The other morning I woke up and came downstairs to this.
It has been much worse at times. Just imagine this photo, but with cereal strewn across the floor, puddles of water here and there, a path of broken crayons, and a few more toys scattered about. This angle doesn't do it justice. You can't see the dirty dishes and junk piled on the end tables. It's just the way things are with three little kids, for obvious reasons.
It stresses me out to have things so messy, and the main problem is it's hard to tell where to start. I tried several different systems and came up with one I like. I can wake up in the morning, come downstairs to a big mess, and within 20 minutes have my day back on track.
First, I get a timer set for five minutes. Each step should take only that long. If I finish one step with time still left, I work on one of the others.
1) Run around with a trash bag and throw all the garbage you see into it.
2) Grab all the dirty dishes and throw them in the sink, and then get started washing them.
3) Collect all the dirty clothes and get a load going in the washer. Start folding anything that might be in the dryer.
4) Put things away and straighten up the main room, as fast as you can.
It doesn't fix everything, but once 20 minutes is up my living room looks more like this:
Now the house looks decent, dirty dishes are all in one place, and laundry is underway! From here I have a much easier time seeing what needs to be done.
Do you have a system you use to help with cleaning?