Angry cleaning.

Angry cleaning.

When we moved in to the new place, we weren’t exactly organized with the whole unpacking thing.

Basically, we shoved everything into drawers and closets and said, we’ll deal with it later. To further complicate things, Will and I didn’t even do all the shoving ourselves. My mom—by request—stocked my kitchen cabinets for me (thanks, Mom!) and my mother-in-law loaded up my linen closet (thank you!).

For a while, that worked fine.

But two weeks ago I reached the breaking point. My mental grace period for rolling with the mess and clutter is apparently over. It’s been two months, and we’ve made very little progress. (Except for the pantry, which is looking pretty good thanks to Will’s Young House Love-inspired update.)

It’s driving me crazy that I still don’t know where anything is. I can’t find my favorite pair of jeans. I don’t know where the tupperware belongs, or the salad bowls. My camera battery is drained and my charger is AWOL.

I told my friend that I’m experiencing Delayed Moving Overwhelm: all I want to do is organize everything, immediately and non-stop.

Angry cleaning | Modern Mrs Darcy

bookshelves in the living room

She nodded. “Yep, I call that angry cleaning.”

But as much as I may want to, it’s hard to whip a house into shape in a day. I’m trying to figure out some kind of plan—a strategy that helps me make rapid progress without totally overwhelming me or making me feel even more hopeless. I’m sure there are rules about this: move room by room, start with the problem areas, don’t tackle more than you can handle in a day.

I’m not having much luck with it so far.

But there’s a glimmer of hope: on our massive IKEA run, we bought some pieces to pull a few rooms together, but we also bought storage, which we desperately needed. The house finally feels like it’s starting to take shape. A little.

Angry cleaning | Modern Mrs Darcy

the other side of my office. much better than the desk, right?

But I still can’t find my jeans.

Do you have tips on whole-house organizing strategies? Please share them in comments!

P.S. The best way to decorate, and the secret to faking a clean house.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page


  1. Katie says:

    We just angrily reorganized our two main living rooms–just pulled everything apart one Sunday afternoon and shoved it all around. I don’t think anything is left where it was originally. This was great when the inspiration struck, but not so great two days later when company was coming and then we were leaving town for a week and then we’ll only be home for three days before more company comes and we leave town for another week. I have three rooms just stacked with boxes and bags of stuff, a hideously dirty kitchen, and a very lovely little play room and living room.

    I’m soaking in all these comments for advice on how to tackle everything come August…because baby two comes at the end of September and theoretically might want a place to keep all its stuff….

  2. Lisa says:

    I would think your best bet is to move everything in one room out of the shelves/closets/nooks&crannies and either into a couple boxes or into the middle of the room on the floor. Then you can see exactly what you have and can decide where best to put it all. After that you should be able to put something into ‘its place’ or into another box (or set of boxes) labeled for a different room(s), allowing you to simultaneously clear the space you’re in and plan for where to put things in rooms you’ll be tackling in the future.

  3. I love that phrase “angry cleaning” and I might just write a blog post about it 🙂

    I usually tell organising clients to either start with an easy space (if they’re easily overwhelmed) or if they don’t mind a bit of chaos, then to start with the area that’s bugging them the most. (the latter is my personal way I “attack” areas of my home).

    When we’ve moved in the past (last time nearly 9 years ago, and I have no intention of moving anytime soon – THE STRESS!!), I put post-its on the cupboards in the kitchen and leave my MIL in there to unpack (my boxes are, of course, labelled). Afterwards I do have to make slight tweaks but really not very much. This has two positives – she knows where to find things when she comes over and we have a kitchen that very night. I leave those post-its for a week or so til DH and I are used to everything…..

    Then I leave DH in our bedroom hanging curtains and making the bed because when we’re tired, we’re TIRED! And I flit around making the rest of the house home. I sort out a bathroom, and the desk, etc.

  4. We just did a huge renovation and moved back in — but we still have about 10% reno left, so we still have workmen in the house, materials against the wall in the den, and no place for our books, which are all stacked all over the house. And with 2 big walls removed, the furniture that used to be against those walls is now…. lined up, mugshot style, around our living room. (But our new kitchen is huge and gorgeous, so I am not complaining.)

    Oh, and I’m hosting a surprise birthday party for my husband this weekend as well as out of town in-laws.

    We had stuffed half the house back into the other half of the house to renovate, and it’s been hard putting it all back together — until I finally realized that in order to really get my stuff done I had to pull it all out of the corners and bedrooms and stuff and just pile it all on my dining table and new kitchen island, in stages. If it’s there, I’ll be dealing with it in a public place in view of kids — who tend to follow me into bathrooms and bedrooms anyway and get underfoot — and I can still keep an eye on dinner and find bandaids for booboos and put laundry in, etc. And there is space for the kids to be with me without being all over me, if that makes sense.

    I’m also having to be ruthless, over and over, about my kids’ toys and books and clothing. You know — you clean out a ton, and then their rooms get all messy again and you realized you only got rid of 25% of what you really need to get rid of in order for it all not to tumble out again…

    • Anne says:

      I understand the “being ruthless” part—I’m still getting used to the idea that I need to keep being ruthless to keep things clutter-free! It’s an adjustment…. 🙂

  5. I don’t really have any tips since I find myself in a similar state of overwhelm, though for very different reasons. We have been in the home for 2 years and have accumulated too much clutter and “stuff” for a home of this size. We are BLESSED! My daughter has 5 areas in the house that look like your desk, and I have 2. My husband would like us to clear one of my daughter’s areas out completely so that he can set up a desk/office space for his company… so yes, we are doing much angry cleaning ourselves!
    The up-side is that many of the ideas shared in this thread are VERY helpful and might just do the trick! So thank you to everyone for sharing. And I’m looking forward to more posts/discussions like this to help keep me on track, too! 🙂

  6. Jill Robson says:

    Yes, set a timer for 15 minutes, and start in one place only. Once that is done move on to the next area. If you try and do it all at once you will be overwhelmed and frustrated. Good luck.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.