How to Quickly Clean a Messy House – in one day!

Declutter a messy home with these easy tips that even the most overwhelmed mom can manage!

A messy, cluttered home:

  • saps your energy.
  • leaves you feeling overwhelmed.
  • prevents you from enjoying the day to day moments in your home with your family.

New habits can help you maintain a clean and clutter-free home.

It does take intentional effort. Even when you don’t feel like it. Even when you’re busy, or exhausted, or both.

Because honestly, doesn’t that describe most days?? Busy and exhausting??

If keeping your home in order has been an ongoing struggle, one of the best tools for getting on track and staying there is a simple daily schedule.

But first, you need to do a basic reset of your home and get things straightened up.

Clutter attracts clutter. You need a clean slate. You want a clean house.

There are two types of clutter in our homes:

  1. daily surface clutter – items that we use which get left out or dropped on the most convenient flat surface, like a dining room table or kitchen counter
  2. excess clutter – items that we no longer use, need, or love – these take up valuable space in our closets and drawers – which makes putting things away more difficult – which increases the daily surface clutter – it’s a vicious cycle

When your home is messy, it’s the daily surface clutter that needs to be decluttered first.

Once you get your home back in order, then you can work on the excess clutter, all the stuff you no longer need. (Read: 8 Easy Ways to Declutter Your Home)

But, first things first.

Let’s get the daily surface clutter cleaned up and put away.

For whatever the reason, my motivation drops when our home looks its worst. Probably because I know it takes more time to get it straightened back up.

When that happens, I have a few “getting started” tricks I use to quickly declutter. Once I get started, momentum keeps me going.

The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.” ~Mark Twain (The Secret to Getting Ahead in Life)

These “getting started” tips also work great if you only have a few minutes at a time to tidy things up (5 minutes here, 10 minutes there).

Once flat surfaces are clear and rooms are fairly clutter-free, you can quickly breeze through each room with a feather duster and a vacuum/broom.

It’s difficult to clean your home if every room is messy and cluttered. But once each room is reasonably decluttered, you can quickly clean it too.

Ready to get serious and get your home decluttered? Join the free 5-day Decluttered Life Challenge. I’ll help you declutter your home and create new habits to keep it that way.

(This is totally possible, even if you’ve struggled for years!)

3 Ways to Quickly Clear the Daily Surface Clutter 

1) QUICKLY declutter each room of daily surface clutter.

Grab a large bag or an empty basket (like an empty laundry basket) and a garbage bag. Walk through each room in your home collecting out of place items and trash.

Remove everything from the living room that doesn’t belong there. Same for the dining room, the bedrooms, the entryway, and the kitchen. You get the idea.

Your home will look better instantly!

When you are done, sort all that stuff according to which room it actually belongs in. You can sort things on a bed, on a cleared off dining table, or on the floor.

Place all master bedroom items together, all kids’ room items together, all kitchen items together, etc.

Take each set of belongings to the room where it belongs and put everything away. (Enlist family members to put their own stuff away if you can.)

A different version of this method is to collect all of one type of clutter at a time. Walk through each room in your home, with a basket, collecting:

  • all dirty laundry, then put it in the hamper.
  • next, all trash and recyclables, putting them in plastic bags.
  • then dirty dishes, soaking them in a sink full of hot, soapy water.
  • paper clutter, putting it in a single location to deal with later.
  • lastly, all remaining out of place items, putting them away.

TIP: Work quickly. Don’t get sidetracked by other cleaning or organizing distractions. Your goal is to quickly clear all the daily surface clutter in your home, today!

2) Set a timer and declutter each room for 5-7 minutes.

This is my favorite method for resetting a messy home. You can make a LOT of progress in about 30 minutes.

Do the things that have the biggest impact. Again, take a large basket with you for collecting clutter, and a trash bag.

  • In the living room, declutter everything that doesn’t belong, tidy up what’s left and straighten the couch pillows. (I bet you can do all that in 7 minutes or less!)
  • In the kitchen, soak dirty dishes in hot, soapy water and wipe the counters.
  • In the dining room, spend 5-7 minutes putting away items that have been left on the dining room table. Put away what you can until the timer goes off, then move on to the next room.
  • In the bedrooms, make the beds and put dirty laundry in the hamper.
  • In the bathroom, clear the counter-top, quickly wipe it, and straighten hand towels.

But remember, use a timer so you don’t get bogged down in one room trying to get it perfectly decluttered.

Work in each space for just 5-7 minutes, then move on for now.

When you’ve circled through the entire house, you can come back to each room and do more if you want to.

TIP: Make it a game. Push yourself to tidy as much as possible before your timer goes off.

3) Set a 10-15 minute timer to quickly declutter the whole house. You’ll tidy one small area in each room.

  • Clear off the coffee table of anything that doesn’t belong and straighten what’s left. Straighten couch pillows.
  • Clear and wipe one section of your kitchen counter.
  • Make beds.
  • Clear bathroom countertops of items that should be stored away.
  • Tidy shoes cluttering the entryway.

TIP: You’re only decluttering for 10 or 15 minutes total. Don’t get distracted. Work quickly.

Bonus: #4) If you have one big job you’ve been procrastinating on, break it into small, painless steps.

For example, I had about 50 books that needed to be organized and squeezed back into our overstuffed homeschool bookshelves.

I’d been putting it off for months.

Finally, I broke it into small jobs:

  1. Collect all loose books into one location and make five stacks of books.
  2. Put away all the books in one pile.
  3. Repeat for the next pile.
  4. Repeat until done.

And I spread out these mini-tasks throughout the day so it didn’t seem like one long dreaded task.

TIP: Break down large decluttering jobs into 10-minute mini-tasks, so you won’t burn out.

Now what?

Once you’ve completed one of these, get something to drink and decide what you’ll do next. Keep going. You’ll have your home back in shape faster than you expected.

Try ONE of the four decluttering ideas listed above right away.

Don’t peek at Facebook. Don’t continue scrolling through Pinterest.

Get busy tidying, one small step at a time.

Need a quick win? Don’t have a lot of time or energy? Focus on your main living areas today (living room, dining room, kitchen). Or even just one room, the living room or the dining room.

You can focus on other areas tomorrow. Do what you can today!

Put in some time and effort now to get your home decluttered. Just as clutter attracts clutter, decluttering and tidying your home today can motivate you to do it again tomorrow and the next day and the next, until it becomes a habit. (Read: How to Create a Decluttering Habit that Sticks)

But remember, you’ll only see changes in your life and home when you take action. Let’s get started!

Step away from the computer and put down your phone.

You can do this!

Don’t let feelings of overwhelm stop you from getting started.

Ready to declutter  your home?

Join the free 5-day Decluttered Life Challenge. I’ll help you finally create the clutter-free home you’ve wanted for so long, with an easy-to-stick-to decluttering method that even the busiest mom can follow!

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