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Cleaning is like the Groundhog’s Day of life. For those not familiar with the term, its when a series of unwelcome events appear to be recurring in exactly the same way – such as the never ending cycle of picking up clothes and clutter, dusting, vacuuming and mopping! Yes, I hate cleaning.
Cleaning is tiresome, boring and repetitive. Its definitely the last thing you want to do when you get home after a full day of work or have some down time.
I know there are people who exist who find cleaning fun and relaxing. Sorry but I don’t think that this article is for you!
No, we are not being lazy. There are plenty of ‘I hate cleaning’ memes and even I hate cleaning reddit posts that show that its a common problem and the struggle is real!
Cleaning just isn’t the way we prefer to spend our time! But we know it must get done. So for those of us who need some cleaning motivation, here are some ideas to help you get through this and get your house sparkling (or close enough).
1. Put Your Headphones On
Music and Podcasts: I find that the best way to lose yourself in chores without realizing it is to listen to music you love or a great podcast series. I love going through an old 90s playlist or a true crime podcast while I scrub toilets and the kitchen floor. Now there are so many options that its easy to find a great listen to keep yourself entertained.
Audio books: are another great option. The only time I really get to sit down with a book is late in the evening after I get the kids to bed, make their lunches and finish some chores. By then, if I’m really into a book and it’s a page turner, I end up going to bed too late because I want to keep reading. Audio books help me avoid the late nights and get me through cleaning as well.
Make a phone call: Finally, call your mom! Call your bestie! Call the friend you haven’t talked to in ages! In the age of texting and emails, we don’t pick up the phone to talk to people as often as we should because its hard to find the time. I organize my chores so that I can talk to my mom hands-free while I get stuff done. Dusting, mopping, folding laundry – just not vacuuming!
2. Create a Manageable Routine
There are plenty of printable checklists out there that show you how to clean your house in 30 minutes or 2 hours. For some people short on time, that’s really great. But for others, it might create more stress.
Create a routine that allows you to accomplish what is a reasonable amount of cleaning and chores for you in a day. If you overdo it, you could burn out or become resentful (possibly towards the mess-creators aka family!)
Do what works for you with the amount of time and energy you have.
3. Clean While You Wait
While I put the kettle on for my tea, I clean the dishes in the sink or start unloading the dishwasher. When I have a pot simmering on the stovetop, I also clean the dishes or start cleaning the countertops. Even if you are waiting for something for just a few minutes, do something! Wipe down appliances, clean the sink, clean the inside of the refrigerator, sweep the floor etc.
Its worth it to use those few minutes to get something done instead of jumping on Instagram. Yeah I said it and yes I’m also very guilty of doing that!
4. Have the Right Cleaning Supplies in the Right Place
I keep the right cleaner and scrubbing sponge under the kitchen sink so I can quickly give the sink a once over after the dishes. I keep the toilet cleaner and disinfectant wipes in the powder room/main floor bathroom so I can quickly give it a good wipe down.
Many of us store most of our cleaning supplies in one spot, maybe in the laundry room closet. But I find that leaving some supplies in some of the busier areas that need to be cleaned often is really handy.
5. Have a Place for Things and Make it Known
Ok, I do still have a junk…I mean miscellaneous drawer! But for the most part, things do have their proper place.
I am often calling out to the kids (some may refer to this as yelling) ‘Put your toys in the toy bin, put your books on the shelf, put your crafts in the recycling – Lol I wish. Labelled bins and drawers and baskets all really help with organization but don’t overdo it so that it just becomes clutter as well.
6. Pick Up Stuff From the Floor and Countertops First
Why start here? Because its like a visual win! Once you see the clutter removed and the counter tops and floor visible again, its feels a bit rejuvenating and helps to cut the initial overwhelm when you see the mess.
7. Work in Short Bursts
8. Go Paperless
I created an email address just for receiving electronic bills. I find it so much easier than things getting lost within the grocery store flyers or the kid’s school papers. Plus its all stored in one place without needing a filing cabinet or additional drawer space. I also won’t have to go back and remove years of bills once storage gets full.
9. Accomplish Something Before you Sit Down for the Evening
Do not… I repeat do not give in to the gravitational pull of your comfy couch! Once you sit down its over! Put your 15 to 20 minutes in before you sit down with your phone or put the tv on for the night.
10. Find Ways to Incorporate Cleaning Throughout the Day
The smallest action can really help you save time later. If you take a minute to squeegee the shower before you get out, it will help reduce soap scum that tends to build up on tiles. Keep a cloth near the bathroom counter and wipe them down after use. Throw a load into the washer before you head out. Put the extra shoes lying around on the mudroom floor on the shelf before you leave the house.
These little actions that just take a minute can help save you time at the end of the day when its time to start cleaning.
When the cleaning needs to get done, we usually focus on areas like the kitchen and the most used bathrooms. These are definitely priorities for me, as well as getting the crumbs off the kitchen floor which will just spread everywhere, and dusting. Especially my son’s room as he has allergies that irritate him if there’s too much dust.
When you know you can only get a few things done, figure out what would be the best areas to attack first.
12. Accept ‘Good Enough’
Again, if you love cleaning or are a neat freak, this article is just not for you! Didn’t get a chance to dust some shelves or the baseboards? Guess what? There’s always next week.
Clutter piles up again pretty fast and the floor will have crumbs again after a couple more meals. Do what you can and move on.
13. Consider It Exercise
If you have a sedentary job, where you are sitting at your computer all day, then as much as you hate to clean, its good to appreciate the movement involved. Put on your steps tracker and you’ll be surprised how quickly it adds up! You can even incorporate some intentional squats and other muscle strengthening exercises in your cleaning routine.
14. Take Shortcuts
Short on time and energy? Use some disinfectant wipes to wipe down the bathrooms and counter tops. Grab a small vacuum or dust buster to pick up some crumbs. Buy a giant toy bin and throw everything in there.
Figure out ways to streamline your cleaning process, whether its with better cleaning products, cleaning materials, or the way you organize your house. There’s always room for improvement and if it helps reduce your cleaning time, its worth investing the time and money into finding shortcuts. Also check out some tiktok cleaning tips and hacks to learn new ways to clean efficiently.
15. A Clean House is Connected to Your Mental Health
A clean house can actually improve your mood and help you feel good. Conversely, clutter and mess can create more anxiety and stress.
A study completed in 2010 assessed the way that 60 people discussed their homes. They were then grouped into either feeling ‘restorative’ or ‘stressful’.
The women studied who described their homes as cluttered or full of unfinished projects were more likely to be depressed and tired. Researchers also found that the women with messy homes had high levels of the stress hormone called cortisol.
Conversely, the women who had clean and organized homes described their living spaces as restful and had lower levels of stress and cortisol.
Cleaning is a good habit that we just need to incorporate into our daily lives. Another positive is if a friend drops by, you can finally stop asking her to please excuse the mess!
Try these tips on how to clean when you hate cleaning.
This article was produced by This Mom is On Fire.