My Sure-Fire Cure For a Messy House

Here it is.  My most profound and life-changing revelation (in the area of housekeeping) to date.

I know the cure for a home that is always messy.  A home with clutter everywhere you gaze.  A home that causes its owner to despair.


Clean it.

Now if you happen to be landing on this post as your very first experience with my blog, please don’t immediately click away.  If you look around for 2 minutes, you’ll know that I know . . . it isn’t that simple.

But it kind of is.

I’ve been down lately about my lack of progress, about my regression.  I wanted a Summer of Clean with my kids, but even though we’ve been cleaning bathrooms and mopping kitchens, other things, like clutter, are getting the best of me.  I have been dealing with a very real fear that next year will be filled with posts about the exact same thing as last year, only proving that I am not capable of actually kicking this slob-thing.

What is the one thing that helps me when I get down like that?  What is the one thing that helps me see progress?  What is the one thing that reveals to me that my home can actually be clean?


I must admit that I have some external motivation.  “We” have lost a library book.  Shocker, right?

The child who is the real “we” in that sentence lives in a room that has been much better than his sister’s room has been.  Still, though, the book hasn’t been found.  And the room, while better, is far from good.

A clear middle-of-the-floor does not a clean room make.  So this morning, we worked in there, pulling the huge amounts of random STUFF out from the places and edges where it has been STUFFED.  (I’m just now, in this moment, understanding why “stuffed” is the verb form of “stuff.”  Hmmmm.)

The above is a picture of our half-way-through point.

See, I’ve been waiting.  I didn’t want to go through the boys’ room until they went back to school.  It’s so much easier to do it while they are gone, throw away 3/4 of what’s in there, and let them come home to a clean room, which they always love . . . . and they never even notice what I threw away.  And as long as I saw a clean(ish) floor when I glanced in the room, I could pretend that it wasn’t that bad.

It’s so much harder to do it with them, talking through every item, giving in and letting them keep something I know they would never miss.  But when I combined our need to find the lost book with my own need to feel some traction in this deslobification process, I knew that we had to to this.

I don’t have an after picture yet.  I don’t even have an after report.  We had to quit when the floor looked like the above picture so I could go to a meeting at church.  But when we came home, we did go through every book.  We made a stack to give to my daughter, a stack to get rid of, and a stack to take to our other bookshelf where we keep the chapter books.  We even made decisions on a few toys.

They did well.  Well enough that I am encouraged and glad we worked on it.  We have a lot more to do, and tomorrow we’re going to pull out the beds and unearth the scariness that lives back there.

Even though this room is far from done, I am reminded again that doing something, anything . . . even if it doesn’t get finished or done perfectly, helps to replace the despair with hope.

And just in case you’re wondering . . . . no, we didn’t find the book.



  1. 1

    My sure-fire cure for a messy place? I invite someone over! I surely wouldn't want a visitor to see my mess so I'm extra motivated to get it cleaned up. Works every time! 🙂

  2. 2
    Virginia (Jenny) says:


  3. 3
    Virginia (Jenny) says:

    Was unsure if you got my comment before the "test" one. I sent you a long one. Hope you got it.

  4. 4
    Nony the Slob says:

    Kacie, I totally agree! Nothing works better!

    Jenny, I don't think it came through.

  5. 5
    BusyMommy says:

    The lost library book happens to the best of the best. I'm sure it'll turn up. Maybe not in time to dodge the late fees, but it'll turn up. And the boys' room will be a never ending, up-hill battle, as all moms know. 🙂

  6. 6
    Sweetpea101506 says:

    Did you do something new with the colors on your blog Nony? Maybe I'm just that tired that I'm seeing things! LOL

  7. 7
    Nony the Slob says:

    Yes, sweetpea, I'm using a new template. I'm trying to keep things in the same general color scheme, so the change doesn't make people think they're on the wrong blog, but they're not exactly the same.

  8. 8
    Eos Mom says:

    Yes, I've been in one of those moods where I can see the clutter and want it gone but there's no time to conquer it all… so the other day I conquered a small part of my awesomely bad closet, and it helped. Now I go visit that one nice spot and it makes me smile.

  9. 9

    We lost two library books and were absolutely, positively, undeniably CONVINCED that we had returned one of them. My daughter paid for the other one behind my back so I wouldn't yell at her again about ANOTHER lost book (she was 12 at the time). Two months ago, one of her friends was deep cleaning her room and found them at the back of her closet. They were due in September – of 2007! I think we need to keep better track of what we've returned and her friend needs to clean her room more often…

  10. 10

    Hey … I am a messy and I know … Once you start with excuses, they just keep coming. My mum is a messy. My dad is very clean but also hoarding things from second hand shop etc. Thus, I am kind of pre-formed.
    Your advices are good but what is important to find a strategy. I've asked a friend to help with my kitchen and it worked. It's hard to keep it in a good presentable way but I am glad it's still almost in the way my friend helped me to get it to. I am very grateful for her help. What I've however realised is that I feel more comfortable with stuff around. Everything cleared away – that feels terrible, I cannot relax in such a state.
    The idea to have mega cleans before friends come is good but not lasting. My living room has no usable table; the chaise lounge only seats one person and half of the couch is also covered. It is possible to walk to most places though. With time, and honesty to myself, I've found that what works for me is to do little by little – one square meter at a time. It may get covered again but with attention less than before. And so, step by step I am now working through it.
    The strange thing is, at work I am organised. If I am travelling, I am organised and often only take what I really need. Now just need to continue to apply this to the rest of the flat. It is difficult but I can slow down if need be. It is important now to remain comfortable with the process or it will backfire again. I am sure though that I want to be 'cured' by the time I am having kids to not pass this messiness on to them … they don't need to say constantly to their friends 'we are renovating' to explain the mess or object to having them visit their home.

    I am thankful for blogs like this one and hope that more friends support their messy friends or family to help them move out of it … often we messies don't even see it as negative …why? if it feels comfy.

  11. 11

    I am a reformed slob.

    Now I go crazy trying to keep our house clean which is not easy with 5 kids. For the 3 younger ones (12,12, and 14) if they leave something of theirs out, I put it in ‘my spot’ and they get it back when I feel they deserve it. My biggest struggle is the kitchen. WHY can’t they put their glasses in the dishwasher????? Why do they leave empty boxes in the pantry??? Why do they let the garbage overflow instead of walking 15 steps to the garage to take it out???

    I think a reformed slob is similar to a reformed smoker….

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