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As hard as we try to keep a clean house and keep up with each cleaning task on a daily basis, our busy lives happen and we have to figure out how to clean a messy house.

Most of us don’t have a lot of time to devote to a daily cleaning routine. We are trying to juggle work, family, self-care, or maybe you’re a single mom. At the end of each day, there’s just not much time left.  

Maybe there has been an illness, a new baby, young kids, work deadlines, or school obligations that have robbed you of time.  


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Whatever the reason, I promise–you are not alone!  

How to clean a very messy house

What is the best way how to clean a very messy house when you don’t even know where to start?  

And I know it feels overwhelming and you may not even know where to begin for a clean home. The important thing and my best tip is to just begin. 

Once you get started, you will gain momentum and motivation will follow!

Today, I’m going to focus on how to clean a messy house–even if you haven’t cleaned in a long time. No organizing, no deep cleaning, no rearranging, no home remodeling.  

Cleaning supplies for the home:  how to clean a messy house

Now let’s turn on your Cleaning motivation!

 I like to listen to Hamilton or a true crime podcast. Find the best thing that motivates you to keep the momentum going.

First Step how to Clean a messy house: trash

Take the garbage bag and very quickly go through each room and collect anything that is trash–the food wrappers, drink bottles, etc.

Do not get sidetracked! Keep that trash bag in hand and focus on trash only! I know this isn’t easy, especially if you have adult ADD like I do, but we can do this! 

Trash only!

Next Step: Clean the kitchen

After all of the trash is out, start in the messy kitchen. The first thing to do in the kitchen will be dirty dishes.  

Run a sink full of hot soapy water and start loading dishes into the dishwasher and start the dishwasher.  If you have dishes that need to be hand washed, put them in the sink of water and take care of those now.  

Then, if you have dishes that need to be scraped or scrubbed, put them in the sink of water and get to work. I love these scrubbers for tough stuck-on messes.  

Go ahead and dry all of these hand washed dishes by hand and immediately put them away.  

You should now have an empty sink, so spray it with cleaner and let it sit.

Now you have clean dishes and can focus on the rest of the kitchen!

kitchen sink full of dirty dishes

Clean Flat surfaces

The next step in the kitchen in how to clean a messy house, is to clear the flat surfaces. It seems like my countertops collect a lot of stuff and I never have enough space. Go ahead and put everything in its own place.

I don’t like to put things into a “put it away later” tub. I go ahead and take the random items to their homes. You can put all of the out-of-place items into a tub, box, or laundry basket to help transport them to their homes, but don’t leave them in a box to be forgotten.  

You’ve already handled the trash, so these random things either belong in the kitchen or they in other parts of your house. So just go ahead and gather it all up and take it where it goes.

If you have things you want to donate, put them into the box designated for donations.

When you come across items that you need to return outside the home such as library books, immediately take them to your car if you can. That way, you don’t accidently misplace or throw away these things.

At this point, my kitchen countertops are left with the coffee maker, a small lazy susan with coffee fixins, a small lamp, fruit bowl, and the family paper/mail basket.  

I put these items in a cabinet, or move them to the dining table so I can thoroughly clean the counter surfaces and the stovetop.  

Now you can return the items back to the clean countertops!

free resource library with printables for mom home management

Next Kitchen cleaning tasks

The next step how to clean a messy house is to clean the dining table surface and wipe the chair surfaces too.   

That’s another day.  

Today let’s just focus on getting the messy house under control.

A clean kitchen always improves my attitude and makes me happy!

Don’t worry about floors yet either. 

Clean floors as the very last step. 

Next chore when cleaning a messy house: laundry

I no longer do laundry on a daily basis, yet everyone in my family has clean clothes on every day!  

No more doing a daily load of laundry and no more full laundry baskets sitting in every room of your house. No more piles of dirty clothes cluttering your laundry room.   

But today, the goal is to get your house back to a manageable state. So let’s go ahead and tackle the piles of laundry and while that’s going, tackle the rest of the house.  

Put a load of dirty clothes in the washer and set a timer on your phone if you need to so you remember to put them in the dryer–then you can get the next load put in the washer and keep the laundry train going!

Next step when cleaning your disgusting house: bathrooms

Now it’s time to clean what many of us think is the hardest room–the bathroom

The first step for cleaning the bathroom is to put everything away. Clear everything off the counter and put it in the right place where it belongs. If there’s trash that you missed earlier, toss it now.  

Take a quick inventory of bath and shower products. I usually find empty bottles of body wash or empty shampoo bottles in the shower because apparently it takes too much time and effort for my family members to throw things away.  

Now that you’ve put everything away, spray the shower area with cleaner so it can be working it’s magic. Spray the sink and faucets too.

After the toilet is clean, scrub and wipe down the shower and sink. Then dust any shelves and wipe down the vanity counter.  

Repeat these steps for each bathroom in your home.  

next room to clean: the living room

You’ve already taken care of the trash so now start putting things away, fold the blankets, and straighten the pillows.  

Remeber, don’t worry about floors yet. We will do all of the floors at the end.  

How to clean messy bedrooms

I always do the master bedroom first. Begin by putting everything away. Then dust and clean shelves and tables. If you need to change sheets, do that now and make the bed.  

Repeat for all the bedrooms. 

If you have older kids, you can have them clean their rooms. Even small children can do small tasks to help with cleaning their bedroom.  

Final step to clean a messy house: clean the floors

After vacuuming the rug in a room, vacuum the hard floor around it. This should go quickly because you don’t have to worry about the corners and edges of the room. You swept those out with the dust mop.   

After each room has been vacuumed, you’re ready to wash the hard floors. The type of cleaner you use will obviously be dependent upon the type of flooring that you have.  

The hard floors in our home consist of wood-like laminate and ceramic tile, and I clean them both the same way.  

I start cleaning the floors of the bedrooms and halls first, and then I mop the living areas.  

Then I dump the mop water since it’s usually pretty dirty at this point. I refill with the same cleaning solution and mop the kitchen floor and dining room. Then, I mop the bathrooms last.  

Don’t forget to make trips to the washing machine to transfer clothes to the dryer. I have to set a timer on my phone or I get sidetracked and forget!

Take a deep breath!

Now you can take a deep breath and be proud of what a great job you have done! You have tackled and conquered the daunting task of a very messy house and can now enjoy your tidy home

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