It's so interesting to me how the mood in the home can change as the messes around the house grow. When our house starts getting cluttered (and when life is so busy we don't have real time to deal with it), my wife gets visibly distraught. She just feels overwhelmed and has a hard time feeling at peace in her own home. And not feeling "at home" when you're at home is never a great feeling.
There was one day not too long ago when our house was definitely on the cluttered side. We were very busy and didn't have time to devote to a real cleaning, and that familiar feeling of being overwhelmed was starting to show itself. It was then that I remembered an idea I had heard about quite a long time ago about a 15 minute cleaning spree. The idea is simple: everyone in the house stops what they're doing and cleans for fifteen minutes – no more, no less. We divided up the most necessary tasks, set the timer, put on some music, and went to cleaning.
It really is amazing how much you can get done when you're focused. The big stuff got done in no time and I was even able to start on some of the little stuff (like de-cluttering the top of my desk). When the alarm when off at fifteen minutes, we stopped cleaning, and went back to work on what we were doing beforehand. Later that day my wife told me how much she appreciated the idea and how much better it made her feel having the house back in order. And if fifteen minutes was all it took to make my wife feel more at peace in her own home, it was time well spent.