A cartoon of a man trying to get their house in order as they juggle chores.

Is your home always messy and overwhelming? Do you need to get your house in order?

A small thing you can tackle that will have a big impact on your life is getting your life together at home. Sarah Knight says many of us feel overwhelmed by keeping our house clean or staying on top of home improvement projects.

Take a look at how to get your house in order with her four-step process for managing your home.

Organize Your Home

The first piece of advice on how to get your house in order is to ask yourself, what’s your goal? Is it to have a pristine kitchen? Minimal clutter? As you create your goal, think about the reason behind it. Sometimes we think our home should look a certain way, but we actually don’t care. If that’s the case, let this goal go. But if your goal is important to you, then make a plan, prioritize, and implement the plan. 

If cleaning your whole home at once is overwhelming, break it down into smaller tasks—maybe you do a room a day or one type of task at a time (tidying, wiping surfaces, vacuuming, and so on) Knight recommends setting a timer for 20 minutes once a day or every couple of days and doing whatever needs to be done for those 20 minutes. She explains that a little bit every day has a big impact.

The Psychological Benefits of a Clean Home

Whether or not you care about keeping your house clean, some psychologists argue that a well-kept house offers a variety of psychological benefits, including: 

Increased feelings of accomplishment: Cleaning done right makes your home beautiful and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Such feelings can boost your self-esteem and self-confidence.

Enhanced focus: A tidy space means fewer distractions. When your surroundings are organized, your mind is less cluttered, which improves your focus on tasks.

Reduced stress and anxiety: Clutter can create a feeling of chaos that may lead to stress and anxiety. A clean and organized home provides a calming environment, reducing overall stress levels.

Better sleep: Fewer distractions in your living environment can contribute to a higher quality of sleep. A calm, orderly space is conducive to rest and relaxation.

Improved relationships: A clean and organized home often leads to fewer arguments about chores and clutter, which can improve relationships with those you live with.

When it comes to home management, Knight encourages delegation when possible. She acknowledges that not everyone has the privilege to hire someone to fix that broken screen door or clean their house once a month, but she encourages people to delegate when they can. For example, it’s reasonable to expect that kids or roommates contribute to the work of keeping your home clean and organized.

(Shortform note: While delegation can be a helpful strategy to offload some of your domestic labor, it often comes with an invisible mental load, especially for women. In her book, Fed Up, Gemma Hartley explains that though delegation seems like a potential solution to shared domestic labor, the management of the tasks still often falls to women, creating an unequal mental burden of responsibility. Hartley argues that to shift this dynamic, we need to acknowledge and value the often invisible emotional labor performed by women. Instead of delegation, she advocates an open dialogue that allows the mental load of managing domestic tasks and errands to be consciously shared within a household.)

How to Get Your House in Order: Home Management Advice

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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