19 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Clean the House

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Here’s a Torrie Truth for ya—

I am most motivated when I am incredibly busy, under a deadline, and/or stressed out of my mind. That is probably why I continually put things off until the last minute, even though I know it’s an unhealthy behavior. What can I say? I’m a procrastinator and proud of it, through and through.

And therein lies the downside to having a lot of extra time on my hands during the summer due to my not teaching–I find that it gives birth to the worst kind of irony:

When I have all the time in the world to do whatever I want, I rarely  have the motivation to do anything.

When I hardly have any time to do whatever I want, I have all the motivation in the world to do everything.

It’s kind of a problem.

So, to help myself through these months of lackluster motivation, I have devised some tricks and strategies to force myself into getting at least some productive things done each and every day, even when I absolutely don’t want to.

Without further ado, I present to you 19 tested-and-proven strategies for motivating yourself to do something when you really don’t want to. (And yes, I do many of these on a regular–if not daily–basis.)

19 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Clean the House

1. Turn on a song you like and tell yourself that you only have to do a certain household chore (like the dishes) for the length of the song. (Spoiler alert–you’ll usually end up doing more.)

2. Think of ten tasks that take less than ten seconds to do apiece and then do those ten things.

3. Watch Hoarders. (If you don’t feel inspired to clean and purge after watching that show, nothing will ever motivate you to do so.)

4. Bribe yourself—after ten or fifteen minutes of solid effort, reward your efforts with something pleasurable, like a popcicle or sitting down with a magazine.

5. Use your cell phone games to your advantage. Since my vice is Candy Crush, I make myself do one productive household thing (whether it’s putting a dish away or folding two shirts) before I let myself play another life/round.

6. Challenge yourself–how can you significantly improve a space in 7 minutes? Set your timer for the amount of minutes you’ve specified, and get to work.

7. Read a minimalist/simple living blog for fifteen minutes for motivation, like Becoming Minimalist, The Minimalists, or The Gardener’s Cottage.

8. Put on an episode of your favorite show and have it playing in the background while you do something in the same room.

9. Make a to-do list of 5-7 household tasks that don’t take more than 10 minutes apiece and post it somewhere where you’ll see it a lot. Keep a pen (or Sharpie!) handy for putting a big black mark through it when you’re done. I don’t know why, but crossing stuff off lists for me is a disproportionately huge motivator.

10. Commercial Break Challenge: grab as many things as you can find in 30 seconds that are out of place or that belong in another room and put them there–quick–before your show starts up again.

11. Give yourself some choices (use a little Love & Logic on yourself)—“I can either do these dishes/sweep the floor/unpack this box, or I can do 30 push-ups/50 crunches/75 squats.” (The best part is, even if you choose the strength training, you’re still doing a good thing for yourself.)

12. If social media feeds are your favorite time waster, make yourself a deal—“For as long as I get off my butt and go clean/organize, I can get onto Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest.” (Word of advice: do the cleaning BEFORE you get onto the social media, not the other way around.)

13. Count how many steps it takes to take out the trash (while you’re taking it out, of course).

14. Make yourself a cleaning project outline (like I did with my “50 Weeks to Organized” project). Nothing motivates me more than starting something new.

15. If you have someone else around that will help clean, do rock-paper-scissors for who gets to do which chore (like the winner gets to do the laundry, the loser gets to do the bathroom).

16. Invite people over for games/dinner/dessert tonight or tomorrow. Trust me, the cleaning will somehow get done.

17. Set a goal of how many things you want to get rid of–permanently–today. Then go find those things right now.

18. When desperate times call for desperate measures, don’t let yourself eat/sleep/go to the bathroom until one particular thing is done. Works for me all the time.

19. Write a blog post on cleaning the house. Hey, the accountability alone will be enough to make you want to get up and go do something.

 

How do you motivate yourself to clean house? Or what habits are you already in that keep your house clean most of the time?

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