Can’t Clean Your House? Here’s How to Get Motivated

Written by: Janine Mack – B Sc (Psychology)

Last updated date : December 29, 2022

It’s true- often cleaning the spaces we live in, be it our house or any of its rooms, can seem a Herculean task. Usually, we end up being overwhelmed by it before we’ve even started. So, cleaning becomes a tedious job that’s rarely enjoyed. If you are someone who finds it difficult to clean your house, this article can be of assistance. It focuses on ways that can help in becoming motivated when cleaning. Incorporating some of these suggestions. the next time you have to do the chore could make for a better experience

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Chapter 1:

The Difficulties of Maintaining a Clean House

Our lives are busy. Almost always, we have something that demands our time and attention. And most of the time, it’s these pressing tasks that we get busy while attending to. We then postpone doing the ones we feel can wait. Often, cleaning our homes falls under this. It’s a lengthy and tiresome job, and we just don’t have the time and energy to give it. The reality is that most spaces, especially ones that are inhabited, are quick to need cleaning. That being said, it’s hard to do this frequently. However, not doing so allows these places to become more unclean and in need of thorough cleaning.

couple of friends hugging inside one of their clean homeThe more work something needs, the higher the chance for people to feel overwhelmed by it and want to procrastinate. Putting something off for longer also makes individuals want to keep it up rather than face it. As a result, people may experience difficulties in becoming motivated to clean the house and doing so. This can be because of the unpleasant feelings that become attached to it, which makes it exhausting and make them feel like they can’t do it. Even though satisfaction can result in the end, the process to get there may be difficult.

Constantly keeping a house clean isn’t a possibility for all. Almost everyone has jobs that take hours away from their day. They finish their work tired or have to give their balance time to other matters, for instance, family or studies. So there isn’t extra time or energy to allocate a task requiring a lot of it. Additionally, those restricted because of their health won’t be able to either. It’s especially true with mental illnesses, namely depression, where it’s hard for individuals to find the energy and motivation to do things in their lives.

Chapter 2:

Tips to Get You Motivated to Clean

Focus on a small area first

Thinking of how big a task is can make us feel overwhelmed and want to put it off. The same happens when we have to clean our house. Starting on a smaller section of what you have to do will not only make you finally commence but could help with the overwhelming feelings. Aim for a task that isn’t very time-consuming. For instance, collecting the garbage and putting it out, clearing the sink, sort out the clothes that need washing. Once you begin, just focus on that task alone and try to do it well

Eventually, once completed, you can move on to another task. In this way, little by little, you’re carrying out the task that appeared big at first. Breaking it down into smaller, feasible parts helps you do the job without feeling very overwhelmed, stressed, or frustrated.

You could try doing one area daily

Trying to clean the whole house, or a major part of it, in one day might be somewhat unrealistic for many of us. The truth is we have other commitments as well and cannot give all our time to just one thing. Plus, apart from the time, we may not have the energy to pull off this big task in a single day. The more practical thing is doing this gradually by breaking down the tasks that need to be done and doing them one after another. You can even spread them out over a couple of days. It’s important to not feel overwhelmed and frustrated by the job. So it’s okay to devise a plan to go about this in a way that for you feels comfortable and not as stressful. And if that way is doing portions on different days, that’s okay

Set a timer

Working according to a schedule is another way to keep on track and complete the work. Setting time durations has proved to be an effective way to improve focus and speed. Therefore, doing this hack when you clean the house will cause the same effects and produce fruitful results.

In addition to this, it is claimed to increase people’s motivation as well. It can also make people more organised as each task is allocated a time slot to be worked on. In turn, being organised could help combat overwhelming feelings.

Put some music on

One of the most helpful hacks when it comes to household tasks is to try and make them less of a tedious chore and more like a fun activity. Music is one of the quickest and most effective ways to help with this. A lot of the time, we think of all that needs cleaning and feel lazy to start the task as well. Not only can music help improve your mood but also make you more energetic and efficient as well. You can make a playlist of songs that you feel will put you in the right mood and play it while you work.

Reward yourself for the work done

Appreciating your work and effort can have positive outcomes on your performance and make you more motivated to clean too. People feel happy when their work is acknowledged, validated, or rewarded. And there’s nothing wrong with doing that themselves. Suppose you are someone who finds it difficult to clean the house; rewarding yourself after you’ve done so is a good idea. It gives you something to look forward to while you work and can make the whole experience a better one. Furthermore, the reward could even create a positive association with cleaning. It might feel more fun as well as satisfying because, at the end of the day, people may feel like they earned their reward. This might result in better attitudes towards the job.

Stay away from distractions

This may seem hard, but it does help. Electronic devices tend to take away our attention for long periods. Allowing this can delay the task’s completion and also lower efficiency. Aim to keep the things that can distract you away from your reach. That way, you can’t reach for it out of habit. If you need a check your phone, allocate a small amount of time for it but make sure you don’t exceed the time limit.

You can clean with someone else

It’s not in every situation that the phrase “The more, the merrier” is applicable. However, in this context, it just might have some truth to it. Being helped by those we like being around could make us motivated to clean. It can make the task more enjoyable, and that is key. Besides this, having help can distribute the workload and make the job more manageable.

Or invite people over

Knowing that you’ll be having others over can sometimes be a good incentive to make people who can’t clean their house motivated to do so. Additionally, it might even make your work more efficiently and not lazy around.

However, doing this may not be for everyone. For some of us, it might not necessarily act as a motivator but more of a stressor. Especially with depression or anxiety, this may not be that feasible. And that’s okay. At the end of the day, what’s important is to do something that we ultimately feel comfortable with. We don’t want to make cleaning more of a difficulty, just something that’s more enjoyable.

Focus on how it’ll look once you’re done

Thinking about what the final result looks like can make you start working on getting there. Constantly being in a messy house can get unpleasant, but recalling what it could look like once clean might motivate us to achieve it. One way you could go about doing this is by taking pictures. Specifically, shots that were taken before cleaning and after. This way, you’re able to have actual visuals of how it will look. It can leave you motivated to clean in order to have that same result.

Use ‘If-then’ plans

This is a motivational method that can address procrastination and help in goal attainment. Many of us have things we want to do and intend to, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll happen. With this technique, you specify the details- such as when and where- of the goal, you wish to work towards and come closer to achieving it. For example, in the context of cleaning the house, a plan of this nature will be, “If I don’t have any plans on Saturday, then I will clean my closet” or “If it doesn’t rain tomorrow, then I’ll do the laundry”.

The effectiveness of doing this type of planning, as opposed to not, has been evidenced through studies; those who did it ended up carrying out what they had to do, whereas those who didn’t have lower rates of task completion. Somehow giving ourselves such instructions seem to increase the likelihood of us doing them. Attempting this with cleaning and chores might be a helpful and effective solution for you. Don’t be hesitant to give it a try yourself, and then keep practicing using the strategy.

Alter the way you think about cleaning

Often there are a lot of negative feelings and thoughts about having to clean. It’s understandable: it can be tiresome and a lengthy process. However, cleaning our living spaces is one of those things we just have to do.

The attitudes we have towards anything can also influence our experiences with it. For example, if you think or feel about something negatively, then that’s how it’ll seem to you. Reframing thoughts is a very helpful strategy to change the perceptions and opinions we have about certain things. Doing so can even make our life better. We take the negative thoughts that come up and alter them with something that’s more helpful and positive. If your thoughts about cleaning sound like “It’s so annoying having to do all this cleaning” or “I hate these chores”, then they might be feeling how you feel about it. This could put you in a bad mood. When you reframe your thoughts, the aim is to look at things differently. It can change your feelings too. A helpful way to reframe your thoughts in this instance is not looking at it from the perspective of having to do it but rather that you get to do it. With cleaning, view it in the sense of “I get to do this”. Soon you will begin to realize the fact that you have to do these things is because you have them in your life. And although it may seem that others do too, the reality is that some don’t. Although it wouldn’t have seemed like it, it’s a privilege that you have these: a house (to clean), groceries (to put away), clothes (to wash), and children (whose mess needs to be arranged). Acknowledging this and having such perspectives can actually increase happiness, satisfaction, and gratitude.

Remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect

Sometimes the expectations we put on ourselves and our work can be problematic. It can make us feel pressurized, stressed, and demotivated about trying if we feel we can’t meet certain standards. Remember that things don’t have to be perfect; you don’t have to be perfect. And in the case of cleaning, the most important thing is about getting the job done. Setting realistic standards can even make you motivated to clean because it makes you feel that it’s achievable. You can aim to do a good job, of course, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. If it’s something that’s important to you, then you can look into what needs improvement after you’ve completed the job. But don’t let unrealistic or unnecessary expectations get in the way.

Use new cleaning products

A lot of us get excited at the prospect of trying out something new, and it makes us enthusiastic about doing so. You can apply this when you have to clean as well. Try getting some new cleaning products; for instance, you could try products with different fragrances or sustainable options. The trick might just make you motivated to clean. This can be very helpful if it’s something you’ve been procrastinating.

Chapter 3:

Final Note

Incorporating the strategies which you feel will work for you can help with how you feel about the job of cleaning your residential space. Don’t be hesitant to try out the other suggestions, too, in case you find one which you didn’t think would help you but actually does. Though becoming motivated to clean might be hard at first, there could be a big difference when you change your experiences. Make the task a fun one so that it seems more of an enjoyable activity than a loathsome chore. Changing things such as how you go about doing it, as well as think about it, can help you get there. Good luck and happy cleaning!  

"Learnt a lot from this course" Sally

51 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount