How to Clean When You’re Depressed

I’ve heard that trying to keep the house clean with young kiddos is like trying to shovel the driveway in the middle of a blizzard.  It’s the truth.  Some people manage to keep their houses in a state that can accept visitors with only 10 minutes notice…..just please don’t try doing that here.

My piles have given birth to little piles of their own, and they’re running around with no one to rein them in or to teach them to sit and stay.

Add the Big D (ahem…..Depression, that is) on top of it, and it’s like you’ve got your hands tied to your feet and all you can do is stare in wonderment at how quickly those stinkers reproduce.

SO.  Today we’re going to talk about Disaster Prevention. Or Preventative Maintenance, if you will.

Those half-full (I’m pretending to be an optimist here – don’t let it fool you!) cups of liquid that your kiddos (or whomever….) left behind? Bring them to the sink.  Now.  Before they get knocked over and you have to clean up the spill AND put the cup in the sink.

The bowl of cheerios sitting out? Put that away too.  Not later.  As soon as you notice it.  We’re preventing more messes, remember.  (Think of how many times you’ll have to sweep or vacuum otherwise.  Trust me, you don’t want to do that ALL. DAY. LONG.)

The point is, get it out of there before it multiplies the mess.

While you’re at it, make sure that you have a cordless hand vac for all of the little food messes.  I asked for one a few years ago for Mother’s Day. BEST Mother’s Day present ever.  Sure, I like nice jewelry or pretty flowers (or gift cards….ahem), but this is the one that has served me the best.

I know, I know.  You’re thinking “just train your kids to pick up after themselves”.   It’s in the works, trust me.  One thing at a time.  If it makes you feel better, have your kids put away the half-empty things before they get spilled.  Let them run the hand vac.  It’s fun for them, and it saves you from having to do it at least once or twice in a day.

If you get a burst of energy, go ahead and do the dishes and swish the toilet. There, good.

But if you’re still tied up and unable to peel yourself off the couch to clean, just take stock of the pre-mess and catch it before it breeds. “Cuz that’s what it does as soon as you turn your back.

Now we’ll go one step farther – grab a little trash can and put one in every room.  Put one by the washer & dryer for when you cut the tags off of the clothing or need to clean the lint screen.  Put another one in the living room where you’re picking up 90 million pieces of garbage anyway.  Garbage cans go in the bedrooms, too.  Make it easy for everyone to help get things into those garbage cans.

I found that even though the recycling bin was one room away from the kitchen, too often cans and jars were being left on the counter and then forgotten about.  It was as if that one room was too far away for us to just bring it in there and be done already (though it is too big to be in the kitchen itself).  It happens, I get it.  Do yourself a favor and put an extra garbage can in the kitchen to collect recyclables.

I love getting mail – especially when there are fun goodies waiting for me in the mailbox.  Inevitably, however, there will be junk in there, too.  As you walk in the house from the mail box, the junk goes straight into the recycle bin. It does not pass go or collect $200.  Do not give it a chance to multiply!

These are just a few small things that will hopefully help.  It’s not going to get the whole house company-ready, but at least it keeps things from snowballing too far out of control.  Once you get out of your funk (and you WILL get out of it!), you can work on the bigger things.  For now it’s the baby steps that will get your through.

Maybe next time you’re headed to the bathroom you’ll pick up that piece of laundry that you’ve stepped over 4,000 times and toss it in the hamper.  You might even remember to tell the kids to pick up those alphabet magnets off the floor before you step on them again!  (Do it.  Those stinkers hurt!)

Breathe deep, mama.  You can do this!

{Photo Credit}


  1. Marvellous Great post…….

  2. Stopped over from the Allume link-up. Some real wisdom here. It's been many years since I've had little ones leaving half-full cups around my house, but I found myself agreeing with many of the little steps here on your list. My favorite–getting rid of the junk mail before it ever makes its way into the house.