If you have a really messy house and don’t even know where to start, then my response to this students recent email will walk you step by step through fixing the situation in even the worst circumstances. This is the email I got yesterday…
“I need help. I don’t even know where to start with my messy house. It’s so bad. I read your emails and I want to start doing it but my house is trashed. Every room is filled with stuff. I have projects that I meant to do but never did, my husband never fixes anything around the house so I feel like everything is broken, and getting worse.
Every single task feels overwhelming. Unload this dishwasher? All of my cabinets are completely stuffed, there’s nowhere to put the dishes. The silverware drawer doesn’t even close because there’s too much in it. Do the laundry? I can’t even walk into my daughter’s room it’s so bad. And most of our clothes are on the floor of the bedroom or piled on the floor of the small closet (which I can’t walk into). I don’t own a dresser and I don’t have the money to buy one (and I don’t have someone to move it in any way even if I did, he won’t do it).
My daughter had a friend over who grabbed a yogurt out of the fridge to find out it’s expired by more than 6 months. I was so embarrassed. My daughter was upset, but I had to call the girl’s mom and explain. I can’t live like this anymore. I’ve been loving your money advice (started using Qube for meals out and incidentals and have loved that) but I don’t have time for any of it.
I wish I could just walk away from it all and start over but I can’t even do that because of our money situation (which is just as bad as the messy house). I’m not even sure what I’m looking for from you. I guess I just need to know where to start?”
How can I fix my messy house?
Here’s the thing. I’m going to tell you where to start, but you also need to know that this WILL work for you.
We specialize in the worst cases of chronic disorganization. While the majority of our readers and students are mild cases… they’re laundry and dishes are a bit crazy, they eat out too much, and they struggle sticking to a budget.
We create and test our systems specifically to work for the toughest cases like yours (and trust me when I say you’re not even close to the toughest case). Because when we do that, it works for you and our mild case students are super easy fixes. It’s a win/win.
I can tell you that our methods will work for you because they’ve worked for hundreds of thousands of others like you… We get emails every day from readers and students.
Like Meredith, who emailed us…
“I had almost no faith in this working because nothing else ever has. But it did. I don’t even recognize my house anymore. We stopped using credit cards, and haven’t borrowed money since we started and we budget every month and have been for 5 months and counting. You worked a miracle in my family. Thank you for doing the work you do.”
Now, for the how…
Ignore the mess.
I need you to solve one problem at a time, as I give them. If you’re in Hot Mess to Home Success (our signature step-by-step comprehensive course) then I give you the assignments to complete which makes this easy. But I need you to ignore all of those messes, the overflowing cabinets, and everything else and JUST DO the bare minimum effort on a consistent basis.
It’s the ONLY way you’ll ever make a long term change with your messy house.
Start with foundation.
Every Day: The ONLY things you need to do are…
- Your dishes (one load a day, hand washing larger items like pots and pans if you can’t fit it all into one load, and leaving your sink clear at night).
- The laundry (just washing what your family wore last night and adding in as many extras from the pile to get caught up slowly over time)
- Your schedule book (leaving it one spot always, like your kitchen counter, open to the current week. Text yourself reminds of things to put it in then glance at it once a day and add in anything you’ve texted yourself).
All three of these combined takes about 15 minutes to get through.
(hint: Because a washing machine and dishwasher take time, you have to set up a routine. The secret here is to leave the washer and dryer and dishwasher empty at the end of the day so there’s no barriers to getting it done quickly the next day.)
Before Work: Put in your clothes and start the washer. 2 minutes.
After Work: Switch clothes to the dryer (which should be left empty from yesterday). 2 minutes.
After Dinner: Fold clothes and put them away (or leave them in baskets, one basket for each member of the family plus one extra basket for towels, so you can distribute the baskets to the right room at the end of the week). 4 minutes.
Then load the dishwasher and run. 3 minutes.
Before Bed: Put dishes away. 2 minutes.
Next, check your schedule book. 2 minutes.
(Don’t believe my times? Time yourself and prove me wrong).
Level up to decluttering.
After that’s become routine for you, then we’re going to start decluttering for another 5 – 15 minutes a day. If you do 15 minutes a day, I’ll be thrilled, but if you do 5 minutes a day, I’ll also be thrilled. You just aren’t allowed to do more than 15 minutes a day. (I’ll explain that in the next section).
Go to whatever area bothers you the most and just start trashing things. First, you usually just throw out actual trash, then you throw out things that you don’t need or use, and finally (eventually, it may not be for a while, you use the “do I love it, do I use it, does it bring me joy test” determine what to toss.
This catches you up over time and is the only guaranteed way to start reversing the trashing of your house. This is the only way to get rid of a messy house.
Stop doing things.
After you do your 15 minutes of dishes, laundry, and schedule book and your 5-15 minutes of decluttering then we actually cut you off. This gets you out of the trashed to untrashed cycle (where you’re either “on” and cleaning and making progress or “off” and giving up, making everything worse.
The off periods are usually weeks to months and the “on periods are days” and the cycle lasts for years. The only way to get out of this and fix your messy house for good is a bare minimum effort on a consistent basis where you train your brain to see that not only is it way easier to do it my way. You get what you want (free time to spend as you want) AND it actually works. (It’s actually the only thing that works in your situation).
After you’ve done the bare minimum then you need to do the things you actually want to do.
- Bubble baths?
- Trash reality TV marathons?
- Whatever you really want to do.
That part is just as important as everything else. Yes, that means that if you want to fix your house then at some point, you’re going to have to sit and read and do fun things while your house is still trashed. We do this because if we don’t, then the reward for being productive and making huge strides in your house is…. More work.
We need to change the narrative and train your brain that when you get the bare minimum done quickly then you get to do the things you really want to do. So you get the things you want by doing the things you need to do.
Level up to routines.
At this point, you’re significantly less stressed, your messy house is running smoothly (though it’s still not really “clean,” it’s just not really negatively impacting you). You can see for yourself that not only does this work really well, but it’s significantly easier than anything else you’ve ever tried.
Now take the skills that are already working (easily for the first time ever) and level them up to meal planning, budgeting, a simplified cleaning routine and then go conquer the world doing whatever you were meant to do in it (which I think we can agree is not dishes and laundry).
We teach you simple routines which let you easily master complex routines (like budgeting and meal planning) with very little effort and we ALWAYS work with your unique personality by using what you WANT as a motivator to do what you need to do. It works incredibly well.
If you’re in Hot Mess to Home Success (our signature step-by-step course that teaches you a bare minimum effort on a consistent basis in every aspect of your home).
We teach you how to do the same thing so that you can…
- Meal plan and actually stick to it.
- Budget (and stick to it)
- Pay off debt (while you don’t feel insanely restricted, yes, even in your hopeless situation).
- Set up a realistic cleaning routine that will change your life.
It would take me literally all week to explain those steps (and it wouldn’t help you anyway). Because until you’ve done all of the steps above, it won’t work. So start with the above steps for now and then we can level up after those are done.
I know how hard it is to try (again) after you’ve tried and failed so many times. But you need to understand why this is different and why nothing else has ever worked for you before.
Why this works With Messy Houses.
Work with your unique personality. Everything we teach HAS to work even if you don’t have the natural motivation to want to do it. We don’t rely on willpower (because that’s not a thing in the toughest cases of chronic disorganization). And we always create a natural and immediate reward of what you want most in that moment when you do the things you need to do. The results are incredible and life-changing and will have a HUGE impact on your messy house.
Only do the things that matter. We focus on bare minimum effort on a consistent basis. We remove every natural barrier to doing the things you need to do. And, we throw out all the traditional rules and we teach you what actually matters (hint: like 87% of the stuff you’re doing doesn’t matter).
Master things in the right order. We teach simple routines before complex routines. Breaking every task down into the smallest possible steps and teach you to do it in a way that removes all obstacles. We work with your unique personality so that you WANT to do it (even when you don’t have the natural motivation). And we skill build every single step so that the next level is easy to master.
I know you’re overwhelmed right now, and I know you’re scared to fail. This isn’t your fault. You never learned how to do this stuff (I wish they would teach this in school instead of calculus). But this is FIXABLE.
You can totally do this!
P.S. You can learn more about Hot Mess to Home Success here.