Awhile back we made a video about cleaning your room – and in that video I said that you shouldn’t even attempt to clean if you are not in the right headspace.
Since then, many of you have asked what exactly I meant by being in the right headspace – many of you asked how does one get into the right headspace – and I’ve received countless emails asking the larger question – how can I motivate myself to start cleaning..
It a good question - a great question actually – and while I’m no doctor (psychologist), I did want to take this opportunity to share with you some of the tips and tricks I use to get motivated to clean my home, which do involve quite a bit of psychology!
Now, keep in mind, you will all have different things that motivate you and I want to know what they are. Often times, I will read blog posts and get a lot out of the comments as well, so please consider that your seemingly meagre comment may really help someone else. Share the wealth!
How to get motivated to clean:
1. Clean in the Morning
I read somewhere that if you put the most daunting task of your day at the beginning of your day, it’ll get done quicker and you’ll end up enjoying the rest of your day knowing that you’ve taken care of the biggest, most overwhelming job. The best part? You get to go through the rest of your day with a wonderful sense of accomplishment.
2. Set a Schedule – and Stick to It.
Things that get scheduled have a better chance of getting done – plain and simple. Now, I’m not talking about setting a schedule for each room that needs to be cleaned (although this is a good idea, and that’s why we make videos, blog posts and printables for you), I mean you schedule yourself an hour each week that you dedicate to cleaning. For me, it’s usually Sunday morning at 10:00..this way I know each week when I need to tend to my cleaning duties and I never have to worry about when I should get around to cleaning. I usually give myself an hour to get some sort of cleaning done, and then if I feel like it I keep going, and if not, I’ve done my time!
3. Prepare your Stuff
Have all of your tools and products in one spot and before you get down to any kind of cleaning, make sure you have your cleaning kit stocked and sitting beside you. As I’ve mentioned in several videos, a cleaning caddy is a super-handy addition to your cleaning kit. It allows you to clean your way through your home without having to constantly run back and forth to fetch a tool or product. Of course, the less time you spend running back and forth to grab a cleaning product the less time it will take to clean.
4. Have A Routine
A great way to effectively use your time while cleaning is to have a routine. What’s a routine? Easy, it’s a list of cleaning tasks that you will follow to help you stay on track during your work. Think of it as Google maps for your cleaning – it’ll help you get where you need to be in a quick, efficient manner! It’s also important to do a little research beforehand in order to learn some techniques for cleaning item that you might have questions about. That way, you will reduce frustration during your cleaning. Along with all of the videos that we have on our Youtube channel, we have tons of terrific posts on our blog as well as handy printables!
5. First Thing First: You’ve got to start somewhere
The most difficult part of ANY job – is starting and nothing could be more true when it comes to cleaning. Have you ever noticed that when you finally get around to doing something that you’ve put off for a long time that it isn’t really as hard as you thought it would be? Yup, that’s what I’m talking about. The biggest barrier to cleaning your house is simple starting the cleaning itself…everything after that – is pretty straightforward! It’s kind of like going to the gym. Getting into that headspace to even put on your gym clothes and go is tough, but once you are there, you’re pumping iron like it’s no one’s business.
6. Avoid Distractions
These days (in the video, I said this part like a very grumpy old man – but this is true) we have more distractions than ever and while checking your text messages might only take you 10 seconds – it takes you away from your cleaning just long enough to completely lose focus. So now, you have to go through the re-starting process all over again – like mentioned in the last point. So, to avoid temptation, turn off your cell phone, TV, laptop, tablet etc. just turn off and tune out entirely. This is your time to care for your home. I’ll admit, I like doing this because it’s nice to not have these distractions (although I find it hard to do for long streches of time ).
7. Whistle While You Work
Okay, well, maybe not whistle while you work – but the Seven Dwarves had it right. A little music can go a long way. So, have some playing while you are tending to your cleaning. Maybe it’s classic rock, disco, euro, dancehall, hip hop or country – there’s some music that you can listen to which will help you get into the cleaning groove! What we’ve done to get you in the mood is create 3 Songza playlists for you to enjoy, lip sync and clean to. We have a playlist for the seventies, eighties and nineties. Enjoy!
8. Don’t be Perfect
Let go of making things perfect. Remember, you are not trying to clean house to prepare for a visit from the Queen (or Will and Kate, which arguably would be more exciting). You’re trying to take 60-90 minutes each week and clean as much as possible without spending too much time in one particular place. Don’t get caught up for 20 minutes treating one carpet stain when you can spend that time vacuuming, making beds and clearing clutter from the living room. We’re looking for bang for buck here! Frustrating yourself over one small thing can lead to losing interest in the whole process – and that’s what we want to avoid!
9. Have Someone Help You
Now, I know this is always possible – but indeed cleaning the home is the responsibility of everyone who lives in that home. And believe me, I’ve heard it all before..”I’ll never be able to get my kids to help me clean” or “my partner doesn’t have time to help me” – maybe that’s true – or maybe you’re just telling yourself that’s true. Maybe it’s time to re-jig how cleaning gets done at home, because everyone who is able does need to contribute. Remember – having just one other person help you clean – cuts cleaning time in half! If you live alone, maybe ask a friend if they want to do a cleaning trade-off, you help them clean and they help you.
10 . Reward Yourself
All too often we accomplish things and never give ourselves the much needed pat-on-the-back that we deserve. When you’re finished your cleaning duties, it’s a perfect time to reward yourself by going out for lunch (eggs Benedict anyone?), or spending some time watching a movie – maybe even pouring yourself a cocktail or glass of wine to unwind in your tidy living room! Whatever it is, it’s an important part of the process because next week, when cleaning time rolls around again – you’ll remember that when cleaning time over, you get to reward yourself – yet again :).
11. Remind Yourself Why You’re Doing It
I left this as our final point a very good reason. I often hear from our viewers that they hate cleaning because no one appreciates the work that they have done. Here’s the thing; you do it for yourself. Yup, you do it for you. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks or does. You are cleaning the house for your own peace of mind, pride of ownership and sanity. It’s also about being proud of the accomplishment and the instant gratification that comes with cleaning (unlike going to the gym and that ‘illusive six pack’). It’s about that moment when someone happens to stop by unexpectedly that you get to say ‘come on in’ as opposed to ‘OMG I am so sorry, the place is a mess and I haven’t cleaned in a while.’ Also, remind yourself that it’s not about saying “Sigh, I have to clean my house today” – it’s about standing in your clean home 60 minutes later when you get to say “I just cleaned my house today!” Be proud of your work. You’re doing this to create a better space for YOU.
There are a lot of negative connotations surrounding cleaning – many of which have been in our lives since we were children. Cleaning has always been looked upon as a chore – something that you HAVE to do and in most cases – something that you should dread. It takes us away from the things we love to do, so we don’t like doing it. But, what if we liked doing it? What if our parents had made it a more rewarding experience? I know that would have really helped me out…because I really have a hard time getting motivated to clean.
So parents, think about how your frame cleaning and chores to your kids. If you can frame it positively and associate positive outcomes with cleaning, such as kind words, fun, small rewards and a sense of pride among the family, you are more likely to establish a healthy desire for your kids to want to clean and help out. If the opposite is true in the home, cleaning will always be a struggle and the kids may very well struggle with it later in life. Treat cleaning the house as an enjoyable event (I know it sounds hard) and watch what happens. Kids will act upon your influence.
And finally, think of all the positives that come from cleaning – it’s been proven time and time again that a clean home leads to a happier life. Therefore, the process of cleaning is actually the process of building a happier life – and trust me on this one – it’s MUCH easier to enjoy your time in ANY space, be it a living space or even your workspace, when that space, is a clean space!
Please share your cleaning motivation ideas with me and those reading this post, I think everyone can stand to benefit from it! Happy cleaning