Back To Basics Series: Stop The Overwhelm And Learn To Keep Up Around The House

Back To Basics Series: How To Keep Up And Not Be Overwhelmed Around The House with Chelsi Jo

February 17, 2023

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Crunchy mom of two, married to my favorite boy for life, and lover of the dark chocolate peanut butter cups!
I went from nearly losing my mind and business to an intentional, successful woman all because of systems.
I'm Chelsi Jo
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for work from home moms

Welcome to the Back To Basics Series! Day three is all about how to keep up around the house to help from being overwhelmed. Here are links to the previous days, just in case you haven’t seen Day One or Day Two yet.

This is a 4-day series aimed at giving you, the work-from-home mom who is trying to grow her dreams and serve her home and family well, the tools she needs to juggle it all! We are dialing it back, breaking it down, and getting back to basics in motherhood, business, home, and marriage over 4 days, and 4 episodes.

This has been such a really fun series to put together for me. I’ve done a couple in the past and this one has been one of my favorites because I’m really diving deep into each pillar of my life and of most work-from-home moms’ lives. And this is so much of what we talk about inside of The Systemize Your Life Academy

I’m also so thrilled to be bringing you this content so that you can really pour it into your lives and dive deeper inside the Systemize Your Life Facebook group to get the support that you need. No Matter when you go through this episode, you are still so welcome to come over inside the Facebook group and pop in your homework. I’m here to support you no matter when you’re going through this.

If you want to do your very best work in every area of your life then grab your pen and paper ladies because I am about to dive into the Back To Basics series!! I am pulling this information straight out of the Academy.

Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast

Regularly Keeping Up Around The House

Your house is a mess. Most of the time you don’t even know where to start. You feel like you can’t keep up. You feel like every time you turn around a grenade has gone off. There’s a bomb at the end of the day and all you do is run around and pick up after other people. Well, how about I tell you exactly where to start?

How about I tell you exactly how to keep up? What if I tell you exactly how I keep my house clean on a regular basis? Is my house perfect every single day? No, it’s not. I am a real human that has real human children, that has a real human husband and we are all cohabitating. 

That means my house gets messy from time to time. But do I feel overwhelmed by my house? No. Are there times when I get sick and I can’t keep up with running my ship? Absolutely. I do have a game plan for how to get that back into place. However, I don’t let it debilitate me. But for the most part, I feel really good about the upkeep of my house on a regular basis. And this is how you’re going to be able to do the exact same thing.

The Difference Between Dirty And Messy 

So I know that especially when we work from home, our house just becomes this thing. When my house isn’t clean, I can’t function. I loathe having a messy or dirty house. And there is a difference between a messy house and a dirty house. 

Having a dirty house is what a cleaner does. A cleaner gets to the dirt and disinfects the germs, but having a messy house is something that requires picking up, it requires organization. They’re in two different ballparks and I want you to understand the difference.

House Cleaners

So I always think of this. I have a couple of friends with house cleaners. I do not have one. I am the house cleaner. Actually, my whole family is the house cleaners, it’s a team effort around here. But my friends always say they have to clean their house before their house gets clean. And I’m like, no, you have to pick up your house before your house gets clean. 

I remember when I was in high school, my boyfriend’s parents had a house cleaner and they always had to make sure that they cleaned the house and picked it up so that the cleaner could come in and actually clean. And that is where a lot of us get lost and are drowning.

Drowning In Daily Cleaning

You are just trying to manage the mess every day. And by the time you get that done, you have no energy left to actually clean your house. And that, my friends, is where you actually begin to feel like you’re pouring into your home.

You are just trying to manage the mess every day. And by the time you get that done, you have no energy left to actually clean your house.”

When you’re not just chasing your tail all day long and putting out fires. Constantly trying to pick up toys and put them in toy boxes or keep up with the laundry. Or every time you open a door, there’s just more stuff that you’re shoving in other places. You’re just pushing the shoes as far to the end of the shoe rack or closet so you can just get the door shut. And most of the time the door’s not even shut because the shoes are spilling out so far. It is impossible to clean the floor underneath those shoes when that’s what the shoes look like. 

So there are two massive parts to this and do not be overwhelmed. This is very straightforward. Here is a list of where I want you to start. If you are having a hard time not only keeping your house picked up and tidy but also keeping it clean, this is where I see most people getting it all wrong. This is the foundation of what I teach.

Time Block

The reason why you’re not keeping your house clean and tidy starts with your time blocks. It’s why I teach it the way that I teach it. It’s why tier one is all focused on productivity because time management is why you’re not getting it done.

Okay, so go with me here. The first is your time blocks. The second is because your routines are out of whack. So, one of my favorite things I teach is about time blocks inside the Academy.


I won’t harp on routines much because some people are super routine-oriented and some people just aren’t. I don’t ever want anyone to feel like their life has to be structured. I do not teach that. Structure gives me comfort, but structure doesn’t always mean that you’re going to thrive.

Sometimes I thrive when I just throw caution to the wind and go on a date randomly and I don’t do my work block. Now, do I pay the consequences for that later? Yes, but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t thriving. That doesn’t mean that wasn’t a successful day, or a successful week. 

But I know exactly how to make those decisions because of my framework, not because of living a structured life with tons of routines. Those routines are there and that structure can be there and it does make me feel safe most of the time. It makes me feel in control and it makes me feel competent. And I know you want those same feelings. They are a very vital part of your success. 

So first is the time blocking and then your routines. Those routines are what’s going to allow you to see what’s missing. What are the gaps in your day? Where can you be fitting in the time to tidy your house and clean your house?

The Tidy Plan

Okay, the next one is having a tidy plan. I have a very specific formula that I go through inside the Academy and I’m going to touch on it with you here. 

For those of you that really just want to see what’s inside the Academy and you want to know more about it. What am I really going to be getting? This right here is going to give you a great look at what’s inside tier three. Which focuses completely on the house and one of those huge parts is the tidy plan. That is the biggest problem that I see with so many families is they don’t have a plan for when they’re going to be tidying their house. And yes, at one point, I did have to teach myself until it became second nature. 

Inside of tier three of the Academy, you get access to the Escape Your Clutter And Live Mess-Free Systemize Your Home workbook. There is an entire worksheet that you go through to create your own tidy plan. So that you know exactly when you’re supposed to be tidying your house. 

We’re going to go through it here and at the end, I’m going to give you a brief look at how you can create your own tidy plan. I think that is one of the biggest issues that moms don’t know when to set time aside to tidy their house throughout the day.

Zone Cleaning

This comes down to why you’re not cleaning your house. And I truly believe it’s because you don’t have a system in place for how you’re going to get your house cleaned.

I teach the Zone Cleaning System. That’s a system that Blaine and I came up with to be able to manage our cleaning. Not our tidying, not our picking up, not our living without clutter, but the actual cleaning of our home. We wanted to be able to do that on our own and not have to outsource it. 

So this is the system. If you circle back inside the Facebook group, I have a guide that has them all linked. So you can go over there and learn specifically about keeping your house clean.

Prioritizing Your House As A Fundamental Need

Here is the fifth one that I think is the biggest issue as to why you’re not able to keep good control of your house. And it is again, that you don’t have your fundamental needs in place. I feel like if your house is one of your biggest issues, it’s because you’re not prioritizing it.

The fundamental needs system is designed so that you are prioritizing what is absolutely non-negotiable in order for you to thrive, in order for you to feel whole. And as much as you don’t like the idea of cleaning your house being underneath the umbrella of self-care, it is. 

This is how we’re going to teach our children to be good roommates, to be good partners to their spouses, and to be good family members now and as they grow. As they go through their transition into being teens and young adults, this is how we teach them that it is a priority to be pouring into our home. 

That should be one of your fundamental needs. It absolutely should be. Whether that is decluttering, whether that is just deep cleaning, whether that is organizing something. Whatever that looks like, it should be a fundamental need for you.

Are You Drowning?

Because you know that you are drowning. You are the person that has dishes all over her counter most of the time, stuff stacked on top of the refrigerator. There’s stuff coming out of every basket, every drawer is stuffed to the brim and you’re fumbling through things to try and find the lid to your very specific water bottle. Or there’s laundry all over your laundry room. People are digging through the towel bin to find their beach towel that hasn’t been washed in six weeks. 

Free Resources

If you’re in that spot and this is your life. You truly need to start prioritizing your home. It should be, 100%, one of your fundamental needs. 100%. If you don’t have your fundamental needs in place, go over to the FREE section at the top of Chelsijo.co.

The fundamental Needs Workbook is in those resources. It is yours to use and I’m happy to help you solidify what your fundamental needs should be. There’s an example of what mine are in there and cleaning is one of them. Zone cleaning is part of our fundamental needs. Every week we spend two hours cleaning our house and we know what zone we’re cleaning so that we never get behind. 

Your Cleaning Routine

Now, I would gather that a lot of you may even be in a place where you actually need to start by decluttering. And so one of your fundamental needs might be to spend an hour or two decluttering a week. Maybe every Monday, or whenever that works best for you and your schedule, you’re going to have to figure out how to declutter. 

We’re going to start with time blocks. You’ve got to have your time block situated and the reason why is because that is how you’re going to know when you’re going to be cleaning every single week. 

I want you to start compartmentalizing. When is the best time every day that you’re going to be pouring into your home? The reality is, we can’t just pour into our home once a day. If you are a full-time working mom, it’s going to be the thing that you have to do when you get home from work, or after you put your kids to bed, and before you run out the door in the morning. It’s going to have to be a part of your morning and nighttime routine. Even just 15 to 20 minutes. Load the dishwasher, and unload the dishwasher.

Now, I’m a stay-at-home working mom and I get to do those things in the middle of my day. Not always, but sometimes they get pushed to the outskirts of the day. But I know what time block I’m pouring into my home. So you’ve got to get your time block squared away.

Fill Out Your Time Block Scheule

I want you to start filling your time blocks in with all of your routines. What are you doing in your morning routine, before your kids wake up? Then in your AM block, is that a great time for you to pour into your home? That’s my favorite time to pour into my home. I pour into my house when my kids are around, they do it with me or they go play independently on their own.

My kids are nine and three and they have been doing this since the day they were born. Because when they were born, I wore them whenever they were cleaning and cooking and pouring into the home with me. And then they got big enough, they got a play vacuum and they vacuumed with me and then they started using the dust rag anywhere that they could. They’ve been doing these things with me all along and this became part of my routine. 

Maybe your PM block, you have some things that you do to pour into your home. If you’re that mom that I said probably needs to start organizing your house, I have tons of girls that are going through tier three right now. They’re organizing the life out of their houses and they’re making time for it. The time that they never thought they had because they’re using this method. 

They know which block it lives in and that they’re going to spend an hour on Friday in their afternoon block. Whenever that might be in their PM block. They’ve got it figured out and that’s all you have to do. 

Your Tidy Plan

Then here’s the next layer. Once you have your time blocks, your fundamental needs, and your routines. When you have to cook dinner, when you have to take someone somewhere, when you’re pouring into your kids, when you’re working on your business, you have all of these things squared away. The next thing that you’re going to do is you’re going to put in a tidy plan. So I touched on this a little bit at the beginning.

The tidy plan is something that I created to be able to help women know how to keep up on their house. It is actually a worksheet inside of tier three of the Academy. 

So I want you to write down, in order to create your tidy plan. You’ve got your time blocks, you’re going through your routines. As you go through that for the next couple days, I want you to make a mental note and jot it down on a piece of paper. What are your top three untidy spaces? 

Tidy Time Block

Then I want you to highlight the area inside of your time blocks and your routines where that mess starts.

So if it is your kitchen, for example, when does it start? Does it start after breakfast? Does it start after dinner? Does it start after lunch? When does your kitchen become a mess?

Highlight it and I want you to put in a big star or an arrow and put in a tidy cue. So as soon as you mess up your kitchen, obviously you’re going to want to put your tidy cue in after you eat, right? So as soon as you’re done with the activity before you move on, you need to have a tidy cue right in there. 

That means if you have to be out the door by seven, or if you have to start homeschool at eight o’clock, guess what time your tidy cue needs to start, at seven-thirty, which means breakfast needs to be done by seven-thirty so that you have time for everyone to know it’s tidy cue time. It’s not time to jump up and run out the door. It’s not time to have mom clear the table and put it all in the kitchen and now mom has to figure out how to homeschool and do the dishes. No, it’s a tidy cue for everyone.

Teaching The Littles

Bailey Maye is three and a half years old and she knows how to take care of her plate. She asks if she can be excused. She gets down from the table, takes her plate, her cup, and her fork, and she puts it either in the dishwasher, after she’s dumped her food in the trash, or puts it on top of the counter.

She’s three and a half years old and she knows how to do that because I’ve been teaching her, I don’t tell her, hey, it’s your tidy cue. I’m just teaching her that this is the next thing that we do because I know that that is where the tidy cue goes. I want you to do that three times and three spaces in your house.

If you do this three times, you’re going to see a massive improvement in your home. Okay? So get your tidy cues written down inside of your time blocks.

Zone Cleaning

Now the next thing is zone cleaning. Get your zones figured out and every single time that you put down a fundamental need of cleaning for one to two hours on your calendar, I want you to write down what zone you’re going to be cleaning that day. 

For those of you that are in need of more than just cleaning, what I promised is that we would be going through my method that I teach inside of the academy for how to get your house decluttered on the fly.


So here we go. If you are the woman that knows she probably needs to be decluttering her house because it is busting at the seams and you just have too much crap. You should not have more than two water bottles per person in your house. And I am telling you right now, the same thing goes for plates, forks, knives, spoons, towels, sheets, clothing, all the things. You don’t need more than two per person. You just don’t need more than two athletic shoes. You don’t need more than two pairs of sandals. Your kids don’t need more than two of really anything at all.

The ESCAPE Method For Decluttering

This works in every space, in every home, no matter how big, no matter how small, and I call it the ESCAPE method. Blaine helped me come up with this acronym.

Extract & Sort

So the first thing you’re going to do is you’re going to extract, you’re going to pull everything out and you’re going to sort it. Then you are going to sort everything that you pull out of that drawer or that cupboard or that closet, and when you’re sorting them into three piles. A keep pile, a maybe pile, and a donate pile.


Next is C, which is for combined. We’re only going to focus on the keep items. I want you to start combining all your keep items into similar groups. 

We will use your pantry as an example. If you take everything out of your pantry, I want you to start grouping all of your nuts and seeds together or all of your bulk items together. Then start grouping all of your spices together. Group all of your crackers and chips together and your lunch boxes together and your reusable bags together. 

I want you to start with everything that you know for sure you’re going to keep. I want you to start grouping them into similar items.


A is for assessment, so this is when you’re going to start assessing that space. I want you to measure it. I want you to clean it. I want you to figure out what kind of bins and totes and all that kind of stuff you think you’re going to need to be able to put back all of the stuff that you just took out and label it as a keep. So all of those reusable bags, all those lunch boxes, all of your bulk goods, all of those things, what kind of bins actually fit in that space? What do you need to be able to organize these groups and put them back together neatly? Then you’re going to go out and buy them.

Put Away

You’re not going to go and buy things first because you’re going to end up buying things that you don’t need or you’re not going to use. You’re going to take everything that is in your key pile and you’re going to put it all away in your new bins and label them. 


Then the very last step is to evaluate. But, not until you have put everything away, will you go back to your maybe pile. You’re only going to keep what fits in your newly organized space. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you should keep something nine times out of 10, you should get rid of it. 

But then if there’s some that you’re really just not sure about, that’s when you can say, well, what else does it fit within here? Do I have space in here? Does it fit? Does it work? And that is literally all you have to do for every single space. 

Put The Escape Method In Place

You do not have to know or be a professional organizer to figure this out. This is so straightforward. Every professional organizer that I know does this exact same thing. You’ve got to take it all out. You have to sort through it. Combine things and assess. Then you put it away and evaluate all of the little things that might be left. That’s all you have to do. 

So get an hour or two on your calendar as a fundamental need every single week and just start little by little. When you’re in the kitchen cooking and you’re waiting for things to be done, go through and do the escape method on the silverware drawer. Why not? While you’re folding kids’ clothes and putting them away, do the escape method. 

It does not have to be overwhelming. You are capable of keeping up on your house, just roll up your sleeves, dive in, and get this done. Then all you have to do is maintain it. 

Maintain The Organization

Maintaining takes so little energy compared to the energy that you’re doing right now, fighting with a constant mess and chaos inside your house. If you feel overwhelmed with this, if you want a friend to go through this with you, or if you want the support of a community that’s doing this with you. Maybe it would help to hop on a live call with girls every single week that are literally sharing pictures and showing you around their house and be uplifted and motivated by other women. Get inside the Academy, we would love to welcome you.

Ok, so I know I spit so much at you here, and it is just the tip of the iceberg. I believe so strongly that you can succeed in every area of your life, and that you can do your very, very best work in motherhood, home, and business. 


 Here is your homework. For those of you that have hung in until the very end, I want you to come over and I want you to tell me what part of this action plan, what part of the time blocks, routines, tidy plan, and zone cleaning, are you going to dive into?

What are you committing to putting down and completing? Take five minutes, throw it inside the Facebook group, and let us support you in this. Don’t go through this alone. Do this with all the other women. There is so much power in being a part of a community. I look forward to seeing you over inside the Facebook group, and I’ll catch you right back here tomorrow for episode 103 in the Back to Basics podcast series. I know so many of you want to be on the same page as your husband. It’s coming for you. Day four in the Back to Basics series is going to blow your mind.

If you need more and are ready you can head over and jump inside The Systemize Your Life Academy where we go really deep on this entire topic. I lay it out, in tier one, how to systemize your productivity. We hit everything in mindset for motherhood. We hit everything for time blocking, really how you can take care of yourself. Everything that you could possibly want to know and how I make it happen.

Head to day four of The Back To Basics Series here.

Back To Basics Series: How To Keep Up And Not Be Overwhelmed Around The House with Chelsi Jo

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Back To Basics Series: How To Keep Up And Not Be Overwhelmed Around The House with Chelsi Jo
Back To Basics Series: How To Keep Up And Not Be Overwhelmed Around The House with Chelsi Jo

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