How to Get Your Whole House Clean at One Time

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Want to get the whole house clean? It’s worth it. You’ll feel amazing. And if we can pull it off, so can you.

How to Get the Whole House Clean | Life as Mom - Want to get the whole house clean? It's worth it. You'll feel amazing. And if we can pull it off, so can you.

I am not sure that I’m the best person to write this post. I think that I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had my whole house clean at one time. However, I can say that it is an exhilarating feeling, and an accomplishment that is worth the hard work.

Our house is still (mostly) clean even a few days after our inspection. I’ve done a “walk-through” a couple times a day making sure things are in order. It’s not yet an obsession. Instead, I’m hoping that if we can pull this off for another 18 days, maybe it will be a habit! Maybe my people will grow accustomed to cleared surfaces and take care of the walk throughs on their own.

Maybe. We can pretend, anyway.

Regardless, here’s what I learned in getting the whole house shipshape last weekend:

How to Get Your Whole House Clean at One Time

How to Get the Whole House Clean | Life as Mom

1. Be ready to ditch stuff mercilessly.

I think those of us who don’t naturally have Whole House Clean all the time probably have more stuff than we do proper storage space. In some cases we might just have too much stuff.

While our home has a fair number of closets, we don’t have a ton of furniture. You might notice that in our pictures. We’ve never had a ton of money to spend on furniture, so we just don’t have it. That means there are no side boards, armoires, or extra dressers in which to stash stuff. The closets were, indeed, full.

Being willing to shed extraneous belongings, at least enough to fit the space you have, is key to achieving Whole House Clean.

We’d let months of stuff accumulate, some in boxes all ready to send to the donation truck. This all had to go. I had purged the kitchen a few times already, and cleared out excess in the kids’ rooms. I guess I can’t stress enough the importance of dejunking.

This year was the first that I didn’t do monthly Zone Defense, and I see how that regular upkeep was helpful in the past.

You probably already know the dejunking drill, don’t you? Make sure that you have plenty of cardboard boxes or plastic bags in which to place Discards, Trash, and Put Aways. Just don’t let your Put Away Pile get too big. I called my minions and had them fetch and carry so that the Put Away Pile didn’t get away from me.

2. Pick your hole.

It’s a hockey term that I learned watching Hockey Night five million times in 8th grade because I had a crush on Yannick Bisson. Rick Moranis says the line, so I always hear his voice when I’m tackling a big project. It basically means choose a spot to defend.

You have to start somewhere, right? So, just choose someplace and then let your cleaning spread like penicillin.

How to Get the Whole House Clean | Life as Mom

I started in the laundry room which was a very good place to start. We ended up doing a ton of wash over the weekend. My SDGE report for the week attests to the fact. Once the laundry room was done, I moved to cleaning my kids’ bedrooms, and then the other rooms of the house.

If you need to keep littles out of clean rooms, use whatever means necessary. In the days when we had a guest room and guest bathroom, I locked the guest bathroom whenever we didn’t have guests! That room was always really pristine for company because I didn’t let everyone use it.

Need something more concrete than, “Just start somewhere”? Download this Whole House Clean checklist.

3. Don’t go it alone.

Let it be said that I didn’t do this on my own. My husband scrubbed showers, organized the garage, and did all the heavy lifting. My kids all pitched in as they were able. If people live in a house, I believe, they’re all responsible to help achieve Whole House Clean.

Consider these tips for getting help with housework — or let them pay for the cleaning service. You can’t, and shouldn’t, do it all yourself.

Here’s how our kids do it:

Sometimes, “getting help” means that you let someone else do the cooking. True confessions, I bought McDonald’s one morning for breakfast because I couldn’t stand a new mess being made. I haven’t bought that in so long that FishChick7 didn’t even know what it was!

Desperate times, folks, desperate times. You do what you can to make it work.

How to Get the Whole House Clean | Life as Mom

4. Keep at it.

I suppose some people might wonder why I would take three days to get my whole house clean. Was it really that messy? Yes and no. We sleep here; we eat here; but we also school here and work here. Our house doesn’t get a rest. It wasn’t in show-condition, but it wasn’t a sty, either.

Basically, we wanted the home owners to see it at its best. While it’s work, it was also totally worth to us personally. Plugging away at getting the whole house clean and organized was really worth it. Like Deanna said last spring when she hired cleaners, getting the whole house clean is like a reset button. We get to start fresh!

The summer was really hard. Now that I’ve been on the meds for a couple months, I see a big difference in my energy levels, my eye pain (gone!) and my overall nerves. (My hand pain is still there, but I don’t notice it as much.) All that to say, I think I’ve been skidding by for awhile now. I needed that reset button!

By junking a lot of stuff and getting things spic and span, we have so much more space to breathe. Whether you dig in yourself or hire cleaners, I encourage you to find a way to get your whole house clean, even if it’s just once a year. It’s so liberating.

How do YOU get the Whole House Clean?

Be sure to read the whole series: Organization for Normal People


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  1. My house has to be cleaned out in two weeks for the next family to be moved in. I need to start recruiting some troops! There’s no way I’m doing it alone. Thanks for the help, I think I may just try some of your tips. Maybe I will put my kids on bathroom cleaning like you said.

  2. I feel more relaxed when things are clean and clutter free. But with life, that doesn’t happen too often. 🙂 I try to keep things to a minimum and stay on top of clutter build up. What has worked best for us is regular picking up times throughout the day. When we are doing school, we clean up before school, at morning break, lunch break, after school, before dinner, before bed. That may sound like a lot, but it’s just “erasing evidence” or putting away what you had out over the last few hours. For us, the little clean ups repeatedly work better than one big one. We tend to lose focus with big clean-up jobs.

  3. i have been doing a lot of decluttering myself. i finally had to give myself permission to let go of that dress that cost $50 but didn’t fit right and those toys that were a big “bargain” but my kids didn’t like. just let it all go. it is a wonderful feeling.

  4. Great tips! A clean house is so satisfying!

    One thing I have found helpful is having 1 day a year where all I do is organize and de clutter. My husband takes the kids away and I get about 8 hours to go through closets, drawers, cabinets, etc. I have done this for about 4 years and I can tell a difference each year. It gets a little easier and I get through a little more. I am amazed as to how much I can do without any interruptions. I just barely stop to eat. I listen to podcasts or an audiobook and really enjoy the day.

    I don’t get to cleaning though- so to have it all done at once is a huge accomplishment. Congrats!

  5. Never happens here. 🙁 Husband likes his stuff and piles. Not enough time to go through eight kids’ belongings while homeschooling and with life happening. I admire you. I would love to do this, but I guess it will just have to wait until the kids are grown, but even then, who knows.

    1. I think it really depends on your family and what you really want. It might not be a priority in this season. However, if it’s something YOU really want, I think it would be good to start chatting it up with your husband.

  6. I just cleaned out my whole attic what a gratifying feeling that was. I couldn’t believe the stuff that was in there.
    I have a huge donation pile. As they say one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.