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The Home Depot

10 Creative Ways to Identify a Messy House Member

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Cleaning > 10 Creative Ways to Identify a Messy House Member
10 Creative Ways to Identify a Messy House Member

Everyone has them. There’s no avoiding them. As a matter of fact, “they” could be you. Who am I talking about? I’m talking about messy housemates.


You know the kind. They don’t put away the peanut butter. Their laundry overflows out of the hamper. They leave a trail of stuff wherever they go. They can never, ever find the remote.


Is there a certain someone creating mysterious messes in your house? Are you at your wits end trying to clean up the crap? Read this guide to learn 10 creative ways to identify a messy house member (and maybe even help them reform).

  1. 1.The person with the trail

    Follow the trail. Start at your front door and look ahead into your house. Can you track the exact path your housemate took as they made their way into the house? You’ll probably see shoes that were kicked off, keys tossed onto the floor, work bag tossed by the couch and a mess where the after-work snack was made. If you see all that stuff, you probably have a messy house member. Remedy the situation by appointing a place for everything so that everything can go in its place. Put a small table by the door where house keys and mail can live. Put up a coat rack for errant coats. This might help keep everyone’s stuff off the floor and where it belongs.

  2. 2.The person with organizational aids

    Does your housemate have organizers, baskets, shelves and drawers? If not, they might just be messy. A neatnik has learned that organizational tools can help keep things stored neatly out of the way. Take them to a home improvement store, or your local Target or Wal-Mart to stock up on inexpensive and effective organizational tools. For a bit more money, there are lots of businesses that turn a tidy profit by putting together custom-made organizational spaces for people who tend to be a little messy.

  3. 3.The person with too much stuff

    Does your house member own every food menu they have ever received? Do they have piles of clothes and shoes that they haven’t worn in years? If they do, they might just be messy. It’s very easy to be messy when you hold on to everything you have ever owned. Encourage your house member to give away some things to free up space in your home. If they’d like to turn their trash into cash, you can hold a garage sale or take the stuff to a consignment store where they will get a percentage off of the sale of their belongings.

  5. 4.The person who keeps losing their stuff

    If you know someone who never knows where any of their things went, there are a few reasons for that. Either (a) they have horrible memories (b) there are thieves among you or, most likely (c) they are too messy to find anything under all their junk. Teach them the importance of cleaning up frequently, and putting things away as soon as they use them so the mess doesn’t reach Mt. Everest levels.

  6. 5.The person who keeps borrowing your stuff

    Ugh. How annoying is that? This could mean that they are too messy to see what they have, or so messy that they’ve forgotten what they own. Tell them to get their own stuff. If they don’t have what they need, sites like sell everything – from toiletries, to food, to furniture. They can have it all at the click of a button.

  7. 6.The person who is always late

    Messy people are always late. It takes them about five times longer to find what they need, and they might have to risk life and limb to get over all the stuff that is laying around to get out the door. If your housemate has bumps, bruises and is always about 15 minutes late – they’re probably messy.

  8. 7.The person with the wrong apps

    In the age of smartphones, it’s easy to get rid of any bad habit you want to shake. The same could be said for someone with a tendency for messiness. One popular such ap is HomeRoutines ( The application helps you keep track of the tasks you need to do for any given week. If you are without a smartphone, but still want to be smart – you do it the old fashioned way. Sit down and map out a cleaning routine for you and your housemate. Figure out who wants to do what and when. Post it somewhere everyone can see.

  10. 8.The person with the messy kitchen

    There’s a special art and dedication involved in keeping your kitchen clean. It is easy to get in there and make a big mess while whipping up your culinary masterpiece. It’s harder to clean up all the spills, stains and messes that are the result of your feast. Any wise old grandma will tell you the secret to a clean kitchen is cleaning as you go. Look for opportunities to clean up things like measuring cups and bows that you know you won’t use again. If you are preparing a dish that needs to cook for a while, use that time to clean up. Also, make sure that your kitchen is as organized as possible. Group same and similar things together to find them easily.

  11. 9.The person who, well, smells

    Being messy means things like old food and trash aren’t as easy to spot. It means your pets might leave little “presents” that you might not know about right off the bat. Let your housemate know that no one likes you when you’re stinky. Maybe that will help them clean up their act.

  12. 10.The person who procrastinates

    The root cause of pretty much all messiness is procrastination. That is, putting some unwanted task off until later to complete. Do things as soon as you can. That way, the mess can’t grow and grow and your housemate won’t incur the wrath of everyone else in the household.


    The good thing about messy household members is that they can be reformed. Help your sloppy house member get started on their new path towards cleanliness today. Forward them this article – they’ll thank you for it! Probably.

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