If you live in a house where dirty dishes are piled a mile high on the counter, clothes are strewn over the floor, and clutter abounds, you may feel as if you’re drowning. Here are my best tips on how to clean a disgusting house.
It’s difficult to become too comfy in my house, no matter how tidy it is. Because, with 3 little children, I know it wouldn’t take long for me to glance around and see that my house is a nasty shambles.
After a particularly trying week, my spotless home might appear to have been robbed by robbers. Burglars who ruined my laundry, scribbled on my walls, ransacked my fridge and pantry, and left every surface of my house sticky and coated with food.
Because it doesn’t take much for a filthy house to become so daunting that you don’t know where to begin when you have children.
It might be work-related stress, a new baby, sickness, the kids being on vacation, or simply life becoming overly stressful.
The fact is that when things become bad, most of us let our house go first.
And I’m here to assure you that everything is OK.
You are not a failure because your home is untidy and disorganized. You’re perfectly normal. So beautifully, gorgeously normal.
But you’re ready to overcome your cluttered home and rediscover serenity and tranquility within its four walls.
We’ll get you there with this guidance. You will discover:
- How to Begin Even When the Mess Is Enormous
- A step-by-step method to cleaning a cluttered house in a single day.
- How to Keep Your Home Clean From Now On
Before we begin, keep in mind that your aim right now is to do as much as you can today and then devise a strategy to complete the remainder. As a result, your primary emphasis today is MOMENTUM.
Allow yourself to not become engrossed in any one task. Instead, work your way through the stages as fast as possible, and then, after your filthy house is suddenly feeling a million times better, you can get into the nitty-gritty.
Remember that done is preferable to perfect.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
This post may contain affiliate links. Full disclosure here.
Cleaning a Messy House in a Single Day
When your home is in shambles, it may be completely paralyzing. It’s as though everything is consumed in flames, and you’re standing there with a spray bottle, unsure where to point the nozzle.
So, with a cluttered house, what do you clean first? Where do you intend to point your figurative spray bottle?
Put on a movie for your children, open the windows (if the weather permits), and grab a large garbage bag. Then walk through your house, room by room, tossing away everything that can be thrown out right away.
Your goal is single-minded: toss away whatever you can without hesitation.
This includes the following:
- Trash that is obvious
- Small lousy toys that your kids just leave lying about (for example, fast food kid’s meal toys)
- Unwanted mail
- When the bag is full, toss it outside and go get another. Repeat until you’re finished. This should only take about 15-20 minutes. It should just take a few minutes in each room.
Remember, this isn’t about determining whether to retain or toss any important stuff. It is the removal of garbage and trash-like objects from your home (broken crayons, conference sway, hotel note pads etc.).
If you need to think about it, put it aside for the time being.
Also, don’t bother about recycling or donating anything right now. While I am 100% in favor of recycling and being environmentally responsible, when you feel like you’re drowning, it’s all about raising your head above water so you can breathe.
Once you can breathe freely in your home, you’ll recycle like a pro. Right now, it’s all about getting rid of the tension that’s been gnawing at you.
Move on to the kitchen once you’ve cleaned up all of the garbage.
Tackling A Disgusting Kitchen
No area in the house can go from spotless to looking like something out of a Hoarders episode faster than the family kitchen.
However, you are not going to conduct a thorough cleaning of the kitchen. No, not just now. Your primary objective in the kitchen should be to keep it clean enough to be sanitary and useful. It should be clean enough that you don’t feel anxious every time you look at it.
To clean your kitchen, follow these steps:
- Go from room to room and collect filthy dishes from anyplace in the home. Throw away anything that is too much (if you are completely overwhelmed, this may be what you need to stay sane)
- Dishes should be rinsed and loaded into the dishwasher.
- Start the dishwasher.
- Clear surfaces as fast as possible.
- Surfaces should be cleaned.
- Set out to dry any hand dishes that have been washed (optional)
- Vacuum/sweep the floor (no mopping yet, but you can spot mop anything truly hideous if it makes you feel better)
It may be tempting to get down and dirty with some cleaning. As an example, clear out your junk drawer or clean out your fridge. DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT.
Your house is like a person who has passed out and is bleeding on the street. Before we paint her toes, let’s stop the bleeding and make sure she’s awake.
When it comes to unexpectedly overpower you, dirty laundry has ninja-like characteristics.
You believe you’re OK one minute. Then, all of a sudden, you’re being assaulted by increasing stacks and overflowing laundry bins. And because there are no clean underpants in the home, everyone is obliged to wear their swimsuits.
Or perhaps it’s just me.
But, nevertheless, we’re now going to battle the mounds of filthy clothes that have accumulated about your house.
Here’s how you’ll handle the laundry today:
- Gather every piece of dirty clothes in the home by going from room to room. Don’t forget about the towels and bathroom rugs.
- Divide into many heaps. I split laundry into these popup laundry baskets since they fold flat and store effortlessly, keeping my heaps neat and orderly.
- Put in the first load (I prefer to start with the pile that has the most underwear in it…)
- If you have any heaps of clean clothes lying about, fold and store it – OR – just divide it and store it in drawers for later.
After you’ve completed the washing, you can go to the following stage. However, keep an eye on the laundry as you work on other areas of your home.
You’ll want to take a few moments here and there to transfer the washed clothing to the dryer and then start a fresh load in the washer. You’ll take care of the folding and putting away afterward.
It is now time to deal with all of the unpleasant paper clutter that has accumulated around your home. This is what you’ll do:
- First, collect ALL paper clutter, bills, and so on from around your home.
- Divide into two piles: Deal with what has to be done right away (for example, bills), and deal with what needs to be done later.
- Put the “deal with later” pile in a safe place. This way, if you need a document, you’ll know where to search. You may work on this throughout the next few weeks. Meanwhile, make sure that any incoming documents are put to this pile.
- Pay any past-due bills.
- Go through the “deal with immediately” pile and do whatever it takes to get those items off your plate. If something will take a long time and can wait a few days, create a reminder on your phone to deal with it in two days and set it aside.
Remember that your aim is to maintain momentum and tackle as much as you can right now.
Cleaning The Bedrooms
It is now time to begin working on the different rooms in your home. It’s tempting to get caught into some nitty-gritty organization at this point but resist the desire. Keep your cool!
Your aim here is to simply pick up each area and swiftly wipe off surfaces. It shouldn’t take long because you’ve already cleaned up the garbage, dishes, and clothes from each room.
In reality, each room should only take around 10-15 minutes. Set a timer each time you begin working on an area to keep things moving!
To clean each room, do the following:
- Pick up any objects that are out of place and immediately put them away. This includes putting all toys in one container, similar goods in one drawer, and so forth. If clean clothing are strewn about, just make sure they end up in the correct drawer. Don’t bother about folding or thorough arranging for the time being.
- Wipe down any surfaces that have been touched. I like Clorox Wipes or a rag/paper towel with Method all-purpose cleanser (it makes everything smell fresh)
- Move on to the next room and repeat until all of the rooms have been picked up.
- When everything has been picked up and the floors have been cleared, it is time to shine them.
Cleaning the Bathrooms
You just have one major duty left: the bathrooms. To go through your bathrooms fast, you’ll clean them all at once. Alternatively, if that seems insane, simply follow the procedures below for each bathroom.
Don’t bother about clearing out cupboards or closets; simply make sure the bathroom is clean and sanitary.
Here is everything you will need to clean your bathrooms.
Keep all bathroom cleaning materials in one place. As an example:
- Bathroom sink cleanser that is multi-purpose
- Shower/tub cleaner (I personally love Kaboom because I can just spray, let is sit for a few minutes, and quickly wipe down and it looks pretty dang good)
- Scrub brush and/or rag
- Toilet cleaning solution Toilet scrubber
- Mirrors should be cleaned using paper towels and window cleaner.
In each bathroom, wipe off all surfaces. Make sure that the sink and tub/shower are clean and ready to be cleaned.
In each bathroom, spray down the tub/shower. Allow the cleaner to sit for the time being before proceeding to the next stages.
Clean the sink by spraying it with a cleanser and wiping it down. As you move from one bathroom to the next, spritz each sink with a cleanser. Then repeat the process of wiping them down.
Wipe down the tub/shower in each bathroom with a cloth or scrub brush.
- Squirt toilet cleaning liquid into the toilet and then scrape with a toilet brush. Do not flush and leave it till you have done flushing the other toilets. Proceed to the next bathroom and clean the toilet bowl.
- Put away the toilet brush after rinsing it out.
- Then go through each toilet and flush it.
- Wipe down the exterior of the toilet bowl and the toilet seat with a bathroom cleanser and a cloth (or Clorox wipes). Repeat this process for each toilet.
- Floors should be swept and mopped.
- Mirrors should be clean.
- Return any things that belong in the shower or sink.
- Place all cleaning materials in their proper place.
- After you’ve finished washing your towels, hang clean towels in each bathroom. Alternatively, if you have a supply of clean towels in your linen cupboard, take those out.
Tackle The Floors
Your house is starting to come together at this stage. Your house is mostly tidy, and it’s time to get those floors nice and clean.
Walking around my house with clean flooring beneath my bare feet is one of the nicest experiences in the world for me. You’re nearly there!
Here’s how you’ll clean your floors:
- Vacuum or sweep any hard floors. If they’re very filthy, do it again. Loose dirt on concrete floors quickly soils any neighboring carpet.
- Vacuum the carpet and rugs once the hard surfaces have been cleaned.
- Mop hard flooring – here are the best spin mops if you’re looking for a new one.
- Here are the best baby safe floor cleaners if you need some too.
By this stage, your house is already looking and feeling a lot better. It’s now time to buy yourself some time and mental space by planning out your meals for the upcoming week.
You’ll also make a grocery list so you know precisely what you’ll need to feed your family for the next week.
What you’re going to do is as follows:
- Decide on a meal for tonight. Make something SUPER SIMPLE with things you already have on hand. In fact, I highly advocate getting take-out (or ordering pizza delivery) so you don’t have another mess to clean and don’t have to spend the time to cook anything.
- Make a list of easy dinners for the next week. I’m sure you want to serve your children healthful, organic, handmade foods all day. But for this week, let’s just keep things simple. You can plan some nicer food once we’ve had some breathing room. Let’s keep things as simple as possible over the next week.
Make a grocery list when you’ve decided on a menu. I propose adding paper plates and bowls to the shopping list to simplify life and reduce future messes.
Make a shopping schedule for the following several days.
Maintain The Clean
You want to maintain your house tidy now that it’s clean. And you’d want to devise a strategy for tackling the small organizing projects that have accumulated around your home.
To do so, make a basic cleaning plan so that you can clean every room in your house in a week. It doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming.
The trick is to accomplish something small every day.
If you don’t know where to begin, here’s a basic cleaning routine that will keep your house clean in minutes every day.
- Schedule time each day for cleaning and organising activities. Every morning and evening, I set aside a few minutes.
- Maintain a cleaning routine. Make your own, download the one above, or locate another that you like online!
- Establish non-negotiables. So, no matter how exhausted or worried you are, there are some things you will always do, no matter what. For example, suppose you start the dishwasher every evening and unload it every morning. (This makes cleaning up the kitchen a lot easier.)
- Every evening, you set a timer for 10 minutes and clean as much as you can around your house in that time.
- Every day, spend 15 minutes doing laundry. I have a family of six, and 15 minutes a day is all I need to keep up with washing. It’s time to gather the clothes, toss in a wash, and fold the load from the day before. Spend 15 minutes a day on it, and you’ll be surprised.
- As you go throughout your house, get into the practise of shifting objects closer to where they belong. This requires little additional effort but will go a long way toward keeping your home clutter-free.
For example, if you have something in the kitchen that belongs in an upstairs bedroom and you’re on your way upstairs to—say—the laundry room, you carry the item up the stairs. And then, on your way to the washing room, leave it in the hallway.
It didn’t take you any more time, but it moved that object one step closer to its destiny.
Skeptical? Just give it a few days and you’ll see how much simpler it is to keep your house tidy.
Here are some more housekeeping tips:
- Maintain a basket on the stairs for goods that must be brought upstairs.
- Make your children responsible for their own messes by enforcing tasks. I’ve found that no screen time if the house is messy, motivates kids pretty quickly!
- Apply the one-minute rule. If a task takes one minute or less, complete it immediately. Making this a habit will help to keep surfaces clean and messes at bay.
- Put on some upbeat music and have a cleaning dance party with your children. I maintain a specific playlist of my kids’ favorite, most upbeat songs that I ONLY play when we’re having a cleaning dance party. It gets kids excited to clean, and they link cleaning with joy. Win-win.
And keep in mind that you don’t have to be flawless; you simply have to be consistent. Doing a little bit every day can help you stay on top of things, even at the most stressful times of your life.
Let’s Talk Decluttering
You should also devise a strategy for progressively purging and decluttering your home. This is when you’ll really get into the details of organizing your house, such as looking through that stack of documents, clearing out closets and drawers, and getting rid of all the garbage.
The reality is that the more stuff you have around, the faster problems arise. As a result, decluttering your home and eliminating superfluous stuff is a good long-term option for keeping your home clean and tidy.
While there are several excellent books on cleaning and purging, you may not have the time or energy to read them all before jumping in.
If you want a straightforward formula, try this:
- Make a list of all the rooms in your home.
- Focus on one part of your house once a month or once a week (depending on your style). Focus your cleaning and organising efforts on getting rid of any unnecessary stuff and handling any organisation chores in that specific space.
- Step 2 should be repeated in the following room.
- A purging/decluttering effort might quickly become overwhelming. So split it up and go slowly. However, if you are persistent, you will immediately find that your house seems less crowded and more calm.
Why Does My House Keep Getting So Messy?
I’ve seen so many friends and family members lose control of their houses when life became too hectic.
A life-changing medical diagnosis, despair, job loss, and relationship issues can all be enough to make someone lose all motivation to clean their houses.
This is everything that worked for us, and I truly hope that anything here will assist you as well!
How To Get Motivated To Clean A Messy House
When you’re confronted with cleaning a filthy house, it may be difficult to find inspiration.
Fortunately, there are a few methods to inspire yourself to clean your house even when you don’t want to.
Increase the volume of the music.
This is by far my best method for motivating myself to clean my house. I get to Spotify and listen to one of my favorite upbeat/uplifting tunes before getting to work.
Listen to an episode of a podcast
This is definitely my second favorite technique to keep motivated since it takes my attention away from what I’m doing. Cleaning isn’t exactly the most enjoyable chore in the world, is it?
Set a timer.
Next, set a timer for an hour (or 15 minutes– whatever length of time you have to clean) and attempt to get as much done as possible within that time limit. This approach works nicely with music. You’ll probably burn some calories as well.
View a cleaning incentive video.
Now, there’s a whole universe of cleaning incentives that I wasn’t aware of until lately.
Cleaning motivational videos on YouTube– Many people find them to be quite beneficial for increasing motivation.
Just try not to lose track of time while doing this. Aim to watch one or two and then go to work!
Begin with something simple.
Another approach to be motivated to clean your house is to just START.
And the simplest way to begin is, well, with something basic that you can complete fast.
The idea is that once you start and finish a task, you will ideally feel encouraged to continue. More on it in a moment!
The Quickest Way To Clean A Disgusting House
That’s all there is to it! You now understand how to go from feeling like your house is a nasty mess to feeling at ease in your clean and tidy home in just a few hours.
You’ve even scheduled your meals for the upcoming week! Furthermore, you now understand some of how to maintain your gorgeous house clean and tidy using some easy techniques.
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