Are you so overwhelmed by the mess piling up in your home, that you can’t seem to get motivated to clean? I know the feeling all too well. As a stay-at-home mom of two little kids, my life is all about messes.
In order to get motivated to clean, you need to find a reason to get started in the first place. In this article, I’ve put together a list of 11 things you can do today to help you get started in tackling your messy home.
Before we jump into the list, let’s take a look at some of the defeating thoughts that might be stopping you from cleaning your home.
Some thoughts that might be stopping you from getting motivated to clean
My house is so cluttered. I don’t know where to start
This is a common reason why most people don’t even bother getting up to clean their homes. As the clutter and mess grow every day, it feels like a huge mountain you have to climb.
You feel paralyzed by the amount of effort it will take to clean it all. Just remember that if you don’t start from somewhere, then you’ll be going nowhere.
You don’t need to clean your whole house in a day. Take it piece by piece and you’ll eventually get there.
Why even bother cleaning, when it will get messy again?
Does this sound familiar? This is another common reason why some people are not motivated to clean. They psych themselves out before the job has even started.
If you’re a parent then you’ve probably said this once or twice before. I know I say it every time I have to clean up the toys or mess from the ground after meals.
In order to actually clean and declutter our home, we need to stop this negative self-talk.
It’s not like I have visitors all the time, so why even care?
You may not have visitors every day, but that doesn’t mean your home shouldn’t be clean. Remeber that you clean for yourself and your family, not for anyone else. You won’t have the anxiety that comes with seeing a pile of clutter every day.
A visitor could drop in unexpectedly and you won’t even care.
Now that we know some of the thoughts stopping us from cleaning our home, let’s take a look at some things we can do to get motivated to clean again, even when overwhelmed by the mess.
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How to get motivated to clean and declutter your home
1. Make a plan to prevent future messes from happening
Figure out which part of your home gets the messiest and find a way to prevent future messes from happening. Take a look around your home and write down the top 5 places that get cluttered the most.
I call these places the “hotspots”.
In my home, the entryway, the home office desk, and the top of our bookcase are the biggest hotspots. Because I know how cluttered these places tend to be, I’ve made sure to find ways to prevent the mess from happening in the first place.
I try to clean up the clutter as soon as I see them forming. I also got some tools to help me organize these spaces.
For the office area, I have these wall-mounted file holders from amazon to keep the work desk free of clutter. I regularly clear the top of the bookcase throughout the day so things don’t pile up.
I also got an entryway shoe organizer from Amazon to keep all our shoes in one place. No more finding shoes in obscure places throughout the house. If you can find ways to control the hotspots in your home, you will no longer feel overwhelmed by the mess.
2. Make a list of all the places you need to clean and declutter
After you’ve identified your hotspots and made a plan to prevent further messes, the next step is to create a cleaning list.
Go around your home and write down all the rooms that need to be cleaned. Be specific as to what you need to clean in each room. Also, write down all the areas that need decluttering. When you know specifically the areas you need to tackle, it becomes easier to get motivated to clean them.
3. Understand the benefits of having a clean and mess-free home
Having a clean and organized home has many health and physical benefits.
A study conducted in the Journal of Psychological Science found that people who live in an orderly and clean environment tend to choose healthy food options, compared to those who live in cluttered environments.
Living in a clutter-free home also means fewer injuries. There will be fewer items to trip over, which would reduce the number of accidents in the home. A dirty home also tends to attract bugs.
When you have food particles on the ground, dirty dishes, and dirty clothes piling up, your home will become a breeding ground for bugs. A messy home is also a breeding ground for bacteria.
Having a clean home means that your children will have a safe place to play in. You won’t have to worry about accidents, infections, or bugs. If these benefits don’t motivate you to clean your house, then I don’t know what will.
4. Visualize how satisfied you’ll be when the chore is done
No matter how overwhelmed by the mess I am, I still find a way to get motivated to clean with this strategy. I like to visualize how happy and satisfied I’ll feel when the cleaning is done.
Do this for the messiest part of your home. Imagine how proud of yourself you’ll be when that area has been cleaned. This usually pushes me to get started.
5. Know that you don’t have to clean the whole house in a day
One of the biggest hurdles that stop people from cleaning their home is the thinking that they have to clean the whole house in a day.
Even the biggest cleaning guru will tell you that it’s impossible to do. As moms, we have so many responsibilities during the day, that there won’t be enough time to clean it all even if we tried.
I like to break my cleaning responsibilities into chunks. I only clean one section of the house or room a day. For example, on Mondays, I clean the living room and do a quick wipe-down of the bathrooms. On Tuesday, I will clean the home office, etc.
To see a full explanation fo my cleaning schedule, check out Easy Daily Cleaning Schedule For Stay-at-Home Moms for more details.
6. Plan a reward for yourself for when the task is done.
Another way to motivate yourself to clean your messy house is to set a reward for yourself. Having something positive to look forward to will make you want to finish the task.
Think of something you like to do to treat yourself. The reward doesn’t need to be complicated or too expensive. Something I love to reward myself with is ice cream and a TV show. You could go get a mani-pedi or get a massage if that is something you love.
7. Find a cleaning accountability partner that isn’t your spouse
Ever heard of an accountability partner? They are mostly used in addiction recovery groups, but the concept can apply anywhere.
The way it works is that you find someone who shares a common struggle with you. That person can’t be your spouse. It could be a fellow mom friend you trust.
It has to be a person who’s found a way to overcome their struggle. In this case, it’ll be someone who used to struggle with getting motivated to clean their house, that has now found a formula that works for them.
Whenever you start feeling overwhelmed with your messy house, call your accountability partner and have them give you some encouragement to get started.
They could also set a time limit for you to finish your chores. When the time is done, you must call them back to report on your progress. This trick works! Knowing that you have someone to report to at the end of the day, makes you more likely to get to work.
8. Know that you can get help if needed
Another way to motivate yourself to clean your messy house is to ask for help. They say that a problem shared is half a problem. So if you ask for help from your kids or your spouse, then you won’t have to do it all alone.
If your spouse is unavailable and your kids are too young, then consider hiring help. One of my favorite places to hire help is on TaskRabbit. They have people who are skilled in doing anything from laundry to assembling furniture.
Go get someone to help you if you need it.
9. Get rid of things you haven’t used in 2-3 years for both you and your kids
One secret I’ve learned over the years to prevent clutter in my home is to periodically donate items I haven’t used for 2-3 years. I do this for my kids’ items too.
If you haven’t used something in 2-3 years, then chances are, it’s probably not going to be used again. Why keep things that just take up space?
So go through the piles of mess around your home, one room at a time, and bag up all the items that haven’t been used in 2-3 years. You can donate them to your local “buy-nothing group” on Facebook or to goodwill.
Declutter one category of items at a time
When you finally get down to cleaning and decluttering, make sure you do one category of items at a time. For example, you can spend Monday decluttering your shirts, and Tuesday for pants, etc.
Just like we clean one room at a time, this method helps reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed by the mess.
Make cleaning fun
One reason most people have no motivation to clean is that cleaning is boring. It’s a repetitive task that people usually do alone. So try to make it fun.
Put on loud dance music to get you moving. If music is not your thing, then you could listen to an audiobook or a podcast. You could even turn cleaning into a game if your kids are involved.
When cleaning becomes a fun activity, then you will be more motivated to do it. No matter how messy your house is.
Cleaning a messy home is a hard task for most people, especially parents because have so much on our plates already.
Remember that there are many ways to get yourself in the zone if you never feel like cleaning. I hope that the information I’ve shared in this article will help get you motivated to clean, even though you might be overwhelmed by the mess.
More Articles About Cleaning
Easy Daily Cleaning Schedule For Stay-at-Home Moms
A Stay-at-Home Mom Daily Schedule Template That’ll Help You Organize Your Day
27 Must-Have Stay-at-Home Mom Essentials (from a survey of 115 Stay-at-Home Moms)
This is a great post about getting started from a messy space – that feeling of overwhelm can be so difficult to move past. Thanks for these reminders and practical suggestions!
These are excellent suggestions.