The Messy House Project: 10 Moms Share Pics of What Their Houses Really Look Like Most of the Time

Because sometimes we just need to feel better about ourselves, here are 10 brave moms who shared pictures of some more well lived-in areas of their homes. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.


Little girls are filled with sugar and spice and… explosions of messes. Martha told me this was a clean day.


All. Day. Every. Day.

Honestly, how do such little people go through so many dishes? Oh yes, I remember. Because this is my third attempt at feeding you one meal.


I see components of a playroom and a bedroom… in the living room? Yup. That sounds right.


Does anyone else look at this and think, “man, I really need a triceratops in my life.” No? Just me. Moving on.

kitchen counter

I was happy to see I’m not the only one who has a kitchen counter that doubles as a standing desk. Even though Juanita’s fire hazard concerns me, her stove is still being worked more than mine.


Kitchen counter tops are also the absolute catch-all of just all the things. Is that… three? Pairs of sunglasses?


Bernadette told me the blankets on the table make a fort. Because, obviously. The Dole cardboard produce boxes were left unexplained.


Betty thought this was messy. Betty is not allowed over to my house.


Sally gave up putting her couch back together. Forts are more fun anyhow.


Clearly this baby needs more toys from the shelf.


There is a box of toys right there, mister. No? Just take the iPad I need to lie down and not clean.


The Never Ending Story of parenthood.


This is Betty’s “messy” kitchen. We’re not friends with Betty anymore.

Now Read: The Messy House Project Take Two: Readers Submit Pics of Their Own Homes

Originally published on Mothering Aug 06, 2015

31 thoughts on “The Messy House Project: 10 Moms Share Pics of What Their Houses Really Look Like Most of the Time”

  1. I laughed when I read your comment about the Triceratops because the first thing I thought when I scrolled to that picture is “Oh! I wonder where they found a triceratops! I’ll go check Craigslist!” I already have a riding dragon that’s as big if not bigger than the Triceratops but more large creatures are always welcome.

  2. These are a joke, they are not messy and look amazing compared to my house! I want to take some before and after photos to show you how much mess my kids make within about 10 minutes of waking up!!!

      1. 6084970641 These are beautiful pictures of homes where babies and young children reside. That’s what my home looked like in baby and young child days. Shows that the parents are certainly focused on their children rather than House Perfect!

    1. This is exactly what I was thinking, Rachel! Hahaha… Some of those “messy” rooms look like my cleanest room on a cleaning day before my toddler gets a hold of it. I try though. It’s hard to believe I am an OCD clean freak when you come to my home these days. 8 months pregnant with a wild toddler means something had to give. ????

    2. Agreed! Your countertops are not going to be clean if you have a sink full of dishes! LOL And look at those carpets and hardwood! My kids don’t even eat in the carpeted rooms and yet some how there are crumbs and bits of bread all over the frickin place! LOL

    3. Yes I agree – this just reinforces the myth you’re trying to bust! I could get any one of those places clean in 15 minutes. That’s not a true reflection of how a house can get when Mums are exhausted and juggling everything. WHERE IS THE THREE WEEKS OF FOLDING??? WHERE IS THE 23 ART CREATIONS THEIR KIDS HAVE MADE IN THE PAST WEEK THAT THEY AREN’T ALLOWED TO THROW OUT? KINDY BAGS, SHOES, THE PILE OF BILLS/NEWSLETTERS AND THE ODD CUP OF COLD TEA? Fake untidy houses make me crazy. 😉

  3. Clearly these Moms have not experienced the joy of the teen years. Nor do they have several mannerless pets. Brace yourself ladies, the teens are coming.

    1. On yes….they bring messy to a whole new level! When they are little it is so much easier because their stuff goes either in the toybox or the book shelf. Older kids–yikes!

  4. None of these houses are messy! It’s like someone’s gone into a show home, chucked a few toys around and taken a photo saying ‘har, har, I’m so messy, har, har’. Way to make proper normal mums feel like a heap of rubbish 🙁

    1. I have to agree. These pictures are not making me feel any better at all..just worse! If that is family messy, then we have a problem. Haha

    2. Yup, I was thinking the same exact thing! If these people (and the author) think this is messy then I must live in a pig sty…
      Way to make some of us feel like shit!

    1. Yeah someone knocked over a basket of clean laundry onto its side. Please call the guy from hoarders… she needs intervention 😀

  5. I have to agree with “Someone.” Two of my 5 kids are teens…We’ve definitely turned a corner into a whole different kind of messiness. I’ve pretty much given up and thinking it’s only going to get worse! (I love the deer in headlights look I get from the older kids when I find plates/glasses in their room…)

  6. So glad I’m not the only one to think these houses aren’t *really* messy. I was wondering if maybe they just started with some better decor than I’ve got at home. New furniture, polished floors, plenty of counter and storage space in the kitchen… looks good to me, even when it’s not cleaned up. In my home, you’d see a living room doubling as a bedroom, wooden kitchen counters that show why kitchen counters should never be made of wood…in the areas that aren’t permanently covered with junk; overflowing shelves of art supplies mingling with phone books, Dad’s leather gloves, my sewing kits. Perhaps you’d like to see a close-up of the never vaccuumed rugs or wood floors that had been coated with varnish once upon a time? I’d take a picture and post it, but if I take any more time away from cleaning and tidying, someone might get lost in the detritus.

  7. Gosh this is so funny and it gives me a validation that I am not alone. We had an immaculate suede beige color living room for 10 years then we had kids (two boys). Today, the couches resemble a dalmatian.

  8. My first thought was, wow, if that’s messy, I’m really bad. But then I realized maybe these moms were the only ones WILLING to share pictures of their house on a normal day. Or maybe these moms have a higher standard of clean and, for them, this is really messy. Perhaps they know their standards are higher and, therefore, it’s safe to share without shame.

  9. This happens when we A, don’t realize children don’t need SO. MANY. TOYS., and B, don’t train kids to put away one thing before getting out another. It was always a rule in our house that beds must be made as soon as we’re up, dishes must be put in the dishwasher (or washed), one toy/game must be put away before another is gotten out, etc. And toys were kept to an absolute minimum – a dozen perhaps? – actually rotated, storing a few for a while til they were forgotten, then pulled out to replace the ones recently played with, which went into storage in turn, etc., to keep them interesting, and as much *outdoor* play as possible. And having a husband who is OCD about organization and cleanliness, and LIVES by the motto “a place for everything and everything IN its place” (can’t say I’m not guilty of a little OCD in that area either – I used to prefer cleaning my friends’ and siblings’ rooms as a kid than playing with them – I know, freak!), letting the kids develop such messy habits is out of the question. It’s sad that the internet is used to promote and help us feel better about bad habits instead of suggesting ways to solve them.

    *No, I’m not actually the Betty mentioned (though it is a derivative of my name), I just know I’m gonna come across to some as the judgy know-it-all with the perfectly clean house, so haters, have at it 😀 But seriously, no judgment, many of my friends’ houses look like this, and I get that it’s hard, I just think it’s easier to put in the effort to train them, and have the peace of mind of a clean house, than constantly running around behind them picking up the never-ending mess with our non-existent time and energy (or not, and feeling guilty and disorganized all the time). We all just need to take control of our kids’ upbringing, homes, and lives.

    1. You are aware that OCD is a disorder right? That this control issue is actually damaging to children? that it either create kids with the same disorder or messy kids who gives up because they feel incapable to meet the unrealistic standards. It’s such a damaging mindset. We don’t advertise messes at my house, my 4 year old tidies up every time I ask her too BUT we value quality time and creative time over cleaning. Cleaning happens after emotional needs have been fulfilled, after art has been created, after independent play has happened, after learning has occurred. Some days we clean everything spotless, some days we touch the basics. Ppl buy loads of stuff to fill in that emotional void within or guilt of not feeling enough to their kids and buying their love, it’s not as simple as saying “don’t do that”, it requires self awareness and emotional healing. Some ppl get cleaning anxiety or collects clutter because their minds have clutter. It’s actually a very complex thing this messy house business. Control doesn’t fix any of it. It’s like pouring acid on a wound. Someone needs to be rested, in self love, in self care, at peace with themselves to be able to move pass attachment to stuff, past clutter, past the lost of focus, past the mess that causes them anxiety… This isn’t a black and white issue and how you go about is equal to a person who’s a hoarder but the other extreme. You don’t live in simplicity from a place of inner peace and love, it’s ego and control! There is a strong resistance energy around your words. It’s different then a mess but no better at all! I had an OCD clean freak mother and I had cleaning anxiety for the longest time. I had to heal deep emotions and 2 years of PPD to find my house and de-clutter my space. PPD and adrenal fatigue is running rampant with mothers, I totally understand the messy cluttered house. And as an emotional healer I can say that the only way to end the mess is with self acceptance. Shame makes for bigger self hate and bigger messes. Any mother who feels not good enough will end in a mess or a controlling person. Here are 2 words to never brag about because they are actually issues; OCD and perfectionism. Two things that robs you and your children of true authentic loving quality time. It’s ego driven and cause more problem then one really grasp till they overcome it. I agree that kids have to much junk, I teach my daughter meditation, simplicity, quiet times.. to value the beauty of things and be creative with simple things. But it required work to do this serene living and still a work in progress.

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