How to Get a Messy Work-at-Home Professional to Clean Up After Themselves


Most of us dream of living in organized houses that are neat, clean, and well looked after. Clean rooms can be soothing. Clutter, on the other hand, can be a nuisance and unsightly.

So, when you live with someone who works from home, and they are messy, it can be quite frustrating. It can drive you nuts to come home in the evening after work only to find a messy home whan you left it spick and span. Or, having to constantly be the one to tidy up the mess around the house and even in their home office or studio.

Having a messy room and house can have a negative impact on your mind and body. Most of us find it hard to function in chaos, and when you are surrounded by mess, your mind gets overwhelmed and overstimulated. That’s why living with a messy roommate can be a nightmare.

But you are not entirely helpless in this situation. You can try to get them to change and be neat and tidy, and more organized.  


Steps to Get Messy People to Keep Things Tidy


Here are a few tips on how to get someone to clean up after themselves and keep things tidy.


1. Tell Them to Clean Up


Start with the obvious—tell them to clean up after themselves and keep things tidy.

Your messy roommate may not know that they are messy, and so you need to ask them if they are willing to help you complete cleaning tasks in a polite manner. Do the task together while having a conversation to make the situation more bearable for them.

If you command them to clean up, that may cause them to be defensive and have a bad attitude. This will lead to a power struggle and make them feel like you are trying to lord over them, which may cause them to resist what you’re trying to get them to do.


2. Acknowledge Positive Effort


Try and focus on what they have done rather than what they haven’t. When they perform a chore, let’s say wash dishes, make sure you acknowledge the time and effort they put into it.

And if you’re always complaining about how they do not take out the trash, but find they cleaned the dishes, rather than focus solely on the fact that they did not take out the trash, recognize the effort they made or they might regret the time they took in cleaning the dishes.

Celebrate the small wins, while also encouraging them to do more. That can be a great motivator.


3. Help Then Out


You can also encourage them do better by helping them out with some of the chores that need to be done. For example, you could organize for someone to do your rubbish removal here at a great price, while they commit to performing other tasks regularly to keep the house clean and tidy.

This positive reinforcement works very well. If you leave them to do everything, they may feel like you are being unfair, burdening them too much and rebel.


4. Make It Fun


Cleaning doesn’t have to be boring. You can make it playful and fun. For example, place bets that whoever finishes their chores properly gets a free or favorite meal. Rewards will keep you all motivated to complete chores because you know that something good awaits afterwards.

Divide the house into sections and have them pick where they are comfortable cleaning. Try not to allocate tasking chores on weekends or days when there are all sorts of more fun or interesting activities going on. It can make them skip cleaning up if they feel like they’d be missing out on something better.


5. Lead by Example


Be tidy and organized yourself around the house and in everything you do. This is arguably the best way to get others to clean up after themselves also.

You simply practice what you preach; teach by not uttering a word.

The other person will see how nice the house looks when it’s clean, and how easy it is to find things and it will motivate them to keep it that way. And soon that will become the new normal.

Sometimes we are quick to tell others, including children in the home, how they should clean up, when in fact we are not cleaning up after ourselves.

Don’t be that person who tells others to clean up, while you tend to ignore your own messes. Instead, lead by example.


Ignoring problems isn’t advisable. You need to address issues that are frustrating you head-on. Talk to loved ones in an honest and respectful manner. Work out a cleaning arrangement that works for both of you, and stay committed to it.

Try not to be too nagging—it usually doesn’t get things done. Rather, be strategic. Create a checklist to remind everyone what needs to be done and what is expected. Remember that everyone has a right to express their opinion, and at some point you will have to compromise.

So, don't be too hung up on getting people to clean up after themselves. It is never that serious—and if it is there is always a way to solve and work things out with love and compassion.  

Make the best of every situation in life and enjoy the little pleasures life brings.

George Mathews is a staff writer for He is passionate about personal growth and development.