Let me be honest, as much as I love to clean there are days when I just can’t get myself to clean my own home (or do anything for that matter). It’s okay to feel this way. We are not lazy; we just need time for self-care – looking after our personal well-being by taking a step back and forgetting about our distractions. But we all know what can happen when we let go even for that brief moment. All of a sudden the dishes pile up, the trash needs to be taken out, and our home becomes so disorganized that it triggers the same stress and anxiety that we were trying to run away from.

You are not paranoid and you are not a clean freak. You are human. Our bodies naturally react to our surrounding environment, so when we see mess and clutter it makes it difficult for us to relax. The mess signals to our brain that we still have huge to-do list. I’m here to remind us all that there’s a way out of this mental and physical nightmare.

Start small. Commit to developing a simple routine like washing the dishes and taking out the trash daily. Just seeing that you accomplished something, however small, will boost your self-confidence.

Tackle one room at a time. Start with one room before moving on to another. This will grow your sense of accomplishment as you see your successes add up as you go. One tip is to have a designated bin for items that you come across that need to be moved to a different room. By putting them in the bin as you come across them, you avoid the trap of leaving the room you are working in and getting side tracked by something else.

Don’t just organize; De-clutter. Putting things nicely into bins just means that your stuff is now semi-controlled. It is important to get to the core of the problem and actually remove them. Hiding things away in boxes and bins can still cause stress, as it just adds more to your to-do list.

 Control what comes in. When you can control the flow of what is coming into your home, you are already saving yourself a lot of time and emotional work struggling to decide whether or not it you should throw things away.

It’s hard not to feel guilty or embarrassed about the physical clutter in your home, but mental clutter is just as bad. This is the kind of clutter that keeps us returning to feelings of self-sabotage and stress, and makes it hard for us to clean the actual clutter. Train your brain with positive thoughts, set realistic goals, and give yourself that time you need for self-care without feeling guilty. If we can shift our mindsets, we will no longer be taking up space in our minds with worry, and instead use that space to accomplish whatever we want.