Does the thought of Spring Cleaning make you cringe? Do you find yourself constantly putting off cleaning and decluttering your home? Do you feel overwhelmed by the thought of tackling the mess? You’re not alone. Many people struggle with finding the motivation to clean and organize their living spaces. However, living in a cluttered and disorganized environment can negatively impact your mental and physical health.
Here are five tips that might help you find that motivation you need:
- Set Goals
Start by setting small goals for yourself. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the thought of cleaning an entire room, but breaking it down into smaller tasks can make it more manageable. For example, instead of saying “I need to clean the living room,” break it down into smaller tasks such as “I will vacuum the rug,” “I will dust the bookshelves,” or “I will wipe down the coffee table.” This will help you stay focused and motivated, as you’ll be able to see progress as you complete each task.
Dana K. White, the author of “Decluttering at the Speed of Life,” emphasizes the importance of setting realistic goals when it comes to cleaning and organizing. One of her goal-setting strategies is called the “20/10” method.
The 20/10 method involves setting a timer for 20 minutes and focusing on cleaning and decluttering during that time. Once the timer goes off, take a 10-minute break to rest and recharge. After the break, set the timer for another 20 minutes and continue the process until the task is complete.
For example, if your goal is to declutter your closet, you could use the 20/10 method by setting a timer for 20 minutes and focusing on one area of the closet, such as your shoes or your shirts. Once the timer goes off, take a 10-minute break to stretch, get a drink of water, or do something else you enjoy. Then set the timer for another 20 minutes and tackle another area of the closet.
By breaking the task down into smaller, manageable chunks and taking breaks in between, you can make cleaning and organizing feel less overwhelming and more achievable. And by setting a timer, you can also stay focused and avoid getting distracted by other tasks or activities.
- Create a Cleaning Schedule
Once you’ve set your goals, create a cleaning schedule. This can be a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly schedule depending on your needs. Write down what needs to be cleaned and when, and stick to it. Having a schedule in place will help you stay on track and ensure that everything gets done.
Here’s an example of a weekly cleaning schedule:
- Dust all surfaces, including furniture, shelves, and decorations
- Vacuum carpets and rugs
- Mop hard floors
- Clean mirrors and windows
- Deep clean bathrooms, including toilets, sinks, and showers/tubs
- Clean bathroom mirrors and windows
- Wash towels and bathmats
- Dust and clean bedrooms, including making the bed and changing sheets
- Vacuum carpets and rugs
- Mop hard floors
- Tidy up living room and common areas, including putting away clutter and straightening pillows and cushions
- Vacuum carpets and rugs
- Mop hard floors
- Dust all surfaces
- Clean kitchen, including wiping down counters, cleaning appliances, and washing dishes
- Sweep and mop kitchen floors
- Take out trash and recycling
- Catch up on any missed tasks from earlier in the week
- Organize and declutter one area of the home (closet, pantry, etc.)
- Rest and relax!
Of course, this is just an example, and you can customize your cleaning schedule to fit your needs and preferences. Remember that you live there…what we see in magazines or the internet is not the full picture. Your home does not have to be perfect, it just needs to be comfortable and perfect for you. If you build cleaning into a schedule that works for you, it can become a habit and less overwhelming in time.
- Use Positive Reinforcement
Reward yourself for a job well done. After completing a task or reaching a cleaning milestone, treat yourself to something you enjoy. This could be something as simple as a piece of chocolate or a cup of coffee, or something more substantial like a movie night or a shopping trip. Using positive reinforcement will help motivate you to continue cleaning and organizing your space. You can even use habit stacking to help motivate you by pairing cleaning with another favorite activity such as listening to a podcast.
- Get Help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Enlist the help of family members, roommates, or friends to tackle the cleaning together. Not only will it make the process faster, but it can also be a fun bonding activity. Additionally, consider hiring a professional cleaning service if you’re feeling overwhelmed or if you have a particularly large space that needs cleaning. Remember, there is no shame in outsourcing when needed.
- Focus on the Benefits
Lastly, focus on the benefits of a clean and organized space. A clean home can reduce stress and anxiety, improve your mental clarity, and increase productivity. Additionally, it can reduce the risk of allergies and respiratory problems by removing dust and other allergens from the air. It can also help you burn calories and improve your physical health. In fact, some household chores can be just as effective as a trip to the gym! According to the Compendium of Physical Activities, some household chores can be just as effective as a trip to the gym in terms of burning calories.
Here are some examples of how cleaning can help you burn calories:
- Vacuuming: Vacuuming your home can burn up to 190 calories per hour. This is a great way to work your legs, glutes, and core muscles.
- Mopping: Mopping floors can burn up to 238 calories per hour. This is a great workout for your arms, shoulders, and core muscles.
- Scrubbing: Scrubbing your bathtub or shower can burn up to 200 calories per hour. This is a great way to work your arms, shoulders, and back muscles.
- Sweeping: Sweeping floors can burn up to 156 calories per hour. This is a great workout for your arms, shoulders, and core muscles.
- Washing dishes: Washing dishes can burn up to 88 calories per hour. While it may not be the most intense workout, it’s a good way to stay active and burn some extra calories.
So the next time you’re feeling unmotivated to clean, think of it as an opportunity to get some exercise and improve your physical health! By reminding yourself of these benefits, you’ll be more motivated to continue cleaning and organizing your space.
While the tips above can help get you started, if you want to take a deeper dive, there are many great books on the topic of cleaning and decluttering. Here are a few of the ones I recommend:
- “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo – This book has become a cultural phenomenon and has inspired millions to declutter their homes. It focuses on the idea of keeping only items that “spark joy” and creating a clutter-free home that promotes a sense of calm and happiness.
- “Unf*ck Your Habitat: You’re Better Than Your Mess” by Rachel Hoffman – This book takes a no-nonsense approach to cleaning and decluttering and is perfect for those who need a kickstart to get started. It provides practical tips and advice for cleaning and organizing your home, with a focus on self-care and mental health.
- “Decluttering at the Speed of Life” by Dana K. White – This book is great for those who feel overwhelmed by the thought of decluttering. It provides a step-by-step approach to decluttering and organizing your home, with a focus on developing practical and sustainable habits.
- “Simply Clean: The Proven Method for Keeping Your Home Organized, Clean, and Beautiful in Just 10 Minutes a Day” by Becky Rapinchuk – This book provides a simple and effective approach to cleaning and organizing your home, with a focus on developing daily habits that can be done in just a few minutes each day.
- “Cluttered Mess to Organized Success Workbook: Declutter and Organize Your Home and Life with Over 100 Checklists and Worksheets” by Cassandra Aarssen. This book is a practical guide to decluttering and organizing your home and life, with over 100 checklists and worksheets to help you stay on track. It offers a step-by-step approach to decluttering each room of your home and developing sustainable habits to maintain an organized and clutter-free life.
While the above books are great, don’t forget that it is important to protect your mental health and be kind to yourself. Sometimes we just don’t have it in us to clean for various reasons. “How to Keep House while Drowning” by K.C. Davis is an excellent read for anyone struggling to balance the demands of daily life with the need to keep their home clean and organized. Based on her popular TikTok content, this book offers a refreshingly honest and relatable perspective on the challenges of maintaining a home while navigating the ups and downs of life.
Cleaning and decluttering your home can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. By setting small goals, creating a cleaning schedule, using positive reinforcement, getting help, and focusing on the benefits, you can stay motivated and achieve a clean and organized living space.