Introduction: Cleaning a Messy House (In a Hurry!)
There are a lot of tips out there for getting a messy house cleaned (such as putting on your favorite songs, enlisting the help of your family/friends, or the "just do it" method).
But I want to share some things that I do (that may be new to you) that will help get your morale up and get the energy flowing so you can get your house cleaned--efficiently!--IN A HURRY :)
Step 1: Put on Some Shoes!
I always put on a pair of shoes (usually flip flops or tennis shoes) when motivating myself to take on a huge task.
What happens in your brain when you put on a pair of shoes? Your brain registers that you're going to leave, go to work, exercise, go for a walk, etc. Therefore, since we've trained our brains to understand that when we put on our shoes we mean business (and our body has to up it's energy level to do so), this will give you an instant surge of energy for cleaning your house. So go put on some shoes!
NOTE: Do NOT put on slippers or comfy shoes, as they will help you to cozy up in bed or on the couch instead of work. ;-P
Tip: If you have to clean anything that requires a waiting period (such as your toilet where you have to wait while the stuff sits in the bowl, or your oven, etc), put those cleaners in either now (after you slipped on your shoes but before you start working on any rooms), or once you've started to work on the floor that these rooms are on.
Step 2: Take on the Hardest Rooms First
Our brains are motivated to do more when we give them baby step accomplishments. For instance, if you want to make a diet a long-term commitment, progressively up the ante in your food habits or exercise routine over time. This way you make small accomplishments that help your body and brain see results and, thus, you're more motivated to keep up the great work.
Much in this same way, when you start with the hardest room first while cleaning, it gives your brain (and body) a huge accomplishment and, therefore, motivates you to get the other rooms done since the biggest weight has now been lifted (it's all downhill from there).
Keep using this "hardest room first" mentality to work through each room in your house. This will keep adding accomplishments (and weights being lifted) to your morale bucket, keeping you motivated til the end. :)
Tip 1: STAY IN ONE ROOM TIL IT'S DONE! Do not bounce from room to room to room. Even if you have to put something from the room you're in into a different room, DO NOT stop and suddenly start cleaning up this new room now. This will make more "projects" for yourself and will make your brain get overwhelmed. Stay focused on the room you're in until it's completely complete. Also, this helps your brain register more accomplishments and gives it motivation to continue.
Tip 2: CLOSE OFF ROOMS THAT ARE DONE (whenever possible). No, you don't have to tell people they can't use the bathroom or keep your kids from being in their own room, but as much as possible, don't use that room unless completely necessary until the house is done. Yes, we have to live in our homes, but at least getting the cleaning completely DONE (so you feel accomplished) before using a room helps you to not feel that suddenly the room you just cleaned needs cleaning again (which creates a morale-killing, energy-depleting effect).
Tip 3: Take big trash cans around the house with you while you clean. Large trash bags are fine, except they take more time to deal with as you have to constantly hold them open and/or pick them up to move them around while you try to work (only leaving one free hand to clean with). Having a large trash can (that has a bag in it) with you while you go around from room to room makes picking up a snap since you can simply leave it in one spot as you toss trash in it while you work (giving you two hands to work freely, and more quickly, with).
Step 3: Pick It Up Quickly, Put It Away Correctly
This is a two (and a half)-step process...
1. Pick up your room as fast as possible! This means getting EVERYTHING up off the floor as fast as possible. Why do this? Because when you can see the floor of your room, somehow your brain registers that as "the room is almost done now," thus adding to your baby step accomplishments and encouraging you to continue cleaning.
1A. While you are picking it up in a hurry, sort your stuff into groups. For instance, if you're organizing your bedroom: group all of your clothes, linens, and towels on your bed putting clothes in one corner or part of the bed, linens on another corner, and towels on another corner/section; group books and magazines all in one stack on top of the bed (if there's room) or on a nightstand or dresser; put all foreign items (ie: dishes to take to the kitchen, makeup or hair stuff for the bathroom, etc) in a little container like a box or basket (if you have one) or in a pile somewhere on your nightstand or dresser top; and all your shoes in a basket (like clothes hamper) or in a nice pile somewhere else on your bed, nightstand, or dresser.
Tip: It is always handy and quicker to have cardboard boxes, baskets, or clothes hampers around for cleaning up big messes. This way you can throw your pile into a box or basket and easily transport it (quickly!) to wherever it needs to go around the house, then come right back to your room and finish cleaning it.
2. Once you've sorted everything in a hurry, put your piles away correctly, THE FIRST TIME. This is a crucial step because most often we just shift our junk from one room to another and end up re-cleaning the same stuff again and again and again. DON'T DO THIS! Stop the madness! lol. ;) When you are cleaning one pile, put away EVERYTHING in that pile EXACTLY where it goes THE FIRST TIME. We don't need to deal with this stuff more then once, thus saving you time and energy. :) But remember: focus on ONE room at a time (so come back from putting away your piles ONLY...don't put away other things in a different room that are not from your pile).
Tip: Put everything from the same rooms away when you're in each room. We don't want to be redundant here. That wastes our time and energy and makes us give up before the job is done. We want to be PURPOSEFUL with our cleaning. So when you're taking your piles around the house to be put away (or you take your "little stuff" pile to put it away), make sure if you're in the bathroom that EVERYTHING in your hand that can go in the bathroom gets put away right then and there, etc. This saves multiple trips around the house with each group you put away.
Step 4: The Broom Is Your Friend!
Think of a broom as an extra set of hands on adrenaline! :)
Whenever I'm cleaning a floor that's not carpeted, I always enlist the help of my trusty broom to aid in picking up the stuff off the floor fast. This means that EVERYTHING on the floor gets swept into one (or possibly two) big pile(s) in each room. So if your room has trash, silverware, hair ties, clothes, books, etc on the floor, sweep ALL of this into a big pile. (Then sort it after.)
1.Once again, baby steps. This now creates a clutter-free floor with only one pile in it, instead of lots of stuff and lots of little piles all over the floor (which feels overwhelming). It also helps your brain, again, register an accomplishment and therefore it feels less stressed.
2.It makes cleaning up faster and organization easier. With everything in one spot, you have basically cleaned your whole floor, instead of taking all that time to pick up everything one at a time around the room (trying to get up all the little stuff from everywhere). Also, organizing everything into groups (to be put away) is a breeze because it's all easily accessible from the one pile in front of you.
3. It's a back saver! Got a bad back? Have arthritis or bad knees? If so (or it just strains your back in general to bend over a lot), this helps keep your back and knees, etc at ease. You are standing to sweep and then you can just sit comfortably while sorting through the ONE pile. Bonus!!
4. It kills two birds with one stone. Now you have not only created a faster, easier-to-organize pile, but you've also just swept up your floor (instead of having to do it later)! YAY :)
Tip: When sweeping a rug or carpet, there is a tendency to try and sweep it in much the same way you'd sweep a hard floor. If you've ever tried this, you'll notice it sends all the little bits and pieces ALL OVER everywhere and basically makes it take forever to get it clean. My approach is to put the broom perpendicular to the carpet/rug and sweep in a horizontal, side-to-side motion. So if you're holding the broom in front of you, instead of sweeping with the broom head's width, sweep with it's smaller edge. (See above pic for better visual.)
Step 5: Meticulous Endeavors...
There's really no way around having to eventually get to areas of the house that require more time and tedious attention. This is a fact that we all know. But it doesn't mean that we can't pull some tricks out our sleeves to make these either more enjoyable (and thus faster because we're not dragging and going slower) and/or quicker.
1. WASHING A LOT OF DISHES IN A HURRY: See my other instructable for an exhaustive list of tips and tricks to make this process faster and more sanitary... https://www.instructables.com/id/Loaded-Dish-Washin...
2. SORTING CLOTHES IN A HURRY: Get a hamper and put all your dirty clothes in this hamper. I wash in cold water so my clothes don't bleed, therefore I can put them all in the same hamper. This also allows me to save on heating expenses and water (because I can do less loads this way), and I save on the time that is usually spent on sorting clothes into different color groups. The only things I wash separately are the delicate fabrics for the "hand wash" or "delicate" cycle, and I put towels and linens together in a different group then the clothes. For clean clothes: set out your hangers all in the same direction on your bed (with the handles all facing away from you). Now you can either fold your clean clothes (for ease of putting them away quickly) or you can put them on a hanger.
3. ORGANIZING LITTLE THINGS IN A HURRY: Little things are always fun, aren't they? Hahaha. But they can be done efficiently and quickly. As mentioned in the previous step, you can put them all in a bin as you clean and then quickly put them all away in the rooms they go in afterwards. Also, here's the easiest and quickest way I've found to organize all our little and multiple things in our bathroom (it's cheap, too!): https://www.instructables.com/id/Ingenious-Get-Read...
Tip:The easiest way to keep a house clean (and the fastest way to get it cleaned again in a hurry) is to have EVERYTHING in your house have it's own place. This means everything has a container, bin/basket, or designated spot to go and thus you can just easily keep it put away during the day (avoiding the big mess in the future) or easily put it all away in a hurry.
4. IF YOU HAVE STAIRS: Take all your groups of stuff that have to go up or downstairs and put them in separate containers (or areas inside of a larger container) so you can take them easily all up or downstairs at the same time to put away (thus not wasting energy or time). Stray away from any wasteful efforts wherever you can avoid it. This keeps you focused, on task, and motivated to finish the job.
Tip: Keep a decorative basket at the bottom of the stairs. Fill this basket with items that have to go upstairs and take it up with you (AND PUT AWAY THE STUFF THAT'S IN IT) everyday, OR every time it gets full. A tip for making this an easy habit is to pick a time each day that you take it up with you. For instance, take it up with you and put it away before bed. Leave it upstairs (empty) overnight while you sleep, then bring it back down and place it in it's spot for the next day once you get up. Easy :)
Step 6: Leave Well Enough Alone
Since this instructable is dealing with getting your house clean IN A HURRY (not deep cleaning or spring-clean-organizing), leave "well enough" alone.
Don't worry about scrubbing down every inch of your bathroom, mopping all your floors, organizing every cupboard, or even cleaning out your fridge (we will cover tips of how to breeze through that in a different instructable). But if you're just trying to get your home back to a livable and uncluttered state so that your friends who are on their way over (or your family who's visiting for the weekend last minute) can feel welcomed and not overwhelmed, then give yourself a pat on the back when the main cleaning is done. Let go of the rest for another, less stressful, less involved day.
1. Get yourself ready (enjoy a warm shower or put on your favorite clothes)
2. Put your mind and body back at a peaceful state
3. Throw on a warm smile
These things are all your family or friends came to see in the first place! Let yourself be in the moment of joy and happiness about your company, and don't focus on the rest.
Enjoy your hard work. Leave well enough alone :)
Step 7: Tips for Dealing With the Everyday Grind
KIDS (Getting them Involved!):
1. If you have older kids like I do, get them to help clean (lots of hands make light work). If this is a struggle for them or for you, a great way to accomplish keeping them "out of your hair" so you can finish cleaning (if it's not summer and they can't play outside while you finish cleaning) is putting them in their room to play and shutting the door while you work so your brain focuses on getting the rest of the house done and not on their getting-messy room. Or your older kids can watch a movie while you finish working. But letting them play in the backyard or somewhere safe is ideal.
**TIP: Make it a Game:Have your kids play basketball while throwing trash into a trash can; have them go on a treasure hunt or scavenger hunt (collecting the "lost" items while they find them); play paperless BINGO or I-Spy by calling out things for them to find or what you "spy" and after they collect/find so many, they win; etc.
2. For younger kids and toddlers: try a movie/kid's show, ask someone you trust (or grandparents) to watch them for a little bit or take them somewhere for a little bit (NOTE: this is for huge, entire-house messes only, not necessarily for your daily cleaning). Or, the preferred method: you can have them help you. Toddlers are the best at cleaning little messes and you can make it a teachable moment by having them organize things into groups by color, type, etc. There are so many other ways to engage little ones or keep them occupied while you work (such as singing together or making up songs about cleaning while you do the "actions" of what you're singing about, etc). Be creative!
3. If you have a baby, put them in a bouncy chair, walking chair, etc so they can be near you and not alone while you get your cleaning done (but still be preoccupied). You can also talk to your baby or sing to them, etc while you work so they don't get uptight. If you have older kids, they can play with your baby, too, or talk to them to keep them preoccupied.
MAKE EASY HABITS THAT REDUCE GIANT MESSES:
Clean little messes before they turn into big messes! This sounds like such a "duh" idea..but how easy it is to put off things we don't want to do until they become messes we can't avoid (hence our big mess we just cleaned up with this instructable!). This happens most often with dishes (I have some great tips about how to easily avoid a dish build-up in my dishes instructable) and with kids and/or clothes messes. Also, teach your kids to clean up their messes right after they make them. For instance, if they pulled out their toy box to play with blocks, have them put away their blocks BEFORE they start playing with their dolls, etc. Do this practice, too, as an adult...putting away what you get out before going on to another project or activity. ;)
**Lastly, clean up all the end-of-the-night messes BEFORE you go to bed. You will definitely thank yourself later for waking up to a CLEAN house! I especially practice this in the kitchen. If there are dishes on the counters before I go to bed, I push myself to clean them quickly (reminding myself how good it feels--and how invigorating!--to wake up to a fresh and clean kitchen). Now I can enjoy a good night's rest!
Participated in the
Home Remedies Challenge 2016
1 year ago
Thanks for stopping by! :)
5 years ago
One more tip that has helped me clean is to invest in a pair of wireless headphones and listen to podcasts, audiobooks, or music (whatever helps take your mind off your task as you do it). I generally prefer storytelling that takes me mentally away so I like podcasts and audiobooks but anything to get you to that place will help. I get so into the story as I'm cleaning that the task isn't as bad and it helps me look forward to cleaning when I know the "reward" is a good podcast as I do it.
Reply 3 years ago
Awesome! Thanks for sharing :) Blessings!
(P.S. sorry for the extremely delayed response)
Reply 4 years ago
Yes, I crank the stereo for motivation and let the phone go to voicemail....I’M BUSY, SO YOU’LL JUST HAVE TO WAIT.
4 years ago on Step 4
Absolutely on the sweep into one big pile trick! I have a paralyzed diaphragm, which greatly impacts my breathing. So, a lot of bending over is very difficult and wears me down quickly. I don’t mind vacuuming or mopping, but picking up all the stuff on the floor is a major ordeal. Non trash items can easily be picked out off the pile and placed in a box for distribution to its proper place later. Then with mostly garbage left, it’s easier to push into a trash bag, dustpan for vacuuming, then steam mopping, in our home.
For the carpeted areas, I just sit on the floor, to prevent bending and scoot along as I clear the floor. Cardboard boxes come in handy for separating keep, donate and trash. If you line a bin or box with a trash bag, you won’t need to hold it open and when it’s full, just lift it out to the trash bin.
There’s nothing better than donating to services who do front door pick ups! If you can’t meet there deadline, they’ll usually tell you when they’ll be back or may even make a special trip, if they’re close by or if you have a lot of stuff they may need at the time. Most thrift stores let you bring donations in and leave, without a lot of hassle, unless they tend to get garbage more often than not. It all depends on their staff and manpower.
Reply 3 years ago
Great tips! I, too, love to donate items to thrift stores or people in need! Thanks for visiting! Please forgive my seriously delayed response. Blessings!
4 years ago
I have been very ill for the past year and my whole house has descended into a messy "man cave." Thank you for your excellent tips. I will be using them! Also, my mummy used to pretend the room was a big clock = worst corner was "12:00." Then she would "rock around the clock" until she had cleaned around to 12:00. If mummy was called away, you could see, like magic, where she needed to start again..Thank you and the nice people who posted their tips. Cheers!
Reply 3 years ago
Awesome idea thanks! I'm glad you found this 'ible useful. Please forgive my extremely delayed response! Blessings!
Question 3 years ago
My mom moved I with me when my ex husband and I split. She has wanted a York’s since I was a kid so I let her get one and of course we couldn’t decide on two of them, we got both. I researched and have successfully trained my 2 dogs. My mom however is old school so she wouldn’t listen to me when training her 2 dogs. About 3 years later my house is overwhelming ( not just because of my mom. My daughter and I have our bad habits also) but when it comes to the dogs her cat that pees outside of the box when the litter box is dirty and it doesn’t have to be that dirty. Not only My house is a mess it smells like pee. I hate spending anytime in the common areas. I am at a loss and I don’t know where to turn. I would love to get a dumpster but can’t afford one. I am a single mom my daughter is to young to work and my mom is on social security. I was in an accident and out of work for a year and a half. We are so behind that we can’t even afford to remodel. I feel we could easily become that house with borders. We all are all adhd / add and into some kind of art project but not together and if we see something that would work that project or the next project we might want to do. What should I do? You can also shoot me an email at email@example.com
Reply 3 years ago
I am SO sorry I missed this comment, and also for the extremely delayed response! Unfortunately not much can be done to rid cat/dog pee as it is permanently set in after it's done without proper cleaning supplies (and those aren't the cleaning supplies they say gets it out as some of those, especially the cheaper brands, actually SET IN the pee worse). Really what needs to be done for the pee anyways is to rip out any carpet and throw away any rugs with it on it and start afresh (however, I read that you cannot do that at the time you wrote your comment). As far as cleaning is concerned, I would absolutely DOWNSIZE your belongings. This process may be time-consuming and even painful but afterwards I PROMISE you will feel like a HUGE weight has been lifted, and it will take WAY LESS TIME to keep your house cleaned and organized as a result. After you downsize (only keeping things you 1. use daily or in the past 30 days or is practical, 2. is an actual memorable keepsake, not just a good deal you found somewhere, etc, or 3. brings you extreme joy) be sure to give everything a place. This also is time-consuming but worth it in the end! After everything is organized, follow this 'ible to get everything nice and clean (and this 'ible will also help you organize your home too). Again, I'm so sorry I missed this comment or I would've replied back WAY sooner! I hope you worked it out!
Reply 3 years ago
Not a problem , thank you. Unfortunately I can’t rip up my carpet. I wouldn’t have a way to replace it and it’s only subfloor under. I do appreciate you getting back to me. I have gotten really far on my house and the
Stress is better, Thanks again.
3 years ago
Had to sign up when I saw the “how to use a broom” segment & info on protecting my back. Your instructions are so clear I can’t wait to get started (right after my nap) (;-). Many thanks for writing this!
Reply 3 years ago
Wow! Thank you so much for the beautiful and funny response! I also have a t-shirt that says, "I work out...just kidding I take naps." hahahah! So I know the feeling! Blessings! (P.S. Sorry for my seriously delayed response!)
5 years ago
Sooo happy to hear a fellow pro-broom person! That's my trick when I have to clean a room that hasn't seen a broom in a while. I sweep everything to the middle of the room and only have to spend my time organizing the pile. I start with toys and other "keep" things, then all that's left is to sweep up and discard the trash. Works like a charm, every time!
Reply 5 years ago
Lol! Another "Broomian" hahah :D We gotta stick together and soon we'll take over the world! lol j/k. Yes it always works like a charm! and thanks for your additional tip too about music or a story. Blessings!
6 years ago
I do this, too, piles and sorting, putting away is SO much easier done this way! I'm guilty of moving room-to-room, however. So, will try to stay un-ADHD and in one room till finished. I am passing this 'ible to my daughter - whose room looks like something exploded.
Reply 6 years ago
YAY!!! I am so glad you found this 'ible useful :) Thanks so much for visiting.
6 years ago
This reminds me of the book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" by Marie Kondō, only much more reasonable. You don't just throw everything out like she recommends.
Reply 6 years ago
Lol...I never heard of that book but it sounds interesting. I guess it is a pretty magical way to declutter when you just throw everything out: "Now you see it, now you don't!" Hahaha! Thanks for commenting and visiting.
Reply 6 years ago
Read my review: this is what I wrote on Cool Tools: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She needed an entire book to say what you have said better in a few paragraphs. :)