How I sweep my really messy, cluttered floor

Like most kitchens, my kitchen gets a lot of traffic and is one of the most popular places to be in our home. With 3 kids, including a toddler, it gets messy and cluttered in an instant. As you might guess, I’m not on top of it as I should be, and either are the kids. We’re working on it!


When I think of the “classic” way to clean up and sweep a really messy floor, I think of these steps:

1.  Go around and pick up all of the clutter on the floor, putting everything away in its proper place. Throw away/recycle larger pieces of trash.

2.  Sweep.

This is what I used to try to do. Sort of. Every now and then-ish. Not often enough. The going around picking up things and putting them away part is really overwhelming when there is so.  much.  stuff.  all over the floor. Seriously.

But it does need to happen. Because the little crumbs, food and dirt need to go. Those things actually bother me more than the bigger clutter.

So one day, when I was somewhat frustrated with the situation and I really wanted to sweep the floor, I switched the steps. I just started sweeping. I swept up everything into a big pile. A really big pile. In some weird way, I felt empowered.

I remember that one of the things on the kitchen floor that day was a ride-on toy. I swept it into the pile, too. And I liked it.

The floor was cleaned up really quick, except for the one big pile, which I then sorted and dealt with. It’s been about a year that I’ve been doing it this way, and you know what? It works for me. For now, anyway. Of course the goal is not to have everything all over the floor to begin with. We are getting there, and I think my sweep piles are getting smaller!

Here are the steps I use for cleaning my messy, cluttered floors:

1. Sweep up everything on the floor that is not in its proper place. IF there are wet/sticky things, like banana, pick those up separately. Sticky-wet-messy things do not work well in this method. Trust me on this one.

This is my sweep pile. A nice big one. See? I got the ride-on toy in this one, too!

2. Sort. Put the toys together (or have your children come and “rescue” them from the pile), the books together, the kitchen stuff together, etc.  Toss or recycle the bigger trash.

Trash, toys, laundry

Little bits to sweep, books, kitchen items

3. Sweep up the little bits.

4. Put everything else in its proper place (I’m thinking maybe if I use the phrase “”proper place” enough, it will sink in and become second nature to me.)

So if you ever find yourself overwhelmed with a messy cluttered floor that needs cleaning up/sweeping, shake things up a bit and try this method.

I’m linking up for Works for Me Wednesday over at We are THAT Family.


18 Comments on “How I sweep my really messy, cluttered floor”

  1. Kimberly says:

    You crack me up! 😉

  2. Jess says:

    lol I’ve only tried that method when moving out of a place (moving tends to reveal some messiest messes!) and I never thought to do it regularly… you’ve got me thinking!

  3. Angie says:

    Love the big pile sweep!
    We actually use the same thing and when my husband and I looked at your piles, he said we must be kindred spirits…we have the same piles at our house!
    Thanks for the smile!

  4. Megan says:

    Oh! We do this, too! The bonus is that — no many how many times I pull out the dustmop and start shoving everything into a pile — it never fails to make the kids snap to attention and take notice. “Pick up your stuff!” is like white noise. The sight of their treasures being being swept in with all the other trash, though? Gold…. 🙂

  5. Angie and Megan,

    Thank you for making me not feel like such a freak! XO

  6. Danielle @ Analytical Mom says:

    This is so fantastic! I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks, “I’d love to clean…but it’s not clean enough to clean!” Now, can you come up with something like this for carpeted floors? That’s my real problem! 🙂
    I found you through WFMW, by the way.

    • Hey Danielle,

      I have heard of someone using a rake for carpeted floors! I thought that was pretty clever, but then I would have to keep a clean rake in the house….that sounds less appealing. .I’m guessing the broom could work for the bigger stuff, but I haven’t tried it on carpet.

  7. Tiffany C. says:

    This is how I sweep too! Isn’t it great seeing all that clean floor at once?! And you don’t have to chase the kids all over pointing out what you want them to pick up. I just found your link on the Frugal Girls site, and I think I’m hooked! I’ll be back for more! Your floor looked so familiar! It’s how mine looks every day! And it’s so nice to know there is someone else normal out there. It’s actually kind of irritating seeing everyone else’s “perfect” houses. Thank you! Thank you! You made me smile!

    • Welcome, Tiffany! Such a good point about not pointing at all the different things around the room to pick up!!! I love that you called me normal and that I made you smile. Yay! Thanks for the encouragement!

  8. A.K. says:

    If you would like to make yourself feel like a total cleaning superwoman, after sweeping the floors…mop them and then use a product called “Rejuvenate” for hard-wood floors. It has a polyurethane base, which is the product that made your floors “shine” once-upon-a-time. When I take the time to do this to the floors, they feel so much cleaner to me!

    I found your blog thru The Frugal Girl. I like your go-getter attitude!

  9. […] How I sweep my Really Messy Floor […]

  10. LeeAnn says:

    Okay I just saw this and had to laugh. While I haven’t yet swept all our floor clutter into a pile (although I will be trying that soon), I have threatened to throw away anything on the floor if the kids don’t come and pick it up NOW! Yes, I am a horribly mean mom (my oldest kids are only 4 and 2 so understanding messes and cleaning up, especially for the 2 year old, is a bit of a challenge), but when I do it, it works. The 4YO looks at me incredulously and asks “You would really throw my toys away?” to which I reply “Absolutely.” (To which she asks again “What does ‘absolutely’ mean?” Sheesh.) Anyway, given that all the floor clutter is theirs, I have zero problem with that threat for right now.

    But I will be trying the sweeping up trick next time. Thanks for sharing!

    ~LeeAnn @ Living the Dream

  11. […] recently showed you how I sweep my floor. Well, with my nicely swept floor all ready, I got inspired to get it really clean! That’s […]

  12. Marisa says:

    I think you are darling. I love your sense of humor and your honesty. I just think the methods of how we sweep/vacuum/clean the floor/house/kitchen etc. really don’t matter much if the cause of the problem is never addressed. Even the most efficient and organized person cannot keep up with 3 or 4 or 5 other people working against them! The people in our homes (ie. kids) need to be convinced that they are responsible for their belongings. I like to put it in their court- make them responsible for their own things, give them chores, train and teach them HOW to do it, and hold them accountable. (This is the time-consuming part, but the most important part!) If our kids aren’t taking care of their belongings, I think they must have too many things! If they value something, they will take care of it. Yes, I have been known to vacuum up Polly Pockets, Legos etc., but it only takes once and they won’t be leaving those toys on the floor again. Sounds cruel, but I just refuse to be responsible for everyone’s belongings every single day for the rest of my life! And my kids have really learned a lot over the years. Helping my children learn these skills has pretty much taken at least some part of every day over the past 10 years of my life, but now I have kids who know what their responsibilities are, keep their rooms clean, sweep the house for their personal belongings at the end of each day, and contribute to family life with one extra chore like dishes or a load of laundry. It is so great to see them get older and see how much they can contribute! Phew! I have also noticed that they love to feel dependable and capable too. Also, I think it’s important that kids use their own “earned” money for new toys/belongings so that their belongings have personal value to them. That has made such a huge difference at our house. Good luck!

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