Finding the motivation to clean is hard sometimes, even for people seen as neat freaks. Life gets busy and we always seem to find something more important to do. But the longer you avoid cleaning, the bigger the mess is. So, you try to clean but it’s so hard to find the motivation!
I’ve got you! I share with you all my tips to become motivated to clean.
Why don’t you have the motivation to clean?
First, I want to knock down a false belief. Because you lack motivation doesn’t mean that you’re lazy. It can come from different reasons.
Is your house messy and you must first tidy everything you want to clean? In this case, everything tends to blur in an enormous task no one would like to tackle. And even if you begin cleaning, you can’t imagine how you will be able to see the end result. The problem is more that you are overwhelmed than a lack of motivation.
Maybe, your home stays quite orderly but between the shower tray, the stove, and your kid’s toys you don’t know where to start. How do you begin something when you don’t have at least a vague plan of how you’ll get it done? Being lost and unmotivated are not the same thing, don’t they?
A third reason may be that you don’t have enough energy. Between your work(s) and the kids, you barely have time to sit during the day, and every night you crash on the bed instead of cleaning? Sleeping is a biological need, like eating or breathing. Don’t beat yourself because you have to sleep!
How a cleaning schedule would help
A cleaning routine will give you a structure to follow. You won’t wonder anymore what you need to clean first. No more “I know I must clean my home but everything is dirty. Where even do I start in this mess?” You grab your schedule and do what it says to do.
Another advantage of the schedule is that you will clean everything regularly. That means mess will have less time to build up and cleaning won’t look like a daunting task anymore.
If you don’t know where to start, you can grab my weekly cleaning schedule.
Let’s build this motivation to clean
Get a vision of your goal
Having a clear vision of what you want to achieve is always beneficial for motivation.
Begin by imagining your house clean, the floors swept, the countertops neat and your living room tidy. You can walk into your bedroom without having to be cautious about what’s lying on the floor and enjoy your morning shower in an immaculate bathroom. No more clutter or stains on the surfaces.
Imagine how you would feel. Would you feel happy and proud of what you’ve done? Would you feel relieved to have it done and finally at peace?
You can also find the deep reason why you want to clean. Of course, you want it because that is what’s expected but what is the underlying reason? To find it, keep asking why like a 2YO child. The tenth or so answer should make you feel like “Yes, that’s it, that’s the real reason!”. Keeping this reason in mind will help you keep momentum when you want to throw in the towel.
Have an accountability buddy to share the motivation to clean
You can explain to a friend that you want to deep clean your house but you’re afraid you won’t keep it to the end. Choose someone who won’t judge you and will cheers you up as you succeed.
If you can’t find someone you trust enough or are not at ease with the idea, you can post on social media something like “Today is cleaning day! Pictures to come!” You’ll want to post the promised pictures and be more motivated to scrub.
If you prefer not to speak about cleaning to your friends or on social media, schedule a party or invite some friends to set a deadline. Make sure you have enough time to clean before the party and expect some more cleaning once the party’s over.
As an introvert, parties are not really my thing. If you’re like me and want to declutter on top of cleaning, you can plan a garage sale. A little money is always welcome and will motivate you.
Use a stocked cleaning caddy
Not having to search for your cleaning products will streamline your cleaning. Whether it’s in a caddy or in a cabinet in the room you need them, have your cleaning products ready! You can even buy a new one to get a bit of excitement when it’s time to clean it.
Get in the right state of mind to get the motivation to clean
First, wear real clothes. Yes, your PJ is comfy but dressing will tell your brain that you’re ready to work hard.
You may not feel like cleaning. I understand that scrubbing your toilet is far from a task you love but you don’t have to wait until you feel like it to begin cleaning. Odds are it will be easier to continue than it was to begin.
One of the things among those I find the worst for the motivation to clean is the TV. Even when I put it on only to hear the sound, I end up on the couch looking at it. So I switch it off before I begin cleaning. In the same manner, you should avoid all distractions. Instead of the TV, I prefer to listen to music or podcast. You should try it! Cleaning is less boring like that!
To give a nudge to your motivation, you can also read an article or watch a video about cleaning. But be careful not to fall into the youtube rabbit hole.
Start small with something noticeable
Taking things one step at a time will reduce the overwhelm you may feel and help you get your motivation to clean.
Choose a task with firm boundaries and which is achievable within a short time. Don’t let other tasks distract you. You will soon have a small win to pump up your motivation.
Another solution to start small is by putting on a timer for 10 to 15 minutes. Focus on cleaning until it stops. If you don’t have the energy to continue to clean after that, at least you did something. But you may finally feel like cleaning a little more so go ahead!
You can also start with the obvious and throw anything you can into the garbage/recycle bin.
Build momentum to get your motivation to clean
A few months ago, I began tidying the kitchen while the water for my coffee was heating. By the time it was hot, I had made great progress. You’d be surprised by how much things can be done in only 2 minutes. So note the time you need to do the tasks. You certainly overestimate how long things really take.
As your cleaning goes, you’ll likely begin to forget how it was before. So take a before picture and take another one after to remember that you did a great job.
When you begin cleaning, it’s easy to aim for perfection but don’t or you’ll get trapped in cleaning the grout in the shower with a toothbrush even though your kitchen countertops are full of dirty dishes. You’ll see better results if you clean most of everything than if you clean only a small part perfectly. You can use the toothbrush later when the countertops are neat.
Crossing something from a to-do list releases a small dose of dopamine in our brain and our brain loves and searches for that. Take advantage of this fact and write a cleaning list you’ll cross off as your cleaning go. Another thing that releases dopamine is a reward. Don’t hesitate to offer you small rewards once the cleaning is done.
It’s always easier to acknowledge that you made progress when someone else tells you that they see them. Let’s invite a friend and talk about your cleaning. Odds are they will say they see the difference.
Ask for help
Cleaning doesn’t have to be a solitary activity. Why not trade cleaning time with a friend? One week you clean your house and the next you clean theirs. Cleaning is less boring when you share the time with someone you can talk to.
You can also ask other members of the family to clean with you. If your significant other get the house dirty, why should you be the only one to clean it? Even if you’re a stay-at-home person, keeping the house clean and doing all the housework takes a lot of time and energy and you’re “at work” 24/7. You’d surely use some help from time to time to have a little downtime.
Your children can also help with tasks suitable for their age. That way, they’ll learn useful skills for their adult life.
Build a habit
The more doing something becomes a habit, the more you do it without thinking of it. And you need less motivation to begin.
One of the tricks to create a habit is to use a trigger like “when my first coffee is pouring, I empty the dishwasher”. You use a habit you already have (your morning coffee) and you add a new habit to it (emptying the dishwasher).
A variation of this system can be to use if-then planning: “if it’s Tuesday and I come back from work, then I’ll vacuum the floor.”
Creating a routine with the help of a cleaning schedule will also make things easier. If each Wednesday you begin by cleaning the bathroom sink before wiping the countertops and scrubbing the toilets, you’ll need less motivation to continue once you’ve taken care of the sink.
Another thing that helps me is to clean when I have the most energy. I tried to clean when tired but I may end up looking in the void in front of my bookcase with my duster in hand. Yes, that’s a true story. I managed to dust the shelf but it took me so much longer than usual!
Acknowledge your weakness
We all have some weaknesses, some bad habits we don’t manage to break. Maybe, this is the pile of clothes you put out of your dressing each morning to get ready. Maybe you forget to take your glass to the kitchen after using it in the living room, or the shoes you leave lying around the front door. Adapt your cleaning to you and try to put away your clothes every day before going to bed. It will be easier to clean the bedroom if you don’t have to tidy it from top to bottom first.
Now, get off the Internet! To get the job done, you’re eventually going to have to stop reading posts online and start cleaning. Remember, start small and keep going. Don’t forget the clean home that waits for you on the other side. You deserve it.