Even if you enjoy living in a tidy home, making yourself clean house is still a chore. Next time you’re struggling to talk yourself into housework, try one (or all) of these six ways to trick yourself into cleaning. You’ll be surprised at the difference they can make.
Some people are natural-born cleaners: they discover a cleaning routine that works and stick to it, week in and week out. Others may not have a regular routine, but once their home starts looking a bit messy they gladly launch into action.
For the rest of us who find pretty much anything more enjoyable than cleaning, it’s good to have a few tricks up your sleeve to make yourself clean more — even if you don’t feel like it.
How to Make Yourself Clean More
Next time you’re stuck on the sofa, trying to talk yourself into turning off Netflix and doing something about the mess taking over your house, try one of these methods. They may not transform you into a Clean Freak, but they’ll help!
Thinking you’ve got to clean the entire house can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re already struggling with figuring out how to get motivated to clean.
Instead of thinking of the big picture, focus on three specific things that are annoying you about your house at the moment. It’s important to be specific, though: that’s what gives you both a starting and stopping point.
- The stack of stuff on the dining table
- My favorite pajamas aren’t clean
- The kitchen floor looks filthy
By tackling just three things that are bothering you the most, you’ll feel an immediate sense of relief that may make you want to clean even more. If it does, then keep going! If not? Well, you’ve managed to clean three things and should feel good about that.
Try the Carrot and Stick Method
Rewarding yourself with a treat is a fantastic way to motivate yourself to clean, or to do anything more often, really. It helps your brain form positive connections between the doing of a thing and a sense of pleasure once you’ve done it. A treat is the “carrot” that can keep you moving forward.
The opposite can work, too. Instead of a treat drawing you on, having a “stick” — or negative consequence — can spur you into action.
How does that work?
Let’s imagine you dread chatting with your neighbor, the one who always seems a little too interested in what’s none of their business. Make a pact with yourself to spend 15 minutes cleaning right then, or you’ve got to march next door right then and chat for fifteen solid minutes. Guess which one will suddenly sound more fun?
Other Possible “Sticks”:
- Donating $10 to a charity or cause you do not approve of
- Having to cook and eat your least-favorite food for dinner
- Taking away screen time (hey, it works on the kids, so why not you?)
Set a Timer
Setting a timer for ten or even thirty minutes is a tried-and-true method, and for a good reason: a time limit means cleaning won’t take over your entire day.
Plus, trying to beat a deadline adds a bit of a rush, making it almost feel like a game. (No wonder parents use this one on their kids so often, right?)
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself feeling so good after the timer’s gone off that you want to keep going. It can be addictive. Just reset your timer and repeat as often as you like — but always work until the timer goes off, so the method doesn’t lose its effectiveness.
Have a Dedicated Cleaning Playlist or Audiobook
Uptempo music makes people exercise longer at the gym. It can work when you’re trying to make yourself clean more, too.
Take a few minutes to program a bouncy, upbeat playlist of five to ten songs you enjoy. The average song lasts around three minutes, so pressing “play” when you start, and wrapping up your chores when the playlist ends, will get you through fifteen to thirty minutes of cleaning.
If you’re not into music, try listening to an audiobook from the library or Amazon’s Audible offerings instead. With a particularly engaging story, you may find yourself wanting to continue cleaning to find out what happens next.
Invite a Friend Over
If you have a good friend who enjoys keeping you company no matter what you’re doing, invite them over to chat while you clean house. Maybe they’ll even offer to pitch in — but, either way, it’ll feel less like a chore.
Or, invite someone over who you’d like to get to know better. Creating a good first impression of your home gives you an excellent incentive to clean!
Get Some Validation
Sometimes, just hearing the words “Good job!” or “Well done!” can make all the difference in how we look at a task.
If posting before and after photos on your own social media pages feels like oversharing, join our Facebook group “Do Home Better” — we love to cheer each others’ accomplishments!
Remember: Something is Better than Nothing
Whatever approach you choose to make yourself clean more, remember that doing something is better than doing nothing at all. Ten minutes spent cleaning may not feel transformative, but it’s still making progress. You deserve to feel proud of yourself for doing it!