My House Is Messy – Where Do I Start Cleaning? Tips You Need

Getting the cleaning mindset and finding motivation

getting the cleaning mindset and finding motivation

When you’re facing an overwhelming mess, it’s easy to feel defeated before you’ve even washed the first dish or fluffed a sofa pillow.

While some people can stare down the clutter and chaos with determination, others get stuck in a paralyzing loop of thinking, “I know my house is messy; where do I start?”

Instead, put yourself in the right mindset to clean. Put on some grubby clothes, tie your hair back, and focus on the task at hand.

Once you get moving, the process of cleaning up a messy house will move much faster than you’d think!

Think about WHY you want to clean and the rewards

What good things come from a clean house?

  • Peace of mind.
  • Pride in the spaces you create.
  • More free time to enjoy your family, hobbies, and friends.

Encourage yourself with thoughts like, “After I clean up the kitchen bar, cooking dinner will be so much easier.” It can be really helpful to put your thoughts into motion so that your mindset changes and wants you to accomplish your goals.

Turn cleaning into less of a job and more fun!

Before you start cleaning, think of the things in your life that make you the happiest, then find a way to incorporate them into your cleaning routine.

Enjoy music, podcasts, or more with headphones while cleaning

Let your mind focus on something more enjoyable while your body does the cleaning. Jam to your favorite upbeat music while you scrub or catch up on your podcasts while you do the dirty dishes.

Doing so helps distract you from being in the trenches and puts you in a more optimistic mindset.

Reward yourself for a job well done (set rewards for goals met)

If all else fails, and you’re not able to tap into your internal motivation, other kinds of motivation can be really helpful too.

Reward your work with something of high value to you like a trip to your favorite restaurant that night or a pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing. Even just the promise of some dedicated “you” time while enjoying a hot cup of coffee may be enough to get you past the initial hurdle.

How to approach cleaning up your messy house

how to approach cleaning up your messy house

Now that you’re motivated and have rewards waiting on the horizon, it’s time to get started!

1. Knock out the time-sensitive priorities & most visible dirty areas

Efficiency is the key because you’re going to get burnt out on cleaning eventually. Net some significant wins in the beginning so that you feel more accomplished once you’re ready to call it a day.

Time-sensitive cleaning tasks might be dealing with trash before collection day or washing dirty clothes, so you have something to wear to work tomorrow. Then, give your flat surfaces all of the attention. Think floors, countertops, and tabletops.

2. Work on clothes and food first on your list

Laundry and dishes are two things that we need every day, which is why there’s always so much of them to do. When you’re at the peak of your motivation, get those two jobs done quickly.

It will feel like you’ve already conquered two of the biggest problems right from the beginning.

3. Make a simple – and manageable – morning cleaning checklist

Once your home is clean, you want to keep it that way. A morning checklist is a great way to handle all of the little messes that quickly add up, but don’t be too ambitious.

If the list is overly time-consuming, you’re less likely to keep up with it. Start your day by cleaning up any breakfast dishes, making beds, and washing a load of laundry.

4. Plan for your afternoons or evenings with a routine also

It’s tough to get motivated to clean up after the day is over, but an afternoon or evening routine can be a game-changer. Focus on your kitchen because that’s where most of the activity is taking place, like homework and dinner.

Load the dishwasher, wipe down the counters, and give the floor a quick sweep. Be sure that all clutter is put away in its proper place and get your morning necessities– coffee mugs, backpacks, etc.– in the right spot.

5. Choose one weekly cleaning task for a set day of the week

Taking on one big chore a day is so much more manageable than consuming an entire weekend making your home feel fresh and clean. Instead, create a weekly schedule with one cleaning task each day, like dusting, cleaning floors, or scrubbing bathrooms.

Make a cleaning schedule

make a cleaning schedule

There’s a saying that goes, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” The same is true of those wondering, “My house is messy; where do I start?”

Instead of forcing yourself to contend with the mess in one day, split it out into more manageable chunks of time over several days.

Leave cleaning products or accessories where they are

leave cleaning products or accessories where they are

Deep cleaning should not be the first thing on your mind when you’re organizing a messy house. Instead, just declutter. Deal with the obvious: dishes, trash, and laundry.

Throw out junk piles that have slowly built up in stacks in the corners of your home.

Give yourself less work, not more

Don’t create messes before you clean the ones that already exist. It’s not uncommon to go for the “nuclear” option of pushing everything in a pile together into a single room, then sorting through it piece by piece.

While that might work for some, it can make the overwhelmed feeling much worse. Instead, quickly declutter by setting up labeled baskets.

Anything that belongs in the living room goes into one basket, the dining room in another basket, and so on.

Find storage space for everything (make cleanliness easier in between)

Every object in your house should have a home– somewhere where it belongs. Neglecting to have dedicated space often creates the problem in the first place.

Whether it’s labeled bins or a special spot on the shelf, know where everything goes and put it there when you see it out of place.

Is a messy house normal?

is a messy house normal

People have busy lives, jobs, stressors, and social events that often take precedence over a perfectly organized home, and that’s okay! Messy homes are totally normal and not just for parents with young children.

Don’t allow things like social media or online content to make you feel like you’re failing at something everyone else is spectacular at. That’s often only half of the story.

Give yourself some grace!

Use part-time cleaning services if it helps

use part time cleaning services if it helps

Sometimes the job is just too big for one person. Fortunately, there are plenty of options that can kickstart your brand new cleaning routine without having to contend with the initial mess all on your own.

Hiring affordable cleaning services

If the job is too big to do on your own or you just prefer some company while you work, reach out for some help!

1. Craigslist part-time workers and youngsters

Craigslist, Facebook, and other marketplace sites are great places to advertise that you’re looking for some help. If necessary, ask for references to ensure they’re trustworthy before you let a stranger into your home!

2. Classifieds, advertise in your area and reach out to friends & neighbors

Most people already have a support system in place who would be more than happy to give you a hand.

Before you place a classified ad, talk to your friends and neighbors about hosting “sparkle parties,” where everyone pitches in at one neighbor’s house on a particular day each month.

3. Babysitters are another potential source of house cleaning to save time

Busy moms who have a reliable babysitter may want to reach out and offer additional pay for basic housekeeping. Go over a list of what you’d like done, agree on a price, and be sure that they know the kids are still the #1 priority.

James Marshall

About the author

James is a business management professional and consultant with a former background in maintenance, repair, and hands-on projects. He enjoys DIY tasks and maintenance around the home as well as part-time writing. Read more »