Cleaning a Neglected House: Where to Start When your House is a Disaster 

 March 6, 2023

By  Jeanette Giselle

If you need to learn how to starting cleaning a neglected house but you have absolutely no idea where to start then the first thing you need to do is have a plan!

Once you have assessed your home and prioritized your tasks you can then clean house home fast and easy. Continue on reading for the best house cleaning tips.

In an effort to be transparent, this blog uses affiliates links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn commission on qualifying purchases. So heads up, there my be some in this post!

How to Start Cleaning your Neglected House Fast and Easy in 6 Steps

Seeing a dirty, unorganized home can sometimes paralyze you. Then you end up in this hamster wheel of ignoring the mess and more mess creates and then you REALLY don’t know what to do.

It’s even worse after the Holidays or after having guests over. So how do you clean your home when you have absolutely no idea where to start?

In this post, I share my top cleaning tips for keeping a clean house!

#1 Have a Plan

The first step to cleaning a messy home and KEEPING it clean thereafter, is to have a plan.

That is why you need a Home Management Binder. A Home Management Binder will have all your cleaning schedules, important documents and meal plans.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to create anything for this. I created a free one for you which you can get below.

Why you need a Home Management Binder

Having all your tasks and goals gathered together in a binder will help you when you really just need to center yourself. All you have to do is grab your binder, see where you fell off track and pick up where you left off.

I have plans and schedules for all occasions. I don’t ever use a single plan because it’s important to be fluid in your day to day life.

Change is constant and not everyday is the same.

#2 Gather your Cleaning Supplies and Products

After having a plan, you need to make sure you have all your supplies and products.

It’s important to create a personal inventory of cleaning supplies. I personally have created “Zone Kits” to make it easier when cleaning a particular area in my home.

An easy way to create your own Zone Kit is by purchasing caddies and leaving them in that particular zone for easy access. To see my entire list of recommend cleaning products and supplies scroll a little further down to learn more.

#3 Assess your Home

The second most important step is to asses your home and prioritize tasks that need to be done. Sometimes we spend time on tasks that can be saved for another time but is it really important?

The only way to know is to assess your home.

To do this, walk around your home with one of our free Assess and Prioritize page from the binder or a notepad (I like to start from the back of my home to the front) and write down everything that needs to get done.

I will note everything:

  • toys on the floor
  • laundry overflowing
  • beds undone
  • dirty dishes

Then on the second column, start prioritizing.

For example, if you have a lot of laundry to do AND the kitchen is dirty. I would start with laundry because that can run in the background while I work on the dishes.

Or do you have guests coming over? Well then maybe your dishes are the priority in that case.

#4 Check your Mindset

Along with prioritizing, it’s important to remember that not everything will get done in a single day (and thats okay!).

That’s kind of the point with prioritizing. Find out what needs to get done NOW and what can be done later.

Remember that saving stuff for another day is okay as long as you have a plan to actually get it done.

With that said, finding YOUR definition of “done” will help you so much in the long run. YES, there may still be some things that need to get done but what makes you feel happy about your home?

I know I will feel happy if my sink is clear, beds are made and if there is minimal clutter off the floor (aka my kids toys).

So what is your definition of done?

#5 Get a Moving Basket

This is more of tip/hack especially if you plan on saving some work for another day: get a moving basket.

What is a moving basket?

This is my favorite tip that is guaranteed to Keep a House Clean.

A moving basket is something that I created for my home when my kids started to take over my ENTIRE home. When I knew some toys belonged in their room and not in the living room, I got this basket to transfer toys to get them where they needed to go.

How can this basket help?

When you have a huge list of things to do but can’t get it all done, the moving basket is a great tool to get things picked up, moved to where they need to be without spending loads of time. The tasks is not fully done but can be saved for another time without leaving the mess.

Different ways to use it:

I now have transformed this idea for a lot of things in my home. Like moving laundry from room to room.

I will fill a basket with my kids socks and underwear and leave it in their room. I can fold and put away another day or later but it makes it 100 times easier that it’s already in their room and its all of one thing.

You can move:

  • laundry (dirty or clean)
  • toys
  • shoes
  • books
  • anything!

#6 Have a Command Center

A command center is extremely important for getting your home into better shape and also maintaining it.

They key to a constantly clean home is sustainability.

Keeping a clean doesn’t mean cleaning for hours and hours daily. It means doing the little things everyday so you can still live your life.

And again, you can define your version of what a clean home looks like.

A central location will help you a great deal to the maintenance of a clean home. I have an office type command center where I keep my binder, a large calendar and all my notebooks.

It’s such a relief to have all my things easily accessible.

Whether I’m looking for a recipe or working on my blog, I have everything right at the tip of my fingers ready to be used.

Cleaning Supplies and Products List

I briefly mentioned earlier the importance of having all of your supplies ready by creating a Zone Kit. In this section I want to cover my entire list of cleaning supplies and products that you should have in your entire cleaning kit.

Cleaning Versus Disinfecting

I have heard several times cleaning and disinfecting being used interchangeably – this could not be more wrong!

Cleaning is only wiping away surface stains or dirt but are not actually killing any germs. Cleaning however is still 100% necessary.

Disinfecting products are used to attack and kill germs. You must clean a surface BEFORE attempting to disinfect.

Remember to always thoroughly read directions of use to fully kill all germs. In most cases, you need to spray and keep the surface wet for 5-10 minutes before wiping the product away.

Cleaning Products List

So now with that distinction made, I can now give you my list of cleaning products that I recommend and order from Grove Collaborative.

For all Rooms:

  • Method All Purpose Cleaner
  • Mrs. Meyers Multi Surface Cleaner

For Bathroom:

  • Method Toilet Cleaner
  • Method Daily Shower Spray
  • Method Anti-Bac Bathroom Cleaner

For Kitchen:

  • Method Heavy Duty Degreaser
  • Method Daily Steel Cleaner

Cleaning Supplies:

  • Grove Collaborative – All-Purpose Microfiber Cloths
  • Grove Collaborative Tea Towel

Disinfecting Products

The above products are great for everyday use and general upkeep. But when you need to disinfectant your home it’s important to use proper cleaning chemicals.

All products mentioned in this group are approved by the EPA to tackle and disinfect viruses in your home. These are perfect to use when someone in your home is sick, your kids are starting school or just as a standard precaution.

I keep my list of disinfectants pretty simple since they all have the same purpose. I swap between Lysol and Clorox and make sure to have one with and without Clorox.

  • Multi-Purpose Cleaner without Bleach
  • Multi-Purpose Cleaner with Bleach (Mostly for Bathrooms)
  • Disinfectant Spray
  • Disinfecting Wipes

Generic Cleaning Supplies

  • Broom and dust pan
  • Vacuum
  • Standard Mop
  • Spray Mop
  • Microfiber Towels
  • Reusable Cleaning Gloves

View all of the necessary cleaning products and tools mentioned above On One Page HERE.

What order to Clean Your House

Did you know that there is a particular order you should be cleaning your home? While some things can be obvious sometimes others can be overlooked.

In this section, we are going to go over the exact steps in order you should take when you clean your house.

Clean your House from Top to Bottom

Have you ever started cleaning your kitchen – wiped all the counters, swept the floor and then realized you forgot the stove? Me too!

I immediately hated myself because that meant I’d have to wipe the counters AGAIN. Sweep the floor AGAIN. And repeat so many things I ALREADY did.

That’s why it’s my first tip. It’s the most frustrating thing to have to start over. So when starting to clean a Zone in your home, always clean from top to bottom.

Where to Start Cleaning to Keep a House Clean

To begin, you’ll want to section off your house in “zones.” They can include any of the following:

  • Kitchen
  • Living Room
  • Dining Area (if separate from kitchen)
  • Bedrooms (each bedroom can be its own zone)
  • Bathrooms
  • Garage
  • Outside

Once your home is sectioned off, go zone by zone and:

  1. Organize and remove what does not belong (use your moving basket)
  2. Dust
  3. Clean
  4. Vacuum or mop

Go through each room and clean accordingly in that order. Example:

Kitchen / Dining Area

  1. Collect cups and put in the sinks, throw trash or crumbs onto the floor from dining table, put clean dishes away, etc
  2. With your microfiber towel go around and wipe all the surfaces (dining table, chairs, counters)
  3. Wash the dishes, clean the stove, etc
  4. Sweep and mop

Cleaning List by Room

Cleaning your home with a checklist is 100% easier.

In my post How To Create Simple but Effective Cleaning Checklists +12 month guide, I teach you how to create your own Cleaning Checklist along with sharing a simple 12 month guide.

You can also see my post, Step by Step House Cleaning Checklist by Room for a more detailed guide.

Ready to get your home in better shape?

Tell me in the comments if this resource has helped you – I’d love to hear from you! Don’t forget to grab your FREE Download.

If you need additional support, comment your questions below. Please also share this post with your friends on Pinterest by Clicking HERE. Thank you!

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Jeanette Giselle

Jeanette is a mom of three kids and full time entrepreneur. She is a certified Professional House Cleaner by the AHCA. It is her passion to help overwhelmed mothers simplify their home duties so that they can spend their time doing the things they love. 

Jeanette Giselle

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  1. Jeanette.

    I sign for The Master Clean List downloads and I confirmed my email . I checked my mail and nothing showed up.Lin

  2. Jeanette,

    Love the tips! The zone caddy tip is genius! I have to start using that in our 2-story house. I already bought two vacuums and swifters!

    I like the basket trick also! Thanks for the tips!

  3. Thank you for helping me to understand how to clean my whole house. I need to clean my house, but I don't have any time. It might be a good idea for me to hire a professional cleaning company.

  4. Hello, I am also looking for the binder. Any tips on how to manage laundry? I am really bad at living out of hampers or just throwing my clean clothes in a dump on the couch and digging through it each day. What would you recommend for laundry management?

    1. Hi Erin! Thanks for your comment. My suggestion to you would be to catch up on all your laundry and then do small loads daily (if possible). It’s definitely easier to manage small loads which are quick to wash AND fold on the same day. Hope that helps. If you have any issues still regarding the binder please reply directly to the email and I will manually send it! Thank you Xx 🙂

    1. Hi Nicholas!

      The binder should instantly download with the link provided. If you have any pop ups blocked it may stop it from downloading. If you have any issues still please reply directly to the email and I will manually send it! Thank you Xx 🙂

  5. I agree that using microfiber towels can go a long way when it comes to cleaning a kitchen and a dining area. I will surely look for such equipment when hiring home cleaning services soon. I think that I'm going to need professional help in cleaning my home to ensure that its air quality will always be in the best condition.

    1. Hi Goldie! Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I will go ahead and just email it to you directly. Xx Jeanette

  6. Im so glad you talked about house cleaning guidelines and how to get more organized. Recently, my wife and I moved into a bigger house, and were overwhelmed just thinking about cleaning it. We dont know where to start or what supplies to get, so well be sure to read your piece first. We really appreciate your tips on how to prepare for house cleaning.

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