My House Is A Mess And I don’t Know Where To Start
We understand how overwhelming an untidy house can be. When starting a plan of action, it can feel impossible to know how to tackle the mess. So if you find yourself thinking ‘my house is messy, where do I start?’ then sit back and take a breather. You’re in the right place!
We’ve written this guide full of tips, ideas and inspiration to help you begin ‘the big clean’.
Remember to ignore any pressure or expectations on how much cleaning you should be doing. Only you know how much time and energy you have left at the end of the day.
At Clean and Tidy Living, we want to help you find realistic, time-friendly ways to make the first steps to a neat and organised home.
So, let’s find out the answer to that all important question: ‘my house is messy, where do I start?”
Our Answer to ‘My House is Messy, Where Do I start?’
How to find the motivation to Start cleaning
When your house is messy and you don’t know where to start, it can lead to all kinds of negative thoughts.
But we have to remember that everybody is different. We all have different worries, schedules, and personalities. What motivates your friend might not work for you, and vice versa.
We won’t pretend there is one magic piece of advice that will help every person.
However, hopefully you will find something in this list that motivates you to clear some clutter. Or at the very least, organise your thoughts enough to take the first step to your new clean and tidy house.
Have a dedicated clean and Tidy space
Clean your ‘living’ space first. Not necessarily your living room, but the place you go to relax after running around all day. Your safe haven from the stresses of the world!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by life and find that cleaning drops off the list of important tasks, try and keep just one space for you to use as an escape.
Carve out a space in your house that, no matter what, you can always keep clean and tidy.
Your clean space might be your bathroom for relaxing baths with a glass of wine, your office when you’re working, or your living room with snacks and blankets.
Having just one area in your home that is organised makes you feel in control, and proves that you can do it.
Think of it as your private sanctuary.
Turn your coffee catch-up into a cleaning catch-up
Are any of your friends in the same boat, feeling completely drowned by cleaning? Or maybe you know a clean freak who loves nothing more than decluttering a room! That friend who is the exact opposite of a hoarder. We all know, and love, one don’t we?
Suggest starting a cleaning, coffee and catch-up date where you alternate houses and tackle the task together. It’s always easier and more fun cleaning or sorting somebody else’s stuff.
Turning the task into a catch-up will make you look forward to cleaning and the whole process becomes much less overwhelming.
Create a cleaning schedule
‘Cleaning the whole house’ is a daunting sentence that fills us with dread. But, believe us when we say a cleaning schedule is essential for tidying your home, and keeping it mess-free.
We much prefer allocating 15 minutes each day to a task, with slightly longer chores scheduled for days off.
For some ideas on what to include in your cleaning schedule, take a look at this post by The Spruce.
Or, use our weekly deep cleaning checklist to help you stay on top of all of the important tasks.
Our FREE deep cleaning checklist is a great example of how to clean every day and keep on top of housework. Just click on either button below to download and get started.
Leave cleaning products where you need them
Is it just us or does unwrapping and re-wrapping the vacuum cleaners wire feel like the hardest household chore in the world.
The reason for this is a mystery we can’t solve, but we can use it to our advantage by leaving the vacuum plugged in (switched off at the wall) inside a cupboard, with the wire unwrapped.
If all you have to do is turn it on and start hoovering then the whole task just seems so much easier.
This also works great for cleaning products. If your bathroom cleaning products and cloths are already in the bathroom, you’re much more likely to clean it regularly. We love this under-sink storage box from Amazon.
Find a home for everything
For some reason, kids just don’t appreciate a clean and tidy sitting room as much as we do.
It feels a bit demotivating when the freshly vacuumed carpet becomes awash with toys in just 5 minutes. Although this is pretty much unavoidable, what you can do is find a big storage box or window box that suits your furniture, to chuck all the toys in once the kids are in bed.
Look for a storage box that doubles up as a seat, table or foot-stool.
This cuts the cleaning up time down to less than a minute and can be a pretty inexpensive solution to cluttered floors.
Basically, storage boxes and cupboard organisers are our very best friend. They make it so easy to utilise cupboard space from top to bottom, keeping stuff off our floors and in their designated place.
How to clean your house when It’s Messy
Start with the biggest visible surface area
In other words, start with what you can see the most of. This might not necessarily be the hardest job or the biggest mess.
The biggest surface area is usually the floors, or if they’re clean then it could be the kitchen worktop.
By cleaning the biggest visible surface area first, we can immediately see the progress we’ve made.
Even if this is the only task that gets done on day one, the result is immediately obvious. Seeing progress we can be proud of gives us the motivation to carry on the next day.
Race against the washing machine!
If your biggest area is the floors, then cleaning them will probably involve picking up dirty laundry. Gather all of your dirty stuff and chuck it in the washing machine or take it down to the launderette.
Something psychological and magical happens when everything is in the wash.
We aren’t claiming to be psychologists, but there’s definitely an extra level of motivation that comes from stripping the beds, gathering up used towels and bath mats, and picking up all the clothes on the floor and shoving them in the washing machine.
The great thing about putting the washing machine on at the start of your cleaning session is that it starts a timer. Challenge yourself to get as much done before the washing machine finishes.
Put everything away
If part of your cleaning list involves a massive declutter, this might actually be the mental blocker that’s stopping you from starting.
Instead of tackling which items you want to keep and throw away, start by putting everything away in its home, even if it’s only temporary.
This might seem counterproductive, but putting the mess away will give you the space to be able to actually clean your home.
Once you’ve had a chance to clean the house, you can then start to declutter room by room in a much more manageable way.
Putting everything away first, then cleaning and finishing with decluttering makes the whole thing much more realistic, as you can divide the tasks over a few days or weeks.
Starting with a huge declutter can lead to losing motivation halfway through, resulting in even more mess than at the start!
Divide tasks by cleaning product
Once everything is put away and all surfaces and floors are tidy, it’s time to start the big clean!
We think the best way to do this is by cleaning products, like polish, glass cleaner, and vacuuming, instead of by room.
For example, instead of starting in the living room and doing all of the dusting, vacuuming, and polishing before moving onto the next room, do the dusting throughout the whole house.
This speeds up your cleaning time and makes it easy to keep track of what you’ve done so far.
How to maintain a clean and tidy home
If we haven’t scared you away, then it’s time to talk about how to keep your house clean and tidy after you’ve got it there.
There’s no point in cleaning your home if you’re going to be constantly worried about it becoming overwhelmingly messy again.
Try and remember that it didn’t become untidy overnight, and it won’t do that now.
Luckily for us, mess and dirt build-up slowly, so cleaning and tidying can happen slowly too.
What we mean is, if you stay on top of cleaning then the daily effort is very small compared to having to do a full house clean once it gets too much again.
We’re big fans of small tasks throughout the day, or an allotted task and time window for each day of the week. Think about how long cleaning a toilet actually takes – probably less than 2 minutes.
If you’re really short on time, make use of those 5 and 10 minute time windows that appear during other tasks.
File downloading whilst working from home? Run around with the laundry basket and chuck in everything that’s on the floor.
Pasta boiling? Whizz around with the (readily plugged-in) vacuum.
Waiting for the kettle? Wipe down the kitchen surfaces with disinfectant and a cloth.
You get the idea…
Basically, to get rid of the fear and lack of motivation for cleaning, we have to make it seem like a smaller job.
This can be made so much easier by writing down manageable daily tasks at the start of the week, scribbled on some paper, in your phone calendar with reminders, or in a purposeful cleaning schedule.
Messy House FAQs
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to starting a big clean of your home. Some people prefer starting with the easiest job to get the ball rolling, and others will thrive off tackling the hardest chore first. Whichever sounds less daunting to you, try it. And remember that you don’t have to get it all done in one day. The most important step is to start.
It is absolutely normal to have a messy house. And if anybody is making you think otherwise, then for one they aren’t a positive person in your life, but more importantly their life is completely different to yours, so comparing homes is never a good idea. People on the internet with constantly spotless homes will usually have paid help daily, or their full time job is to create content around a tidy home. Only you know how much time, energy, and desire you have to keep your home clean and organised. Ignore what everybody else is doing, and focus on what works for you!
Summary of Where to Start When Your House is a Mess
So now, when you panic shouting ‘my house is messy, where do I start?!‘, take a deep breath and remember all it takes is a few of our top tips.
Tidying your house can be easily done, and maintained with some simple organisation and with our top cleaning hack. So don’t overwhelm yourself by staring at the huge pile of mess in front of you.
Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to a clean and tidy house in no time!
Related Tidying Articles:
- How To Quickly Declutter Your Home & Keep It Clutter-Free
- How To Keep Your House Clean And Tidy: 13 Helpful Tips
- The Best Storage & Organisation Essentials You Need At Home
- Speed-Cleaning Tips: How To Clean Your House In 2 Hours
- How To Get Motivated To Clean And Declutter – 17 Tips
- What To Do When You Can’t Keep On Top Of Housework
- How To Tidy Your Room Quickly and Efficiently
- What Is A Cleaning Schedule And How To Make One
- What Causes Someone To Not Clean Their House?
- Marie Kondo Folding Underwear: Tips You Need To Know
10 thoughts on “My House Is Messy, Where Do I Start?”
Interesting post and good ideas about chores around the house
Thank you Mark, glad you enjoyed the post.
Useful post and good ideas
Thank you Carl.
impressive recommendations, I saw myself reflected in the situations that are raised I will follow the advice
Thanks Robert, glad the post was helpful.
really useful, reading this I realize everything I can advance in short spaces of time
Thank you Robin, really glad to hear you found this useful.
Despite being very easy to do, the cleaning checklist had never occurred to me.
Thank you for your comment Albertina, hopefully this post has inspired you to create a schedule 🙂