Housework; chores; cleaning the house; domestic duties – however you phrase it; whatever you call it; it still sounds bad and elicits groans from a large section of the population. If you are one of the millions who hate doing housework then read on to discover just how to motivate yourself to clean your house.
I know, I know; there are those of you who have a different opinion on the subject. Lots of people don’t mind cleaning the house; some even enjoy it but it seems that the vast majority of people, whose task it is to keep the home clean, would rather be doing something else!
And I’ll be the first to put up my hand; I’m not a fan of housework.
I became sick and tired of always dragging my feet through the numerous chores that are involved in keeping a house clean while moaning about my lot in life. Having decided that it wasn’t worth being emotionally drained about it, I did some research about what other people did in my situation. Here are some of the strategies I implemented to make housework, well, not exactly enjoyable, but certainly helped me be motivated to do what was needed.
Let me first admit that I am a “clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be comfortable” kind of housekeeper. While I love everything to be clean and tidy, I don’t obsess about dust behind the sofa or streaks on the windows from time to time.
I think that is the first decision you need to make when trying to get motivated about cleaning the house. Think about how you want the house to look and the level of cleanliness you wish to achieve on a regular basis. I’m not talking about spring-cleaning here; just day to day stuff. If you are happy with ‘clean enough’, like me, admit it and set your cleaning routine in line with that. If you are not happy until every speck of dust is vanquished, come to terms with it and set up a more rigorous schedule.
Once you know what you expect of yourself, it is easier to be motivated because you’re not aiming for inappropriate standards. Why worry about scrubbing the back patio every day if you’re not worried about a bit of dirt or mold?
Having decided on the level of cleanliness you are happy with, don’t compare yourself or your standards with anyone else. It really doesn’t matter what your neighbour, friend or sister-in-law does; that’s her concern. Have the confidence of your convictions and stick to your own cleaning routine. You will get rid of so much angst by refusing to enter into a cleaning frenzy war.
Just how much house cleaning is acceptable to you in any one day? For myself, what didn’t get done before lunch just didn’t get done, when I was home full time. Mind you, sometimes lunch wasn’t till after 2.00 pm, but it was still lunchtime! Pick your most energetic and productive time of day for household chores and you will get much more done in a given time. For me, that was mornings.
Of course, a lot depends on your circumstances and whether you work, have kids at school or little ones at home. You need to determine an achievable number of hours you can dedicate to cleaning and then work out what you can fit in to that time. If you are having a difficult day with the kids or because you’re not feeling on top of things, be prepared to carry jobs over to another time, or even leave it undone.
When you have made these decisions, you’ll discover that you won’t feel as though you need to motivate yourself so much, because you have taken away much of the stress associated with getting it all done.
You may not agree but I have found that it helps to have certain major tasks assigned to particular days of the week. I remember thinking, when I first knew my future grandmother-in-law, that I’d never get up some mornings because it was washing day or floor scrubbing day. However, I’ve learned that it actually helps to know that today I am laundering the bath towels or mopping the kitchen floor or scrubbing the shower. It also makes sure that major jobs actually get done on a regular basis, making them quicker and easier to complete.
Any job seems easier and faster if you are feeling upbeat. Change your attitude and self talk about household chores – “I used to hate scrubbing the shower but now it’s not so bad.” Set little rewards for yourself when you’ve completed a certain job or number of jobs – “when I’ve changed all the sheets I get to sit down with a coffee and that new magazine I bought.”
I love music and always feel uplifted when my favourite tunes are playing, so I dust the furniture, make the beds, wash the dishes etc. to music whenever I can. I love being outdoors so I make a point of hanging the laundry on the outside line rather than use the clothes dryer. Also, I include gardening in my list of chores because it is something I love to do.
So you see, there are lots of ways you can motivate yourself to clean your house that will make your life easier and more enjoyable. Remember also to give yourself time off for good behaviour; special treats and rewards are a great motivator.