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How To Clean A Messy House

Have you ever just stopped, looked around your house and thought…I don’t even know where to start.  When you are staring at a crazy messy house, you can feel completely overwhelmed.  

I know what that feels like.  But I also know how elated you feel when you finally get that mess cleaned up.  And that is what I want to talk to you about today.

Free Solution To Get You Started Cleaning (Declutter Checklist)

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First and foremost, I want to give you something to help get you started…

The free printable (above) gives you 129 items you can throw out of your house right now!

It is a declutter checklist, so you can check things off as you go.

And guess what…this is going to give you a quick win so you can keep the momentum going and keep cleaning up the messy house you so need to clean.


Related Post: How To Clean A Filthy House When You Don’t Know Where To Start: 9 Tips To Get You Started

How To Use This Messy House Post to your Benefit:

  1.  Download the free declutter checklist above…it will help you get started and also get you into my email list so you get weekly tips about how to keep your home clean and clutter free.
  2.  In this post I am going to give you LOADS of tips on how to clean your messy house.  Not every tip is going to work for you…so you just need to read through the tips and decide what is right for your life RIGHT NOW! 
  3.  Things may change, and you may need to come back to this post later…so make sure you save it to Pinterest so you can find it later.
  4. I have linked to other posts that can help you with different areas of the cleaning process.  Be sure to read them and take advantage of some of the other free printables that are on those pages to help you clean your messy house.

And let’s get started!

Messy House Pin

What Does Messy House Overwhelm Feel Like?

A messy house can cause so much anxiety, stress, and unwanted work. Making you feel tired, unmotivated, and even depressed.  

According to RACGP, a site that reports clinical and health news out of Australia, “In 2011, neuroscience researchers using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) and other physiological measurements found clearing clutter from the home and work environment resulted in a better ability to focus and process information, as well as increased productivity.” [Source]

I know from experience that when my house is messy, I can’t relax because I can ‘just feel’ all the extra work that needs to be done 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.  So there are plenty of times when my home is messy…I mean, (1)I have kids, (2) we can get crazy busy sometime, and (3) sometimes we are just exhausted and get kinda lazy.

And I still get my messy house cleaned up, so you don’t have to be one of those ‘got it all together’ people! 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!

pink and teal stop watch with words speed cleaning tips

Tips To Clean Up Your Messy House Quick

While your home may be too crazy messy to clean it fast, I am still going to give you the tips you want first and foremost.  So here are some of the top ways that you can clean a messy house quickly.

  1. Cleaning Race Against the Clock
  2. Call A Special Cleaning Company
  3. Enlist Your Family To Help
  4. Grab a Huge Trash Bag and start throwing things away
  5. And last…the fastest way to clean a messy room if people are headed over, you could always just shove all the mess and clutter under furniture and inside closets…unfortunately, you will eventually still have to deal with the mess, so I don’t recommend this except under EXTREME circumstanced.

I have loads more fast decluttering tips in the related post below.

Related Post:  11 Quick And Easy Ways To Declutter Fast

pink rectangles with words move, keep, donate, trash declutter categories for piles

Steps of a Real House Decluttering – To Make It Last

So now you know how to do it fast…but that is not always the best way.  You wind up throwing things out that you meant to keep.  You realize that the mess is bigger than you thought and will take much longer than you thought.  Or you realize that you want to do it right…little by little…so it stays that way.

So here are the steps you REALLY need to clean up and declutter your messy house.

1//  Find Your Why

Having a ‘Why’ can really help you find motivation for cleaning your home and keeping it that way.  Because I am not going to lie to you.  To do this right, it is going to take some time, commitment, and habit building to get through it and then keep it that way.

That is true for anything that we really want in life…you have to work for it.  But once you get it, it is amazing!

2//  Visualize Your Space

Visualization is a great tool to help you see what you want out of your efforts.  You can do this by picturing it in your mind, or even by making a vision board that you can look at every day.  Find some pictures of homes you love, and imagine your home looking like that….because it will if you do the work.

3//  Go For The Small Wins

Start off small.  Tackle one drawer, one shelf, or one countertop area.  Work to completion and then move to the next space after taking a break.

4//  Sort Items Into Categories

When you sort your mess into categories, you make it easier to see what needs to be tossed, kept, moved, or donated.

Here are the ONLY categories I use for my home:

  • Keep
  • Move
  • Donate
  • Trash

Creating boxes or bags with these category names and placing your mess into them will help you know exactly where things are going when you are finished.  I recommend doing the work to completion, meaning that you need to replace your keep pile, move your move pile to their new homes, take your donate pile to the donation center, and take the trash out of your home.

5//  Make It Last

Choose how you want to tackle your messy house, knowing that it is something that you need to spread out over time.  Would it be good for you to work a little each day, each week, or each month?  Maybe you need to have reminders in your phone, or maybe you work better with a daily to do list.

lighted sign that says you got this

Tips To Find Motivation To Start Cleaning Your Messy House

So you know how a messy home can create feelings of depression, laziness, anxiety, and loads of other terrible feelings, so let’s try to find a way to get motivated to clean your home.  Because when my house is messy, that is what I have to do.

Because just as having a cluttered, messy home can make you feel lousy, having a clean home can make you feel focused and clear.  

Here are some 3 of my top motivation ideas for you:

1//  Watch, Read, and Listen to things that give you motivation.  

When my house is messy, I start cleaning by watching, listening to, or looking at things that give me motivation.  Like that show Hoarders on Netflix…that will definitely give you the motivation to NEVER let your home get like those filthy houses.

2//  Find Energy through caffeine, music, or even time of day.  

A cup of coffee when you are feeling lazy and sluggish can go a long way to give you the energy you need.  But another thing that can help is pumping up your favorite music.  And if those two are not possible for you, I want you to think about the time of day that you have the most energy and tackle your messy home then.

3//  Have A Gathering To Give You Motivation  

This may sound scary, but it works.  If you know people are coming to your house next week, or weekend, or whenever, then you are going to work to get your home clean.  

Because I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anyone visiting when my house is filthy. And I think the embarrassment of a messy house will inspire and motivate anyone to get it clean.

There are 9 more motivational tips in the following related post.

Related Post:  How To Get Motivated To Clean And Declutter

black sign with words things to do today own today

Daily Tasks To Keep The Mess Away

If you are one of those people that say their house always looks messy, then you may not be getting in your daily dose of adulting.

Part of keeping your home clean once you have it clean, is creating habits that you can do everyday to keep the clutter to a minimum and keep your house from becoming a mess again.

Here are some of the tasks I am talking about…

  • Wash and put away the dishes
  • Wash and put away the laundry
  • Clear and wipe off counter tops in the evening
  • Take the garbage out
  • Take the recycling out

Doing these things every day will help keep your home tidy.

For more ideas of things you can clean daily to keep your home from getting messy, check out my spring cleaning schedule here.

4 garbage  and recycle cans for clutter in colors yellow, blue, red, and green

Why Taking Out The Trash Is An Important Daily Task

Did you know that we produce trash every day!  And a lot of it!  According to the EPA, we produce 4.40 pounds of waste per day, per person.

So now figure out how much waste you have for ALL the people in your home.  I have 4 people in my home, so that comes out to 17.6 pounds of trash coming from my home every day.

In other words, if you don’t take the trash out, it is going to accumulate in your house and make it not only messy, but filthy, dirty, and stinky too.

orange sign that says please stay on the path

Some Rules To Learn So Your House Stops Looking Cluttered

Sometimes we need rules to follow.  Like when we were in kindergarten.  If we know the rules, we will stick to them and keep the mess at bay.

Here are 3 rules to try out to keep the clutter from becoming a mess again.

1//  Don’t set things down that can be put away

2//  Don’t set anything on top of a flat surface

3//  Don’t buy it until you are sure you NEED it

4//  Make a place for things that have no place or throw them away

black and white target with an arrow on the bullseye

How To Identify Your Biggest Problem Areas To Start Cleaning

Do you have that one area in your house that just NEVER seems to be clean.  Or you clean it, and it is dirty again 15 minutes later.

That is where you start.  And that is where you need a system after you clean.

Sometimes cleaning is not enough and you actually have to find a way to make a space more functional.  If you need to learn how to start organizing a messy house, then you can check out this related post.

Related Post:  How To Start Organizing A Messy House In 6 Easy Steps

split level home that is clean

The Best Tip I Ever Got For Cleaning House

When your house is a mess and you finally get the motivation to clean it, the last thing you want to do is leave it messy any longer than it has to be.  

So you try to clean it all at once……and then you get completely and utterly exhausted and overwhelmed.  Plus you sometimes wind up making an even bigger mess that makes you even more overwhelmed.

So the best tip I can give you is to pace yourself.  This tip really helped me out many years ago. 

You need to come to the realization that this mess is not going to get clean in one hour, or even one day.  Tackle small tasks that you can complete in one set period of time.

I have a lot more tips for tackling your home in small bits.  You can read about it in this related article if you want more info.

Related Post:  7 Tips To Declutter Your Home Without Making A Bigger Mess

Black writiing that says new mindset, new results

Getting Into A Clean Home Mindset

Keeping your home clean once it is clean is hard.   I have already given you a few tasks you can do daily to help keep things clean.  But changing your mindset is one of the biggest and best ideas I can give you.

If you are constantly thinking you just don’t feel like it, you don’t have the energy, you are just a dirty person, you are used to the filth…it is time to snap out of it.

You need to start thinking things like:  ‘I can do this’, ‘I can keep up’, ‘just a few tasks a day to keep it all clean’, ‘I’m going to tackle this right away’.

It is the mindset that you are no longer going to procrastinate.  You are going to live in the now, and work in the now.  You are going to clean messes as they happen and you are going to put things away right away.

Creating a clean home mindset can help you keep up with daily tasks and keep your home from getting messy even when things get tough.  And I promise you they will.

The next time you get super busy, you are going to come home and realize your house is a wreck again.  But instead of settling into that mess, and just letting it go, use your new clean home mindset and start tackling that mess as soon as possible so your home does not revert back to crazy messy ever again.

dark haired woman blowing the fake smoke off her cleaning bottles like she just shot a gun

When To Call A Business To Help

I am ready to face the fact that I can’t do everything.  It is hard, but sometimes, you just have to call in the experts.  And there are experts that can help you at all different stages of the house cleaning process.

There are companies that will drop off a giant dumpster to help you.  Some companies will even help you take out all the trash out of your home as professional declutterers.  If you need someone to help you get organized, there are companies that can help you with that aspect.  Others can help you create a routine for your life so you can actually have a plan of attack each day.  And still others can come in and clean your home for you.

My point is, sometimes you need to ask for help from the professionals, and that is okay!  If there is something you just can’t seem to do for one reason or another, look up someone who can do it for you.

Related Post:  How To Create A Stay At Home Mom Schedule (Free Printable Guide)

overwhelmed woman sitting on a couch in a messy room

Coming To Grips With Reality

At the end of the day, I am not going to lie to you and say that I am doing my daily cleaning and keeping my home spotless.  No, I hate housework as much as the next messy person.  But in the end, I have learned that the times when my house is at it’s worst, are the times that I stop doing my daily household duties.

I hate doing dishes, I hate doing laundry, and I hate cleaning bathrooms.  And I would love for my days to be more like they were when I was young and still living with my parents.  But at the end of the day, it is no longer a reality.  I am an adult now and I have to realize that part of being an adult is being responsible and taking care of the task to keep my house from getting messy.

blue bucket, soap and woman pushing a mop

What If Your House Is Filthy Under All That Mess?

This post talked mainly about having a house that is messy due to clutter.  But what happens when you get to the bottom of that mess and realize your house is really dirty?

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.

If you are looking to tackle a really dirty house, you can read the related post below where I go into detail about cleaning some really nasty things.

Related Post: How To Clean A Filthy House

messy kitchen sink

Where To Start Cleaning A Messy House

The best way to begin cleaning a messy house is to figure out where you will see the most impact and benefit in your everyday life.

That could be and entryway to your home that is completely cluttered by shoes, coats and other things.

It could be your kitchen so that you have usable counter space where you can prep meals each day.

Or possibly you just want to be able to sleep better in a room that is peaceful and less cluttered with things.

The choice is yours.

And when you make the choice to clean the area of your home that will give you the most benefit or satisfaction, it will help you find the motivation to clean other areas of your home.

framed sign that says remember why you started

Tips To STAY Motivated While Cleaning

Sometimes we all lose momentum.  Especially if the cleaning project is large.

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 start to feel exhausted by the amount of work we had to do.

Here are some ways that we learned to help use stay motivated to keep going:

  • 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
clean living room with sofa, chair, and table

Summary Of How To Clean A Messy House 

1//  Find Your Motivation

2//  Have A Vision

3// Break it up into smaller areas

4// Clear The Clutter

5// Get Organized

6// Keep Up

Take-Away Advice

In the end, cleaning a messy home can be hard and time consuming.  There is nothing quick or easy about it.  So creating good routines for your days and habits into your life can help make sure that you never have to do that hard work again.

Happy Cleaning!

Julie

P.S. – Want to refer back to information in this post? Just remember to pin it and then you can find it anytime you want!

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