#1 – Clean for Yourself First
In every family, there is usually a “tidy one” and variations of “less tidy ones.” If you are the tidy one, you probably feel a bit resentful for how much cleaning you do compare to your family members.
But that is never helpful (for you or anyone else). Instead of thinking about cleaning as a chore no one is helping with, think about it as something you do to make your environment enjoyable and comfortable for yourself.
#2 – Start Small
If you’re overwhelmed by clutter and don’t know where to start, just find one thing to begin with. Some people like to choose one category of things to pick up. For example, trash or toys. Then when that category has been removed from the mess and put away they move onto another category.
Another tactic is choosing a small space — a part of the kitchen counter for example — and clean that space first. Then move onto another spot. Going small and choosing just one task at a time helps you to zero in on what needs to be done and not feel overwhelmed.
#3 – Start Early (Eat That Frog)
Author Brian Tracy wrote a book based on a Mark Twain quote, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning”, meaning that if you get the worst thing out of the way early in the day, you will be more productive and happier.
So, getting cleaning out of the way early means you will have the rest of the day to do other things (while enjoying your clean home!).
For most people, the morning is the time they have the most energy for cleaning. However, find your own personal time of high energy and make that a time for cleaning.
#4 – Create a Cleaning Routine and Schedule
Create a cleaning schedule for cleaning that works for you and keeps you motivated. Setting aside an entire day for cleaning may work for some, but doesn’t work for everyone. Small blocks of time work well for most people. For example, you could set aside 25 minutes for cleaning and then break for 5-10 minutes. This kind of time block is great for moms with little ones but works for others too.
Because you’re working in small blocks you can focus 100 percent on what you’re doing. Plus, the promise of a break helps keep motivation up. Use a timer to keep track of your time blocks and breaks. You’d be surprised how much you can get done in 1 to 2 hours.
#5 – Make a Game of It
If you find using a timer for your cleaning blocks is helpful, consider making it into a game that you can include the kids in. Set your timer for a short length of time (10 minutes is a good amount) and see how many toys you can pick up in that amount of time. You can also use a stopwatch and see how quickly you can get the kitchen cleaned up (and then try to beat the time tomorrow). In our house, we love using this visual timer so the little kids can play along.
#6 – Get Organized
There’s nothing worse than having to traipse around the house trying to find the supplies you need. Instead, make a cleaning station where all of your natural cleaning supplies and brushes live. I like Branch Basics cleaners because they are plant-based, (read: safe) and effective, but they’re also versatile and I can use one cleaner for most of the house.
#7 – Listen to Music or Podcasts
One of the reasons it’s hard to get motivated to clean is because we’d rather be doing something else. But if you listen to upbeat music or a favorite podcast, you can get the cleaning done while enjoying yourself. We’ve even been known to use this time to listen to a motivating TED talk or audio-book together.
#8 – Make It a Family Event
Speaking of getting the kids to help, there’s one cleaning rule in our house: it’s a family responsibility. It can be easier to do everything ourselves but that may not be the best plan! Kids need to learn how to take care of their environment.
Additionally, the more hands on-deck the faster cleaning will go and the sooner you will be done and ready for some quality time. It’s a win-win. When cleaning becomes a family affair, you might be surprised to find it’s actually fun!
#9 – Reward Yourself
A reward is a great motivator! After finishing a cleaning time block or a set of them, reward yourself with a nice cup of tea, dinner out, or an outing with the family. Looking forward to your reward will help keep you motivated and focused.