Having to clean the same things every single day or week- again and again- can feel both daunting and boring. I’m someone who naturally procrastinates. And tidying up and maintaining a clean space is something I don’t naturally excel at. (This is true for me even though I’ve always known how to clean.)
I used to struggle with finding motivation to clean… and sometimes still do! But there are things you can do to motivate yourself on a day you just don’t feel like cleaning. So without further ado, here are 8 ways to stay motivated to clean your house.
(Below you can read the post or play the podcast version- about 16 mins.)
These checklists are like a cleaning roadmap. They’ll show you where to start in each room and what to do.
Everyone is unique, and you may have different reasons for wanting to keep your house clean than I do.
I want you to think about whatever reasons make you personally want to keep your house clean. And then grab a pen and paper and write them down.
Because chances are, even if you’re like me and don’t particularly enjoy the actual task of cleaning, there are still things you like about having a house that is clean and under control.
So to get the motivational juice flowing, here are some ideas…
So those are just a few good things to think about, as well as negative effects of a messy house that can be avoided.
And you may have other reasons you want to keep your house clean, but those are just some ideas.
So if any of the things I just mentioned are benefits you agree with, you can add them to your list of personal reasons for wanting to keep your house clean.
It can be hard sometimes to get started with something when it takes you time to get results.
But when it comes to a clean house, you’ll get there if you’re consistent. Remember the reasons that are personally important to you. These are what will help you stay motivated to clean your house.
If you spend hours upon hours cleaning in one day, chances are you’re going to end up exhausted.
It will be much harder to motivate yourself to clean again if you literally don’t have the energy- whether physical, mental, or both.
Another issue with spending so much time at once cleaning, is that it’s sending a message to your brain that it takes you hours to clean.
Now don’t get me wrong. If you’re in the beginning stages of trying to keep your house under control, it may very well take you hours all together to get your house in the state you want it.
However, if you try to do it all in one day, you’re going to feel overwhelmed and probably too tired to keep up with everything you just did.
Understand this: once your house is under control, it should take you way less time to KEEP it under control. So you want to make sure you don’t burn yourself out before you get yourself to the easier part.
If you have a lot you need to clean daily, and you spend more than 30 minutes each day cleaning, allow yourself to rest for at least a few minutes and take a break between each half hour.
You also want to make sure you‘re taking care of yourself physically, not skipping meals, and drinking enough water.
Taking care of yourself is a necessity. You’ll never take care of your home to the best of your ability if you aren’t first taking care of yourself.
If you just spent 3 hours cleaning the kitchen yesterday, I’m gonna guess the last thing you want to do is wipe down the counters again today and do more dishes, especially if your kitchen is the cleanest room in your house right now.
But here’s the thing. If you don’t maintain what you just cleaned a day or 2 ago, it will get messy again and take you hours, (again,) to get it under control.
A super easy way to kill cleaning motivation is to not have your results pay off when you do clean, especially after you put a lot of time into getting a room or area cleaned up.
It will take you way, way, WAY less time to maintain a clean area of your home that you just cleaned a day or 2 before, than to start from scratch again in 2 weeks.
When you consistently maintain what you’ve already cleaned before making more progress in your house, you‘ll see visible results that last- with minimal effort. Which also teaches you that procrastination means more work, and you’ll see how you benefit from not putting it off.
If you want to motivate yourself to do something sooner, you must give yourself a reason that means now is better than later. And for cleaning, that reason is because you won’t have to spend hours re-cleaning and scrubbing your kitchen. That is, if you maintain today what you just did yesterday.
The easiest way I’ve found to maintain what you’ve already cleaned, is to use a daily cleaning routine. Even if you end up missing one or 2 days a week with your routine, if you still use a routine, your house is going to stay much more under control than not using one at all.
To help you come up with a daily routine that works, you can download our free printable cleaning routine checklists.
Our cleaning routine checklist gives you tips on where to start in each room, the order to clean things, and there are 2 pages for you to write out your own custom cleaning routine.
Once you have it written down, you can start at the beginning of your routine each day you clean. Any tasks that need to be done you’ll do, and skip any if the area is already clean.
Try to get as far as you can in your routine each day for the designated time you’ve set aside to clean. But always start with the first task and do them in order, so you can maintain what’s already been done . You’ll find you get farther in your routine each day, as it takes less time to clean areas already under control.
Honestly, I do my full routine probably about 5 out of 7 days. There’s one day of the week I don’t clean at all. And on some of the other days, I’ll have the older kids help out at times with our living room or bathroom, and the younger kids will pick up their toys. So I still do part of my routine, but I’ll have the kids do part of it too.
When I do my routine, though, it sets the stage for keeping the house clean, even when others in the family help.
If you want to hear about the big cleaning mistake I used to make by NOT doing everything I just mentioned here in point #3, and how I gradually got into a cleaning routine, you can check out my first Podcast or Post episode here.
A mental obstacle that can get in the way of keeping your house clean is feeling like you’re never done.
When you use a countdown timer, and you only clean until the timer goes off, you aren’t cleaning endlessly. And you are giving yourself permission to stop once the time runs out.
People generally are more productive when they are trying to accomplish a task within a set time limit. I have found this to be the case for myself when I set a timer for cleaning and work tasks.
How much time you spend cleaning each day will depend on several of your personal circumstances.
I personally do 25 or 30 minutes at a time for each block of cleaning I do.
And some people who don’t have kids or have a really small apartment or live by themselves or with only one other person may be able to get away with only cleaning for 15-20 minutes a day total, once their home is under control.
For our family it takes me longer to clean, because we have 6 people in our house, 4 of which are kids. And I also have to do laundry most days.
I personally might do 2 or 3 cleaning blocks total in a day, of 25-30 minutes each. So for me, that’s usually about 1 hour to 1-1/2 hours a day total.
And that might sound like a lot to some people, but again that’s cleaning up a house 6 people use.
I used to actually spend on average more time cleaning before I used a regular cleaning routine. And I also wasted a lot of time looking for things before my house was under control.
So when using a timer, if you have a bigger family or more to clean and you know it’s going to take you longer than a half hour to clean in a day, I do suggest breaking it down into shorter cleaning blocks of between 15 and 30 minutes each. Set the timer, and take a break in between so you aren’t just cleaning nonstop.
Which brings us to motivational cleaning tip #5…
There are 3 distinct times you can reward yourself in a positive or constructive way:
For myself I have found that I don’t just need motivation for finishing my routine, but for starting it.
So honestly, sometimes I will have a small snack I like before I get started with my routine. And no, these are not motivational weight loss tips, these are motivation tips for cleaning.
You can do other things to reward yourself for getting started besides snacks. That is just my preferred personal motivation.
In between cleaning blocks or after I’m done, I‘ll sometimes reward myself for what I accomplished by doing something I want to do, reading something I want to read, or watching a show I enjoy.
Just be cautious that if you reward yourself for getting started or in between blocks as a break, that you don’t get distracted from actually doing your cleaning routine.
So if you reward yourself for getting started or in between cleaning blocks by doing something you enjoy, you may want to set a timer for how long you do that too, to remind yourself to get started with cleaning when it’s time.
And you can always reward yourself when you’re done by spending more time with whatever you choose as your reward.
Personally, I have enjoyed listening to either music, podcasts, or audiobooks.
I prefer listening to something instead of watching TV/videos. I find that trying to watch something while you are cleaning can be distracting.
There are certain things I like that I will only listen to while I clean.
Everyone has their own preferences as to what is interesting, helpful, or applicable to them.
My suggestion is to find things you personally enjoy hearing. Then you’ll have something (not boring) to listen to while you go through the same cleaning routine each day.
I know, I know- you’re wondering how my saying to clean when you aren’t motivated is a motivational cleaning tip.
Here’s the thing: if you always wait till you feel motivated to clean, then you’re training yourself to rely only on cleaning motivation to get stuff done.
So I’m gonna give you a little tough love right now.
The fact is we all have days we don’t feel like cleaning. Or doing other things we need to do. That’s just life- for anyone else like me that falls into the category of not really enjoying cleaning…at all.
But it is still beneficial to clean even when we don’t want to.
And just like you have the habit of going to the bathroom or brushing your teeth every day- you don’t wait till you feel motivated- at least hopefully you don’t- you want to have the habit of cleaning up daily, because it needs to be done.
Once you’ve made it a part of your day to clean up and do a daily cleaning routine, you‘ll no longer need to worry about feeling motivated.
But on the other hand, after you’ve seen the results and benefits of maintaining a clean home each day, you’ll be more motivated to keep doing what you’re doing.
But there is one last tip I have for staying motivated and that is…
Minus urgent/accident-type messes that would be gross or unsanitary to leave for the next day, such as a kid wetting the bed, diaper changes, and us clearing dishes from the table, etc., I have one day each week that I personally don’t clean.
Everyone needs a break sometimes and to be able to rest. And as a busy mom and stepmom of 4 kids total, I definitely feel like I need a break too! And this also motivates me the rest of the week to do my cleaning routine.
So although, I use the term ‘daily cleaning routine,’ I do take a day off each week, and that’s okay.
My house is still under control for the most part. And the other 6 days I’m maintaining my home with my daily routine, along with family members that help out.
So there you have it- those are 8 tips to stay motivated to clean your house. If you set a definite amount of time to clean each day, keep in mind why you want a clean house and how the benefits outweigh the work, allow yourself time to rest and reward yourself for the work you do, and clean on the days you need to even when you don’t feel motivated so that you are maintaining the areas you’ve already cleaned, you will find your cleaning routine will be more self-motivated.
Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to download our free cleaning routine checklist.
I am also currently working on a cleaning course that will be designed specifically for helping you meet the challenge of getting into a cleaning routine while your house is cluttered, messy, or not yet under control.
So if you grab our cleaning routine checklist and stay on our email list, we will let you know when the course is complete. And we’ll also let you know when new Podcast or Post episodes come out.
So that’s all for today- thanks for reading, and have a great day!
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