The Messy Person’s Guide to a Tidy House: Part 5

There are times when you realise that the tide of mess is actually beyond the ability of any one person. It is possibly beyond the ability of two people. It has reached the point where you actually need to change the way you organise your house in order to reclaim some space, both physical and mental. But the way you organise your house can be quite a personal matter, there are things that are done just so because you’ve always done it like that, it can even be genetic, passed down from grandparent to parent to you, and now, consciously or subconsciously, you are showing your children how to do it the same way. Stacking the dishes, keeping the craft projects, folding the clothes, ignoring the piles of unopened bills – they are habits of a lifetime and somehow they don’t appear to be connected to the chaos of stuff that threatens to consume every last available surface.

And yet they are.

There are ways to combat the mess and while these solutions might be a little confronting (in the same way a self-improvement course might make you feel out of your comfort zone), in the long run, the results can be amazing. Many think hiring a regular cleaner will solve the problem, but the problem starts right there with the name. Cleaner. A cleaner will come and wipe surfaces, scrub bathrooms, get oily fingermarks off glass and vacuum under the beds. A cleaner will not sort out the massive pile of paperwork on the kitchen bench, nor will they fold 13 loads of laundry and put them away into the correct drawers. They won’t arrange the pantry and nor will they open the cupboards and sort out the tsunami of stuff you’ve been stuffing in there every time the cleaner is due to come.

Selina Brooks of Icadoo, a company who will de-clutter your home, reorganise your habits and leave you with a house a cleaner can clean, says that her clients are divided into two basic groups. There are those who keep stuff because it might be useful later (they have the potential to become hoarders) and those who keep things for sentimental reasons (they too have the potential to become hoarders). Either way, what they usually need to do is change some behaviour patterns. One of Selina’s key messages is “don’t bring it into the house”. This applies in particular to paperwork. She suggests leaving a box or bin at the door to put all junk and unnecessary mail into before it comes into the house. In addition, cut down on the number of paper bills you receive – many companies will issue digital invoices now and all payment records are online so keeping a paid bill is not essential. Paper clutter not only covers every surface in your house but can invade your mind as well.

In the case of children’s craft, she suggests that as soon as they are old enough to self-editing, they should be responsible for sorting and throwing out their own artworks. One way to do this is to have a box for drawing and paintings, and as soon as the box is full, it must be edited down to make more room for new work. You can also photograph their work and have it printed out in a book through a printing service, if you want to keep a record of all those precious pictures.

Once you have wrangled your home back into some kind of organisation, a cleaner can then come and clean, unhindered by the piles of stuff.

The Icadoo Blog has many great suggestions – if your Family Beast is covered in clutter, pop over and have a read.


Have you signed up for The Family Beast’s weekly dispatch – Postcards form The Wilderness? Don’t miss out, subscribe now.

Like what you're seeing? Spread the word.


  1. Louise says:

    Oh no I think I fall into both categories of potential hoarding. Can so identify with the kitchen bench clutter. Mine is piled highly like an at home in tray. As for the craft. My daughter isn’t even two and already I’m collecting a library full. Great tips from Icadoo – I need a consult!!

    • The Family Beast says:

      You had better call Icdaoo and get the craft organised – it’s only going to get worse!!

Leave a Comment