Without a doubt, the problem my clients, friends, family and online followers present me with most often is "Claire, I'm so overwhelmed by my house and I just don't know where to start." So nothing too big, right?!
I'll let you in on a secret: sometimes I'm overwhelmed by the length of my to-do list. You're not alone! There's laundry falling out of the hamper, bags waiting to be donated to the charity shop, food going bad in the fridge and 15 half-finished projects.
In recent years I have finally taken a firm grasp on my overwhelm and I've shown it who is boss. ME. Your home does not have to be overwhelming and just a few, easily achievable daily habits will stop it ever feeling that way again.
I learned that choosing just five daily habits to integrate into my routine have transformed my home for the better with little to no effort from me. These are not difficult or complex tips, which is why I refer to them as "Adulting 101." It is simply a fact of adult life that we have to deal with these things. However, doing them daily can be transformative.
Without further ado, here are the five daily habits that I would encourage you to integrate into your daily routine right away to show your overwhelm who is boss (YOU!)
1. Make the bed
I cannot emphasise enough how transformative this simple daily habit is. It starts your day with the swelling pride of success, with order and will give you motivation by the bucketful. Adding this to your daily routine will take less than a minute - you don't need to make your bed to the standards of a 5-star hotel, just pull back your sheets and plump your pillows. Done.
2. Do the dishes
When you choose to do your dishes - after each meal or at the end of the day - is up to you, but waking up each morning to a sinkful of dirty dishes can be a real downer. Making sure your dishes are all cleaned (or at least in the dishwasher!) before bed each night will help you start your days with a cleaner home and less to worry about in the morning.
3. Do the laundry
You don't have to do laundry each and every day. How often you do laundry will depend on your lifestyle and the size of your household. BUT I recommend that you think about laundry each and every day. Check your laundry basket - is it overflowing? Then you need to do laundry that day. Is there a stack of clean clothes waiting to be put away? Do that now. Make sure that at the end of each day you've not left yourself stacks and stacks of laundry work to be done at a later date.
4. Sort the mail
So many of us have the bad habit of picking up the mail that comes through the door and chucking it down, unopened and unread, on the nearest surface. Trust me, I've been guilty of letting the mail mountain grow until it caused small mail avalanches. Making a daily habit of opening all mail and doing a quick preliminary sort will make all the difference. Dispose immediately of junk mail and envelopes, put the 'to-do' mail in a pre-planned spot to be dealt with. You don't need to go out and purchase any fancy mail sorters to organise your mail. But don't leave wobbling stacks of mail on your kitchen counters, all over your home office or next to the shower (just me who used to do that?)
5. Put your clothes away
This is the only one I will insist you really do daily. No excuses, no exceptions. Make a commitment to yourself: at the end of the day as you get ready for bed, you will not chuck your clothes on the floor, chair or bed. You will put them in the laundry hamper or hang and fold them ready for their next wear.
Say it with me: "I will put my clothes away each day. I will not dump my dirty socks on the floor. I will fold my clothes. I will not scatter used knickers throughout my home."
Just think how much easier getting ready will be if you don't have to sift through the mounds of dirty clothes on the floordrobe each morning?
If you manage to do these five simple tasks daily - or at least most days - give yourself a gold star and a big pat on the back. You're an A+ student of Adulting 101.
So go forward, equipped with the tools to start getting your overwhelm under control!