This is one of the oldest and most searched for posts on my blog; I hope you find it helpful!  I still use this method all the time! 

I normally keep up with basic housekeeping on the weekends by using morning and evening routines.  It’s simple stuff that keeps my life from spiraling down into general untidiness.

But this weekend, I just didn’t wanna.  After waiting way too long to engage in social activity, I got out and didn’t want to go home. On Sunday when nightfall came, all good things came to and end.   I found myself in the doldrums of Sunday evening under three days worth of dishes, laundry and crafting.

To give you an idea, here’s a little bit of what I was greeted with on Monday morning when I woke up:

Yes, that is a dirty diaper on my kitchen table.  And a play cookie on an iPhone.  I don’t know.  These things happen.

I break my process into stages because as a mom of two littles, my life is lived in fifteen minute increments!  The secret to this method? Less THINKING, more DOING!

Get yourself together

Take a deep breath and repeat to yourself:  I AM BIGGER THAN THIS MESS.   Now channel your inner June Cleaver.  You’re useless to the world in pajamas.  Grab some basic hygiene, your supplements and some coffee.  Trust me.  It works better this way.

You are now ready to face anything.

Super Fast Sort

You will need two laundry baskets and a plastic bag.

When your house is in utter disarray, the worst thing you can do is start obsessing about the details.  You need instant, visual gratification so you can gain momentum.

After years of studious analysis, I have concluded that all messy houses are made up of three things:

1.) Dirty Laundry

2.) Trash

3.) Stuff that Does Not Belong (either needs to be donated or put away)

We address these first because it will make your house feel insta-clean.


One of the laundry baskets is for dirty laundry.  The second basket is for stray items that do not belong.  The plastic bag is for straight up trash.

Without much thought, fly through each room of the house gathering dirty laundry, trash, and all stray items.


Stray item = basket.

If a particular item belongs in that room (like blocks on the nursery floor), you can leave it.  You will get to that later when you do basic tidying.

Not sure if it’s trash?  Basket.

Find a $100 bill?

Basket.  Basket.  Basket.

Your basket should be a fairly random pile of foolishness.  Receipts mixed in with a pile of headbands and play cookies will make your OCD start to twitch, but just ignore it.  I had two baskets of mayhem when I was done.

Here is what the inside of my “stray items” baskets looked like:


When I’m finished gathering, I put my laundry, trash and stray items in one spot where I can deal with them later.  For me, that spot is the kitchen table.

There it is.  My messy house.  Yours may be a bigger pile, or a smaller one.  Doesn’t matter.

Once the the bulk of the chaos is cleared away, I can actually think straight!  My quality of life just went up like 100 points.

Do a basic tidy

I move on to the next step which is my basic tidying.  That includes tasks like making beds, picking up toys, and doing the dishes.

When this step is done you’ll start to feel like life is worth living again.

Trash and Laundry

Take the trash out and start a load of laundry.  Ah.  Instant gratification.  Two big things are instantly cleared from your pile.  Plus, the washer is going, which makes everything feel better anyways.

Stray Items

Your final step is to put away the foolishness in the baskets.

I save this for the end because it requires the most thought.  If you want to, you can leave this part for when the house is quiet and the kids are napping.

I complete the last step by sorting my baskets into piles according to where they belong.  Like this:

Then I deliver each pile to it’s home.  I have to credit my mom with being the queen of the oh-so-tedious “sort and deliver.”  She taught me her ways.

And there you are.  You have just tackled a messy house and showed it who is boss.

This particular day, I started at 9:30 and was finished by 12:30.  This was with snacks, lunch, naps,  a toddler and a teething infant by my side.

So, how do YOU tackle a messy house?  Give me your secrets!  Pinterest is waiting!