stress if you’re not getting as much done as you need to, it’s just temporary!

I haven’t got time for housework 

We all have 24 hours each day, its what you chose to do with those hours that really counts. There are the important hours you spend on things  like;
Family commitments and family time

and leisure hours which you might spend on:
Social media

Take a pen and jot down how many hours you spend on the first three items above. If you’re committed to  30-60 hours a week at your job, you’re probably going to need to draft in some help with the cleaning chores. Ask the family to chip in with more jobs or consider hiring a cleaner if your budget allows you to.

If you’re spending all your time running around after your family there may be very  little time for you to find time to clean, sometimes swapping childcare with another mum in the same boat can help so you can each get some time to clean, but more often than not mums of small children find time when their kids are sleeping to do their cleaning routine.

After you have established how much free time you have got left you can jot down how many hours you spend doing activities on the second list.

If you have a hobby which takes up a huge amount of your time you may have to devote at least one hour a week to clean your house and establish a routine to keep on top of the daily chores which need to be done,  the same would apply if you spend a vast amount of time socialising.

If you are spending a huge amount of time on social media, gaming and TV you can read my post here about switching off and getting things done!

Social media really can be a time drain, try to limit your social media intake to a set time every day after you have done your chores you’ll be amazed at how much time you save and how much you can get done in that time.

Depression and housework

If you are suffering from postnatal depression, or have been diagnosed with depression, seek help from a medical professional before following the advice in this post.  If you feel you are too depressed to clean and are completely overwhelmed with housework, ask for housework help from family and friends.

When you suffer from depression, housework can make you feel even more overwhelmed; try to keep on top of the basics such as dishes and tidying up, so you are not having too much to do in one go.

Worrying about how to do housework when depressed can make you feel worse, try not to put too much focus on being perfect, and keep up with what you can, whenever you think you can manage it.

Overwhelmed with housework

Housework motivation

If you’re a stay at home parent and your children are at school full time, think about housework as your job. Commit to working in the home a few hours a day, get organized, and on top of the household chores before spending time on social media activities. Routines are the key to stop being overwhelmed with housework. Learn how to manage housework by creating great routines.

Simple things like creating a routine to help you stay on top of the daily jobs, like emptying the dishwasher, can prevent you from walking into the kitchen and getting overwhelmed by dishes. I only learned how to enjoy housework once I’d mastered a housework routine.

How to get motivated to clean when overwhelmed by mess.

  1. Learn how to speed clean.

    Learn how to do housework quickly by learning how to speed clean; this will help you reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning but will still allow you to do a thorough job; you can read my post on how to speed up your cleaning time here.

  2. Establish a routine

    Get organized and establish routines; having a good routine is the foundation for keeping your house clean. It can be very easy to be overwhelmed by a messy home. I have written a few posts about how to create a good routine. To get you started, you can 
     read how here, you can have a go at making routines to fit in with your schedule and commitments.

  3. Write a list

    Write a list and start. Having a plan allows me to prioritize the jobs I need to get done and makes it easier to know where to start cleaning; I use my list as my motivator to end procrastination and get some motivation for housework!

  4. Set a timer

    Set a timer; there is nothing better than a timer to give you the motivation to clean your house. The beauty of setting a timer is that you can set it for as short or as long a  time as you can spare; you can set it as many times as you like for as many jobs as you’d like. I usually set mine for 15 minutes as I find that this gives me enough time to make a difference to the task I’ve chosen without causing burnout and overwhelm.

    If I want to carry on after the timer has ended, I just set it for another 15 minutes.

    Overwhelmed with housework? Set a timer
  5. Listen to some music

    Listen to music. You can get motivated if you feel overwhelmed with housework while listening to your favorite tunes or an audiobook, put on the earphones, and get cleaning!

  6. Listen to an audiobook

    Listening to an audiobook is one of my favorite things to do while cleaning. I don’t have time to read since having kids, so I like to listen to self-help, motivational or classical books while cleaning. Learning something new while working kills two birds with one stone and makes for a productive couple of hours!

  7. Listen to a podcast

    Podcasts are another fabulous way to pass the time when you’re cleaning, just search for your favorite subjects and listen to the hundreds of free podcasts waiting for you on audible.

  8. Make your own essential oil cleaning products

    Make your own cleaning products. Often the cleaning products we use can be full of chemicals and bad for our health when used over a long period. I like to make my cleaning products using essential oils; this allows me to chose my favorite scent, such as peppermint or lavender, to create beautiful cleaning products at a fraction of the cost of shop-bought products.

    To download our free cleaning recipes, click here to sign up for our updates and access to our soap scum remover and peppermint glass cleaner recipes.
  9. Use the correct tools

    Use the best tools. If you want to cut down on your cleaning time, you need to get savvy with cleaning techniques. Using the correct tools for each job will help you whizz through the dirt in a fraction of the time; read which tools I keep in my cleaning kit here. I  talk you through the tools and products I use to cut through the crud in a whizz!

  10. Stay focused

    Concentrate on one room to clean, listen to some music or an audiobook, and decide to clean two things in the room. 
    Don’t stop until you’ve done those two jobs, next time you set the timer,  choose another room, and another two jobs to do.
    Choosing one room to clean unburdens the guilt of not being able to clean the whole house. It allows you to prioritize the important jobs and helps you only to pick jobs you’ve got time to finish. Switching rooms stops you from getting overwhelmed by the mess in one room. If you feel like doing more than two jobs, carry on but be careful not to burn yourself out!

  11. Keep communal areas free of clutter

    Keeping the kitchen, living room, and bathroom clean and tidy can have the most significant impact on your home. If you are choosing one room to clean, then these rooms should be your top priority. These are the rooms which have the highest traffic and are ones most often seen by visitors, so if you are feeling overwhelmed, try to prioritize these rooms first.

    wipe down the bathroom as part of your daily housework routine

How to keep up with housework while working full time.

If you’re a working mum overwhelmed by housework, it can be a struggle to keep on top of things. Getting help from your spouse and children, no matter how young they are, can make all the difference. If your kids can work an iPad, they can help take the trash outside; if they can use a games console, they can use a washing machine!

How to clean a messy house, step by step

  1. Clear the trash. Grab a bag and go through the room, throwing out any rubbish, paper, magazines, and junk.
  2. Tidy the toys, use clever storage to hide away toys such as large baskets or chests.
  3. Get rid of any laundry, fold, and put away any laundry hanging around. For tips on how to keep on top of the laundry, click here.
  4. Clear the floor, pick up everything off the floor, ready to vacuum or mop. Put away anything that doesn’t belong in the room.
  5. Clear the surfaces as much as you can and put everything away. Declutter where you can.
  6. Clean the surfaces starting clockwise move around the room
  7. Clean the windows 
  8. Vacuum or mop the floors
  9. Put away any dishes
  10. File any paperwork.

Frequently asked Q&A

I’m so overwhelmed and have a new baby what can I do?

Having a baby can be the most magical time in your life but also one of significant changes. The amount of work a new baby, comes with can take some adjusting too. Take it easy on yourself, and remember you don’t have the same amount of hours you had before the baby came along to spend cleaning your home. Your home doesn’t need to be pristine; your baby’s needs come first, do what you can when you can, and enlist help where you can. Anxiety over housework is the last thing you and your baby need at this particular time.

I’m overwhelmed by clutter and get overwhelmed with housework easily. Where do I start?

It’s virtually impossible to clean when you are drowning in clutter. Follow the simple steps in this post to start decluttering a small area of your home step by step.

I hope you’ve now got some new motivation for housework and are ready to clean!

Do you struggle with procrastination and get easily overwhelmed with housework? You’re not alone! Leave us a comment below!

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