How to Clean When You’re Overwhelmed


I’m a messy cook, I’ll admit it. I’m not overly fond of cooking, but creating healthy meals for my family is important to me. On the nights when I feel rushed and like everyone is waiting for me, I tend to kind of blow up the kitchen. Some people are so great at cleaning as they go, but I tend to be more of a whirlwind in the kitchen.

Have you ever had one of those days when you looked at your kitchen and all you could see was a mess? A dishwasher that needed to be unloaded, dishes in the sink, groceries on the counter and a food and dish mess from cooking or baking? When you look around and there is something on every surface, it can sure feel overwhelming. Where do you even start? It can be tempting to want to just walk away.

You may feel like you need to clean it all at once and end up jumping around the kitchen working in a scattered manner. The best strategy I’ve found is break it down and stick with one area at a time until it’s done. Then move onto the next area. Here are some strategies you can consider the next time you’re cleaning a room that feels overwhelming:

·        Set a timer to help light a fire under yourself to get you moving.

·        Put on some music to keep you company and keep you moving.

Here’s what it can look like to tackle that kitchen efficiently:

·        Empty the dishwasher

·        Load the dirty dishes into the dishwasher

·        Throw away garbage

·        Put away groceries

·        Wipe down the counters

·        Sweep the floor

It may sound pretty basic, but when you’re staring down that mess, it really can feel paralyzing. No matter what room of your home you’re cleaning or organizing, you can break it down into sections and tackle each small area until you’re done. You know how to eat that elephant-one bite at a time! 

Monika Kristofferson is a professional organizer and owner of Efficient Organization in Snohomish County.

 Courtesy of my Efficient Organization column in the Lake Stevens Ledger.

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