Overwhelmed Because Your Place is a Real Mess? Start Here.

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

When you it’s time to buckle down and get organized, not knowing where to start or what to do can leave you feeling totally defeated—and getting out from under whatever it is that’s overwhelming you can seem impossible.

For some people, keeping things clean and organized and staying on top of the chores is just another part of their routine to breeze right through. But just because it’s easy for some people doesn’t mean it’s easy for everyone, or that you’re doing something wrong if it’s not easy for you—you’re just doing the best that you can.

Whether you’re busy and super stressed or you’re dealing with depression, finding the time and getting yourself into the right head space to do anything—let alone clean your apartment—can be a challenge. So the best thing you can do if you want to start working on making progress? Take it one small step at a time. Focus on doing just one thing, and from there you can ease into more things.

The perfect place to get started? The floor

You don’t have to clean the entire floor, but here’s why starting there helps: it will make the most difference when it’s done, and won’t take that much out of you.

Think about it: The floor tends to be the first place that gets messy when you don’t have it in you to put things away—things get left on or moved to the floor to get them out of the way, but the more things that make their way to the floor, the more cluttered everything looks (and the more stressed out it can make you feel). When the floor is clean, everything else starts to feel cleaner—and less frustrating, too.

Plus, it doesn’t require a lot of effort in comparison to other clean-up tasks, and that’s perfect for when you’re feeling completely overwhelmed. You can sit on one spot on the floor and slowly start going through your things, putting them in piles to be organized or thrown away (or donated, in the case of old clothes you don’t wear anymore, for example).

Once you see part of the floor cleared, you might start to feel a little less overwhelmed, and hopefully that will inspire you to keep going. If it doesn’t and you can only get a portion of the cleaning done, that’s okay too—progress is progress regardless, and every small step you take matters.