Have you ever just stopped, looked around your house and thought…I don’t even know where to start!
A messy home can cause so much anxiety, stress, and unwanted work. I know from experience that when my house is messy, I can’t relax because I just can feel all the extra work that needs to be done, just weighing me down.
I know there are loads of people in the world who have it all together. I envy them. Unfortunately I am just not one of those people.
And you don’t have to be one of those people either! Let’s face it, we have kids, things are not going to be perfect and in place every day unless we are really mean moms!
What kind of mess am I talking about?
I am not talking to you today about a mess like a spill on your carpet or couch that happened one day. I am not talking to you about cleaning up after having people over.
I am talking about how to clean a REALLY dirty house.
A house that is not just cluttered, but has mold, mildew and bacteria growing places. A house that is so dirty that there are things like dirty diapers laying around and old food rotting on the carpet.
A really dirty house doesn’t just have clothes laying around but dirt and grime in every corner. The refrigerator stinks of rotting meat and old milk. The dust bunnies and cobwebs are large enough to swallow you whole.
No, this is not a mess that happened overnight, this mess has been happening for years and has become overwhelming and crippling to you.
My House is A Wreck Right Now As A Matter Of Fact!
My house always looks like a pigsty after my family has been home for any amount of time or whenever we have run to whatever practices, games, or concerts we need to get to for the week.
We just cannot seem to keep the house the way I want it.
It took me years to get things organized and running how I want them to. But over and over my house still becomes messy again and again.
Just the other day I found an old banana peel in the office from my son. Yes it was in the trash can, but IN THE OFFICE! Who know how long it had been there. Thank goodness there were no ants because it was the middle of winter!
How To Get Motivated To Clean a really dirty house
I am just going to be honest here. If you are looking at this mess and feel crippled by it, then I believe that is your motivation. You have to stop being lazy and get your home under control.
You obviously want it to be clean, so start by doing these things to find the motivation to start cleaning your home:
- Find pictures of homes you love and would love your own home to look like
- Find pictures of your home before it became a mess
BUT How do you STAY Motivated to clean a really dirty house?!
Do you feel motivated after finding those pictures? Are you scared you will lose momentum? I feel your pain. I can get really distracted really easily, especially if it is a HUGE project like cleaning a totally trashed house.
And I have some experience with this from when my husband and I used to flip houses. Some of the houses were so filthy that we would just stare and think where on earth do we start cleaning this house?
But first let me give you some ideas about how to STAY motivated to clean your disaster of a house.
- Find friends, family, or a company to help you
- Have an accountability partner to keep you in check
- Have an end goal in mind to give you a reason to keep going
- Treat yourself whenever you conquer a part of the house that is really messy
Where Do You Start Cleaning An Overwhelming Mess Of A House
Here we go! You found your motivation, and now it is time to get started!
I don’t believe moms are supposed to have it all together in the beginning. As a matter of fact, it is pretty impossible unless you are supermom…which most of us are not! But we can become supermoms! I did it. And I know you can too.Julie – The Mom Survival Guide
Cleaning a house in general is hard. You have to constantly put things away. You have to clean up spills as soon as they happen. And cleaning the shower! YUCK! That is one of my least favorite things to do.
But unfortunately, we have to be adults. And if we have kids, things just get so much harder. Not only are you cleaning your own mess, but you are cleaning their mess too!
So here are some ways to get started cleaning your home that is overwhelmingly mess:
1// Break it up into smaller areas
When you break up the large job into smaller jobs, then it makes everything seem a little more manageable. I suggest picking either the spot that bothers you the most, or the spot that you can do the easiest. It is up to you.
2// Clear The Clutter First
When you clear out the clutter first, then you can see where the real dirt and grime are. By clutter I am referring to clothing, papers, books, trash, toys, food, or other items that do not have a place in your home or you no longer need or use.
3// Get Organized
The items that remain in your home after the decluttering need to be organized. That means that if it is in your home it needs to have a place in your home. A space that, when not being used, that object resides. Normally, books need some form of shelf, bookcase, or cabinet. The kitchen houses cooking utensils and food items. Be sure that there is a trash can in every room. Clothing should be hung on hangers or folded and in drawers.
4// Keep Up
This is the hardest part about being an adult. You actually have to keep up with things that happen in your home. When clothes are dirty, you do the laundry. When laundry is clean it gets hung up or put in drawers. Garbage gets thrown into garbage cans and then the garbage gets taken out every week for trash pickup. All items that have a place in your home should be put away as soon as you are finished with them. If they don’t have a place, you need to create a place or get rid of that item.
How To Clean A Filthy House
All of the “get started” cleaning section is just to get you down to the really gross part of the mess. So here is how to clean a REALLY dirty house:
1// Make sure you have the right cleaning products and cleaning tools
Most of what you are going to be cleaning is dirt and grime from here on out. It is not as hard to clean up a cluttered home as it is to clean up a complete pigsty.
So make sure you have the following to get you started on the deep clean:
- Clorox Spray
- Hydrogen Peroxide Spray
- Scrub Brush
- Toothbrush (not one you use ;))
- Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner
- Microfiber Cloths
- Dawn Water
- Spray bottle
- Bleach (optional)
- Backing Soda
- Swiffer Duster
2// Begin Where You Live
Start cleaning your filthy home in the space that you spend the most time. Why? Because when you know what it feels like to be in a clean space, it will make walking into the dirty places in your home that much harder.
3// Start High and End Low
When you actually begin cleaning the really messy room in your home, you want to start at the top (meaning around the ceiling) and work your way down. That way all of the dust and cobwebs settle on the ground and can be vacuumed up at the end of cleaning that room.
4// Disinfect hard surfaces
Especially in the kitchen and bathroom, disinfecting hard surfaces is important. It means killing off all the bad germs like bacteria and viruses so you family won’t get sick.
You should also clean the mold and mildew in your bathroom. Mold can make people really sick, and mildew can make your entire house smell.
5// Tackle Stains
Once all of your clutter is picked up off the ground and put away, you will be able to see any stains on your carpet or upholstery. Spray them with the appropriate cleaner and let the cleaner soak. Hopefully the stain is not too set in.
In the end, if you want to be able to say, “My house is my sanctuary.”
Then you need to get your messes under control.
What if I Just Can’t Get My Really Messy House Clean?
Sometimes a mess is just too messy to clean on your own. So in that case, it is OKAY to ask for help to clean a home that is overwhelming you. You can call services now like 1800GOTJUNK, hire a made, hire an organizer! The possiblities are endless.
Either way you clean up your messy home is going to make you feel better in the end.
How To Clean A Cluttered House Fast
For homes that are not really messy, but just a little messy, sometimes you can clean things up really fast.
And sometimes, you just need to get it done fast. Maybe you are having people over, maybe your mother-in-law stops in from time to time and judges you and your messy house.
I remember after having my daughter (our first) when we were trying to sell our house. She was about 2 and a half.
What a nightmare! A new mom, with a toddler, trying to keep the house clean in case the realtor called!
Our house would get so messy. Partly because I couldn’t find the motivation to clean because our daughter had started waking up at night again. Plus at that age, they are mobile and into everything! I was exhausted and overwhelmed.
But the real estate agent would call and we would have to leave the house so people could walk through it.
So how did I keep the house clean?
I wiped everything down every single day during that time period. (Remember, I only had 1 child at this point, so this was doable)
And where there was clutter from toys, I made sure to have a big plastic bin in those areas so I could throw everything in and stick the bin in the closet or the corner of the room before a walk-thru.
That was one way I have cleaned my house fast in the past. Here are some other ways:
- Get a trash bag and start trashing everything that you don’t need
- Elicit Helpers from friends and family
- Hire a company like 1800GotJunk
- Push everything under the bed ?
- Stay clutter free (here are some tips)
- Go minimalist
- Get Organized
- Start a Daily Routine that includes daily cleaning
How to Clean a Really Messy Room
That same daughter who was present when I was keeping the house clean for the real estate walk-thrus must not have been paying attention when she was little, because she definitely does not keep up with her room now as a teenager.
Every time I enter her room she has the drawers of her dresser open (like all of her drawers), so many clothes on the floor that you can’t see the floor, and the worst part of it all…when I tell her to clean, she throws everything in the laundry hamper (whether it is dirty or not!) Talk about a pissed off mom…that is NOT the way to clean a really messy room.
To truly clean a messy room, the best thing to do is to start with just one small section. Maybe a section that doesn’t have quite as much “mess” covering the floor or furniture. A small section that you can clear in about 15-20 minutes or less.
Gather up some trash bags and label them…trash, donate, move, keep.
Then start sorting. (here is a more elaborate post on the steps of decluttering)
When you are finished with the first section of the room, you take out the trash, take the donate bag to the donation center, move any items that don’t belong to where they do belong, and put away your keep items in a nice neat way.
The secret is to just get started. Just start with one thing at a time. Micro Goals. Small doses each day will get you where you want to go.
And when you see what you have accomplished, it will help you find the motivation to keep going.
How do I motivate myself to clean?
I talked about one way to get motivated above (by accomplishing micro goals). But how do you start cleaning when you are overwhelmed?
When you are overwhelmed by cleaning, you just need to start anywhere that there is a little less cluttered. And work through it in small doses.
When you see a little progress, it will motivate you to keep going.
Here are some other ideas to get you motivated to get started on that one small spot or maybe even create a routine to start cleaning everyday.
- Watch the KonMari series on Netflix
- Read about cleaning and organizing
- Read inspirational quotes that motivate you to take action
- Look at pictures of clean, organized spaces you love
- Cut or tear out pics of spaces you love
- Create a vision board
- Create micro goals for each day of the week
Where do I start cleaning my house?
I absolutely hate when I walk into other peoples homes, and no matter how many times I have been there, their house looks perfect. They never ever seem to have a mess ANYWHERE!
And I want that. It motivates me. So when I start looking for a place to start cleaning, I like to start where I will see the most benefit and get the most motivation to continue.
My biggest pet peeve is being slowed down or being late to appointments because I am trying to find things like gloves, shoes, or coats for my kids. So that is where I get rid of clutter first. In high traffic, highly used areas of my home.
When I remove the clutter from the most used places in the house and create a system that works, I get motivated to clean other parts of my house and make them more efficient as well.
How long should it take to clean a house?
How long it takes to clean a house will depend largely on how messy it is to begin with. If your house is completely trashed from top to bottom, it could take days or even weeks to clean the entire house and get it the way you want it.
On the other hand, if you already have a system in place where clutter is picked up regularly, there is nothing sitting on your counter tops, and you are organized, cleaning an entire house could take as little as 2-4 hours.
Can a messy house cause anxiety?
Messes anywhere can cause anxiety, but especially messes in your home. You want your home to be a sanctuary, a place that is peaceful and calm.
That is a hard feeling to accomplish when you walk in and cannot find a place to set down your things. Or when you are leaving and cannot find what you need without digging through mounds of crap that has accumulated everywhere.
If you feel like you are constantly fighting the mess in your home, then yes, your messy house is causing you anxiety for sure.
How do I stop being so messy and lazy?
You can stop being so messy and lazy by finding the energy to clean your messy house. Because that is the biggest problem moms have…finding the energy to do the things that need to get done.
When you are a mom of any kind… first time, stay at home, or working…finding the energy to clean is hard.
What I have learned about finding energy, is that it is not going to come naturally for a while after having your babies. Especially when you are sleep deprived and running on empty.
Finding the energy to clean a messy home will come as you begin to sleep better, start to get more exercise and get back to doing the things that you like doing instead of just doing what the kids need you to do. Variety is the spice of life.
In the meantime, you can try the following:
- Find others to help you clean ( family and friends)
- Hire a service
- Drink large amounts of caffeine (within a safe limit of course!)
- Trade child care services so you have the time to clean
- Start teaching your kids early that they need to help out around the house (chore list)
- Just sit back and accept the fact that cleaning your house may not happen right now
How do you keep your house clean all the time?
This is only my opinion (and I am sure I will get some comments on this post because of it), but I feel like it is IMPOSSIBLE to keep your house clean all the time when you have kids unless you are never ever home.
Or you are a Nazi mom who never lets her kids have any fun. Or possibly if you have a service come to your house on a daily basis.
I don’t know, maybe you are rich enough to have an all the time maid in your home. But not me. I am a stay at home mom living on one income and living full time in our home. My kids don’t go to daycare and I don’t work out of the house, so we are here ALL the time!
I have neither the energy to stay on top of my kids or the money to hire someone, so I do the best I can to keep the clutter at a minimum. Here are some tips I use:
- Get rid of stuff you don’t need and your kids are not playing with anymore
- Adopt the one in one out rule
- Start using the flat surface rule
- Clean up every night
- Have the kids help out (chores!)
- Address the Clutter and Disorganization in your home
Sometimes, just cleaning up isn’t enough. You have to Address The Clutter and Disorganization in your home in order to truly see a difference.
What does clean up after yourself mean?
Cleaning up after yourself means that whatever you get out, you put away and whatever mess you make you wipe up.
I have a really hard time with this. I know exactly what it means, but sometimes I just get moving so fast that I leave things out. I am trying to get 3 people in the car now instead of just myself and also remember their stuff plus mine. My mind is usually all over the place and I am running a million miles a minute. So I excuse myself in many cases when I don’t pick up after myself.
But make sure to note, that I eventually come back and clean my mess up when things have calmed down.
My husband however, is really good at it. But guess what, It drives me crazy because he is so SLOW to get anywhere!
This may be hard to hear, but this is called adulting. It sucks! I know. I wish my mom would still follow me around picking up my messes as I made them.
But the fact is, that once you become the mom, you are the one picking up messes (unless you have trained your kids better than me!).
So make sure you have a system in place. When you get something out, put it away when you are finished using it. And teach your kids to do it too!
Is a messy room a sign of mental illness?
I don’t believe a messy room is a sign of mental illness considering just about every teenager across America is stepping over mounds of clothing in their bedrooms at this very moment.
But as a mother, I can tell you that a messy home may drive me to a mental illness!
I get so incredibly tired of cleaning just to come home 2 hours later and find that the house has been trashed again. Things on the countertops I just cleaned, blankets on the floors that I just folded!
So rest assured mommas! That mess in your home does not mean you are CRAZY! But it will most definitely DRIVE you crazy!
Can a messy house affect your mood?
I don’t know about you, but a messy house definitely affects my mood. When I come home after a stressful day and see a mess, it just sets me off.
If I am trying to get out the door and cannot find what I need, so I am late, I get really upset.
I find myself cleaning whenever I get really angry, and when things are clean I feel lighter somehow.
Does a clean house reduce stress?
There have been studies done proving that a clean house does reduce stress.
So if you take nothing else from this post, know that a clean house really helps to reduce stress.
And don’t we all want to reduce stress in our lives?
If you just need help dealing with the clutter in your house, then you can consult a local organization professional in your area. They will help you go through your clutter and set up systems to keep the clutter at bay. Look one up at findmyorganizer.com.
When I want people to help me clean my house, I normally ask my kids and husband. But if you are looking for help outside of family and friends, then a maid service for cleaning is always a good idea. They will clean your house as many times a month as you can afford them to.
There are also services such as 1800GotJunk.com that will literally come into your home and take things away that you don’t want anymore. This is a great idea for big items such as unwanted furniture and unwanted gym equipment.
STEPS TO STOP CLUTTER IN ITS TRACKS:
I mentioned above that there are some incredibly useful steps for tackling your cluttered house. But this is already a long post, so I linked to that post here.
In the meantime, all I am trying to tell you is that you are not alone.
I have been where you are and I promise there is a way out. And there are loads of other moms out there who have messy homes and have learned to deal with them.
The best thing to do is just start trying to make an effort. Even if it is just 15 minutes a day.
You can click here for help creating a better daily routine.
Choose a spot in the house that you know the kids will not trash when you are finished…like your bathroom vanity. Cleaning that one spot will hopefully help you find the motivation to clean another spot like that, then another and another.
I challenge you this year to take back control of your life!
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