Although cleaning a messy living room can seem like an overwhelming task, you can actually make even the messiest room look presentable and clean in just a few minutes by following these six simple steps.

  • Get everything out of the room that doesn’t belong there. Use an extra laundry basket or a similar-sized container to gather up all the “stuff” that has accumulated in the room but should not be there. If you are in a real hurry to get the room looking more presentable (like company is expected), put the basket somewhere out of sight and deal with it later. Otherwise, take a few minutes now and carry the basket with you as you move from room to room returning everything to its proper place.
  • Put everything that belongs in the room back where it belongs. This would include books back on the shelves, toys back in the toy box, items back in drawers, etc. Start in one area and work your way around the room.

Leopard’s bane (Doronicum orientale)
  • Do a quick dusting of furniture surfaces, shelves, etc. This is not the time to reorganize… just dust visible surfaces.
  • Make sure the couches and chairs look presentable, with seat cushions and throw pillows in position and slipcovers straightened. Use the vacuum first to clean under cushions and furniture upholstery to remove hairs and crumbs.
  • Sweep or vacuum the floor. A clean floor always makes any room look cleaner… and while you’re vacuuming, don’t forget the tops of baseboards and any cobwebs near the ceiling.
  • Finally, take a quick look around to see if you missed anything… and if you did, take care of it now.
  • You’re done!

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I also like to set a timer for maybe 10 minutes, then you can see just how much you can get done in that amount of time, and it feels like you’ve really achieved something!
Great ideas. Thanks :-)

ellen b

I think you should come over and demonstrate that in all my rooms. :)


That’s great! That’s what I did last night (my mom’s coming to visit- yikes!) and today it’s the kitchen…


i love how just sweeping the floor just makes the whole room look so much cleaner, even if I don’t get to the dusting! Of course, there is usually a lot of picking up to do before I can sweep! :)


My problem is that I am not an organized person and I have trouble knowing where to start and how to follow through. I like the way you laid it all out in steps. I took a very messy room last night, followed the steps in your post–and I couldn’t believe how quickly I had the room looking really good. My husband was impressed. Thank you for a great blog! I visit every day and love your stuff.


I’m like Annie said, not organized. Sometimes I start with good intentions and think I will clean a room and I end up organizing the spices. So I too am going to follow your steps. I think that is what I need, some guidance. Thanks so much.