30 answers

Where Do You Begin?

I made a list of things that need to be done around the house. It ranges from small cleaning tasks to organizing to just about anything else in between. I'm overwhelmed. Where do I begin on this list? I tend to not do anything when I feel overwhelmed because I don't know where to start and I become frustrated. Yes, I am married and yes, my husband helps me out but he works full-time and I work part-time (different shifts). He knows how frustrated I am and I don't think he even knows where to begin. We have a young child and I know spending quality time together is more important, but I feel like I'm falling behind on everything.

Where do you begin with this kind of scenario? Thanks.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

These are terrific suggestions, thank you!! I'm definately going to check out flylady.net. I did a little reorganizing today, not to the extent I wanted to but it's something. Just started on the kitchen, reorganizing the cabinets. I tend to attempt projects at the oddest hours of the day, usually at night when I should be resting. Need to start at a better time so I don't get tired and give up quickly because it's late. I'll try these great suggestions given, thanks again :-)

Featured Answers

I usually find a reason to leave the house... ;-)

Sorry, but I have this same problem, and I only have a small condo. I "know" that I need to break the job down into small doable tasks, and just take one at a time, and all that... But to actually START seems to be the problem for me.

When I had a 3 bedroom house to clean, I read "Sink Reflections" the book by FlyLady and it did inspire me to put some systems in place that helped me keep my sanity. I recommend the book, but didn't get much from her website. Mabe I need to read it again!

So pick one very small job, set a timer for 15 minutes, and get it done! Then take a break. Then repeat!

5 moms found this helpful

Fly Lady has all the answers. and she says it in a way that inspires me, I once read her book at my SIL's house and was so inspired I started cleaning HER house at 10 PM

4 moms found this helpful

Sounds like my college homework, papers and projects. I always did the smaller things first. They took less time, made me feel like I was getting somewhere. Then I felt better about tackling the harder ones.

Does that make sense?

D.

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers

I usually find a reason to leave the house... ;-)

Sorry, but I have this same problem, and I only have a small condo. I "know" that I need to break the job down into small doable tasks, and just take one at a time, and all that... But to actually START seems to be the problem for me.

When I had a 3 bedroom house to clean, I read "Sink Reflections" the book by FlyLady and it did inspire me to put some systems in place that helped me keep my sanity. I recommend the book, but didn't get much from her website. Mabe I need to read it again!

So pick one very small job, set a timer for 15 minutes, and get it done! Then take a break. Then repeat!

5 moms found this helpful

Fly Lady has all the answers. and she says it in a way that inspires me, I once read her book at my SIL's house and was so inspired I started cleaning HER house at 10 PM

4 moms found this helpful

Did I write this post or did you? This is the story of my life! When I need to start a project like this I generally start in one room with one task. Like in the bedroom I may collect all the clothes and start the laundry. Or in the kitchen I may just start doing dishes. Just focus on one room and on one task. Don't focus on the entire house and all the chores. I like to reward myself when I accomplish tasks so you can do that as well!

3 moms found this helpful

Sounds like my college homework, papers and projects. I always did the smaller things first. They took less time, made me feel like I was getting somewhere. Then I felt better about tackling the harder ones.

Does that make sense?

D.

3 moms found this helpful

I am so like you. When there is so much to do I just don't know where to go! I'd start with the absolutely most necessary thing. Also, pick projects that you think you can accomplish in the time frame you have. A lot of times I start something and then it spirals out of control and create even more of a mess! So, start small! Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

Please stop fretting about things that 'need to be done'. Ten years from now, when the things that 'need to be done' still are not done, will it really effect your quality of life that much? Focus on the here and now of enjoying your family in whatever stage it happens to be at this moment (or the next moment, or the next).

But, yeah, I've got corners of my house I haven't seen in YEARS.

:(

3 moms found this helpful

The list is a great start, but I would take it to the next step now and prioritize things. Are there one or two things on the list that are particularly nagging you to get done? Maybe clean the kitchen first so the dishwasher can go while you work on other things. Maybe just pick one room and start there - a bathroom or the family room. I usually do the things that make the most impact first (like putting toys away or cleaning kitchen) then work out from there. Maybe hubbie can take a bathroom while you do the living room, or whatever. Depending on the age of your kids they can clean their rooms. Good luck. We are doing the same things today :)

2 moms found this helpful

Pick one task you know you can complete, and complete it. That gets endorphins running, and suddenly, you'll have a little more motivation to complete another task. If you honestly can't decide where to start, cut them all up and stuff them in a hat, draw one, and do it with no excuses. :) Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

I'm exactly like you. If I see that there are 100 things that need to be done, I get overwhelmed and think it's easier just not to start.

This is how I've overcome that. Just like you I start by making a list. Then I look at the list and determine what things *have* to be done and what things I would *like* done. The things that need to be done get a dash next to them. Then I look at those things individually. I number them in order of importance. Then I do them in order of importance. (Sadly, I typically have the lower numbers on the items that will only take a few minutes to get started...that way at the end of the day I can look at my list and say "Wow, I got 12 things done today!" And don't bother telling anyone that half the things only took 5-10 minutes.)

2 moms found this helpful

My grandmother always told me to pick a room and start in one corner, then work around in one direction. Repeat as necessary.

2 moms found this helpful

Love flylady.net is awesome.

2 moms found this helpful

Go to flylady.net she will help you establish routines that become healthy habits. I LOVE it....she is funny too. She talks about CHAOS ( which stands for Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome) which I had been living in = )
She talks about how you cannot clean clutter and helps you find ways to deal with it, baby steps for those of us who have issues...my own sister called me a Hoarder, but I have seen the show on A&E and no way is that me, but I did have some attachments to "stuff" and now I have been with FlyLady for the past couple years and I can tell you I do not like excess stuff...I have a very healthy relationship with "Things" now = )
She is also compassionate, she does not make you feel like you have to "do it all" when you learn the routines it makes it all very manageable.
Good luck!!! = )

2 moms found this helpful

The best advice is to take it one room a week. But in my case i will spend all day on the whole house and then go to bed exhausted.

1 mom found this helpful

My list seems to look like this every week and I transfer items over into another list. It's great to cross stuff off though! A few suggestions-if it's dishes, laundry-the great part is you can get laundry going and same with dishes (if you have dishwasher) as you work on other tasks. Sometimes, I will sweep all the rooms or get the cleaners going in the bathrooom and then come back to actually clean it-like the toilet for instance (let it stay in their for a bit before scrubbing)-or fold laundry while other loads are being washed. Save the bigger projects for when you know you have time to purge items or organize closets or something like that. Since no one usually sees my closets-those are lower on the list. When doing those projects-get three boxes or laundry baskets-Keep, Throw Away (Recycle if it's paper, plastic etc.) and Give Away (to others or Goodwill/Charity). Ask yourself, "Is it useful? Does it bring Joy? Do I Love this Item?" Be totally honest; put it in the box/basket accordingly. For Keep, put it in the room or space it belongs in; for Give Away, Have a bin or box these items continue to go in and then drop them off or Give them away to others within that week-don't hang onto them.

1 mom found this helpful

Try reading David Allen's Getting Things Done. You break your big list down into smaller lists based on context - phone calls to make, things to do at your computer, things in the kitchen, repeatable tasks, etc. That way when you're ready to tackle something, you can look at the appropriate list and go.

1 mom found this helpful

I have a little business heloony people do such things. It can really be helpful to have another person come and help. If you're interested private message me for rates, etc. Have a great day!

1 mom found this helpful

First, know that you are not alone! I think this is a never ending battle when you are working, taking care of a household & have a husband and child(ren). When I am overwhelmed, I look at my list and see if there is anything that has an actual due date. If so, you will have to get that done first. If there really isn't anything like that, just do anything that is on the list, no matter how big or small the task. I find that just getting something done makes me feel better and crossing something off feels good too. Try not to pressure yourself into feeling like you have to get things done in a certain time frame because there are always things that happen in life, that you can't control, that will take time away from your planned tasks. I know it seems counter productive at first, but take care of yourself. Get sleep, exercise, eat as well as you can, take time to relax. In the long run, you will have more energy & this all won't seem so overwhelming. Also, it is good to divide the list into things that need to get done & things that you would like to get done. That makes the working list shorter & less overwhelming and the other list is available so you won't forget about those things if/when you have some extra time. Some things may be on the "I would like to get this done" list for months (or years!) but that is OK. When your child(ren) grow up they will have happier memories of Mom playing games with them, etc. than they will about Mom's closets being spotless. Just close the closet doors when guests come over & try to remember that their houses probably look the same! I'm not saying that messy closets, etc. never bother me but I just try to keep it in perspective & keep a sense of humor. It will get easier as your kids get older too. Just take care of yourself & enjoy the time with the kids; the rest will get done eventually.

1 mom found this helpful

Begin by getting a babysitter...not that you want to pawm your child off, but if you do for 1 day, you'll get soo much more done...Perhaps a Grandma? I am sure they will gladly help! Next start in one room and work your way through...I usually begin with the downstairs, since that is what people see when they come over...my upstairs gets pretty messy! :) Just plug away, you'll get it!

1 mom found this helpful

Spread your list out. Don't look at the 20+ items.
Write down
MONDAY:
dust
vacuum
sweep
mop

TUESDAY:
grocery
toilets
1 load laundry

WEDNESDAY:
post office
hair done
1 load laundry

THURSDAY:
iron

FRIDAY:
windows
1 load laundry

If you want, add in the 'fun' things for each day too.
"playground, picnic, board games, movie ...."

1 mom found this helpful

I personally clean by rooms/area. Since having kids I've chosen what room/area I need to have cleaned to feel relaxed or at peace. For me its the kitchen. The rest of my house can be a mess, but if the kitchen is clean I finally can relax. So pretty much its the one room I generally pick up after all day long every day, and before bed its sparkling clean.

The rest of the house, sometimes I pick a room/ day--must most of the time I'm a weekend warrior. I ask my hubby to take the kids out for an hour and I do the big normal chores that aren't just completed during the week, vacuum, dust, mop, clean bathrooms, change sheets etc. If I then have more time I'll go back to the more tedious things like refolding the things in the linen closet, sorting through the kids shoes, changing out seasonal clothes etc.

Good Luck, I personally hate lists, my hubby can't function without. But we both meet in the middle and things seem to get done.

HTH

1 mom found this helpful

My latest attempt is simply to do 15-30 minutes every night before bed. When the time is up, I quit. If I start at 9:30, I say: "Ok, when the clock hits 10:00, I'm done." The house isn't immaculate, but because the day to day stuff is staying (somewhat) under control, when the weekend comes (or I have a day off) I can tackle a bigger projects like closets, the pile of magazines, etc. Maybe you could get your husband to help with the 15-30 minutes as well. (For some reason, the time works better in house than a specific task.)

1 mom found this helpful

Story of my life except DH does not help much and I have 3 little kids. I also work part-time opposite shifts.

The only thing I started that I love is to carry a trash bag around the house for 15 minutes and throw away as much as you can. Otherwise I just keep doing the same old dishes/laundry/pick-up rotation and never get to the deep cleaning.

1 mom found this helpful

I used to make lists of each little task. Didn't work with my personality because I loved to organize closets and such, and could spend way too much time on one task, in the midst of an untidy house. I have an awful time getting motivated for the basics. So now, before I let myself get bogged down in an organizational task, I set the timer for 10 minutes, quick declutter and sweep one room, ding!, set it again, start in another room, ding!, set it again, 10 minutes in another room. I do this for the kitchen, livingroom, bedrooms and bathrooms. I get so many basic things done in 10 minutes per room. And for whatever reason, I'm all psyched and energetic when the basics are done, that I usually do something more in depth. Best of luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I like Fly Lady too and have her book. So, I usually start in the kitchen and wash dishes and sweep the floor. Once that's done, I'll move on to the living/dining room area.

Clean up the clutter first - give yourself 15 minutes. If it doesn't belong in a room, get a laundry basket and pile the items in there. Don't put it away - that will come later.

Clean from the top on down. So, get the cobwebs in the corners first, dust, sweep/mop/vacuum.

Bathrooms are the same dealio. Top to bottom.

Bedrooms same, but I'll usually just vacuum if I don't have time to do anything else.

1 mom found this helpful

I am pretty orgnized. My house gets messy though because my kids are not and I get busy with them. I do one room at a time. Always even when I straighten up or actually clean. If I am in the living room and stuff belongs in another room I make a pile on the couch. Then when I am done I take or have the boys take the stuff up to their rooms or I put away where they go. Then I move on to the rest of the house. If you are overwhelmed then pick the smallest job on your list. Do one extra thing a day so you have time for fun stuff . Also f you're organizing say a closet and the room is a mess then clean the room first.

1 mom found this helpful

Start with tearing up and throwing away the list.
Do the important stuff like cleaning the bathroom and kitchen.
Ask yourself which is more important to spend 15 minutes reading to my child, or 15 minutes sorting through the old magazines.
Don't worry about the stuff that really doesn't matter. Someday you'll get to it, but if someday isn't for another 5 years, that's ok.

1 mom found this helpful

Begin w/going to bed earlier and getting a good night's rest. I believe motivation is tied to sleep.

Once you get in the habit of going to bed early, then try getting up earlier than your family, even if its 30mins.

A good night's rest in combination of having some quiet time might get you to prioritize and think more clearly in what to get done that day.

gl!

1 mom found this helpful

For to do's (non-cleaning) I alwasy have a list with two columns - one column is a to-do at home list (mail a card, re-organize a cupboard, change a lightbulb, whatever I've seen that's bothered me.) The other column is an errand type to-do (return a movie, groceries, etc.) I am constantly updating my lists - adding and crossing off daily. I have a goal to accomplish 2 things off the list daily and the errands only when I get to them. I feel crossing things off my list makes me feel like I have accomplished something and also keeps me motivated. Oh! I also have a separate list that I call project list. It's not really smaller day to day things but a list of big projects need to be done (staining the deck, going through boxes, etc.) I just tackle those once in awhile or when we have the extra time. This way I know to reference the quicker to do lists on a regular basis and not have to get confused reading through the million things going on in my mind :)

As far as cleaning, there are certain things I make myself do daily. Before I retire for the night - my dishes are done, counters wiped and floor swept. The rest, I tackle ona room to room basis. Once a week, I do a deeper clean/pickup of one room in the house. That way - hopefully nothing gets overlooked for too long. Also, I use the weekend when hubby is home to watch the kiddo so I can take an hour to do the bathrooms and vaccum. Thats basically it! Oh, and he does the laundry :)

Make chore lists maybe - if you liek to be super organized. With who has what chore and what day of the week it needs to be done.

1 mom found this helpful

Well, when I was out of college, and had my first job, I would make a list at work, of things to do. Apparently my boss liked this. Anyway, she'd ask to see my list, and request that I do the "hard stuff" first. She said, if you get that stuff out of the way, it's a piece of cake from there. I have taken that into my adult life now. Just do the big overwhelming stuff first. Then it won't seem so bad.

I like to read a few blogs that really inspire me. My favorite one is I Heart Organizing. I will never be *this* organized or clean but it gives me great ideas and gets me excited to get a project done. The more organized we are the easier it is to stay clean.

I like having the visual examples too.

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