How to Start Cleaning a Messy House (Step-by-Step)

Have you ever looked around your house at the mess and thought you’d rather run away than start cleaning?

I think we’ve all been there at some point.

Luckily, cleaning your messy house is probably much easier than you’re imagining in your head. And with these simple tips for moving past the overwhelm and getting started, you’ll be relaxing in a clean house in no time!

Here’s how to start cleaning a messy house.

Woman holding a cleaning towel to start cleaning

How to Start Cleaning a Messy House

The biggest issue when it comes to tackling a messy home is getting the motivation to start cleaning. The key is just to start!

Once you get going, you’ll find your rhythm and get much more work done than you thought was possible. And with this simple cleaning guide, you won’t even have to think about what you’ll do next!

Just follow my cleaning plan to have your messy house clean in no time.

Clean the bathroom

Since it’s important to keep your home’s main bathroom clean, it’s a good place to start. In addition to being a smaller room that won’t take as long to clean, it’s also an essential spot to keep sanitized.

As you clean your bathroom, follow these steps:

  1. Empty the hamper. Since laundry takes some time to complete, it’s a good idea to get a load started while you’re cleaning. Remove the clothes from the bathroom hamper and place some of them in the washing machine to wash as you clean.
  2. Declutter. While the bathroom may not be the most cluttered room in your home, there are probably a few things that are out of place. Return everything that doesn’t belong on the countertop to the cabinets and clean out the trash in the room.
  3. Spray and soak. The key to getting your bathroom fixtures sparkling is giving your cleaning solution time to soak. Start by spraying solution on your toilet, bathtub, and sink. Then, squirt some toilet cleaner inside the bowl. Allow the solution to soak for a few minutes while you clean the vanity.
  4. Clean the vanity. Start with the bathroom mirror or medicine cabinet, then work your way down. Scrub the countertop and faucet, then wipe down the exterior of the cabinet. After that, scrub the sink and rinse away any excess cleaning solution.
  5. Scrub the shower and tub. Move on to the shower and tub, wiping down the area with a damp cleaning cloth or sponge. Don’t forget to clean the faucet, showerhead, and handles.
  6. Clean the toilet. Finish by wiping down the outside of the toilet, as well as the seat. Then, use a toilet brush to scrub the bowl. Repeat the process in any other bathrooms you have in your home.
A pair of hands with pink gloves on, wiping a shower wall

Clean the bedrooms

Once your bathroom is clean, head to a bedroom.

Follow these steps to clean the room, then repeat the process in the remaining bedrooms in your home:

  1. Clear out the clutter. Before you can even start cleaning, you’ll need to deal with the clutter. Grab a box or empty laundry basket and start tossing everything that doesn’t belong in that room in your basket. At this point, grabbing and tossing is all you need to do. You’ll deal with everything in the basket after the room is clean.
  2. Sort and organize. If you come across something that does belong in the room but is out of place, set it aside. Once you have all the excess stuff taken care of, start sorting and organizing everything that’s left.
  3. Take off all bedding. Remove the sheets from the bed and place them in the basket. If your comforter or other blankets need to be washed, place those in the basket as well. Otherwise, simply set them aside for now.
  4. Start dusting. Now that you have the cluttered cleaned up, you can start tackling the dirt. Use a dusting cloth to dust all the flat surfaces in the room, as well as the light fixture, trim and baseboards. Start on the highest spots and work your way down to avoid knocking dust on your clean surfaces.
  5. Grab your vacuum. When the dust has been taken care of, grab your vacuum to finish cleaning the dirty areas of the room. Use the upholstery attachment to vacuum window treatments and upholstered furniture. Then, use the crevice attachment to reach into all the hard-to-reach spots, as well as cleaning the floor around the outer perimeter of the room. Finish by vacuuming the floor.
  6. Make the bed. Put a set of fresh sheets on the bed and return the comforter. Then, make up the bed.
  7. Take care of clutter and laundry. Grab the dirty sheets from the room and take them to the laundry room. Transfer the clothes from the bathroom to the dryer and start washing the sheets. As you head to your next room, remove the things from your clutter basket that belong there, then repeat the cleaning process again.
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Clean the living areas

When thinking about how to start cleaning a messy house, one of the biggest problem areas that immediately comes to mind is the common living space. Since your family probably spends a lot of time in your home’s living areas, they can quickly become dirty.

That means it may take a little longer to clean this room. But the reward is well worth it!

Follow these steps to get your living area clean:

  1. Clear out the clutter. Just like you did in your bedrooms, use a basket to collect the clutter from around the room. And don’t forget to return items that belong in the living room from the other rooms you’ve already cleaned.
  2. Sort and organize. After you have the extra stuff removed from the room, sort through everything that’s left and return it to where it goes in the room.
  3. Dust the room. When the cluttered is cleaned up, it’s time to start dusting. Start at the top of the room with the high trim and light fixture and work your way down. Don’t forget to move décor and knick-knacks out of the way and wipe the down as you go. It’s also a good idea to take the time to dust all the décor on your walls as you’re cleaning.
  4. Start vacuuming. After you’re done dusting, use the upholstery attachment to vacuum the window treatments and under the cushions on your furniture. Then, use the crevice attachment to reach to clean in hard-to-reach areas. Finish by vacuuming the floor. If the flooring in your room isn’t carpet, grab your mop and give the floor a quick cleaning.
  5. Put away extra clutter. When the room is clean, head to your clutter collecting basket and return the items to where they belong. Then, put another load of laundry in the washing machine.
Woman with cleaning gloves on, dusting the top of a cabinet

Clean the kitchen

Now that the rest of your home is clean, you can start scrubbing your kitchen.

This room is probably the messiest in your home, so it may need a little more time to complete everything on the to-do list.

These steps will help you get your kitchen spotless:

  1. Do the dishes. Since you’ll need an empty sink to clean your kitchen, the first thing you need to do is a load of dishes. Fill your dishwasher and start a cycle or wash all the dirty dishes by hand.
  2. Clean the countertops. Once your dishes are done, fill the sink halfway full of hot water and add some cleaning solution or dish soap. Put away everything that doesn’t belong on the kitchen counters, then use a microfiber cloth or sponge to wipe down the countertops and appliances.
  3. Wipe the cabinets. If you want to go the extra mile, use your damp cleaning cloth to wipe down the cabinet doors, as well. This will only take a few minutes, but it’s totally optional!
  4. Clean appliances. If your stove, microwave, refrigerator, or dishwasher is visibly dirty, use your cleaning cloth to wipe them down. Stuck-on messes may need a stronger cleaning solution.
  5. Vacuum and mop. Grab your vacuum and use the crevice attachment to clean around the perimeter of your kitchen. Then, vacuum the floor and go over it with a damp mop.
  6. Take out the trash. Finish by taking out the trash and putting a clean bag in the trashcan.
Smiling woman with cleaning gloves on giving two thumbs up

Relax in your clean home

You needed the motivation for how to start cleaning a messy house and now, you’ve done it!

Now that your entire house is clean, grab a cold drink or cup of coffee, relax, and enjoy the time in your clean house.

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