How To Clean Your Room Before It’s Too Late

My messy room.  I shudder to think of it.


I shudder the most when I have to  ask family friends to watch our cats in our absence.

I close the door to our bedroom and hope they won’t go in there.  The friends, that is.

Because in my room is a dirty little secret.  My part of the room is a mess.

My wife is neat and organized, but I have to work at it!

One of these days, if I don’t do something about it, someone’s going to find out that there is laundry that needs to be put away, a “hot spot” by the side of my bed of books and knick knacks that I seem to think I need, and various other piles that need to be organized.

Will you give me a chance to clean my room, before it’s too late?

I don’t know if you, like me, struggle with keeping your room clean at times.

But if you do, there’s hope for both of us.

Many people, both on and off the autism spectrum, struggle with keeping their rooms clean.

Here’s a quote from a Wrong Planet on a thread called, “Do You Have To Keep Your Room Clean?”

I do like clean rooms but mine is rarely clean! It usually starts with me forgetting to put one thing away then escalates until I have piles of god knows what growing all over my room!

And here’s the Reddit thread that inspired me to write this article :)

You (and I) can learn how to clean your room (and my room) with these simple tips.

Know Thy Sensory Needs

Whether you struggle with certain textures, allergies, or noises, prepare yourself ahead of time.

For example, I like to have a podcast playing, like This American Life, or Snap Judgment, when I clean.

I like to be entertained while I clean.  You may like a certain kind of music.  Or perhaps you just want silence.

I like to have my windows open, letting as much light in as possible.  You, however, may be sensitive to light and clean better with the shades drawn.

Break It Down

The hardest part of cleaning, for me, is getting started.

I don’t get started, because I don’t know where to begin!

Should I start with this pile at the edge of my bed, or with the dust bunnies in the hallway, or what?

It’s too much!

I just read this week about the Two Minute rule for getting things done.  Just start working for two minutes, and see where it takes you!

This is how I start writing my blog posts.  Writing overwhelms me into procrastination, but when I start writing, just for two minutes, I end up gaining momentum.

In the same way, just set your timer for two minutes, start cleaning, and you may be surprised at how much you get done!

Get Thee A Routine

Thanks to Melissa Maker from Clean Your Space, here’s a step by step routine for cleaning your room.

Here’s Melissa demonstrating her routine.  View the video and then read the steps that follow.

Get the Right Set of Tools

Don’t let this list keep you from getting started.

But do set a date on your calendar to go shopping for the right set of tools for cleaning your room.

Here’s Melissa Maker’s set of cleaning tools:

  • Microfiber cloths for dusting, cleaning and polishing. I’d say to have 3.
  • Glass cleaning cloth, for mirrors and windows (if you feel like cleaning your windows)
  • Vacuum (mop if you have hardwood floors)
  • All purpose cleaner
  • Glass cleaner
  • Disinfectant (points of contact) – if you wish
  • Garbage bag, bag for recyclables, replacement garbage bag
  • Mop pole, hair elastic
  • Fresh linens, or at least strip your bed, was the sheets and have fresh ones ready to go (in the video, I don’t change my linens because I did so 3 days before shooting).

How To Clean Your Room: Three Stages

Stage 1 – Tidying

In this stage, you’re getting the big things out of the way.

Get an empty laundry basket, one plastic shopping bag or garbage bag for trash, and one plastic shopping bag or garbage bag for recycling.

Go clockwise around the room (or think of it as moving from left to right around the room), scanning from top to bottom as you move around the room.

For any items that need to be further organized, just put them in the laundry basket for after the Tidying stage.

Other things, like loose clean laundry, just throw on the bed.  Or, if it’s dirty, put it in the hamper.

Loose clothes that are clean, just throw on the bed.

Stage 2: Dusting, Cleaning, and Polishing

Before you start this stage, go through the stuff in your laundry basket.

If it’s too overwhelming to think of where all that stuff goes, wait until after you’re done cleaning your room, and then go through the stuff and work on organizing it.

In this second stage of dusting, cleaning, and polishing, the idea is to dust high and low.  Using a microfiber cloth attached to the end of a dust mop pole with a hair elastic band, clean seam between the ceiling and the wall, going around the room once.  Then go around the room again and work on the baseboard.

You can also dust door frames, vents, and ceilings as needed.

(If you’ve got dust allergies, please let me know in the comments below how you deal with that when cleaning).

Once you’ve dusted, move around the room clockwise again, with your all-purpose cleaner and glass cleaner.  Use one microfiber cloth to wipe down surfaces that you spray.  Use the other microfiber cloth to dry the surfaces in an S fashion.

Stage 3: Vacuum/Mop

Here’s a quick checklist:

Empty your garbage bag.

Replace garbage bag (for the trash in your room).

Place dirty laundry, loose items, and the full garbage and recycling bags in a pile outside your bedroom door.

Vacuum/mop, and you’re done!

I’m Going To Clean My Room!

Now that I’ve written this article, I’m going to clean my room!

Not today, because I don’t have time for that.

Rather, I’m going to clean my room this Saturday afternoon.  I know I’ve got a free hour then, and I will not be deterred! :)


I realize that there is no “right” way to clean your room.

Experiment and find what works best for you.

Check these resources out as you progress on your journey toward a clean, organized room.

How to Clean Your Room – With Examples  from Wiki How.

If you’re a teenager reading this article, here’s a YouTube video, Clean Your Room In 5 Minutes!

Other articles

Cleaning Your Room?  A WrongPlanet thread.  Various members ponder over whether a clean room is worth it.  (Do you think it’s worth it?)

If you figure out that a clean room is worth it, WrongPlanet members give you their room cleaning strategies in this thread.

photo credit: K. Sawyer Photography via photopin cc

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 I'm Steve Borgman.  I'm a licensed clinical professional counselor and blogger committed to bringing you hope, understanding, and solutions that you can apply to your life immediately.

Are you tired of feeling alone, like you're the only one in this world? Please join the Thrive with Aspergers Community to connect with others just like you!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Full Spectrum Mama

    I went from super messy as a kid to …a bit OCD as an adult. I hope my fellow spectrum-er son lands somewhere in the middle 😉 Thanks for the tips…

  • steveborgman

    Thanks, Full Spectrum Mama! I think I’ve gone in reverse: from more OCD as a kid, to way too relaxed as an adult :)

  • Angel The Alien

    I hate cleaning my room. I cannot stand it! But one thing that has helped me has been getting a TV in my room… something I never had before because I can’t get reception or cable up there. Now I have a Smart TV with Netflix. I watch a movie while I clean. This defeats the boredom aspect of cleaning, and also gives me a concrete start and stop point… I clean until the movie is over, and then I am finished for the day!

  • steveborgman

    Wow, Angel, what a great idea! What would you say to someone (I happen to know this person), who gets “addicted” to media to the point that it interferes, rather than helps, with getting things done? Have you ever struggled with that aspect of media? (It doesn’t sound like it, but I wonder if you know anyone who has?)

  • Angel The Alien

    I probably struggle with the Internet more than TV… but I also am “addicted” to books in that way. I am hyperlexic and I’ve always had a need to be reading and writing, and the Internet is like a giant book with everything on earth in it… I can never get enough! I admit sometimes I put off the things I need to do, because I’m reading blogs or doing research on something… but before the Internet came along, I was the same way with books and magazines, and would spend entire days reading without wanting to do anything else!

  • steveborgman

    I’m glad you love reading so much! Are you able to pace your reading so that it doesn’t “take over” too much?