Do you struggle to stay on top of cleaning tasks within your home? Is your home actually getting clean on a regular basis or just tidied up here and there? This discussion may not be what you think. We talk a lot about systems here. Today is a bit different. We will discuss the first big step, as well as three tips to keeping up with cleaning your house. Creating a system is surprisingly not the first step. The emphasis today is the underlying reason why you can’t keep up with cleaning your house.
Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast
Cleaning Tips For The Growing Piles
Legos and toys are taking over the playroom. Dishes are constantly piled up in the kitchen. Mountains of laundry are ever growing in bedrooms, bathrooms, and the laundry room floor. Shoes, jackets, and backpacks are all over the ground in the mudroom. Not to mention the stacks of your kindergartener’s artwork and bins of outgrown kids’ clothes in their closets. Does any of this sound familiar? If so, you’re in the right place!
We all go through seasons of life where it is harder to keep up with the house. Getting behind here and there on housework is par for the course. Sometimes, big life transitions throw us off. Big events like a new baby, a big move, a new job, etc. Today we are discussing when living under piles of stuff is a chronic issue. If it’s a pattern across multiple parts of your life, the three cleaning tips below are sure to help.
When you finish reading, you will have three takeaways regarding the stuff you’re living with in your house. These tips are for you if the typical state of your home isn’t clean, doesn’t smell great, and you aren’t thrilled with the idea of having people over due to the state of your house. If the kids’ toys are spewing out of every corner, the laundry is insanely hard to keep up with, nobody has a clean towel to use. Your home, instead of giving you a hug when you come home, instead smacks you in the face. It’s hard not to feel defeated by the weight of it all.
Your Environment Matters
This feeling of defeat is a reality for so many people. There is good news: you are not alone and I’m here to help! Our environment has a direct effect on our mental state and how well we function. When there is clutter surrounding our homes, there is likely clutter within our minds. The constant dishes on the counter, trash piled up in multiple places, toys and laundry in every room is playing a bigger role in your productivity and overall wellness than you might realize.
Due to my recent move, I was able to see what it was like to live in a house that didn’t bring me joy and I didn’t see much of a future in. When we moved, I gained an extra sense of gratitude for our home. Our environments truly do matter. I took all of the information about what was and wasn’t working for me and my family in my previous home.
When we moved and stepped into our brand new environment, I started thinking so much differently. There is now a new sense of excitement and urgency when it comes to keeping up with housework, cleaning, cooking, all of it.
Have More With Less
Maybe you can relate to this, I often get a glimpse into other people’s homes just by scrolling the internet. One Instagram reel, in particular, stuck out to me so clearly. I can’t get the image out of my head. Two little kids were in a play pen, surrounded by an unbelievable amount of toys. I couldn’t help but wonder when was the last time the carpet was vacuumed under that play pen. We have all been there in one way or another. What we don’t often realize is how much more we have when we have less things.
Recognizing The Need For Cleaning Tips
Right before we moved into our new house, I vacuumed underneath our couch in our old house. It was shockingly awful. I had no idea it had gotten that bad. At that moment, I decided to not allow that to happen in our new house. I have created something very intentional in this new house and that is what I want to share with you. You don’t have to move houses in order to regain a sense of ownership and excitement within your home.
Most of us have way too much stuff. Obviously this does not apply to everyone across the board. However, I have spent the last 5 years looking at the nuances of how I do things differently than some of my other mom friends. It deeply affects their lives when they go through my course and adopt the same way of going about home management. It brings simplicity and intentionality to their homes in ways they haven’t been able to implement before.
Removing The Excess
I’ve realized that most of the overwhelm in our lives is created by the amount of stuff a person has in their home. As I mentioned earlier, our environment affects how we think, feel, and function. When we remove the excess, we are able to think more clearly, breathe a little easier, and tune into the hearts of those around us so much better. So, what does having too much stuff have to do with cleaning your house?
Clean is defined much differently from person to person. A clean house for some, might mean just being tidied. For others, it may mean every square inch is sparkling. One thing holds true regardless of where you stand: in order to actually deep clean your house, you have to be able to get underneath those piles.
“When we remove the excess, we are able to think more clearly, breathe a little easier, and tune into the hearts of those around us so much better.”
Defining Clean And Tidy
First, let’s define clean and tidy before we go any further. A tidy house is when things are put away. A clean house is when the toilets have been cleaned, baseboards have been wiped down, and the carpets have been vacuumed.
The first step to stop living under piles is understanding and getting in control of the amount of stuff you have in your home. Within that first step, I have three cleaning tips for you today. These tips are precursors to the true deep cleaning you want to routinely take care of. These are the main things you have to understand in order to take that first step to keeping up with with a clean house. Without these three, it is going to be nearly impossible to maintain a regularly clean home.
Get ready to dive into assessing the amount of clutter in your home. You will likely feel the urgency of decluttering first over actually keeping a clean home. When we move past this first crucial step, at that point we can move onto a clear cut cleaning routine.
Creating An Inviting Home
I totally understand that you want to make sure that your home is an environment where you and everyone else who walks in, feels warm and welcomed. I know I can pour into everyone so much better when the house is taken care of and I don’t have a list of everything left to do going on in the back of my mind.
When you have too much stuff and can’t clean it due to the excess of things, it becomes an endless cycle. You write “clean house” on your to-do list. Once you get done picking everything up off the floor and surfaces, you’re absolutely exhausted. Then, you never actually get to clean the house.
The tidying may be mostly finished. However, the vacuuming, wiping down, and dusting is still left to do and you don’t get too it because you’re so wiped out. Or, maybe you shove everything to the side and do a little cleaning. There’s never really an opportunity for you to implement these rhythms and systems that you came here to this blog and podcast to learn. Why? It’s simply because you have too much stuff.
3 Cleaning Tips To Get You Out From Under Piles
Here are the three big takeaways that I want you to go sit and mull over. Take the time to let them sink into your mind and make an action plan for how to implement them in your home. This is the first true step toward the clean home of your dreams. It’s also the most challenging step. You are capable of this, and we have a whole community waiting to support you!
#1 – You Can Live With Less
The first of our three cleaning tips is this: you are allowed to live with way less than you have right now. No one says you have to have the latest and greatest shoes, clothes, toys, etc. You can get good at consuming a lot and throwing out a lot. We bring so many more bags of stuff into our homes vs. what we take out of our homes. There is so much stuff that comes into our homes and just stays there. If you have ever moved, you might have gotten to the point of wondering “How did I fit all that stuff in that closet?”
You don’t have to have all those water bottles or barbies. I get it, it’s hard to confront family members that give us too much stuff. It’s ok to challenge yourself to peel back and not consume so much. You don’t have to have everything you want. You don’t need to have four sets of silverware in your drawer. In my home, we have one set and wash them daily.
#2 – It’s Okay To Throw Piles Away
Our second cleaning tip: it is okay to pick it all up and trash it. You don’t have to touch every single paper in that pile and decide whether or not you need to keep it. This is not the method that I typically teach. I created the ESCAPE method and teach this in Systemize Your Life. It’s not complicated and doesn’t need to be. It can be so simple to declutter. In the ESCAPE method, we go through creating piles and going through everything. However, if that’s too overwhelming, just trash it. You can’t vacuum with piles of stuff on the floor. You can’t scrub your sink, down to the corners, if there are piles of dishes.
All you need is a fresh start in one small space. Just grab a bag and throw it all in. I’m not one to say “just burn it all down.” However, once you get going in the right direction, you will gain momentum. The reward is immediate. If you don’t know what is at the bottom of that paper pile that has been sitting there for 6 months, pick it up and throw it all away. This can be bad advice for some, but it has never failed me.
We still have a few bins that we need to go through since moving homes 5 months ago. We recently decided we are going to donate those. If you are sitting there not knowing how to tackle it all, just grab a bag and get rid of it. You don’t need 14 bottles of half full lotion. Just throw them away.
#3 – You Can Let Go Of The Sentimental Items
The last tip is that you can still be an incredible wife and mom without keeping everything your kids have ever owned, worn, made at school, collected, etc. I’ve held this bondage in my life for so many years. I come from a very sentimental family. My desire to be intentional in the present moment outweighs my desire to reminisce over what I wasn’t present for in the past. Do I keep a few things? Absolutely. I keep a tote full of those things. I don’t have ALL of it though. Creating new moments creates so much joy.
Where Will You Begin?
I don’t have this completely under control myself, I have to remind myself of these three key things too. If the stuff in your home is breaking your spirit and breaking your shelves, then let it go. Where do you need to start? Which of these three things do you want to focus on?
This work is hard. There is a community waiting for you willing to give the support you need. This is possible for you. It is important to get this under control. You can breathe and live in a beautiful home!
Resources To Implement Our Cleaning Tips
I hope that you are encouraged and motivated by these tips. This work is hard. There is a community waiting for you willing to give the support you need. This is possible for you. It is important to get this under control. You can breathe and live in a beautiful home! If you are wondering what is next after the decluttering step, be sure to take this quiz to get the ball rolling.