Lost your cleaning mojo? Use these 6 fail-proof steps to get motivated to clean your house today (even when it’s a crippling mess).

Many people have lost their cleaning motivation and are left wondering how to get motivated to clean, so if you’re here, know that you are not alone in feeling like this.

When all you want to do is lay on the couch and let a long day fall off your shoulders, but you know what you have to do is get your butt in gear to clean the house, it can make for a long, dreadful evening.

If you’ve lost your cleaning motivation — or never had any to start with — inside you’ll learn how to get motivated to clean your house when you’d rather be doing ANYTHING else.

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Why cleaning motivation can get lost + what to do about it

People can easily lose their cleaning motivation if their lives suddenly get busy and they feel like all they do is work and clean, and/or if they’ve left a cleaning task undone for too long and now it’s a far bigger task than it started out as.

Most of the time, when people lose their motivation to clean, it stems from a feeling of overwhelm.

You won’t be able to feel motivated if you feel overwhelmed.

I’m going to say that again —

If you feel like this, “Help! I’m overwhelmed by messy house!”, you’re not going to have any motivation to clean.

Because cleaning quickly goes from a simple daily chore to feeling like an impossible task as the cherry on top of an already overwhelming day.

You need to find your confidence to be able to find your drive to clean. When you start to feel confident is when you’ll be able to start feeling motivated to keeping your house clean.

If you feel overwhelmed and stressed out, the last thing you’re going to want to do, or even care about, is having and keeping your house clean.

And that is why it is SO important to dumb cleaning down when you’ve lost your mojo.

Take a small cleaning task and make it even smaller, until it’s something that you can seamlessly fit into your daily routine without setting time apart to tend to it.

What to do when you have no motivation to clean

If you have absolutely no motivation to clean your house, the most important thing you can do is just start (and start small). 

By now you know that in life you don’t just do the fun stuff.

You have to do stuff that isn’t so fun, too.

And this is one of those moments.

If you’re here, there’s a good chance that you have no motivation to clean and you’re wondering how to get motivated to clean when overwhelmed by mess — because you KNOW that your house needs to be cleaned.

After all, you don’t want to raise your family in a pig’s pen…

…you just don’t know how to start cleaning it.

Maybe you’ve kept a neat and tidy house for years, but something happened recently in your life that has caused you to completely fall off track and lose all your ambition to clean.

Now, you’d rather do anything but clean.

You don’t like living in a messy house, and when you think of the mess you get stressed out, but the thought of gathering your supplies and tackling the mess stresses you out even more.

What do you do?

How to clean your house when you don’t want to…

Things can happen in life that cause us to not want to clean, and it can cause us to feel like cleaning simply isn’t worth the effort.

But it’s often at these times when it’s more important than ever to pick ourselves up off the dust-ridden floor and find our rhythm again.

It’s times like these when we need to start somewhere. We may not know where, but we know we need to start.

I’ve lost my motivation to clean house in the past, too

I write non-stop about keeping a clean and organized house…

…but that doesn’t mean that it’s all sunshine and rainbows over here.

Half the time I can barely scrape up enough energy to clean the bathrooms, and there have been times when I’ve gone {weeks} too long without cleaning my house.

Most of the time when I write a post, I’m preaching just as much {or more so} to myself as to anyone else.

I need reminders, motivation, and encouragement when it comes to my homemaking, too.

But that’s not the important thing. The important thing is that I do manage to scrape myself up off the floor and clean my house. I do learn new ways to make cleaning the house easier, and I do practice what I preach, even if I’m not perfect at it.

And you can too. 

That’s why I feel qualified to write on this topic; because I’ve BEEN there {failure}. I’ve DONE that {given up}. But I’ve found ways to overcome it.

Related: How to Clean Every Room in Your House Fast

How do I motivate myself to clean?

If you’ve lost all your motivation to clean you may be sitting there thinking, “Help!! I need motivation to clean my house because it’s a DISASTER!” 

I’ve been at that place — it’s not fun. But it is a place that you can, and will, break out of.

The most important thing you can do when you’ve lost your cleaning motivation is to find something small to start with.

Something that’s teeny-tiny and absolutely doable.

Something that takes you less than 5 minutes to do.

That is what you’re going to start with when you’ve lost all your motivation to clean.

Then, you’re going to do that small thing every day for two days and reassess your situation.

Doing something small for a short period of time is simple enough that it is doable no matter how overwhelmed or stressed out you’re feeling, and it offers instant results so you can start to feel accomplished after just 5 minutes.

You won’t be working tirelessly for a week straight trying to clean and organize your house with minimal results to show for your work.

That would be too exhausting and just add to your overwhelm at this time — and there’s a good chance that you would end up quitting before the week’s end.

Instead, choosing a small, quick win, is exactly the opposite. It’s short, it’s easy, and you’re going to feel like you’ve actually accomplished something when you’re done.

It doesn’t matter that it was just a small win. It was still a win, and your brain knows that.

I’ll go over exactly how this works below.

How to get motivated to clean your house

If you’ve been trying to find ways to force yourself to clean without actually being forceful — more like gently nudging yourself in the right direction — this is exactly how you can do it.

1. Find your area

The first step is to find the one area in your house that is driving you the most nuts.

(I know, you might feel like every area in your house is driving you nuts right now because it’s all a mess, but you want to find ONE small area to start with.)

When you’re finding the one area you’re going to clean, you want it to be:

  • Central. You want this to be somewhere in your house that you see often. (Don’t choose someplace hidden like the spare bedroom closet.)
  • Small. This place needs to be small enough that you can easily clean it, and keep it clean, in less than 5 minutes a day.
  • Bothersome. It needs to be somewhere that really bugs you when it’s messy. Someplace that anytime you walk past it and see that it’s a mess, it makes you mad.
  • Messy. And, of course, this place needs to be messy right now. This wouldn’t work if you chose an area in your house that is already clean.

This is going to be the ONE area in your house that you use any spare time you can scrounge up to keep clean, which is why it’s so important that the area you choose matches all the above requirements.

If it isn’t messy enough to cause you to want to clean it it’s a bad thing because you already don’t have any cleaning motivation left, so you need somewhere that really grinds your gears. And, if you don’t see it often, you won’t be able to feel the accomplishment each day of a clean surface in your house, which is what you need to encourage yourself to keep at it.

If it’s too big of an area you will quickly lose your focus and get distracted from the task you’re trying to complete, which is why it is SO important that you keep the area you choose small and manageable.

Some good example areas would be the:

  • Kitchen table
  • Kitchen island/countertop
  • Coffee table
  • Main bathroom vanity
  • Entryway bench

Once you’ve found your area, it’s time to move on to the next step.

(Wait, STOP. Have you found your area yet? If not, don’t move past here until you have. Remember: change doesn’t happen unless you do, so take the first step right now and pick your area to clean. Then go ahead and let us know what your area is in the comments below.)

2. Set a timer for 5 minutes

Grab a trusty timer (I prefer these ones over phone timers) and set it for FIVE minutes — no more, no less.

Now, go hard on that area that you chose in the previous step and clean as much of it as you can in five minutes.

This includes getting rid of any clutter that’s in that area, putting items away where they belong, organizing any items that stay there, and wiping the surface to rid it of dirt and grime.

If the timer goes off before you are able to finish cleaning this area, for TODAY ONLY, you are allowed to work past the 5 minutes.

Work as hard as you can to get this one area as clean as possible, but try not to work past 10 minutes (and, if you’ve chosen a small, manageable area, it shouldn’t take you any longer than 10 minutes).

Here are a couple of tips for how to clean your home (your area), and how to make cleaning your area quicker:

  • Use a “catchall basket. This doesn’t have to be a basket, it can be anything you have nearby that can act as a basket. The purpose of this catchall basket is to put everything on the surface you’re cleaning that doesn’t belong there into the basket to get it out of the way. Then, once you’re done cleaning your area you can grab that basket and return the items in it to their proper homes.
  • Gather your supplies first. You don’t want to spend half of your cleaning time running around your house trying to find your cleaning supplies. Take the initiative of doing this before you set your cleaning timer, this way you can use the time just for cleaning.
  • Ditch the phone. Phones cause for a great distraction, so leave it in a different room while you clean your area (really, it’s just 5 minutes. You’ll be okay without it).
  • Don’t watch the clock. If you’re checking the timer every 20 seconds, you’ll waste more time doing that than you will spend actually cleaning. Try to ignore the time and focus on cleaning. The only time you should look at the timer is at the very beginning when you’re setting it, and at the very end when it goes off.

3. Ignore the rest of the house for the next 2 days

For the next two days, you’re going to ignore the rest of the house and focus solely on keeping your area clean.

This area that you’ve chosen is your new baby, and you need to treat it accordingly.

Don’t let clutter pile up on it. Don’t let dirty dishes sit there. Don’t let messes go uncleaned. And certainly, don’t forget to clean it every evening.

For the next two days, this is your new top priority; and it’s the one thing you should be anticipating from the moment you get up to the moment you get a chance to clean it in the evening.

4. Think about it in the morning

The best way to prepare yourself for keeping this area clean is to think about it all day long. (Think of it as your new love.)

When you wake up, prepare yourself for cleaning your area by reminding yourself that that’s what you’re going to be doing later today.

5. Set your timer

Once later in the day comes, set a timer for 5 minutes again and clean the surface. Remove any clutter that has collected, dust it, wipe it, and do what needs to be done to make it squeaky clean.

6. After two days, choose another area

After two days are done and gone, it’s time to shift your focus to a new area in your house — but it’s important that you don’t neglect the first area.

By now you’ve done the initial clean of this first area, which means that all you have to do on a daily basis to keep it clean is quickly remove stuff that has collected throughout the day to where it belongs and give it a quick wipe.

All in all, it shouldn’t take you any more than 2 minutes to keep clean.

So, make sure you continue to care for the first area, as well as choose a second area to focus on.

Repeat the same steps for area #2 as you did with area #1 (set an initial 5 – 10 minute timer to completely clear it of clutter and clean it, then focus on it — and area #1 — for two days).

Then, add another problem area of your house to the list.

And so on, and so on.

Won’t this just cause me to end up spending an hour + cleaning each day?

Nope – it won’t.

The initial clean is the most important, as well as the most time-consuming. After that first clean, it’s just maintaining the clean. And if you’re able to maintain the clean, it will take you less and less time each day, and you’ll eventually be able to mush several tasks together.

(The kitchen table and kitchen island/counters won’t be two separate tasks anymore — you’ll be able to tackle them both as one to save time once you get the hang of it.)

Cleaning motivation

Cleaning motivation is a funny thing — if you have it, you feel on top of the world and like you could (and should) be a housekeeper for the queen.

And, when you don’t have it, it makes you feel like a failure, overwhelmed, and leaves you wondering, “how do I stop being lazy and messy?” … with no answers in sight.

And once it’s lost, it can feel nearly impossible to get back (and, as you’re sitting there wondering how to get motivated to clean, your house continues to get messier and messier, adding to your workload and stress).

If you’ve ever wondered, “what is the fastest way to clean a cluttered home?” or “how do you start cleaning a messy room or home?” here are some home cleaning tips that will help make cleaning your house faster…

(Be sure to only use these once you’ve followed the steps above to get your cleaning motivation back, because if you go out and try to tackle cleaning your entire house with no motivation, you’ll get nowhere.)

How to make cleaning easier & faster

How to get motivated to clean a messy house…

– Invite people over

This is quite possibly the best way for how to get motivated to clean and declutter fast… because it forces you to clean your house (or face the embarrassment of having guests over to your incredibly messy and dirty home).

Unfortunately, while it is a quick fix, it isn’t a permanent one.

Your motivation to clean will come quickly, but it will disappear just a fast once the guests are gone.

So, while you can use this as a quick cleaning fix, I wouldn’t recommend relying on it solely to find your cleaning motivation once it has been lost.

– Use a daily & weekly cleaning schedule

Using cleaning schedules is especially important for people who aren’t Type A.

If you’re used to being disorganized, messy, and flying by the seat of your pants, then using a cleaning schedule will go against everything you know and love — but it will help you tremendously when it comes to managing your home.

When you follow a schedule, you know exactly what needs to get done for the day so you can get it done earlier and so you don’t rely on your memory only to end up forgetting half of your to-do list (and having to stay up extra late to get everything done).

– Get rid of clutter first

Clutter attracts messes. Dirt, dust, grime, and everything in between, all migrate to cluttered places.

Why?

Because those places very rarely get cleaned.

Sure, you may clean over the surface of the clutter, but how often do you move each individual object to clean underneath and behind it?

Probably not very often.

It is a whole lot easier to clean a room that is free of clutter than it is to clean a cluttered room.

If you don’t know where to start with your clutter, here’s a free resource to get you ahead of your clutter:

– Set timers + binge clean

I love timers (not phone timers… I much prefer these ones), and using them to clean makes live a hundred times easier, because even when I’m super busy, I can tell myself, “okay, I’m going to set the timer for 10 minutes and clean everything I can in that time. Once the timer goes off I won’t worry about cleaning anything else today.”

It gives you an end-point. You know that once you complete this 10 minutes of binge cleaning, you’re done cleaning for the entire day — rather than lollygagging and stretching a small task out over the entire day, having it nagging you in your mind.

– Listen to upbeat music

Some people will tell you to put on music to get motivated to clean, but putting on just any old music rarely works for me.

Upbeat music is where I find my cleaning motivation. As soon as a boppity song comes on, I feel more motivated to get up and get cleaning, rather than slow, cozy songs which just make me want to curl up on the couch with a good book.

– Buy a new cleaning product

It’s a proven fact (in my mind, at least) that when you get something new, you want to use it.

When you get a new shirt, you want to wear it.

When you get new dishes, you want to invite people over to try them out.

…when you get a new cleaning product, you want to use it (one time, at least).

If there’s a cleaning product that you’ve had your eye on for a while, why not go out and purchase it and give it a whirl (speaking of whirling, I love my mop. It whirls).

If you have any clue what kind of new cleaning products to get, here are a few suggestions that I’m loving right now:

  • The shark. I have two mops; one whirls, the other is a shark. I like them both, but I personally find that I mope more often when I use my Shark mop. (Maybe because I’ve only had it for about two months, so it still feels new to me.)
  • Weiman’s. This stuff is ah-mazing. If you have a glass cooktop, you need this. I’m able to keep my cooktop looking like BRAND NEW thanks to my Weiman’s cleaner. (I’ve tried many different cooktop cleaners over the years and this is the only brand I’ve found that actually works as well as I was hoping for. There are several different types of cooktop cleaner in the Weiman’s brand. Make sure you get this specific one.)
  • Expensive cloths. These cloths are pricey. And I don’t like spending money… but, I got given some years ago and loved them so much, they’ve now become the ONLY cleaning cloths I will use. Seriously, you can go out and buy some regular microfiber cloths and they work fine… but NOT nearly as well — or as long — as these two Norwex cloths. 

– Plan your reward

Tell yourself that once you clean your house, or clean a certain area in your house, and keep it clean for a week (or however long you choose), you’ll treat yourself.

Buy a pretty bouquet of flowers to beautifully decorate your squeaky-clean house, or take yourself out for a nice quiet coffee, or choose something else that you would like to do.

– Use a drop bin

We talked about “catchall baskets” earlier, which is essentially the same thing as a drop bin, except that a drop bin is permanent.

You used your catchall basket to move clutter from one surface back to where it belongs as a one-and-done.

However, a drop bin (it doesn’t have to be a bin — this works just fine and looks a lot nicer) is something that permanently stays where you put it.

(Essentially, your drop bin becomes a new piece of home decor, so you want it to look nice.)

All you do is set your bin or basket up in the room of your home that gets used the most, usually the living room or kitchen.

Then, as you go throughout the day, if you are using something and you don’t get a chance to put it away before you move on to doing something else, place whatever you had in the bin.

The same goes for the rest of your family — if your kids are playing with a toy and don’t have a chance to put it away, it gets put in the bin.

If you’re reading a book but need to leave abruptly, put it in the bin.

A word of caution:

Don’t let your drop bin become an excuse not to put stuff away.

Your first resort should always be to put whatever it is you’re using away before moving on to the next thing, but as a busy mom, I know that’s not always possible (as well as for other members of the family). In this case, the item goes in the drop bin.

Then, at the end of the day before everyone goes to bed, either have one person carry the drop bin around the house and put everything in it away in their proper places, or have each person from the family grab a couple items to put away — but never, ever go to bed with a full drop bin.

You always want to start the morning off with an empty bin, so be sure to make a habit of emptying it the night before.

Get motivated to clean your house today!

Do you know someone else wondering, how can I get motivated to clean my house…? Share this post to help them out today.

These are the top house cleaning motivation tips I’ve found. Do you have some hidden up your sleeve? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

Related:
4 Super Simple Steps to Deep Clean Every Room in Your House
13 (more) Ways to Get Motivated to Clean When You Don’t Want to
How to Clean a Washing Machine Naturally