Don't you hate it when the mess monster invades your home? Sometimes it comes with a construction project, sometimes with a pile of company, and sometimes it just jumps out of nowhere. It is easy to be overwhelmed by a huge mess, but you can kill a giant mess with patience, persistence, and a few tips.
#1 Clear out a pile place
This should not take long. You just need to clear a large area so that you can make piles. In a bedroom, I will strip the bed, put the sheets in the wash, and tumble the comforter or hang it out on the line. In other rooms, I just push things in the middle of the room to the edges so that there is an empty space in the middle of the room. This doesn't have to be pretty and should take no more than 5 minutes.
#2 Go to the corner
No, you are not in trouble! A corner is a logical starting point for two reasons. First, things tend to pile up in corners. Cleaning out a corner will give you a great sense of accomplishment. Two, the starting point is defined by the room, not the mess. As you clean, you will always be able to tell how far you have come.
#3 Work clockwise picking up everything you come to
This is the real trick. Work around the room, dealing with EVERYTHING you come to. You are just sorting and putting away in this step - no dusting, sweeping, mopping, or vaccuming. If an item belongs in the room you are working in, put it away. If it belongs in another room, put it in a pile to be taken to that room later. If you don't know what to do with it, figure it out QUICKLY. If you can't, put it in a pile to be decided on later. As you continue cleaning, the solution may come to you. The key is to not get stuck on one item or project. If you can't fit something in a cabinet it belongs in, DON"T STOP to clean the cabinet. Lay the item beside the cabinet and tackle that project another day. STAY FOCUSED on the clockwise picking up of the room you are in, working your way around the room until you have returned to your starting point.
#4 Put up those piles
Now take each pile to the room it belongs and put those things away. You will be surprised how much time and energy you save by first gathering and then taking things to other rooms. My mother-in-law always says "If you don't use your head, you;ll have to use your feet." True, dat!
#5 Decision time
All that should be left of the clutter is the pile of things you couldn't decide about. Now it is time to decide. Should you keep it? If you need it and can find a place for it, the yes. If not, no. If you need it, but you have no place for it, you don't really need it. If you truly needed it, you would get rid of something else to give this item a home. To keep something, it must have a place. Period.
#6 Finish up
Get your cleaning supplies, and look start in the same corner, and go around the room dusting. Don't forget to dust the middle of the room at the end. Now clean the glass, scrub any fixtures, vaccum, sweep, and mop. Now, get a glass of iced tea and a good book. Go sit in the room you just cleaned (even if it is a bathroom!) and enjoy the fruits of your labors. Bask in the calming cleanliness and the waves of accomplishment.