How to Start Cleaning a Messy House in 5 Simple Steps

You are ashamed to invite people over because your house is in such a mess.

You know you need to do something about it but you lack the motivation or energy to tackle your messy house.

If you are wondering how to start cleaning a messy house, I want to share 5 simple steps you can take immediately.

Many years ago, I helped my ex transform his messy house into a warm and welcoming home.

A few years ago, my friend lost her husband because he no longer wanted to live in a dirty house.

I understand the anxiety,stress and overwhelm you may feel when your house is a disgusting mess and you can’t figure out how to clean it.

So if you’re ready to take back control of your life and your environment, here are some steps you can take.

How to start cleaning a messy house.


Before you start cleaning your house, first you have to believe that you can do this.

Things may look impossible and overwhelming at the moment, but if you make a decision to start cleaning your house, you’d be surprised at the changes and how much you can accomplish.

Ready to clean your house without getting overwhelmed?

Let’s dive in!



When you are trying to clean a thrashed house, the temptation is to jump right in without forming a plan.

I know you want to get rid of the clutter fast, but that may not be the best way to achieve your goal.

When I say make a rough plan of attack, I don’t mean you should spend a long time analyzing and creating a plan

What I mean is that you should have an idea of where you want to start cleaning and organizing your home.

Which room or part of the house do you want to start cleaning first?

Maybe some rooms aren’t as messy as others. If that’s the case, it’s a good idea to start with the least untidy room to help you gain some momentum.

Nothing like seeing your progress to keep you motivated even when you feel overwhelmed by the mess.

For example, when my ex and I decided to clean his apartment, we decided to start with the kitchen because it was the least messy room in the house.

Once you’ve decided where to start cleaning your house or what to clean first, then you’re ready to jump in and execute your plan.


The next thing you want to do is to do a walk-through of the whole house with a trash bag in hand.

Start picking and collecting all the trash in your home. The trash may include empty cans, bottles, paper, food wrappers, etc.

Get rid of everything that should have been in the trash but ended up on the floor, kitchen counter, table, or anywhere else.

Put unopened mails in a separate bag or basket so you can sort through them later, but get rid of all the junk mails.

My ex- husband had a closet full of plastic bags! I have never seen that many plastic bags in a home.

We got rid of most of them because he really didn’t need them but for some reason he kept stockpiling them.

At this point you may get distracted and want to start organizing or putting stuff away. Don’t do that.

Just focus on the first task at hand which is getting rid of trash.

As soon as you finish picking up all the trash, you can start cleaning your messy house one room at a time.


Once you finish picking up all the trash, the next step is to start putting all the dirty stuff/items where they belong.

So let’s assume, the first place you want to clean is your kitchen. Start putting all the dirty items where they should go.

Which means dirty dishes, cups, cutlery and pans should go in the sink or dishwasher.

If you don’t have enough space to fit everything, stack them up close to the sink so they are all in one place.

If you’re cleaning out the bedrooms or living room, pick up and put dirty clothes,socks and towels in the laundry basket or washing machine.

Don’t worry too much about organizing stuff at this point. Just focus on sorting the dirty from the clean items.

Remember to focus on one room at a time so you don’t get too overwhelmed and give up.

It’s taken a while for your house to get to the messy state it’s in, so it’s going to take some time to clean up all the mess.

I know some of you would like to clean your messy house fast, but the truth is, it’s going to take some time so you need to be patient.

At this point,your house should begin to have a semblance of order.

You should be able to walk around without tripping over your stuff (of course it depends on how messy your house is to begin with).


It’s possible to have an untidy house even if your belongings are clean.

For example If you have a pile of laundry laying around or toys all over the place, your house is going to look and feel messy.

As soon as you finish sorting out all the dirty stuff, it’s time to start putting the clean stuff where they belong.

Clean cutlery, cups, plates, cookware, and other kitchen appliances should be put away in the cupboards or drawers.

Unopened cans, cereal boxes and other foods should be kept in the pantry,kitchen cupboards or wherever you normally store them.

Your kitchen would look less messy once you clear out your counters.

It’s a good idea to have a place for everything.This way it will be easier to keep your home clean and more organized.

Do the same thing for the bedrooms and living room. Clothes and shoes need to go back in the closets (or wherever you choose to store them).

Books should go back on the shelves or bookcases. Do the same for your kids toys and all the other clean items you have laying around.

My ex-husband had a pile of books, magazines and junk mails in his living room. He had a bookcase but somehow everything ended up on the floor.

There were unopened mails and magazines he had accumulated for many years. For some reason he chose to keep them instead of getting rid of them.

Don’t forget to get rid of broken and damaged items that can’t be fixed. You can replace them later if you need to.

Quick tip: Resist the urge to hold on to things when you’re trying to clean and organize a messy house.


Yay you did it, now welcome to your real nightmare!

This is possibly the worst part of cleaning a filthy house.

Like everything else, don’t try to tackle the dirt all at once because you may give up before you even get started.

Start with one room at a time. The bedrooms and living room may be the easiest if all you need to do is vacuum and dust.

Your kitchen and bathroom will probably have the most grime and dirt so you may want to save them for last.

Just pick a room and start there. Don’t overthink it. Remember action trumps planning.

It may be helpful to do a “once over ” before you do a deep clean of your home.

Before cleaning make sure you have all the supplies you need to hand (mops, household cleaners, dusters. sponges, disinfectants etc).

Depending on how dirty your house is, you may need to wash and scrub a few times to get rid of all the dirt.

But you will get there in the end. When you do, you will see that it was worth it.

You will feel better, less stressed and happier after you clean your messy house.

Don’t forget you always have the option of paying someone to help you clean your home.

If you can afford it, you can always bring in some professional cleaners to help you get rid of the dirt.

Nothing wrong if you choose to do that. We all need help sometimes.

My friend (the one who lost her husband ) had to bring in professional cleaners to help her clean her apartment.

The dirt and grime had accumulated over so many years that she couldn’t get rid of them.

She was moving from her apartment and she knew she couldn’t leave the property in that filthy state because her landlord would charge her a lot more to clean the apartment.

To recap. There are 5 simple steps you can take to start cleaning a messy house.

  • Create a rough plan of action
  • Get rid of the trash
  • Put dirty stuff where they belong
  • Put the clean stuff away
  • Clean the dirt

While this isn’t the only way to clean a cluttered house, I like this method because it allows you to see how much dirt and grime you have to clean once you’ve gotten rid of all the thrash.

Remember the best way to motivate yourself to clean a dirty house is to focus on one room at a time.

Don’t think of it as one big project you have to complete, but as little projects you need to complete one step at a time.

While it’s difficult to clean a messy house in one day, you can start today and as long as you don’t give up, you will have a clean and organized home before you know it.

Are you stuck trying to clean your messy house? Did you find this post helpful? Sound off in the comment!

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2 thoughts on “How to Start Cleaning a Messy House in 5 Simple Steps”

  1. I love all your tips, they’re a big help to this overwhelmed mommy lol. I don’t know if you did it on purpose but i noticed you spelled trash as thrash every time you mentioned the word.

    • OMG! What can I say? I went through the post and I saw it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Not sure what I was thinking. Happy you were able to get some tips with all that. LOL.


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