How To: Motivate Yourself to Clean

updated May 9, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Do you have a hard time motivating yourself to do the dishes, laundry, sweeping, and mopping? So do I. Right now, my dog is in his biannual shedding cycle, when he transforms from a mild-mannered greyhound into a lean, mean furball machine. Dog fur tumbleweeds are blowing across my floors. With so much cleaning to do, it’s been tough to muster the motivation. The other day, sitting on my fur-covered couch in my fur-covered jeans, I made a list of ways to get myself out of this rut and into the cleaning process…

  • Schedule a party. Nothing’s a better motivator than letting others see your home.
  • Time yourself. If you limit cleaning to an hour, the task is less intimidating.
  • Start small to make the job less daunting. Try tackling just one room.
  • Start even smaller. Focus on just one task, like doing the dishes.
  • Enlist help if you can. You’ll get twice as much done.
  • Crank up the music. It makes cleaning a lot more fun.
  • Begin by tossing anything you can into the garbage/recycling.
  • Thank yourself when you’re finished with a small reward.
  • Get off the Internet. To get the job done, you’re eventually going to have to stop reading posts online and start cleaning.
Post Script: After writing this list, closing the laptop, and following my own advice, I managed to finish a load of dishes and clean the bedroom. My husband undertook the heroic task of vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping the furballs out of the living room (thanks, Steve). Just three more rooms to go… Photo: