Forget what you see online. Most people (even neat freaks) have days when they are simply not motivated enough to clean their house.
If you are struggling to motivate yourself to clean, you are not alone. By the time you are done reading this post, you’ll have all the motivation you need to start.
The absolute best way to stop being lazy and clean your house is to practice the countdown method. Here’s how it works. Countdown from 3-1 and the moment you say ‘GO’ you get up and tackle the task in front of you. This countdown method works for just about anything you need motivation for. Don’t negotiate. Just countdown and do it. In this post, I share 11 other practical ways to stop being lazy and clean your house.
Why You Have No Motivation To Clean The House
The first thing we should do is address why you think you’re lazy. I am not a therapist but I think it’s really important we address the deeper reason for your laziness.
First of all, don’t call yourself lazy. What we call ourselves defines our character. I don’t want you to go around describing yourself as a lazy person. Your lack of motivation to clean your home should never define who you are.
There is a verse of the Bible in Proverbs 23: 7 that says ‘For as he thinks in his heart, so is he’ . Think of yourself as hardworking, see yourself as efficient and you’ll become more and more efficient. This is not some woo-woo saying, it’s a fact. Call yourself what you want to become and you’ll notice it will start to lift your mood.
Secondly, cut yourself some slack. If you grew up in a household where domestic chores were typically done by someone else, and you are just now learning how to clean in adulthood. Don’t automatically expect that you won’t feel overwhelmed by the thought of cleaning. Give yourself the grace to learn this new skill and form a new habit.
I also recommend these resources: The psychology of laziness and this TED talk ‘Inside the mind of a master procrastinator’.
No Fluff, Practical Tips On How To Clean When You’re Overwhelmed
1. Create A Get-To-Later Pile
Do you ever clear your desktop by creating a new folder and dumping all the files there? Well, this cleaning system is very much like that. Grab a box or drawer and dump every thing cluttering up your space inside it. It’s the fastest way to get your entire space clean. That way you’ll feel less overwhelmed and have the mental clarity to sort through that box.
This method can easily get out of hand so limit yourself to one box/ drawer only.
2. Time Yourself
There is nothing that motivates me quite like a ticking clock. Even as I write this article, I have a Pomodoro timer ticking away. Timing your tasks helps you get rid of distractions especially if like me, you’re easily distractable.
I’ll never forget a podcast by Jenna Kutcher where she shared how her mum got her and her siblings to clean. She’ll say the words ‘Jesus is coming, we need to get the house ready to welcome Him’. Then her mum would place a timer on the table. This always motivated her and her siblings to clean as fast as they could.
You can even make it fun by finding a playlist or a podcast that is 30 minutes long. Within 30 minutes, you can finish the task. Time will simply melt away and you’ll see that you’re able to accomplish so much more by timing yourself.
3. Don’t be anal
This is by far my favourite way to clean when I am in a hurry or just being lazy. I actually learnt this trick from my husband believe it or not. He is a MASTER at this, hence why he earned the nickname ‘packager’. This man simply knows how to ‘package’ a space to make it look clean. Truth is most (not all) men are not as anal as women.
When I ask my husband to clean, on the surface it looks like the space is spotless. However when you inspect closely, the cabinets haven’t been dusted, the floor hasn’t been mopped. You’ll might alsofind a crumb or two under the carpet.
While no one should clean like this all the time. This type of quick clean could be your entry point to making cleaning more of a habit. It will make you feel less overwhelmed, make you feel accomplished and help you create a new habit.
If you have been putting off cleaning for some time now, this tip can definitely work for you.
4. Tiny tasks a day
Another way to overcome laziness and clean your house is to get through small tasks every day. If you are anything like me, you have a specific cleaning day.
My day is Saturday, it’s what my family has always done since I was a kid. We wake up bright and early and deep clean our house and reward ourselves with akara and pap (a Nigerian meal) for all our hardwork.
This set me up for a messier environment than I desired because I hadn’t formed the habit of cleaning as I went along. It’s no wonder things piled up.
One of the best ways to avoid getting overwhelmed about cleaning is to tackle it in small chunks every day. Do a load of laundry, clean the tub and just the tub. Mop a section of the kitchen.
Anyone can manage that. Cleaning doesn’t have to be a grand affair like my Saturday deep cleans and you don’t have to tackle everything on your cleaning to-do list.
Remember the quote- ‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time’
5. Make things more beautiful
Have you ever gotten a pretty bottle to remind you to drink more water? This trick is pretty much the same. Get pretty bins, organisers and even pretty cleaning equipments. When you make your cleaning tools pretty, it acts as an incentive for frequent cleaning.
6. Create a cleaning caddy
Imagine you suddenly had the motivation to clean a very small area of your room but the tools are all the way downstairs, would you really want to go all the way to get them?
That’s why I love the idea of a cleaning caddy for every room or at the very least, every floor in the house.
This just makes it easy to reach and gives you more motivation to clean when you get that sudden bolt of energy.
7. Create a cleaning schedule and put it in your calendar
What better way to motivate yourself than to schedule it? I always say to people, if it’s not in my calendar, it doesn’t exist. I mean it!
Since becoming a mum the habit of scheduling and creating daily to do lists has kept me even more in check.
Many times our lists of things to do become so expansive that we simply forget. Writing little notes down and setting a date for it is one surefire way to remind you to clean even if you are feeling lazy.
8. Invite people over more often
What better way to motivate you to clean than having someone pop around for dinner? Seriously! When you invite people over, it will force you to want to clean because we care what other people think of us and no one wants their friends to view them as a slob.
I’ll admit, sometimes it takes someone coming over to have me walk through the house and view it as an outsider would. This always helps me spot new areas to clean that I have forgotten simply because I am so used to the house.
Sometimes when you are too used to the house, you don’t spot the areas that need an extra touch up so try and invite people more often.
9. Hire out
I’ll never understand why some people still judge people that hire out housekeeping services. If you can afford it, this is an option you should seriously consider.
Having a cleaner can make the job of managing the weekly cleaning so much easier.
One thing I am going to start doing is hire a cleaner to come in every 2 weeks/ month for a deep clean. This makes the day to day maintanance not so overwhelming.
10. Try the 123 method – no thinking
This is one of my absolute favourite ways to get things done and if you start adopting it, it will change your life! I mean it.
So here’s what you’ll do. Count out loud 1, 2, 3 and just get up and start whatever task you have been putting off. No negotiations, no overthinking, just do it.
I do this for a lot of things, especially when I need to get up in the morning. I have come to realise that the more I negotiate with myself, the more I procrastinate and get even more overwhelmed. Start implementing the countdown method and it will literally change your life.
11. Create a reward system
If you tell yourself you’ll watch your favourite Netflix show right after you do something, you might be more likely to do it.
So why not create a reward system of some sort where you reward yourself with a show, a piece of chocolate or a mindless Instagram scroll after and only after finishing up a cleaning task? If you are seriously lacking motivation, this might be one to try.
12. Declutter often
Create a system for yourself where you declutter your space every once in a while. It could be every 3 or 6 months, that way things don’t pile up and you’ll generally have less stuff to clean anyway. When you have less stuff to clean, you spend less time cleaning and avoid the crazy overwhelm you feel before cleaning.
You’ll finally kick laziness completely. It’s a whole cycle.
Final Thoughts On Cleaning When You Feel Lazy
Becoming the kind of person who isn’t overwhelmed by her home cleaning starts with what you think of yourself.
You are not lazy, you are simply not motivated enough and when you find your rhythm, flow and source of motivation, cleaning will become a permanent habit for you.
Also remember to be patient with yourself. Don’t expect to become better and overcome laziness overnight. It might take a while… even a few years. So come back to this article when you need a kick in the butt and I hope you find the motivation to clean your space.
You deserve a clean home!
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