39 answers

How to Get a Filthy House Clean

I am embarassed to post this but something has to be done. I have battled severe depression since coming down with post partum depression in 2002 and am in the recovery process after trying several therapies and medications, I finally found a combination that worked for me.

While I was ill my house fell into a state of chaos. I have kids and pets and you get the picture. About all I did was wash clothes and dishes, I vacuumed occasionally when the floor was picked up (usually done by my husband). Now I am in a state of shock as to how filthy the house is. I know I was ill, but now I am "normal" I cry whenever I walk into the house. It smells, it is so overwhelmingly filthy I don't know where to begin.

I cleaned the kids bathroom and my laundry room. There are mountains of clothes in my bedroom that I intend to throw out/donate. Craft/sewing supplies in the corner of my living room Stacked 5 foot high. The kids rooms are a mess and I clean them but they never stay organized. My living room looks like a kids clothing/toy store blew up in it. The carpets smell. The kitchen has boxes of stuff (i have no clue what all is in them) from where we converted the office (3rd bedroom) into the kids room and moved the office to the kitchen (we have no dining table) we eat at the coffee table and the floor underneath has the kids crumbs (the ones that are ground in even after vacumming) and drink spills all over it.

My main concern is getting started. It is such a mess I don't know where to start. I have tried to come up with a "master plan" but my limited time (I work 40 hours a week, and am a college student) has me struggling to get a task completed before it is messy again. I believe I will have to rip out my living room carpet and put down a vinyl floor ( it is vinyl planks that looks like wood) like I did in my hallway because of the pets and kids. I really need to get started as we are looking for homes to buy and want to sell this one (it is a mobile home) because we have outgrown it, but alot of work needs to be done before that can happen.

I am also trying to find home for two of my cats (I have three cats and a dog)which will help alot. If you have read this far, bless your heart.

What do you suggest I do to get this purging/cleaning started. I can not completely heal until this is done, I just cry when I see the mess thinking about how it affects my family, and can't seem to get one room done completely (save the laundry and guest/kids bathroom which are the smallest in the house).

I tried flylady.com for a few weeks but it is too slow I am waaaaay past that stuff, I need to do a major overhaul not just cleaning a little mess up. How much does it cost to rent a dumpster...seriously? It is so bad I wish that I could just grab a few necessities and move out and tear it down.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I want to thank everyone, I feel so supported right now. I was sure everyone would tell me what a bad mother I was and how the kids should be taken from me. I know there are people with way worse situations than mine and I am thankful that I got help before it really spiraled out of control. I am definately finding homes for the 2 cats, and we'll see how 1 dog and 1 cat does and if possible find them homes as well. I am ready to do this and I will keep you updated as I get things done. Please please keep emailing and encouraging me. My family is all 5+ hours from me, I have no close friends in my town. So I turned to MamaSource for a support system. (I hope this isn't creepy) I need you guys to keep encouraging and supporting me.

It is progressing slowly but surely. I am so busy it is hard to find the time to do much. Final exams are coming up next week So I will probably once again not get much done. My hubby is taking the kids out to ride tricycles this afternoon so I will hopefully have the chance to get some cleaning done while they are out of the house.

Featured Answers

Where do you live? I am pretty good at cleaning and organizing, and I'd like to offer to come help you. I know what it's like to be stuck in the middle of a disaster and feel totally lost. So if you need a hand ...

2 moms found this helpful

My recommendation would be one room at a time. First clean the room top to bottom. Once you have evenually made it threw the whole house then I would call stanley steamers (worth the price) and take the family out while they are cleaning. My main advice, One room at a time. I tend to work on one room taking everything to the living room and slowly putting everything in its place nice and neat and organized. It may take you a while but my recommendation is
ONE ROOM AT A TIME! you can only do so much at a time. GOod luck

1 mom found this helpful

Sounds like you need some help! I would be more than happy to help anyway I can. If you really want to donate some stuff, then maybe call 1-800-Got Junk. I know of some things that you can try, maybe have a yard sale. Just e-mail me and lets see what we can't do together.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

I would start with one room, get some plastic bins, mark one for donations, one to keep and one for trash. Do one room from beginning to end at a time. Don't worry about carpet replacement etc until all the clutter is gone and cleaned up. You can call your local garbage service and ask what the price of a temporary dumpster is, if it is something you can afford then have them deliver one (usually you have to call when it's full to have them empty it)
I would start with a to-do list by room, list everything you want to do to that room and create a check of sheet for each room, then allocate your available time to this project. I'd get your kids and husband to assist when possible. it is never to early to get kids to assist with the clean up. Most young kids "love" to help Mommy in the game of cleaning up. My 3 year loves to help, but doesn't like to do it by herself. If they are more of a hinderance than help if they have a favorite movie that will occupy them for a couple of hours while you clean don't feel bad about letting them do that while you purge.
I'd be happy to help you create your master plan, but I do believe if you take your house and divide it into pieces the master plan will build itself and you won't feel so overwelmed by the bigger picture.
I wish you luck.

3 moms found this helpful

Where do you live? I am pretty good at cleaning and organizing, and I'd like to offer to come help you. I know what it's like to be stuck in the middle of a disaster and feel totally lost. So if you need a hand ...

2 moms found this helpful

Choose a room that you would like cleaned first. Focus on just that room. Pick up/throw away/give away things, put things away. But only work on that room until it is done. Then move on to another room, etc. Sounds like it's going to take some time. Does your husband help out? Perhaps your kids could pick up their toys from around the house? Maybe they could gather laundry?

Another suggestion, if you can afford it, is to get the house picked up & organized, then hire someone to do the real cleaning, such as http://www.thehousekeepers.com/

Maybe you could load up things you don't need anymore and take it to Goodwill. Or, if you have a "Freecycle" (http://www.freecycle.org) group (or something similar) in your area you could have a "free yardsale". Pick a Saturday morning and set everything out in your front yard that you don't want/need anymore. Advertise in advance that you will do this, and let people come take what they want for free.

Do you have a friend or relative that likes to clean and/or organize things? Maybe even one who is OCD about it? haha My mom is the best, because she is OCD about everything being clean and organized! So I get her to help me out when she can.

I hope some of this helps! Good luck, I know how it is to have a messy house and feel like you can't do anything about it.

1 mom found this helpful

Go to http://www.flylady.net

She talks about taking it in babysteps. It didn't get dirty overnight, it won't get clean overnight. I've heard this program is especially good for people with depression because things get broken down to the basics, and you go from there.

Read through it. It's a good, fun read, and I think it really will help.

1 mom found this helpful

Heere are a few ideas.

First, send the kids to Grandma's for the weekend. You and your husband work together on the house. Pick a room and take everything out of it. Put it all in the front yard if you want. Then, sort all the stuff into 3 or 4 piles: Keep, Sell (optional), donate, and trash. Once the piles are sorted, haul off the trash and take the donate pile to your favorite charity. Clean the room from top to bottom and then put everything back where it goes. If it belongs in another room, put it there. It may take a whole weekend to get 1 room done but you will feel great when it is completed. If the rooms are small, you may be able to get 2 rooms done.

Second, you might want to invite some of your girlfriends over to help with the cleaning part while you and your husband sort. Be sure to return the favor to them later.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Sounds like you need some help! I would be more than happy to help anyway I can. If you really want to donate some stuff, then maybe call 1-800-Got Junk. I know of some things that you can try, maybe have a yard sale. Just e-mail me and lets see what we can't do together.

1 mom found this helpful


I see you've had plenty of response from other moms. I haven't had time to read them all so I don't know if I'm repeating previous advice. But who cares, right? =)

I made a HUGE discovery several years ago regarding the horrible mess in my daughter's bedroom - THE DOOR! I know that sounds silly, but I made a conscious decision to just not worry about it. That room is the one space that belongs to her and, if she's comfortable living in a mess, so be it. I did make a rule, though. I do not allow any food or drink into her room.

As for the rest of the house, it seems like you are overwhelmed with the enormity of the situation. I would recommend breaking the big, scary problem down into smaller, less scary ones. I would also involve the family. Even though your kids are small, they can still help. Give them simple tasks that they can turn into a game. Maybe give them a few chores to choose from. When my daughter was that age, she loved to help around the house. Even if they don't accomplish much at the age of 2, it's good practice.

Once you get things manageable, make yourself a chore schedule - laundry on Mondays, bathrooms on Tuesdays, etc, etc. And don't forget to reward the girls for helping!

I hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

I would suggest strongly getting rid of your pet(s) first and foremost if you have not already done so. Even though they are enjoyable, this may not be the time in your life for them that you and your family can give them what they need. That has to be an absolute since you have so many things going and don't need yet another responsibility that can be a mess, not to mention something else to take care of. Get your husband and kids in on the housecleaning, overhauling whatever you are calling it! lol. I need to do the same thing as far as organizing and getting rid of stuff, but it is little by little, day by day. I am even considering hiring a person to come in twice a month, or maybe more, just to do laundry so that can free up my time and I can have more time/energy w/my family to do what I need to, or whatever I want. Since what you have said seems to be such an undertaking, you can start with one room at a time and even pay your children for helping. I mean make them understand they should keep their rooms clean anyways, but you can get them involved in so many other ways and they will surprise you. Lastly, if you have family that supports you and lives close, ask them for help. Isn't that what family is for? Choose a Sat. morn. or whenever is good for you all and afterwards have a cookout or go out for pizza. You can put up the sprinkler if it is warm and get everyone involved and have a little fun too. Just some suggestions, hope it helps and Best Wishes!
Let me know what happens.

1 mom found this helpful

My recommendation would be one room at a time. First clean the room top to bottom. Once you have evenually made it threw the whole house then I would call stanley steamers (worth the price) and take the family out while they are cleaning. My main advice, One room at a time. I tend to work on one room taking everything to the living room and slowly putting everything in its place nice and neat and organized. It may take you a while but my recommendation is
ONE ROOM AT A TIME! you can only do so much at a time. GOod luck

1 mom found this helpful

God love you... I have so much sympathy. A full-time mom who goes to school with kids, pets, and a husband and you just got over depression? It's no wonder your house got to be such a mess!

I haven't been where you are, but I do have a few cleaning tips that work for me. I hope a couple of them help.

1. Start with one room and stick with it till you're done. You mentioned trying this, but I think if you really plug away at it, you'll get inspired once you see how clean you got one room. Small victories will give you confidence that you can do the rest. Work top to bottom, left to right, whatever works, so you can see your progress.

2. Not to sound like a commercial, but Glad force-flex bags really do hold a lot. If you need to trash a lot of stuff, they're good.

3. Make sure you've got cleaning products that make the work as easy as you can. No sense wearing out your arms scrubbing out your tub when there's products that will cut through all that mess for you.

4. If you can, take advantage of this beautiful sunny weather and dry laundry outside. It's not only more economical, but you can cut your wash time quite a bit, since the longer portion of doing laundry is spent drying.

5. If the weather's still good, (which I hear it's supposed to be) arrange your piles outside or in a garage: sell, give away, and trash. That way, it's out of your house, where it belongs. Again, these can be bagged and labeled if the weather gets bad.

That's about all I can think of for now. Hope some of this helps.


1 mom found this helpful

I've been exactly how you feel. Several years ago when my kids were little i was working a swing shift at a factory, i didn't know if i was coming or going and not only was i depressed, but even when i got a little bit of enenrgy, just looking at the mess the house had become sent me right back into a deeper depression. Here's a suggestion, and its something i did. invest in one of those huge yard rakes. first, take 5 or 6 outfits that you know you love for each kid and for you and the hubby. then rake everything into a huge pile. a dumpster is not that expesive to rent, and start going thru the pile. if you see something you can't live without, put it away immediaetly, if not, throw it away. same thing with the kids stuff. my mom was huge on the fact that she had to buy the most expensive and the 'hottest' toy and all i could think was, where the heck am i going to put it? kids don't need all that stuff. so, get one of those tupperware tubs and fill it with only the items they play with everyday. everything else needs to go out. as for the vinyl flooring, that's a perfect idea. when i bought my house last year the previous owners had carpet in the kitchen and it was so ugly. on one weekend i ripped out the carpet and it was so nasty under it and i put down those viynl 12 inch by 12 in tile that look like wood and it looks wonderful. i can send you pics if you give me an email address. if you eat in the living room, its a great idea to get rid of the carpet. do you have someone who can watch the kids for a weekend? is your hubby able to help with the task? it's a project that can be done, but you have to plan for it. call about the dumpster, check on the vinyl tiles (lowe's has them pretty cheap), and make sure you have plenty of garbage bags, latex gloves, and cleaning agents like bleach and spic an span. Start in the living room and rake everything in a pile. and once you get the trash out, start moving out the furniture. you will need help with the carpet, but pull it up at one edge, and it should pull away pretty easily. roll it up and you may need an extra person to put it in the dumpster. once you actually get to this point, maybe you will feel rejuvinated. i know i did. i actually pulled up my carpet two days after passing kideny stones and to tell the truth, i don't know where i got the energy. but only i did get it up, i ended up painting the walls a beautiful red and then i paid the tiles down. the kitchen looked beautful and i was exausted, but happier. i hope this helped a little bit (hey, sending the kids off for at least a day and drinking lots of red bull may help!!) Let me know if i can help, i don't know where you live ( i live in jackson, tn), but maybe we could talk. have a great day!!!!
M. ( my email is ____@____.com)

1 mom found this helpful

Bless your heart. I've gone through a major fog after having post partum depression myself. I understand.

I would take several boxes doing one room at a time (otherwise you'll go nuts going back and forth). Label one box keep, store, trash, donate. Go through one room filling those boxes and cleaning. The keep box take and put stuff that goes in other rooms etc. It's helped me a few times to do things this way. Hope it helps.

I'd save papers for last. Unless they are very important. You can use the same priciple to organize papers. Get folders or whatever and sort papers into file, look at, immediate atttention and trash, for example.

realsimple.com has great tips for cleaning and organizing.

1 mom found this helpful

God belss YOU for having the courage to ask for help. I think most normal moms, this has happened at least once. I, for one, have struggled with this also. The best thing to keep in mind is that you can't look at the big picture. Find smaller tasks that can be completed in less time and complete them. And take pride in that. Even if that means, I am going to clean this half of my living room today, and move on tomorrow. I understand how overwhelmed you are feeling and how disappointed in yourself you are. Don't be! Don't expect perfection. And reward yourself for a job well done. If you ned anything, feel free to contact me. You're not alone in this!

1 mom found this helpful

hello hey i just wont to say bless your heart i am a morther of 5 thankgod there all older so i MAKE THEM HELP ME ( and i have to make too LOL) any way and even with them older and i can make them help me it is inposable to keep it clean it stay picked up.. and im also a stay at home mom... so i can on guess what it would be like if i work are even went to shcol much less both and take care of four smail kid... anyway i just went thou a depression myself i have alot going on with my step so and my mom is dieing and my dad allready gone he past about 5 years ago and i still have a very heard time with that anyway... so i kinda now what u going thou... well im on med like u for the depression and im allso taking me for ADD i started with the ADD MED then i got on the med for depression.. and way after i got on both for about a mouth i started like u seeing what need to be done how it was a mass around here not like what im hearing u say but when the kids was little it was there more then once.. anywat we have a day that is for cleaning that cleaning ever room moping dusting ever thing and ever one help even the four year old ( his is give somthing to dust with and we still haveing to do it but he is part of it) he has to help pic up his toys and little thing like that) well i give ever one somthing to do . our is on sunday that our day i know that may not be good for most but even thou we should we do go to church.. so that give ever one saterday to injoy a little the weekend and the sun we get up early and we eat and then we begain now that i got thing put togather it dont take as long to do.... any way to get it all toagather i went out bought ever one the kids there on color close hanger we set down and we picked out 8 school/town/outing out fets three play out fet (being it school time that more then they need right now that in wenter close summer will proble be more... and two night three night out fets.. and wall ever thing else was boxed up and took to the shead well most likely be sold in a yard sell that all they all have (well i did do a few exter for the four year old) and u do have younger kids so u well need more then that for them but trim it down so there not so meany close to warsh and put away any way i split the closet space by just puting a little duck tape between each spot the kids close go in... there in nothing but under close in the dresser ( mine whould put ever thing in the dressr and not hang the thing to hang up not any more EVER THING IS HUNG UP..and i bought ever one them cheap bath towls ever one has there on colors we all have five each and ever one is in the bath room but there in there on palls any way i got reed of ALOT I MEAN ALOT TOYS they has SO SO meny and 90% of them they never really played with there playing with them was pulling them out thowing down and that was it there was only like 10% they truely played with and liked.... (well that was the four year old) LMBO the 10 year old one is mine and one is his any way i would tell them to pick them up and they would not then i would tell if i pick up they was not going to like it well one day i got so mad about it... i pick EVER THING UP AND THOWN THEM IN THE DUMP... that was just befor christmas ( i know they be getting alot for christmas) any way im talking to much i know lol anyway for ya i know that not going work just like that with the kid so so so smail and it hard to do anything with kids that little..so mabe if u can get somone to keep your kids for like two are three day IF IF U CAN GET THAT LONG OFF and if u husband is welling to help and mabe a friend are somthing and do a good cleaning nothing but cleaning THOW THOW THOW AWAY EVER THING BUT WHAT U CAN NOT LIVE WITH OUT u said there was boxing of thing that been in them for ever well u must not need anything out of them..... if there in boxes sail give away thow away what ever is easyer lol me it was just thowing it way lol that way i knew i would not look thou it again lol.. any way get rid as meny of the close u dont need i know it heard even more with the kids close being most them so cute lol but DO IT IM TELLING U IT HELPS ALOT LOL look at it like these that even less work on u them dont have to get wash ever time u turn around well all so have day for ever one to do there close we all have our one close basket to put our on close in... any way if u like me u had to do close EVER DAY well u still well but if u like split ever one it twos like us ( well out is two,two,three lol we have a odd no# in our home) any way on tueday is day for my oldest doughter and one the ten year old day to do ther close that ever thing there towles and all no one else can do there that day well thue day is my ather doughter and and the other 10 year old to do theres and then i work mine and my husband and the 4 years old that only becouse the kids have 8 out fet i only have like three pair good jeans and my husband also the kids alway have more lol so any way out has to be done more to make thou the week with jean alone lol any way mabe even if u and your husband have to split the time to do being u both work (im taking it he works to?) if u do two at a time a day there only two place to put them instade of 10000000 places lol and i am telling u just bracking it down like that helps i did start that when my kids was smailer and befor i married my husband but i got out after we got togather,, any way i was going to school also trying to get my GED full time but i was not working with it lol thank god but it was me and three kids at the time i was doing it all but then i got to where i have them who ever i was doing that day witch at that time i did the girls one day and mine and my son the next time and the towles and theng the next i did have the money to bye ever one there on then lol any way IT HELPS ALOT but to get it clean u going to have to make a time to just DO IT it hard i know if u got a 100000 thing to be done but if u realy sick of the mass u well do it.. and mabe once a week are mabe ever two week make it a full clean day and thou the week do the pick up thing.. any way GOOD LUCK ill be praying for u lol really let me know if u try it and if i works i pray u can read these it late i got a sick one laying on me why i do sleeping and teenager try to make them get to bed lol so and my spelling is BADDDDDDDDDDDDD
so i wont be going back over it but let me know what u think and if u try it and if it work it be alot work just taking the time to do but u behappy in the end it be worth it trust me i know lol ok im out here night and bye

1 mom found this helpful

First of all, you must realize that your house didn't get that way overnight and it's not going to get "fixed" overnight. I too am a working mother of three, plus a husband and a cat, and I now how hard it is without having an illness. Make a plan - say one weekend and start. Try tackling one room and if time allows add another one. Start with the kitchen. Then keep those room "tidy" until the next weekend. Add one more room and quickly clean the other two (I use my kitchen timer on the stove for 30 minute intervals). Now you have three clean rooms. And so on. If you have some time after the kids are in bed - tackle a bathroom, or go through and sort the clothes you are donating. Pick one pile a night maybe. With spring here its a perfect time for cleaning and tidying.

Just realize you are not alone and you can do it. It will take some time, but it will work. Maybe you could take a day off and keep the kids in school/daycare for a jump start. Good Luck. Hope I offered something of use to you:)

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I really don't have any solutions. I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone. It's hard not to be depressed when you walk into a disarray all the time. Don't feel that you've let your family down. They've let you down. It's everyone's responsibility to keep the house up. Let me guess....everytime you get started on one room, it gets trashed by the time you move on to the next room. When you come home, do you make a beeline to your bedroom? I cried at Christmas cuz I didn't get the cleaning elves I'd wished for. (I was forturnate that my oldest, 24 yr old son, came back home to live. He's a fanatic in ways and cleaned the house and stays on top of the kids to keep it that way.) Have you tried a cleaning business? There's a few listed around Madison. I'm not sure of the expense, but it's better than picking up and moving every 4 yrs.(That would be me again!) Good Luck.

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Hi. So sorry to hear about your depression. Sounds like you have a mountain of work ahead of you! I can't imagine. A dumpster doesn't sound like a bad idea.....not at all. It may at least get ride of enoug clutter for you that you see hope in the situation and get motivated. You should be able to find a dumpster company by goggling it on the web.

Another thought, if you plan on wanting to mive, maybe you can get the motivation to get going and start cleaning by finding out what your mobile home is worth (market value), and beginning to look or start figuring out finacing on a new home. Sometimes that will be a HUGE motivation. I am a professional real estate agent, and one thing I tell customers when we run into situations like this is to get excited about something else...envision a new home...etc...and that will get you ready and prepped to do what it takes to get the "old home" sale ready.

Anyways, if you do want to think seriously about buying selling, check out my website or give me a call, I would be happy to help you find the value of your mobile home and help in the search for a new house too. http://www.stolaasproperties.com/prudential

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First thing I was going to do was suggest FlyLady....since you are past that this is what I would do. I am a neat freak though. I would enlist my husband as a "child watcher" for a week. This way you are not stopping constantly to tend to a child. FIRST....start with the living space you like the most. Kitchen/living room. This way you will have a "sanctuary" to go to when you are finished each day. Make several piles outside. KEEP, DONATE, TRASH....If you havent used or worn something in 2 years it should go. Plan a trip to goodwill at the end of each day. That way you dont have too much to do at the end and get overwhelmed. Plus you wont be making the outside of the house look terrible as well. Call Home Depot about renting a dumpster. Steam clean the carpets, wash the windows...do the whole nine. You will feel so great in that room. With the kids....you may want to get some plastic storage bins for the toys. Only give them so many at a time. Let them get sick of the ones they are using and then switch. This is a start. I would also consider hiring a cleaning lady to come deep clean after you de-clutter. Let this be your reward. I know someone who is very affordable. Best of luck. And dont be ashamed. Be proactive!


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First of all I'm sorry for all you're going through- I'll be praying for you. My husband is retired military and we've moved a ton of times over the years. I've felt completely overwhelmed with boxes and things not in their place and the best way to feel better and get energized and do more is to first do the first room you see when you walk into your house. If you do the "common" room first you'll feel so much better and get that little burst of excitement to see what you've done is working and you can tackle the next room. After that I would recommend doing your bedroom because studies show you sleep better if your bedroom is in a neat, and orderly condition and that will also give you energy to do the next rooms. It's going to be one day at a time, but you WILL get it done. If you don't feel as though you want to do your common room first because of the extra hassle of having to do the floors then look at it this way - you said the floors had to be done anyway, why not kick them out in the first place. That will also help with the smells. I don't know how much a dumpster rental is, but I do know you can pay extra for the garbage truck to do an additional pick up, and if you don't have trash service (we live in Bell Buckle and don't have a big service), we pay $18 a month and they come out once a week. E-mail me if you would like their phone number and you could call and see what they'd charge you for a big pick up. I hope this helps. If you ever need to chat, please don't hesitate to e-mail me. Good luck and God bless.

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God bless you, sweetie. I wish I were closer to you or I would come to your house and help (No kidding). Your 4 year old and your husband are great recruits. Have them help. Start in one room and finish it before moving on to another room. Rent a carpet cleaner from the grocery store and steam clean each room as you finish decluttering. I hope that helps.

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First off, let me say you are not alone. The important thing is that you are at a point where you can start to move past it. The feeling of being overwhelmed can stall your efforts, I know because I have been there. I would recomend getting your husband involved, maybe find a sitter for the weekend and go through and throw most of it away. It is so therapeutic! One thing that is helpful is to go through room by room, take EVERYTHING outside and divide into 3 piles-keep, donate, trash. Be merciless. When the room is empty and you have divided the contents, you can then clean, gut and paint and put the few things to keep back in. This may take a few weekends to do, but once you see the progress your spirits will lift! Try not to see the house as one project or you will get too overwhelmed and it will seem hopeless. Try to take it room by room, project by project and let yourself feel the small victories by reaching those goals independantly. Above all, don't succomb to shame,it is not productive and what you are facing is not impossible, let me stress again you are not alone! Hope this helps.

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OK First I want you to stop!!!!

Next arrange a day that you and your husband are both going to be home.

Find a Day long baby sitter for that day. ALL DAY AND PART OF THE NIGHT! And maybe even longer. The idea here is so you can devote your time to cleaning the house and not diapers, food, etc. Also, with a 4 year old...you can toss those toys that you no longer want without a fuss.

Be prepared... Heavy duty trash bags, the dumpster (if you need it), cleaning supplies... the idea is that you will not have to leave the house other than drop the kids off.

On that day get up early and get started, because you're going to need it. Start at one end of the house and work your way towards the other end. Do not 1/2 finish a room, when you leave it, it should be cleaned the way you want. (It may take you a couple of days to finish the whole house.)Clean everything! If the walls are diry, wipe them down with a wet rag and some cleaning solution, throw away what you don't want, don't need, etc. The clothes that you suggested donating, I would seriously toss! Unless it's a tax issue... do you really have time to seperate the good from the bad, bag the good up and haul them to the donation center??? TOSS THEM GIRL!!! You will feel much better when the grime is gone from the house!

Also, if you faithfully go to church on Sunday's, Sunday would be a good day to take off from churh and clean clean clean... When you get up, pray and talk to God that you are not deserting him, you are asking for his strength to get you through this day and once you regain your sanity you can them have a better relationship with everyone including him. He will understand!

Keep in mind replacing carpet, etc... is a HUGE chore. Throughly vacuum or clean the carpet. Once the house is clean to where you can move around and live in it, then you can take the time to replace the carpet. Since you plan to replace it anyway.. you could spot clean the areas that need it the most.

Don't get emotional with your belongings, thinking "will I need this later" or I really liked that shirt and it use to look good on me (when i was 100 lbs and before I had 3 kids), Toss it! It's taking up mental space that is bringing you down. Your family wants a happy you and a happy you means a happy them. the kids are young enough to not remember much or any of this. Now is a great time.

Good Luck and hope to find you with a cleaner home soon.

1 mom found this helpful

My advice.... Get the kids out of the house and maybe even your husband if he is going to want to keep things, rent a dumpster and throw everything out. Pile all of the clothes you think you want to keep into the laundry room then clean all of the rooms. This will take a whole Saturday and a whole Sunday. Then with your husband's help late Sunday start laundry. You will get through three times as much without the kids as you will with them. Good luck and let me know how it goes.

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If you have anyone you trust then ask for help! If you don't have family or friends who will help AND not judge then...at minimum ask your husband to help. Pick the area closest to the front door and start. Ignore the rest of it so you don't get overwhelmed. Forget renting the dumpster. Just load it up the trash in the truck and take it out to the dump, one car load at a time. Grab a box and throw in the stuff that can be donated to the thrift store. Don't worry about planning or what to do or where to start. Put on comfy clothes, get someone to watch the kids (if you can) and put on some music to shake your grove thing to. Start cleaning and stop at the designated time (1 hour, 30 minutes, 3 hours--whatever). Don't beat yourself up, don't try to be perfect. If you can afford it plan to hire a Maid service. A group that you will never use or see again so you don't have to be worried about what they will or won't think. Think about getting rid of or hiding some of the kids toys so it removes a bit of the clutter. While you do this don't spend a lot of time thinking. Just do it or you'll end up stoppng to evaluate and consider and find that you've done almost nothing. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi, J. my name is H. and I want to first start off by saying it took alot of courage for you to be this honest and open about your delimma. So good for you even if it is out of pure desperation. I would start off by praying to get a boost from the great man upstairs and then start from there. I have been in the exact position you are in. I had a bad relapse of severe depression for over 4 months. I battle with depression everyday and will for the rest of my life. I finally went to my church and broke down crying, embarrassed, and ashamed of the state of my home. I am a single mom with two children and I am a full time student as well. My house was filthy and I was so overwhelmed I didn't want to even look at it, be in it, and I wanted out. Well, two sisters from my church who I can never repay for their kindness and generosity stepped in and helped me clean. I got ride of so much stuff it was unbelievable. Luckily my bishop had a truck and we were able to load all the trash in his truck in two trips. I had way too much stuff for the space I live in. I kept thinking it is just hopeless because even clean the stains on the carpet you can still see. But needless to say since they helped me my house has stayed clean and the laundry was so piled up I don't even know how we still had clothes to wear. I threw out clothes that the kids could no longer wear and clothes that had finished there duty. Then I took all the clothes to a laundry mat and washed them all at one time and folded them all there. I told myself I could not leave until the clothes were all folded. Because I knew if I brought them home I would never get to folding them. Well, it has been great. My laundry is caught up and my house looks great. But now that my spirituality is growing and focused and my house is clean. My school work is not getting the attention that is needs. But I am not giving up and with the lord I know that I can do it. And so can you. I don't know exactly where you are located but if you are near I would not mind helping and maybe if you felt comfortable enough we could get some of our sisters from church and come help you knock out the big stuff. But I have no idea if you are in my area or not but there is my offer. I am in Mississippi. If you are not near I still wish you the best and it still wouldn't be a bad idea to call on a church for help. There are so many people who want to help but it is so hard for others to ask for help. The sisters that helped me were so grateful for the opportunity to help someone. They didn't mind at all. Sorry this is so long but I had to back you up on this it is not easy to juggle everything and it happens to us all if not the cleaning part of their lives then it is usually in another area of their lives. I hope this helps and don't be ashamed you are human and an extrordinary one at that. May God bless you and your family always.

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Bless your heart! Honey I would get you a garbage can and about 3 boxes of garbage bags. What can be used put it in the can and donate it to someone. Become a member of freecycle.org so you can overhaul this house. I have MS so I know what you are going through. What isn't useable throw away. You can only do one room at a time. Walk into that room and make a list of what to do in there then do it. This is how I get things done. It actually works for me anyways. I will pray for you about this. Just don't let it bother you to the point where you get depressed again. I would just do one room at a time and don't be afrain to ask hubby to help some I do. He won't mind it so much to help you out. If you need to find a new home for your cats then there is anpther web site you can go to for help with that. its animalloversgroup.com i think. I wish you lots of best wishes and you will overcome this don't be embarrassed there are other people out there that has went through this.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi there. My name is K. and I am a 29 year old in Memphis, TN. I have an 8 month old daughter.

Have you ever considered calling 1-800-GOT-JUNK? They will come to your house and haul all of your stuff away. 60% of the things they take away are recycled. So, it makes you feel good not only because you're beginning the clean up process but because you're donating things to other people. I think they take pretty much everything but you should call them to find out the specifics.

Once your stuff is gone, hire someone who specializes in deep house cleaning. I wouldn't even try to do this yourself. You don't have the time to make a serious improvement.

If all this fails...call Dr. Phil ;)

Hope this helps,

1 mom found this helpful

I would try and get a bunch of friends and family together and go through and throw everything that you do not need away and store the stuff you are not using. I do not think that I could do it all myself and I am a stay at home mom right now.

1 mom found this helpful

Try taking the fly-lady principles to a larger level. Instead of focusing on your sink, focus on one room....
I combined the fly-lady technique and the Clean Sweep method when going through a similar process.
I took EVERY THING out of one room, I was drastic with throwing away and donating. I made boxes (clearly labeled) of things I thought I might want/need - things I couldn't bear to part with- and I put only the daily neccessities back into the room.
Over the course of the following month, anything still in the boxes (The things I had not needed and did not bring out) went to the donation bin.
It really helped.
I also assigned chores to my children. It was difficult to spend the time teaching them how to do the chores and follow-ing up to ensure they were done regularly until they became a habit, but well worth it.
Even your 2 year olds can empty a small trash can or pull the covers up on their bed.
Focus on one room a week and in 5 or 6 weeks you will have a whole new house....
L. G

1 mom found this helpful


Your working on it, thats the first step.

We are remolding our house, its cluttered. We also rented a dumpster, when we ripped our the carpet and remolded the bathroom. Its about $300. They deliver it and pick it up. Tennesse Waste(if your in TN) is the name of the company. It just sit in the drive way until we filled it up and then they picked it up.

Also, when Iam cleaning out a closet or getting rid of furniture, that my 2 yr old has ruined, i just sit it our by the curb and call counil for the blind, Goodwill, or the salvation army will come and pick the items up also Plus, they leave you a recepit as a tax write off.

To replace the floor with the hard wood lood: its pretty easy, my husband did it in one day, with some help. Its snap lock. The hard wood comes in pieces that fit togeather. Its like 97 cents a foot at lowes and they will show you how to intstall it or will come and install it for you for a little extra.

God Bless You!

God took care of and strengthen Jesus when he was lonlely, tired, and misunderstoon. And he'll do the same for You.


1 mom found this helpful

start with one room at a time... maybe work on the easiest space first & work your way to the most difficult? also, is there some outside obligation that can give so you can focus full time on your family & home? that way you would have more time to give to them & less outside the home? just a thought....

1 mom found this helpful

Just take it one thing at a time. Think about which mess is bothering you the most, and tackle that one first. If it's the mound of clothes in your room, start with that. I'd suggest borrowing a large pickup truck (if you don't own one), call a friend to help out, back the truck up as close to your door as you can manage, and just start bagging and tossing!! Once you finish with one area, you'll feel better b/c you'll see yourself making progress. Just don't get stressed. Depression is a horrible thing, and it can slow anyone down on housework. Take it one thing at a time, focus on the things that will show the most visable results. Try to schedule days that you and your husband can work on the mess together. Also, rent a carpet cleaner to get rid of the smell before you start worrying about replacing the floor. That can be done when the rest is cleaned up! Good luck!!

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Bless your heart. I know what you are going through I lost my husband to cancer almost a year ago and found I did not want to do anything for so long. I like you am just now starting to feel better but everyone told me just stay busy so I started remodeling my house. Big mistake my house is utter chaos. I have started by cleaning one room per day or in two days and then move to the next room. Now I know with young children the room you just cleaned is going to be dirty again in two days but just stick to the plan of getting one room at a time organized then move onto the next room. You will see in time that once you do this that it will be easier when you go to clean the next time. Even the crumbs under the coffee table will be less than they were when you started this process. Keep your chin up and I will add you to my prayers.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.,
I was just searching around on the website and saw your request. I know it was a year ago but wanted to know if things are going O.K for you now? Sounds like you were trying to do way to much, a person can only do so much.
Anyway, I own a housekeeping service and wanted to let you know that I do all of my own cleaning, I don't have any employees, (sometimes I use my neices) and because of that I have limited appointments available. My customers have become my extended family. I swap pics of kids with one couple, I watch another couples house and dog when they are away, and even have get togethers with a few.
Just wanted to let you know, in case you ever need me. My business is posted on this website.
Thanks and Good Luck


Hello J. I am so sorry to hear about your depression I hope you feel better. But my best advice to cleaning out a dirty house is to first throw out all the stuff that you dont need or want anymore. This will unclutter the house alittle bit.

Oh my goodness! We have so much in common. I feel the very same way. Did you get any suggestions?

My mother always said to never start in the kitchen because if you do, you will never get finished. Too much to do in there. Why can't the cats stay outside unless it's bad weather; they prefere to be outside. If you got them all spayed or neutered 3 cats kept outside are really not much trouble but inside, that's a lot of stinky litter. You will likely need a helper. Maybe an energetic teen needing some extra cash. If you are like me you will not want someone to have access to your house without you standing right over them. This person will just be expected to be in high gear as you give orders. The living room will be the place to start. Make it presentable and you will feel a lot better. Dump the boxes out and start sorting quickly. Put up things that you know exactly where you want them. Throw out what you do not want. Decide on one clean spot out of the way that you will put everything that you do not know where to put or you haven't decided if you will keep it yet. Stick to that spot. Even if it grows into a mountain keep it there and do not resort to boxes or bags unless it's things you will be throwing away or giving away. Because if you box the things again or stuff them into a bag, you will just end up the same way. You do not want these things taking your space so keep them close to a wall. If you have a helper, you can get them to do things such as vacume, wash dishes, mop floors and clean windows ect... You will need to be the one to put things up including your dishes and organize like you want and clean the refrigerator. Just ad lib it from there on to the bathroom or rooms and the bedrooms. I know it sounds so easy. Lol. I know it's hard and it will take a positive "can do" attitude. Remember the story "The Little Train That Could." As you get further along you can chant to your self, "I think I can. I think I can." Say prayers and give thanks. You will probabally have a ton of laundry that you will come across that will have to be washed. Keep it all in one spot if it will fit into the hamper. If it will not keep it close by the hamper and out of the way. That you can bag because you will likely not live with it there long and you will do it on laundry day, not today. After you get the house clean then you may have time to tackle that area where you put the miscellaneous items. Or you may want to wait for another day to begin going through the things you put into the pile that you didn't know where you wanted it to go. If it's unsightly just cover it with a sheet. You will know everything there and you will be calmer so you can decide if you want to keep it, or throw it away or where you want it to be kept. But warn everyone that lives there that they better not bother it and get it scattered again. And don't just live with it that way. Correct it as soon as possible in a calm state of mind. OMG, be firm with the kids about leaving it along. I sympathise with you entirely because I have raised 3 kids and worked and I know that it is not easy. Good luck to you.


I can understand why you feel overwhelmed. Cleaning is the last thing you want to do when you are exhausted. I could not imagine that you have any free time between three children and a full time job.
I would suggest breaking the entire home down into small areas or just one room at a time. You mentioned there are crafts all over the place. Could you swing by the dollar general store and get some large crates (which you could label--CRAFTS)and put them in a closet? These plastic crates come in all sizes. I use them for my daughters toys even. I store them in her closet and have them labeled-GAMES, EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES, PLAY-DO, ART etc). For the smaller items that do not require an actualy crate, I use gallon zip lock bags. I do this for everything, even my supplies. I have a crate in my closet for my school items that I need for projects.
As far as getting rid of old clothes, just grab some black lawn bags and throw it out or put in the trunk of your car to drop off the next time you are close to a donation center.
The cats could be adding to the smell and while your sick, urine could of gone undetected. Cat urine does ruin carpet, or even tile. That will have to come up. Home Depot and Lowes have different types of linolium (spelling)you can put down yourself (they have classes) or you can hire someone if you can afford it. If you decide to do it yourself, make sure you tell the salesperson at the home improvement store that a cat has urinated on the carpet. After you rip up the carpet, you will have to put a sealer on the bare wood to prevent the odor from resurfacing.
I think the hardest thing to do is to get started, because sometimes it is hard to know where to start. Could you convice someone to watch your kids for a Saturday and you and your husband start the project together? Make a list of the room that is really driving you crazy and start there. You could even make a chart of progress and after each major accomplishment, you could reward yourselves. You could make a master plan, break it down by room and have a competition with your husband. Who ever finishes the most tasks total wins an entire Sunday to relax and read with breakfast in bed..?
To get to the urine carpet you are going to have the stuff off the floor.
Hope this helps and good luck!

I understand exactly where you are coming from. I have had a sleepiness problem and depression problems for some time now. I just recently went to my doctor and got off the wrong meds and onto the right meds. I am just now starting to feel "normal" again, but I still have those days when it creeps back in. I have Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder. My house is filthy to me right now. My husband and everyone else who sees it says that it's not that bad, but, because I have OCPD, I see everything as being filthy and upsetting unless it is done to my perfection. I have let it go for so long now, I don't have the motivation or even know where to start. I would have to send my stepdaughter to my mother-in-law's for a couple of days to even get the house clean without her coming behind me and messing it up. I wouldn't have any problem now maintaining it every day, but I have to get it totally clean first. Don't give up. I keep telling myself everyday, even though it bugs me everyday, that I WILL eventually get it done and feel so much better. I also have a wonderful husband who says that when he is able to take a vacation day or two (he can't now because they HAVE to work everyday to get production out), he will help me thoroughly clean the house. Hope this helps a little. If nothing else, I hope it helps to let you know that someone else is in the same spot as you.

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