My Life is a Mess!

I have a scary secret that I need to talk about.

It’s embarrassing and disgusting and I just need to get it all out.

I live in a messy house.

My bathroom gets cleaned once a week, but always has a smell!

I’m not talking about just a little messy or disorganized, but I’m talking dog hair tumbleweeds and trash under the bed and dirty dishes piled up with flies in the kitchen. I’m talking about a dog that refuses to house train and finding towels on the floor that are soaked in urine and covering up piles of waste. I pick up the mess daily, but it multiplies before my eyes and I can’t handle it anymore.

I’ve talked about my depression many times, and this is a symptom, but it really just speaks to the dysfunction that is my life.

I need help. I need time. I need cooperation from my family!

I don’t know what to do or where to start. I don’t know how to clean, where to clean first, or how to keep it clean from day to day. I’ve taken a week off to clean from top to bottom, but it’s a never-ending battle and I can’t do this anymore.

My kitchen is a constant mess!

Let’s start in the kitchen.

There are dirty dishes in the sink. As soon as one of us gets the dishes in the dishwasher, we have a meal and it all begins again. The floor needs to be mopped and the dogs’ food is scattered in the corner. There are two boxes that need to be unpacked, two boxes that need to be thrown out, and a bag of trash that didn’t get taken out yesterday on trash day.

This area of my dining room is the catch-all for school papers and craft supplies!

Next is the dining room.

Every paper that Benjamin has brought home since starting Kindergarten is piled on a chair with a cardboard box of crayons, a craft box, and a bag of goodies that he won at Vacation Bible School. The table is at least cleaned off and only a notebook is sitting there now. There’s another chair with odds and ends and two bags that need to be unpacked. There’s a shelf up high that has our Bottle Cap Butterfly supplies waiting to be put away.

Don’t get me started on the bathroom.

Our pug, Abby, chooses to leave her messes in the bathroom. I clean it up as best I can, but if a towel or rug is left on the floor, she is sure to pee and poo on it. I clean the bathroom weekly, honestly, but it always seems to smell or look like a mess. I live with two boys who cannot seem to keep all their pee in the toilet!

My bedroom. Supposed to be my safe haven, relaxing and restful. Not so much in this house!

There are bottles and trash all over one side of the room and under the bed. All four posts to my four poster bed are covered in books, bottles, cups, papers, trash, and whatever else will fit. There are times when one of us reaches up to put something up there and we experience an avalanche. This room always has the most dog hair tumbleweeds because (1) the dogs live in here with us, and (2) it is the hardest to vacuum because of the huge bed, dresser, fan, extension cord, and you know, the trash. The dresser, by the way, has a large TV and more junk – a party favor from one of Benjamin’s friends, a few DVDs, loose change, and so on. My bed usually has a few toys, a few clothes, and my laptop. I have to balance it all between Howard and me just so I can stretch my legs and sleep.

Still needing to be unpacked after 3 months!

The living room…where no living actually happens.

I vacuum this room (and actually as much of the house as I can) at least weekly because of the dog hair. We have all wood floors so the hair is easily seen and I have a really fun vacuum that sucks it up quickly. This is the highlight of my week, actually, when I get the time to clean it up. My favorite thing about my weekend is when the boys play their video games and I get the time to clean, but then it all gets overwhelming.

My living room is divided into two parts with one being the main room and the other we have designated as Benjamin’s play area. The problem I have here is that we haven’t unpacked from moving in over 3 months ago. There are boxes of toys, boxes of stuff, just boxes everywhere. This room isn’t dirty, but rather disorganized and overwhelming. I want to get all the boxes out to the mud room and unpack them one by one.

Benjamin’s room is the least used and the cleanest room.

You see, Benjamin doesn’t sleep in his room often. He plays in there occasionally. It’s mainly a storage place for his clothes. By the way, I’m the world’s worst about not putting clothes away properly. I hang up his shirts, but everything else gets piled on top of his dresser.

So, there you have it. My world is a mess. My house is a mess. My mind is a mess.

I need help.

Where do I start? What do I do? How do I get my family to help? Do I need their help? Shouldn’t I be able to maintain my house as a woman, a mom, a wife?

If you’re wondering what I’m doing about this mess now…check out my Clean House Advent Calendar going on in December!

I’m looking for tips and encouragement, so lay it on me!

I am linked up to Pour Your Heart Out on Things I Can’t Say.



  1. Jaime says:

    This really could be me, Janet. Not kidding. When depression hits me hard, I can’t do anything but lay in bed and order crap from Amazon. It’s bad. I have been snapping out of it… slowly but I am overwhelmed. Thanks for pouring your hear out here!
    Jaime recently posted..Mini No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake in a JarMy Profile

  2. Maria says:

    Hi Sweetie,

    On Dreamwidth there is a nice group called BiteSized cleaning. THey are extremely helpful. is also helpful (but not geared for those of us with limitations like depression, or fibromyalgia, etc)

    I know you can do this. I understand the problem, I have it myself. YOU REALLY DON”T WANT TO SEE MY SPACE!

    I hope that helps.


  3. This entire post has me sobbing, Janet. Every word and photo could be mine. Except that I don’t have the kids in the picture. It’s just Brian and I, so WHY can’t I do this? WHY am I not good enough to wage the war against depression? I’m tired of not having energy, of not having a place to sit down to dinner, of being ashamed of myself. I’m tired of seeing an inch of cat hair on the carpets, bedspread, and furniture. I hate that we can’t have friends over (even if we did, we don’t own a couch or chairs for anyone to sit on). I feel like I’m living in the town dump.

    It’s been a few months since you posted this. Are things better? More manageable? If so, what steps did you take or are you taking? I don’t know where to start, and I need your encouragement! Maybe we can do this together!
    Becca from ItsYummi! recently posted..Sweet ‘n Tangy Egg Salad Sandwich RecipeMy Profile

    • janet says:

      Oh Becca! I am here for you and now you know that I totally get it! Here’s what helped me finally get it done. First, I posted this and put it out there to the world. I know you have a food blog so please feel free to guest post on my blog and put it all out there to the world. After I posted this, I got lots of support through comments, emails, Facebook messages, and so on. People either “got it” because they were in this situation also or they had tips or just words of encouragement. Second, I started taking the advice one nugget at a time, one space at a time, and definitely one day at a time. Check out my progression with the posts under this tag – – and see how I started out strong and doing one thing daily and then I scaled way back because I just couldn’t do it all. I ended up posting just a few times with my progression because that is how long it took me to get it cleaned up. Here’s the thing, though, my house has NOT stayed this clean. I didn’t even touch my bedroom in these posts because it is currently the worst. And as I went along, more messes came along as well. My dining room is almost back to this disarray again. My floors are a mess of dog hair tumbleweeds again, and I have two piles of clothes and linens that needs cleaning that my pug has decided to use as her pee pads. While I cleared a ton of clutter from several spaces, the clutter just comes back. I tackle it one space at a time again and I can say that my husband is a huge help. The one room in our house that is clean right now is the kitchen because (1) my husband cleaned it on Monday, and (2) we have been eating out.

      So..I’ve rambled enough to say this – I get it! I’m here for you. Email me, FB message me, or just comment here if you need more support. You can do it just like I did and I want to hear how you’re doing! If you need more support on your depression in general, search depression on my blog or anxiety and look at everything I’ve written about my own depression from my childhood all the way up to now (just last Friday!).

  4. Shell says:

    I let my house get away from me last year. Depression and too much else to do got me so far behind that I could never catch up. We moved and I vowed it wouldn’t happen again. Get the family to help and get everything clean. Then work on a system to keep up with it on a more daily/weekly basis. You can do it!
    Shell recently posted..Keeping the Kitchen Clean with #DitchandSwitchMy Profile

  5. Kerri (TheMaven) says:

    I too, am a pack rat! And I too, am starting a purge today! We’re in this together!
    Kerri (TheMaven) recently posted..Holiday Craft: Advent Calendar TinsMy Profile

  6. Brandi says:

    Your house is not a mess. It’s clutter. I deal with it, too. You are doing the right thing by admitting to it. It’s hard when you don’t have the space for everything…or the time or energy to deal with it. My suggestion is this: Set a timer and clean for 15 minutes each day. Dishes have to get done every night. Throw away at least 5 things every day. And keep us updated so we can keep encouraging you! <3
    Brandi recently posted..Honey Corn Cakes with Sauteed KaleMy Profile

  7. Alicia says:

    First of all, it takes a strong woman to acknowledge that they need help so you have taken a huge first step 🙂 I struggle with the same issues of clutter and a messy home. I put my family and my job & blog first and my house often ends up last. The only thing I have found that works is to clean it from top to bottom and then pick it up mid-day and then before bed. If we don’t I wake up to a few messy things and don’t have any encouragement to keep it clean the next day. Also, start in one space. Once you see that one area clean hopefully it will motivate you to clean another area. I know it’s hard, especially with depression, but don’t give up hope! Feel free to reach out to me via email if you need someone to talk to or need someone to hold you accountable 🙂
    Alicia recently posted..Our Favorites From The Chicago Toy & Game FairMy Profile

  8. Tiffany says:

    Oh girl!! Life has a way of getting in the way of things we “should” be doing. You will conquer this! I’ll be praying for you!!

  9. lisa lo says:

    Just me and my son. I am a neat freak and he is a slob.
    (I can’t stand to look in his room) I am thinking of shoveling it out come spring and starting over.
    I try my best EVERY SINGLE DAY to keep things clean, and it does drive ya nutz…clean, clean, clean. I have 3 cats and every morning I walk on cat litter in my kitchen. Maybe dropped poop. If the litter box ain’t clean enough they can o their business elsewhere, once on my bed.
    So I hear ya about depression. me too) Find something to motivate you and try to get a good laugh everyday even via youtube.
    This cracks me up
    And try the Japanese pranks They are hilarious.
    You have to get help with the cleaning too . It is nearly impossible to do it alone.

  10. I VERY MUCH struggle with keeping the house clean too. My room is the one where all the clutter gets stored. It all feels like so much more than I can keep up with right now. The kids help some but…. My main issue with it is that I don’t want to have people over since the house is never clean. Kind of hard to be hospitable that way!
    Esther Irish recently posted..Join in the #HolidayMM Twitter PartyMy Profile

  11. Sarah says:

    I understand. We have similar problems with our dog. We have not had any carpets or rugs since we got him 7 years ago. We just had to change our ways and NEVER put any clothes, towels, shoes, anything with fabric on the floor. The only thing he hasn’t gone to the bathroom on is his own blanket. He still poos on the floor. I hate folding clothes once they are washed. I got in a good habit of folding them after they were washed for a time, but I always go back to my old ways of dumping the clothes in the guest room. Now I have a mountain to fold before Thanksgiving tomorrow. Go to youtube and type in homeorganizing (all one word). There is this lady named Alejandra that is really sweet and has tons of great videos. It’s good inspiration and some of the tips have really helped me to organize my kitchen cabinets at least. You are doing great. Depression sucks. Are you keeping up your Vitamin D levels? October and November are especially difficult for me not getting out in the sun enough. 🙂
    Sarah recently posted..Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card: Anything Goes Giveaway Event!My Profile

  12. Darcy says:

    We struggle with clutter and staying organized. The cleanest it gets is when we plan for company. Everyone needs to pitch in. Even Rissa has to help when we clean up. It’s tough, I know, especially with depression. I feel better just picking one corner to go through completely.
    Darcy recently posted..Family Game Night With Jenga Tetris & Tetris Cookies!My Profile

  13. Start with one room at a time, one day at a time.
    Rafael Marquez recently posted..Disappointed With COTAMy Profile

  14. Jenn L says:

    It’s a never ending battle in my house, too. We have a box or two piled in every room except the kids’ bedrooms and our bathrooms. I am the slob, and most of the stuff is mine or my responsibility (to divvy out to the kids or for the kitchen or whatever), so it’s a lot of pressure and stress. I totally feel ya.
    Jenn L recently posted..I am Thankful for…My Profile

  15. Jared Delaney says:

    It’s a daily effort, seriously. I don’t have a family and my stuff can out of control fast. A lot of this probably has to do with organization as well. Make sure you have the space and tools/products in order help you stay organized. If you have too much clutter, then get rid of it. A really cluttered, full space will make you feel trapped in your own home. Only keep things visible that you really use a LOT. Keep countertops as empty as possible. Always be in the mindset that guests are coming over later. As a single guy, I have dates quite often and my place has to be spotless. Create a party! That will force you to clean the heck out of the palce haha.

    • janet says:

      You crack me up! The only time that my house looks good is once a year at my son’s birthday party in February. I take a week off work and clean from top to bottom! I love all the tips, though, and this is such a soul-cleansing experience to have it all written down and people writing back as supportive and helpful. Thank you!

  16. Brooke says:

    By steps mama, baby steps! And your family HAS to help! Dishes- I run the dishwasher twice a day, morning and evening. There’s always going to be a dish or 2 (or 6!) in the sink, don’t stress as long as they’re getting done daily. The dog is a huge issue. It needs to be housebroken. Let him out once an hour, and crate him with a puppy pad whenever you’re not able to directly supervise him. I fail horribly at organizing paper junk too. That was piled in the kitchen right? That’s where mine collects too. Go through anytime you have a spare 5 minutes in the kitchen- like while something is cooking in the microwave- just give it 5 minutes at a time, no more. Pitch everything unnecessary and take pictures of your son’s artwork- use the free photobook codes to make a photobook of his artwork! In my opinion, actual cleaning doesn’t sound like the problem- the problem is clutter- don’t let it take over anymore! But also don’t burn yourself out trying to get rid of it. Set a timer for 15 minutes each day and go through the house with a garbage bag getting rid of everything you don’t absolutely need. And if you’re having a hard time letting go (often the case with depression- I’ve been there!) don’t be afraid to seek professional help! Please reach out if you need anyone to talk to- I HAVE BEEN THERE! Hugs mama!!!!!

  17. Dorenda says:

    No one should be expected to do it all on their own. I have family members that are great with organizing and throwing things away, but then I also have family members that run more on the hoarding side of life. It’s a delicate balance of knowing what to keep and what to get rid of. Sometimes I’ll set a timer for 10-20 minutes and concentrate on one part of a room. I usually feel better about the remaining clutter, knowing that I’ve gotten rid of some of it.

    Yes, everyone that lives in a house/apartment/whatever should be responsible for helping to keep it clean and orderly.

  18. Emily says:

    Oh friend, it is so hard to focus on cleaning on a home when you’re struggling with depression. I’m sad for you. But so proud of you for asking for help.

    My advice: start with one room at a time. I’d focus on the kitchen first, you need a clean environment to prepare and serve healthy meals to your family. Take everything out of your cabinets and using a sponge with soapy warm water, wash the cabinets out. Discard all expired food/condiments/stale things and toss broken plates/cups/bowls and create a donate pile for dishes you do not need/use that others could put to good use. Clean out your refrigerator using the same method. Then vacuum & wash the floors. Take a step back and feel proud of you’re work.

    As for keeping it clean every day – immediately after a meal, put your dishes into the dishwasher/wash the others that don’t get cycled through the dishwasher and store leftovers in easy to view containers. Remind yourself that you’re doing this to create a healthy environment for Benjamin to live, grow, and thrive.

    Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I’ll be cheering you on!!
    Emily recently posted..Homemade Cranberry SauceMy Profile

  19. Sara Theissen says:

    Your happiness, your child’s happiness, your husband and dog’s happiness…and most of all, your worth…is not determined by seeing your floor!!!
    YES, there is a level of hygiene to be maintained for sanitary and health reasons.

    But the clutter, the mess, doesn’t make you any less of a woman, wife, or mother.

    With that being said, all you can do is tackle one thing at a time within your sanity limits, lol. The only advice I try to follow is to clean up messes while they are small, so you don’t get overwhelmed by something huge!

    Good luck!

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