Do you look around your home and think, “My house is a disgusting mess!”?
Piles of laundry. Shopping bags. Dirty dishes. Paperwork. Kid’s toys. Half completed projects. Shoes. Trash. You name it.
It’s everywhere and you’re so tired of it all!
First, stop beating yourself up over the mess. Don’t blame your family either. Most likely everyone in the home contributed to the mess in some way and pointing fingers won’t get the mess taken care of.
It happens to everyone for one reason or another.
Maybe you were super busy and had no time at home. Maybe you or your family were sick. Maybe you just didn’t feel motivated to clean because it was overwhelming and you didn’t know where to start.
Whatever the case, it doesn’t have to stay this way! In this post, I’ll share exactly what you need to do to tackle the mess today and what to do in the future so you don’t have this big of a mess again.
Also, be sure to get your free Clean House with Kids Checklist. It has the exact things you need to do each day to have a clean house!
How to clean up a house that is a disgusting mess step by step.
Before you start, make sure you have some time to dedicate to cleaning up the mess. This is a great time to call a babysitter if you have kids.
If a babysitter is out of the question, then plan to clean while the kids are sleeping, at school, or in some way preoccupied.
The more dedicated you can be to cleaning up the mess, the faster you’ll get done.
Do whatever you can to make sure you have dedicated time to taking care of the mess and getting your house back in oder.
First, visualize your clean home.
Yes, underneath all of the mess there is a clean home. Well, sort of! You are going to get it there.
Sometimes the biggest problem in getting your house clean is simply having the motivation to start. I created an entire course all about having motivation to care for your home. But today, I want you to do 2 things.
One. Stand in the middle of your mess and think about how it makes you feel. Acknowedlge how hard it is on your family and yourself.
Two. Change your thoughts to what it will feel like when the mess is cleaned up.
- How much easier will it be to live in your home?
- Will it bring you more peace to you? your marriage? your kids?
- Will your family enjoy being home?
- Look around and visualize your cleaned up space!
Next, Clear out the clutter.
Before you do any real cleaning like dusting, vacuuming, or mopping, you’ve got to get the clutter picked up.
Start with the trash.
Get a trash bag and go from room to room throwing away any trash that you see. At this point you aren’t going to worry about recycling or donating. This could be things like old ads and junk mail, wrappers, kid’s meal toys, things that you don’t use and aren’t worth donating.
Don’t take forever to make designs about stuff. This should be pretty easy at this point. You are only looking for trash and throwing it away.
Once you fill a bag, take it outside to the trashcan right away. Don’t let it sit in your home.
Now, it’s time to gather all the laundry.
Go from room to room and put all the laundry in one place. If you have so much laundry that it will take you weeks and weeks to finish, I wrote an entire post about what to do with too much laundry.
But for now, here are some key steps. First, before you wash anything, make sure you still want to wear it and keep it. If there are dirty clothes that you don’t really want to wear anymore, start filling up another trash bag or box for donations.
You may even find that you have too many clothes. Only keep the ones that you like to wear and wear on a regular basis.
There is no need to wash clothes you will not wear again. Once you have gone through your clothes, start the first load of laundry. While that is going, let’s move on to the next step.
Walk through the house and gather up all the dirty dishes.
We’ll get to those soon, but first you need to get rid of some more clutter.
Grab an empty box or trash bag, but this time instead of trash, this will be for donating clutter.
Go from room to room and gather unused items.
Your home is probably full of items that you never use. Instead they are collecting dust, taking up valuable space, and acting as trip hazards!
This items need to go! ASAP!
Grab another trash bag or box and fill it up with whatever isn’t used on a regular basis. Do this in every single room.
If you are emotionally attached to some items and you can’t part with them, put those things in a separate box and label it. These things should still be moved out of your main living areas.
You can put them in a garage, attic, or basement for now. Then when you are ready to deal with them, they will be there, but you don’t have to trip over them now.
Deal with the paperwork.
When you come across paperwork, gather it all up and put it in one pile. Only add papers to the pile that you must go through, Any trash should be thrown away immediately.
At this point, you can deal with the paperwork right away, or wait to deal with it later and start cleaning.
It’s up to you. There really is no trick to dealing with paperwork. you have to go through every single piece of paper.
As you work your way through the pile, pull out the most important papers that need immediate or very soon attention. This will probably be things like bills and school forms. Put these in a designated folder or notebook to deal with at a specific time.
File old papers and receipts right away. Don’t let them pile up. If you have old school papers and craft projects of your kids, ask them to pick their favorite ones. You could pick a number like 5 or 10. The rest of the papers can be thrown away.
Don’t feel guilty about this. Think of it this way. in 10 years from now, how likely are you to look at 500 drawing of your preschoolers? Not likely.
BUT – if there are only 10, you will probably take the time to look through them.
I love this quotes from Joshua Becker, “If everything is special, nothing is special.”
Keep the special ones you really want to remember.
Third, clean up the yuck.
Now that the clutter is cleared up, it’s time to start cleaning. You’ll go fast if you have the right tools.
I suggest using microfiber eclothes (affiliate link) which technically only need to be wet to work, but since your house is pretty yucky right now, I also suggest using a multipurpose spray.
The Mrs. Meyer’s multipurpose sprays smell fantastic, but you could also use a simple 2 parts water and 1 part vinegar spray.
Let’s beak it down by rooms.
Clean the Kitchen
Start with the dishes.
As you look through your dirty dishes, decide if you really need all of these dishes. I’ve found that a lot of households have way too many dishes, so what happens is the dishes never really get washed. They just pile up, and when someone needs a dish, they have to wash the dish they need.
So make some discoing about your dishware. If you have too much, get rid of what you don’t really need. Then fill up the dishwasher and wash the rest by hand.
It’s helpful to wash dishes by likeness. Before washing, divide up your dirty dishes: silverware, plates, bowls, cups, pots and pans. Then wash all of the silverware at one time. All of the plates at one time and so on.
Once the dishes are done, spray the sink with your multipurpose spray and wipe it down. You may need to use a scrub sponge. Scotch-brite heavy duty are my all time favorite!
Next, spray the counter tops and wipe them down too. One word of caution. If you are using the water and vinegar solution, do not spray that on granite.
Related Post: Simple Kitchen Cleaning Checklist
Clean the Bathrooms
While you have your disenfectent spray out head to the bathroom. Spray down the sink, countertop, outside of the toilet, and shower walls.
Squirt some toilet bowl cleaner in the toilet and let it sit while you wipe down the mirror, countertop and sink. I like to use the same rag of all of this. Just be sure to start with the mirror, then the counter top, and then the sink. That way you don’t spread germs!
Now that your toilet cleaner has had a chance to sit, use a toilet brush to scrub it clean. Wipe the outside down with a clean cloth.
Last, wipe down the shower walls. If it’s been a while since the shower was cleaned, you may need to scrub a bit. Again, the Scotch-brite heavy duty sponges are my favorite for getting that grime cleaned up.
Make the Beds
There probably isn’t much to do in the bedrooms, since you already picked up the laundry and clutter.
Make the beds, and if it’s been a while since the sheets have been changed, now is a good time to change them.
Dust the Surfaces
Now that the clutter is out of the way, all of the dust is visible, right?! Get a clean microfiber cloth and a dusting spray. To save time, I love using this multi-surface dusting spray (affiliate link) because it can be used on electronics, wood, glass, and granite!
You don’t have to get every nook and cranny. Set a timer for 15 minutes and see if you can get it all done. You’ll be surprised how much you can do when you set a timer!
Spray the cleaner on your rag, and wipe down the surfaces in each room.
Clean the Floors
This is the last step!
By now, you should be feeling pretty good about your home and what you have accomplished.
Vacuum every room with carpets and rugs.
Sweep all the tile, wood, and laminate floors. Then mop or Swiffer.
Give yourself a high five! You’re done!
Look around at your home and take it all in. Unfortunately, it won’t stay this way forever, but it doesn’t have to ever get to the place it was. It’s going to take some work and every day maintenance, but will be totally worth it to live in a home where you feel good and your family is taken care of.
Get a free checklist of all the things you need to do in order to care for your home. Once you download it, print it off and hang it up so you can keep your home clean every day.
Third, get yourself on a cleaning routine to avoid a disgusting mess in the future.
Now that your home is looking good, it will be much easier to manage from day to day. Instead of spending hours cleaning the entire house, you can do a few things each day that will keep the overwhelming mess away.
Here’s what to do every single day.
- A load of laundry. Sometimes you’ll need to do an extra load like towels or sheets.
- Clean up the kitchen and dishes every night after supper. Don’t go to bed until the kitchen is clean.
- Do a general tidy/pickup every day. Include the kids. Teach them to put laundry in the hamper and pick up their toys. If this is a struggle, have an incentive for picking up.
My preschooler and toddler are allowed to watch one TV show before bed, only if their rooms are picked up. It works like a charm!
The rest of your cleaning chores can be done on different days throughout the week.
Clean the bathrooms one day.
Dust another day.
Mop a different day.
When you do these things on a regular basis, you’ll avoid an overwhelming, messy house. If your family is hit with an illness or busy season of life, it will be easier to deal with because you’ll have a simple cleaning system in place.
Cleaning up a house that is a disgusting mess is not going to happen easily. It will take some work and dedication, but you can do it!
Remember to think about the outcome. Every step you take will get you closer to the peace that you long for in your home.
Be sure to get your copy of the free Clean House with Kids Checklist so you have a list that’s easy to refer to as you care for your home.