Many first time visitors to my home will often ask what I do to keep my house so clean. They think that I either clean all the time or that I like to clean but little do they realize how much I hate cleaning but I do it anyway.
The truth is, if left to my own devices, I’d rather sit on the couch all day watching re-runs of Downton Abbey (I loooooove Downton Abbey) while stuffing Doritos into my mouth.
If I really did what I felt like doing, my house would be a mess, I’d be a train wreck and I’d behave like a 2 year old instead of the 51 year old that I am. Instead of training my kids “in the way that they should go”, I’d be screaming at them:
I WANT YOUR ROOM CLEANED UP NOW!!@!
Luckily, I can spare my family of this second rate version of myself by using better strategies to get what I want.
In fact, the motivational strategies I’ll share with you below have not only helped me get my house clean, they’ve helped me to trim down, become debt free and feel healthier now than I did in my 20’s!
So if one of your goals for this new year is to finally get your house clean for your health, wealth and self, here are 7 strategies to help you do that and so much more.
I guarantee that by learning how to motivate yourself to clean your house, you’ll get better at overcoming any obstacles currently getting in the way of doing what you want.
7 Motivational Strategies To Get Your House Clean (and Do So Much More!)
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I. Prioritize Cleaning
Before you can figure out how to get your house cleaned, you need to first figure out why you want to do this in the first place.
It’s a known fact that you focus on what you value and ignore what you don’t. So, if you’re reluctant to clean your house right now, I’m willing to bet that cleaning is not such a high priority for you.
In contrast, think back to when you brought your baby home from the hospital–how willing you were to sacrifice your needs to take care of their needs? I bet you never put off nursing your baby or make excuses to forgo bathing her, right?
Our children get far more attention from us than our homes do because we prioritize them above all else–And so we should.
And yet, if you really think about it, the cost of not cleaning our homes can be just as devastating as not caring for our families at all.
Why We Need To Clean Our Homes
Study after study shows that clutter in our homes increases marital conflict and cause emotional, financial and even psychological distress.
One study even suggests that those who clean live longer and feel happier than those who don’t. This sounds to me like a convincing reason to clean our homes…
Personally, I know I’m much calmer and more relaxed when my home’s clean versus when it’s a mess.
Besides, I’d rather focus on the people rather than the mess in our home when I walk in the door.
A clean home also allows me to be a happier more patient mom than a frazzled and anxious one.
So given these and other benefits to having a clean home, I make cleaning a priority and tell my feelings to go…ahem… you know where.
When I prioritize my values rather than my feelings in this way, I take wiser actions and therefore get better results.
II. List Out the Benefits of Cleaning
Once you’re able to move house cleaning to the top of your “to-do” list, practice focusing on the benefits and not so much the pain of doing what you don’t want to do.
As for me, whenever I feel like putting the cleaning back down on to my “I’d rather not do” list, I remind myself why I want a clean home in the first place.
I tell myself that a clean home lets me locate things, like my husband’s car keys, or my youngest’s favorite book, more quickly so that we don’t have to waste time looking for it. Or worse, waste money having to replace it.
I also remind myself of how easily I can invite friends over or have my neighbors drop in for a visit because I don’t have to stress about how messy my home looks.
I also tell myself that I can cook healthier meals for my family when my pantry is organized and my refrigerator is clean.
III. Do One SMall Cleaning Task at a time
Another way you can make cleaning a little easier is to make it easier on you.
One common reason why people often fail with house cleaning, is that they often make it much worse than it has to be.
So, rather than think big start small. Break down your house cleaning up into small doable tasks that will take you only 15 minutes or less.
Tasks like emptying your dishwasher or folding your laundry, or emptying out your recycling bin are all things that you could probably get done in 15 minutes or less.
Although you may think that doing less would lead you to get less results, you’ll find that the opposite is true.
Small wins are better than no wins because once you start, you’ll build up momentum to habitually clean whether you want to or not.
IV. Make Cleaning a Habit
You’ll find that as you’re able to do these 15 minute tasks on a routine basis, they’ll become habitual—something you do without even thinking about it.
That’s the great thing about habits: They make you think less and do more with less effort to get the results you want.
This means that if you develop good habits, like cleaning the house, rather than indulge your bad habits, like stuffing your face with Doritos while binge watching PBS, you and your home (if not your whole family) will be a lot better off.
According to Charles Duhigg, the author of The Power of Habits, you can turn any activity into a habit by creating a cue, identifying a reward and then making it routine.
One cue I use, for example, to get my laundry done each week, is to leave out my laundry bag inside my closet every Wednesday night.
When I wake up on Thursday mornings, the bag reminds me to take my laundry down to the basement and then I remind my kiddos to do the same.
This helps me to get the laundry started, before I’ve had a chance to talk myself out of it, and get all 5 loads done by mid afternoon. Yea~
The best reward is that a cleaning routine like this one frees up my time on the weekends to enjoy it with my family and not to stress about when I’m going to get the laundry done.
V. Reward Yourself For Cleaning
Although you’d eventually want to get to a point where you’re cleaning your house with or without rewards, you’ll most likely need something to motivate you to get started.
For example, one reward my youngest son gets when he finishes mopping the house every Saturday is 2 hours on my iPad to play games.
Knowing that he won’t get to play unless he’s done the cleaning, he’ll get through the cleaning without whining or complaining.
Another treat our whole family gets sometimes is lunch out at our favorite restaurant on the weekends after the house cleaning.
Rewarding ourselves like this not only benefits each member of my family, it provides us an opportunity to work together.
It’s also such a great feeling to come back home to a clean house even my youngest often says:
“Home sweet home!”
VI. Clean As a Family
If you live together with other members of our family, then you should all be cleaning together as well.
Not only does the team work make the dream work, cleaning the house as a family teaches gives us an opportunity to serve one another and learn independence.
The nightly routine in my house, for instance, is that I’ll cook dinner, my teenage son will clean up the dishes and throw out the trash while my youngest will dry and put the dishes away.
My husband in the meanwhile, will tidy up the family room so that we can all enjoy fruit or herbal tea getting caught up with one another afterwards.
The greatest benefit of getting your kids involved in the household cleaning is that in the long run, they’ll be more apt to keep their own spaces clean and organized, too.
See how clean my 16 year old can clean up his room without me even yelling at him:
So do yourself and them a favor by teaching them how to help you clean right now. This will simplify the cleaning for your whole family in more ways than one.
For more information on how I’ve taught my kids to clean, refer to my post: 10 Simple Ways to Teach Your Kids How To Clean.
VII. Simplify Your Cleaning Products
Another way to motivate yourself to clean is to make it as simple as possible.
If you’re using multiple cleaning products right now, for instance, find out how you can whittle them down to an all purpose cleaning product instead.
A non-toxic concentrate I’m loving right now is this Branch Basics cleaning solution I found.
With just one concentrate, I can get my bathroom tiles clean, wash my dishes and hands and even do my laundry without any harmful chemicals or fumes.
If you’re interested, here’s a review I wrote about and a way to get $10 off!
Cleaning Will Simplify Your Home
I think we’ve made cleaning our homes way too complicated.
From glass cleaners, carpet cleaners, hand sanitizers and dish washing detergents…. there’s seems to be a cleaner for just about everything under the sun.
Yet, despite this exponential increase in cleaning products there are less people cleaning their homes these days.
My guess is that we’re excusing ourselves from the cleaning to avoid short term pain not realizing that we’re missing out on the long term gains when we do that.
As research shows, the more we resist doing what we should, the less we get of what we want, like more joy, peace, health and even wealth in our homes.
It’s my hope that by helping you get motivated to clean your homes, you’ll get much more of what you want in your home and life this New Year!
Happy cleaning my friends!