The Most Overwhelming Household Tasks and How to Tackle Them

A woman who is tired after cleaning her house.

Mess is stress, even more so other people’s mess. 3 out of 4 people report, in a survey by Duck brand, feeling overwhelmed by messes made by other household residents.

Messiness impacts relationships between family members. In fact, 46% complain it causes tension in the home. Chronic cleaning problems cause arguments for 35%. Another third of those surveyed say keeping the house clean is a daily source of stress.

The top problems families have when cleaning and organizing:

  • 74% of people have conflicting ideas of what clean and organized means than other household members
  • 44% say the hardest thing for families to agree on is cleaning/organizing frequency
  • 56% are annoyed by their family member’s procrastination
  • 36% do not like to clean by themselves
  • 48% are annoyed by having to remind others to pick up belongings frequently
  • 58% feel annoyed when others don’t clean up after themselves, 29% feel angry/frustrated

Living Room Clutter: A Prime Problem

A cluttered living room is the most annoying mess in the home. The living room is most often a den or sitting area for the entire family, which may be why it potentially collects so much stuff – and generates such ire.

Karina Toner, Operations Manager at Spekless Cleaning, a professional home cleaning service company, agrees with the survey findings. “The chores that often spark the most discord within a household typically revolve around shared spaces and personal boundaries,” she says.

“For instance, tasks like cleaning the living room or bathroom tend to be contentious because they involve common areas where everyone has a stake. Differing standards of cleanliness and expectations can lead to conflicts.”

Kitchen Spills: Spills Spell Stress

45% of participants identify spills in the kitchen or refrigerator as a significant source of irritation. Though these take seconds to wipe up, minor spills, like a few drops of juice or milk, are often ignored until they build up and become a point of contention.

Toner emphasizes establishing clear guidelines for shared spaces like the kitchen and suggests cultivating “simple habits, such as wiping up spills promptly,” which can go a long way in preventing disputes. While good habits take time to form, an interim solution would be to place said juice or milk cartons on trays and clean them out weekly.

Battling the Chaos: Here’s How

Sabrina Tretyakova, a Certified Cleaning Technician for Fortador, suggests a household huddle to discuss chores and set realistic expectations about the tasks required. She recommends, “Start with the smallest items on your to-do list as it sets the mood for achieving more significant goals.” Picking up clutter around the living room may lead to vacuuming the rug as a sense of achievement sets in.

Another Certified Professional Organizer, Stephanie Deininger, says her best tip is to break the task into bite-sized pieces. “Treat each action as a chore,” she explains, “For example, laundry. For some people, that means separating it by colors or fabrics to start, and then, once the laundry cycle is done, they have to fold and iron and put away. Listing out the actions provides a realistic understanding of what doing laundry, or any other chore, means. Instead of saying I need to do laundry, break each action up and only complete what you know you have time to do.”

Finally, don’t make it all work and no fun. Play upbeat music or your family’s favorite podcast to transform chores into a more enjoyable experience. Set a timer for 10-20 minutes to make it more manageable. Usually, when the time is up, you’ve already built up momentum to do more.

Handy Tips for Decluttering the Living Room:

  • Designate a place for everything. Give items like shoes, books, toys, and remotes a dedicated home to keep the space neat. If you have young children, assign certain spots, like under the coffee table, for toys. Having a designated storage area prevents toys from spreading across your floor.
  • Do a weekly pickup. Set aside 10-15 minutes weekly to tidy up and put things away.
  • Limit what comes in. Be selective about what you bring into the living room to prevent overwhelming circumstances.
  • Organize furniture and surfaces. Keep surfaces clear and bookshelves organized to avoid visual overstimulation.
  • Involve family. Establish clear rules everyone can follow for picking up after themselves.
  • Use bins and baskets. Contain clutter in decorative containers, baskets, or boxes around the living room or under the stairs. These catchall containers help keep items organized and out of sight.
  • Edit regularly. Go through items in the living room periodically and remove anything that’s no longer needed. Donate or discard to reduce clutter.

Practical Ways To Handle Kitchen Spills:

  • Wipe as you go. Clean any spills on the counter or floor as they happen. Keep dishcloths handy to quickly wipe up little spills and prevent them from worsening.
  • Keep cleaning supplies out. Having rags, paper towels, and spray cleaners easily accessible makes cleanups fast.
  • Stay on a schedule when cleaning the refrigerator. Do a weekly wipe down of fridge shelves and drawers to avoid buildup.
  • Soak up liquids. For wet spills on surfaces, lay down paper towels to absorb the mess before wiping clean.
  • Clean as you cook. If you make a mess while prepping or cooking, pause to wipe it up before moving on.
  • Clean surfaces daily. Do a quick once-over of counters and appliances daily to stay on top of any lingering spills or crumbs.

A Tidy Future

An overwhelming 85% of those surveyed believe, “living in a tidy home leads to harmony among housemates.” This consensus provides a foundation for families to work together in creating and maintaining a clean and organized living space.

Tackling annoying tasks together sends a message to family members or housemates that they are grateful for one another and appreciate using the same shared space as others do. What was once a buzzkill becomes a building block for intimacy, trust, and partnership.

People often do not look forward to chores, but with the right attitude, these little irritations can avoid growing out of control and destroying hearth and home. When overwhelmed, ask for help. Facing challenges as a united team helps lay the foundation for lasting relationships.

This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Travel Binger.

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