How to Clean & Organize Your Home in One Day

It would be nice if time were more like money. However, you cannot save it or stash it away for a rainy day. You must spend all 24 hours, every day. Time commitments, career commitments, family commitments all vying for your attention sometimes leave precious little time for anything else. The result can be a home that feels out of control and you feeling frazzled. Do not become sad and depressed, as the situation is not hopeless. With planning and determination, you can once again become the master of your home and yes, you can get the job done in one day.

A mother and daughter stand in the kitchen doing the dishes
credit: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Plan and Prepare

Step 1

Assess the situation. Take a walk through every room in your home and assess the situation. Decide whether the mess is the result of clutter or dirt or both. Make declutter rules such as, "If I have not used this item in the last 6 months, it goes to Goodwill."

Step 2

Devise an action plan, based on your visual assessment. Rank rooms from the worst to the best, then clean and organize in that order. You may be tempted to work in a reverse order to see results faster, but this will be a long day and you do not want to run out of steam with the messiest room still on your list. Establish a goal and a time limit for each room, based on the total time you allot for a cleaning day. For example, if you are going to complete this job in 10 hours and you plan on cleaning and organizing your kitchen, bathroom, bedroom 1, bedroom 2, family room and living room (in that order), you could breakdown your list this way: Kitchen--3 hours Bathroom--1 hour Bedroom 1--1 1/2 hours Bedroom 2--1 1/2 hours Family Room--1 1/2 hours Living Room--1/2 hour

A good action plan will define your motto of the day, such as clear out, throw out, clean and put back. Grab a piece of paper and write your motto at the top. List rooms in the order you will clean, your goal and the time limit you set for completion, and leave a space to check the room off as you go. This will help you feel good about the progress you are making. Leave plenty of room for notes to yourself regarding future projects, a reminder to speak with family members, or anything you think of as you go. Attach the paper to a clipboard and move on.

Step 3

Collect supplies. Put a fresh bag in the vacuum cleaner and the rest of your cleaning supplies in a tote that you can carry from room to room. Turn the telephone and television off and put on some good mood music.

Divide and Conquer

Step 1

Clear out the clutter. Create a larger working area by moving as much out of the room as you can. Create piles for items that need relocating to another room, start filling those garbage bags with items you no longer need, and get rid of the trash. Hang clothes in the closet, fold and put in drawers, or throw them in a laundry basket. Remember, the goal is to organize as you clean, so the less you have to put back, the more organized the room will be.

Step 2

Clean from top to bottom. Start with the ceiling and work your way down. Run a dust mop along the ceiling, ceiling fixtures and walls to get rid of dust or cobwebs. Spray anything that can soak a minute or two while you complete another task. For example, spray windows and mirrors, toilet bowl cleaner, or degreaser on a grimy countertop, then start to dust or wipe solid surfaces, make beds or return sofa pillows to their proper location. Finish the items you sprayed and then tackle the floor. Vacuuming is faster than sweeping and does a better job so vacuum everything. Damp mop tile or linoleum and while the floor is drying you can begin tackling your relocation pile or carry items out to the garbage.

Step 3

Organize and return items to their proper place. Like items go together. Make use of storage bins for things like CDs, toys, makeup or craft supplies. Label any container you will cover and put on a shelf or in a closet so you know what is in there later on.

Step 4

Finish up by taking out the garbage and returning miscellaneous items you discovered back to their proper location. Check the room off your list, record any notes and move onto the next room.


Jackie Lohrey

Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.