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How to Easily Tackle an Overly Dirty or Messy House and Keep it Clean

Updated on May 31, 2014
Urgh.  This is getting out of hand.
Urgh. This is getting out of hand.

We all know that we have to keep up with the bare minimums - the things that would bring in flies or other unmentionable bugs - like the dishes and the trash.

But, sometimes, you look around and realize your place looks like a dump and that it's to the point where you'd be really embarrassed if someone dropped by for a visit.

Some people are the clean-everything-in-one-long-day types - not me. That would be way too overwhelming. I would just put it off longer and longer. So, what has worked best for me, and helped me maintain a clean house, is to work in a gradual circular system.

It's Not Going to Get Done in a Day

First, I have to tell myself that so that I can at least get started. Some people like to dust the entire house, then scrub all the bathrooms, then clean all the floors, etc, but I need more immediate gratification than that.

Quick Satisfaction
Quick Satisfaction

One Room at a Time

Usually, I pick a room that needs the most attention, like a small bathroom, and spend a half hour cleaning it from top to bottom. The result is that I have that quick reward and feeling of accomplishment. Every time I go in that bathroom, it smells great, is all sparkly, I feel proud of myself, and that encourages me to do more. The next day I tackle another room.

Continue the Circle

By cleaning one room each day, you always have a home that has been cleaned recently, no matter the size of your house (unless it's a mansion). And, it avoids the stress of watching the entire house get messier and messier and dreading that one long cleaning day, only to watch it disintegrate again.

A Portion of the Sea of Tile
A Portion of the Sea of Tile

Split Large Rooms Into Sections

For instance, I have a huge amount of 24" tiles that stretch from my dining room, through the kitchen, into the powder room, down the long entry hall, and into the mudroom. I can't make myself do the whole floor at once, and I'm pretty picky about corners, edges, and baseboards, so I've gotten in the habit of leaving out a spray bottle and a roll of paper towels (as a visible reminder), and I clean a small number of tiles every day. I've never used more than 4 paper towels at a time. It takes no more than 5 minutes. And, again, there is no section of flooring that hasn't been cleaned recently, so it has an overall freshly cleaned appearance.

A Home To Be Proud Of

Whether you've been putting off cleaning because you're too tired after work, want to spend your free time doing something else, are a procrastinator, or just lazy, the gradual, circular method described in this article will help you mentally tackle the job and will keep it continuously clean.

Green Clean

If you'd like to start switching to products that are safe for you to breathe and are easy on our environment, there are a ton of organic, all natural cleaning products coming out on the market. But, frankly, I've never found anything that white vinegar and/or baking soda won't clean.

The white vinegar is great for hard, shiny surfaces like mirrors, faucets, etc. The baking soda is slightly abrasive, so think of using it in places you would have used a product like Soft Scrub. Also, I've given up bleach (save our water system!), and use baking soda with my white laundry. I was converted to this method one day when I was out of bleach. I tried shaking a bunch of baking soda into the washing machine, and when the load came out of the dryer, a large coffee stain on a white shirt had completely disappeared! I was amazed.

You can also combine the two products to form something similar to OxyClean. When combining, be aware that it does produce a foaming action, so mix over the sink. I keep mine in a spray bottle.

You might also think about switching to paper towels made from recycled materials or just use good old rags.


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    • LucyLiu12 profile imageAUTHOR

      Robin Young 

      7 years ago from Boise

      Thanks, Patrice! Small steps - achievable goals.

    • Patrice M profile image

      Patrice M 

      7 years ago

      Great read! Useful tips I can put into action now. Thanks for sharing!

    • LucyLiu12 profile imageAUTHOR

      Robin Young 

      7 years ago from Boise

      Thanks for reading!

    • vegaswriter profile image


      7 years ago from Las Vegas

      I use the same method, or try to anyway. It is the only way I ever get it done. I just get entirely overwhelmed when everything needs to be done at once and am less likely to do it.


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