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How to Stop Being a Messy Person

Do you ever look around at friends’ homes and wonder how they manage to do it all? Are you ever embarrassed at the state of your house or even your car? If you are just a naturally messy person, listen up. If I can stop being a messy person, literally anyone can.

Also read: How to Get Motivated to Clean When Overwhelmed by Mess

When I was a kid, I always had the messiest desk and book bag. 

I had to step over toys when I walked into my bedroom and despite my mom always yelling at me to clean it up, I think I had a clean room once. Ever. In my life.

In highschool, my locker was filled with random papers and odds and ends. 

My first house was ALWAYS messy.

You’d have thought you walked into a college coed dorm.

Dishes were always piled high, I don’t even know if I owned a vacuum, and I was smell testing clothes before I got dressed for work.

Honestly, it never occurred to me that I could be any different.

Growing up, our house was always a mess and my mom basically collected cats.

Between the cat hair and dirt from everyone wearing their shoes in the house, our house was always filthy.

messy person psychology

Why Are Some People Naturally Messy?

I’ve seen so many posts about cleaning schedules on Pinterest and never bothered to click on one.

What the hell is a cleaning schedule anyway?

Here’s the thing.

If you grew up in a messy house, I can guarantee you never learned to clean.

You probably have no idea how to organize.

Your idea of organizing is going to target and buying tons of plastic containers with zero plan how you’ll use them.

If I had to guess, you probably never learned how to budget your money either.

People that can’t keep a clean house also can’t keep control of their money.

I have a few theories about the “why”. 

Maybe budgeting is just a form of organization.

Or maybe our houses cause us so much stress when they’re messy that we indulge in retail therapy to feel better.

Either way, it is my firm belief that if you can get control of just one of those things, the other immediately follows.

how to stop being a messy person

How to Stop Being Messy

Being messy or being neat are made up of the same thing.


When you’re done with your cereal bowl, you can either stack it in the sink, or you can quickly rinse it out and put it in the drain board.

When you take off your clothes at the end of the day, you can drop them on the floor or put them in the laundry basket.

If you want to stop being messy, you need to decide right here and now that you’ll make the right choice multiple times a day.

Make the choice that makes your house cleaner.

Quick Habits of Clean People

Something I do now that I didn’t as a messy person happens when I wipe something off the counter.

If I get a rag wet to wipe something up, I clean up whatever mess I made, then I just keep going.

I quickly wipe down any surface in the vicinity. 

I wipe down the front of our cabinets, the top of our stove, etc.

This one tip has made such a huge difference in how our house feels.

You don’t have to wait until your cleaning schedule tells you it’s time to clean your kitchen.

You just make little 2 or 3 minute choices throughout the day that keep the mess at bay.

This is especially important if you have kids at home.

More than one kid?

You need to start doing this like yesterday.

You spend your entire day living in your house, usually with other people, and contributing to the mess.

It takes little acts all day long to keep the house from completely falling apart.

Messy Person Psychology

Ok get ready for me to completely geek out about why it’s possible to stop being a messy person.

Follow me here.

When your phone rings and you pick it up to answer, do you have to stop and think about it?

Do you actually sit there and think “hmm, this thing is making that noise again. Oh, it’s a phone call. How do I answer it? Oh that’s right, I put my finger here and slide…”

NO, you don’t.

You act, almost completely on autopilot, and the next thing you know, you’re listening to an automated voice tell you your car warranty is about to expire.

The same goes for cleaning, or messing up, your house.

Think of your brain as a hill of dirt.

If you drip water on the top of the hill until it starts to run down, it will form the slightest divot with the first stream of water.

Each time you drip water on the top of the hill, it will follow the slight divot carved by the first droplets of water.

Each droplet makes the divot deeper and deeper and reinforces for the next drops where the water will run.

Your brain works in much the same way.

It’s called neuroplasticity.

Side note – if I ever get a tattoo, it’ll say “neuroplasticity” as a reminder that I’m always in control of my brain.

Each time you drop your towel on the floor after a shower, you reinforce in your brain that this is what you do with a towel.

What if, instead, you hang that towel up to use again tomorrow?

And each time you see a smudge on the counter, you grab a rag and quickly wipe it up?

That’s right!

Your brain will eventually create a new divot, or in this case a pathway, for neurons to fire across that make it more and more likely you’ll do the same thing next time.

So after just a few weeks of hanging up your towel, it won’t even occur to you to drop it on the floor.

Same with wiping up smudges, wiping down counters, and vacuuming up messes.

You can actually change the way your brain functions and become a neat person on autopilot.

Every single time you make a neat choice, you’re reinforcing for your brain that you’re a neat person.

Every time you make a messy choice, you’re telling your brain that you’re a messy person.

What kind of person do you want to be? Act like it and it gets easier each time!

I Can’t Catch Up with My Messy House

I realize this may not be feasible for everyone, but hear me out.

If your house is truly out of control, and you’ve tried these awesome tips to get control of your disgusting house and still can’t cope, we may need to take it to the next level.

If you truly want to be a neater person and stop being messy, you may need to hire a house cleaner.

Not to come by every week or two and completely break the bank, but to come just once to clean your house top to bottom.

When it feels impossible to catch up, I would encourage you to do whatever you have to to afford a one time home clean.

In my area in North Carolina, I was quoted $250 for a “move out deep clean” for our 3 bedroom, 3 bath home.

If you’re determined enough, you CAN stop being a messy person.

Just keep going and make “neater, cleaner” choices daily. You’ve got this! If I can do it, so can you!