11 tips for staying motivating to clean your home

As we make our way slowly back to resuming normal life, I'm having a hard time finding motivation to get much done. I decided to gather all my tips and tricks that I normally use for tough times and big projects and write them all down. Maybe through this post, you'll be able to find some inspiration for tackling a messy area in your home, too!

1. The number one thing I do before tackling any big cleaning project is to get mentally prepared. This could mean a number of things: Put on some music, open the windows. Wear your PJs, or get dressed for the day and put your hair up (I like to wear a pair of flip flops -- I hate crumbs on my feet!). Brew a pot of coffee or eat a couple cookies as you work. Put on a sitcom or something you can listen to don't really have to pay close attention to. Whatever you need to do to create a pleasant environment in which to work. Don't just start cleaning. If you do and you're like me, you'll soon find yourself distracted, unmoved, and tired. I actually prefer to wait until the entire room is clean to light candles -- that's like my "job well done" for myself.

2. I love to read blog posts about cleaning and organizing. I know that Pinterest is normally for reading about people doing things and then not actually doing them, but you can use it for some really great inspiration when you need to get pumped up about cleaning up. ;) Even if they are simple and something I've heard before, they help get me in the mindset to start cleaning.

3. See if a friend or family member can come over and help with the kids while you're busy. I'm so lucky to live near my parents, and they have been able to watch River and Austen practically every time I've needed them. But when you're parenting 24/7, what do you really want to do when the kids are out of the house? Truthfully, I just want to lie down and binge watch The Office and eat something the kids aren't allowed to have. But I can get a ton of work done if one of my sisters comes over and distracts and entertains my kids so I can clean. If you ask someone to come over to be a mediator for your children so you can work, you're not going to kick back and relax while they are there... you're going to work!

4. Think about how you'll feel after things are clean. Take a moment to breathe and look around the room you're about to tackle -- imagine the floors vacuumed, every surface cleared, and a sparkling, inviting feel in the entire space. Sure, it'll take work to get it there, but I know once it's clean, I'll feel so much better and victorious over the mess that was trying to take over my life and my home.

5. When you start, first clean the things you don't mind cleaning. For me, it's the living room. To move clothes to the laundry room, put the kids' toys back in their room, take dishes to the sink, fluff the throw pillows, dust, and vacuum is no big deal. I actually enjoy it (as opposed to cleaning the kitchen, which I hate more than scrubbing the toilet). So I start with the living room, and when that's done, I'll flip on a few lamps, light a candle, and open a window so that the environment of my home feels calmer. That alone motivates me to tackle other areas.

6. Feel good about every little thing that gets done! If you're tired, achy, and unmotivated, you should celebrate over little victories. Sometimes, instead of making a To-Do list, I make an Already-Done list as I work. As busy moms, we something tend to underestimate the amount of work we actually do in a day. After every task, no matter how small, write it down and be proud of yourself for the work you got done, and watch your list grow. It will encourage you to keep adding to it.

7. Try giving yourself a specific amount of time to work on something, or a simple chore, instead of setting about to do the entire thing. I often won't start cleaning something because I know the amount of time it takes to complete it is more than I have the motivation or patience for. I can stare at my horribly messy kitchen and know it is a good hour of work, and not want to touch it. But never underestimate the power of a good halfhearted job! If you look at it as getting the job done one step at a time, it'll be easier. For instance, I may not have the motivation to get my entire kitchen clean, but I can unload the dishwasher. Then I can clear and wipe the counters. And by that time, I can either stick to my halfhearted goal and take a breather, or just keep on keepin' on. Before you know it, the kitchen is either clean or looks 50% better than when you started. Every little bit of work helps. And there's less to clean up when you do decide to finish.

8. Another approach is to do a little halfhearted housework in each room. Just because you stopped cleaning one area of your home doesn't mean you can't move on to another area. Sometimes it's all you need for a fresh view. A change of pace. My brain tends to hop from one thing to another, so I may give myself 15 minute chunks of time to complete one task in each room, making a circle. Each room will start to feel a little bit less chaotic and you may not get worn down or discouraged as you might when tackling one giant project at a time.

9. Pick your top three things that need to be clean to make you feel less chaos. You can pick three for your entire home, or three for each room. For me, my top three are a cleared & wiped counters, vacuumed carpets, and a made bed. Here are my top three for each room.

Cleared and wiped surfaces
Swept floors
Dirty dishes in sink

Living Room
Couch made up and throw pillows in place
Floor cleared & vacuumed
All clutter on one surface

Bed made
Floor cleared & vacuumed
All clutter on one surface

Trash taken out
Cleared & wiped countertop
Sanitized toilet

10. One way to get rid of clutter fast is to go around the house and pick up anything that doesn't belong in that room. Have one basket to carry around and toss everything in, or have a basket for each room (or each family member). Empty it out at the end of the day so the junk doesn't continue to pile up!

11. And last of all, this one doesn't have so much to do with the cleaning process as keeping things clean. A gem that I got from The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin is: finish what you start! Look at everything as having a complete beginning and an end. Making a peanut butter sandwich doesn't just involve slapping some peanut butter and jelly on two pieces of bread. You finish the job by putting the bread away, putting the dishes in the sink, and wiping the crumbs off the counter. Making a nice cup of hot tea and reading a book on the couch at the end of the day also involves putting the tea bag in the trash, putting the cup in the sink, placing the book back on the bookshelf, and folding the blanket. Catch my drift? It's so very simple, but if you truly follow this "rule," it can actually save you a lot of mess heartache!


  1. Thank you for sharing your tips! I'll try to be more organized and follow your advices!

  2. I am a terrible slattern, but I wish I was more like you! I would gladly visit your house, then you would be glad to see the back of me so you could tidy away the mess that I create everywhere I go! Xxx

  3. Strategy is crucial when it comes to cleaning and can save you time along with a lot of frustration. Panning requires adopting a strategy to the task at hand. For example, cleaning a room in a clockwise rotation or moving larger objects out of the way before you start cleaning. Started a cleaning project with a plan in mind will make your efforts more efficient and less stressful.



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