Motivation for Cleaning House When You Just Can’t Even

Do you find yourself with a lack of motivation for cleaning house? Keeping up with housework is one of the many “stay at home mom struggles” that homemakers deal with daily.

I’m sure you’ve seen that meme about how cleaning with kids in the house is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos, and I get it. Nobody wants to clean up other people’s messes all the time.

In addition, there might actually be some other underlying reasons as to why you can’t keep up with housework, or why you procrastinate on certain chores (or all of them— no judgement from me!).

If you often find yourself wondering, “Where did I lose the motivation for cleaning my house?” or “Why do I hate cleaning?” then you need to keep reading!

In this post, you’ll learn how to clean when you don’t want to, how to address the underlying reasons you lack motivation for cleaning house, and how to keep up with housework by creating your own stay at home mom cleaning schedule.

Yes, even when you just. can’t. even.

So let’s get into it!

Why Do I Hate Cleaning?

For this part, you might have to get real with yourself. It’s okay to admit that you don’t like cleaning up after your people all day long.

It’s okay to feel baffled that the kitchen is messy again, or wonder why, for the love of all that is good and holy, they just can’t aim their pee INSIDE the toilet bowl. (And all the boy mamas said, “Amen.”)

I am someone that doesn’t necessarily mind cleaning, but then I want (expect) to be able to ENJOY the fruits of my labor. Please don’t leave your dishes on the counter and your dirty socks wherever you took them off.  I like to feel like my housework is respected and appreciated.

But, Bad News Bears: it doesn’t always happen that way.

Sometimes my family doesn’t think about what I’ve done for them and our home before carelessly leaving something laying around.  And truthfully, sometimes I don’t think before I carelessly leave something laying around, either.

And to be honest, even though I don’t ALWAYS mind cleaning, there are times when I put if off due to fatigue, overwhelm, burn out, sheer laziness, selfishness, entitlement, or because I just. can’t. even.

So, if I were to answer the question, “Why do I hate cleaning?”, there would be a hundred reasons. Unfortunately, “because it sucks” and “I don’t want to” are not magical phrases that will get me out of having to do it.

The laundry will still need to get done. The meals will still need to be made. The floors will still need to be scrubbed. And all I’ve done by putting it off is made it harder for myself to keep up with housework that isn’t going away.

There will always be a million reasons you don’t want to do your chores, so let’s figure out where you can find the motivation for cleaning house when you’d rather be doing literally anything else.

Tips for Cleaning House When You Really Don’t Wanna

I’ve come up with 6 tips for cleaning house that I’ve found to be super effective. Most of these are just good advice, but I think especially so when you need to feel motivated.

House Cleaning Motivation Tip #1: Create Your Own Cleaning Schedule

A schedule will help keep you on track. Rather than feeling overwhelmed, you’ll know exactly what needs to get done and when.

I highly recommend creating your own cleaning schedule. Why do you need to create your own schedule instead of just finding one online?

Because your needs and schedule are going to be unique to your situation. A working mom cleaning schedule will look different than a stay at home mom cleaning schedule. 

Even further, a stay at home mom cleaning schedule will vary based on:

  • How many kids she has
  • How old her kids are
  • Whether her kids attend school or are homeschooled or are distance learning
  • Her husband’s work schedule
  • Regular appointments she or her family may have
  • Personal preferences and habits

For all of these reasons, I tend to shy away from creating a cleaning schedule FOR YOU without knowing who you are. However, let’s look at a few things to consider…

Questions to ask yourself when creating a cleaning schedule:

  1. Is there a day of the week when you feel more productive?
  2. Is there a time of day when you feel more productive?
  3. Do you prefer to keep up with housework a little each day, or bang it all out in one shot?

By being self-aware, you can create your own cleaning schedule. My cleaning schedule has changed a lot over the years.

Two years ago, all of my boys were in school. I prefer batch-work, so at that point, my cleaning was all done on Mondays and Thursdays. On Mondays, I cleaned the entire downstairs and did all the laundry. On Thursdays, I cleaned the entire upstairs and did all the laundry that had accumulated since Monday. This was my favorite cleaning schedule because I had three days a week available for errands, appointments, or even just relaxing with a good book or show.

Last year, I was working outside of the home every day for a couple hours in the morning. As a result, I had to get my housework done in the afternoons. I didn’t like this as much because it gave me a short window to accomplish tasks before the boys got home from school, but it’s what worked for the time.

Currently, I’m homeschooling all four boys. My cleaning schedule now is whatever works! I’m usually throwing a load of laundry in the wash in between Math and History. The boys have to help a lot more, and nothing stays clean for too long. 🤣 But this is our situation right now and we’re doing what works.

When my kids were little, I went through a long period when I couldn’t sleep past 3 am. (Thank goodness that’s over!) But back then, I would get up and clean my house in the wee hours before everybody got up. It was a great use of my time since I was up anyway, rather than tossing and turning fruitlessly. 

Do you see how much my own cleaning schedule has changed throughout different seasons? For this reason, I think it’s important that you create your own based on your unique circumstances, preferences, and habits. No one knows your life better than you do.

By creating a cleaning schedule, you’ll be able to stay on track and avoid overwhelm or decision fatigue.

Now that that’s taken care of, let’s keep going with our house cleaning motivation tips.

House Cleaning Motivation Tip #2: Get Yourself Ready for the Day

I know it might seem weird, but I strongly suggest getting up and getting yourself ready for your day. When you feel good, you’ll do good work.

Now don’t get me wrong, I won’t curl my hair or put on a face full of makeup when I know I’m going to be cleaning. However, there are a few things I’ll suggest to start your day off on the right foot:

  1. Make your bed as soon as you get up. It’s insane how much cleaner your room will look and how much better you’ll feel once it’s made.
  2. Shower. I know, you might get all hot and sweaty after vacuuming (I mean, it’s my main source of cardio), but I guarantee you will feel so much more productive and ready to tackle your day and your to-do list.
  3. Wear something that makes you feel good and not frumpy. Please hear me, I am NOT suggesting you get all dolled up. But getting dressed sends a signal to your brain that your day is beginning. I love going makeup free at home, but I always curl my eyelashes just because it makes me feel more put together. And one of my secret weapons when I’m having a bad day, or when I have to clean but really don’t want to, is to paint my nails or put on lipstick. Maybe you feel like a boss when you wear your favorite earrings. Whatever it is that does it for you, wear it joyfully and be ready to conquer your day!

If you don’t think getting yourself put together for the day is a good idea, I’m going to challenge you to try it for a week or two and see if your motivation and mood changes!

House Cleaning Motivation Tip #3: Girl, Put Your Records On!

Music is a huge motivator! You just can’t help but move when a good tune comes on.

Crank up your favorite music and get to cleaning. Whether it’s a Christian station or your favorite 90’s rap to pull out your inner gangsta, music will help you get the job done.

House Cleaning Motivation Tip #4: Set a Timer

Have you ever told your kids you would time them to do something they *really* don’t want to do? All of a sudden, the crummy task of eating peas or changing into pajamas becomes exciting because they’re racing against the clock.

You can motivate yourself the same way!

One day, I had popped something in the oven for lunch and it was going to need 8 minutes of cook time. I wanted to see what I could get done during those moments. 

In those 8 minutes, I straightened up the couch and throw pillows, swept dirty towels from all rooms and bathrooms and threw them in the wash. I washed my face, and did a quick once over in my half bath by wiping the sink, toilet, scrubbing the toilet bowl, replacing the toilet paper roll, and emptying the trash. I still had a minute or two left and was able to wash a couple random dishes that littered the counter.

Woah! It made me feel like Super Woman!

This trick is especially great when you have a bigger project. A few weeks ago, my desk was overrun with stacks of papers, notebooks, pens, you name it. And my desk chair looked like my closet threw up on it. Do you have a chair that has become overrun with clothes when you can’t be bothered to hang them up, too?

I hated looking at the mess but just couldn’t bring myself to start working on it because I was overwhelmed. It’s not like everything could just be thrown away. There were important papers that needed to be filed or dealt with. An entire wardrobe practically needed to be hung up or folded.

Rather than allowing the overwhelm to overrule me, I decided to set a timer for 10 minutes each day for a week. When the 10 minutes was up, I stopped where I was and left it alone until the next day. In truth, I surprised myself by only needing three 10 minute sessions to complete a job that I had put off FOR MONTHS because I thought it would be too daunting. 

Imagine what you could get done by setting a couple of timers and working diligently for those few minutes!

House Cleaning Motivation Tip #5: Get the Fam Involved

Many hands make light work. Now that my boys are older, they are definitely expected to pitch in more. It’s all part of being a family and contributing to the well being of our home.

Each of our boys has a chore that they are responsible for daily (things that are separate from cleaning up after themselves, their rooms, and their own hygiene <<< still a work in progress, why are boys so gross?!

Our oldest empties the dishwasher each morning. Our second oldest is responsible for taking out the trash. Number Three has to dry and put away any dishes that were hand washed and didn’t go in the dishwasher. And our youngest wipes down the table and sweeps, and is supposed to help us remember to start the dishwasher every night.

Handsome Hubby is awesome for volunteering to clean out the fridge each week because he knows I LOATHE that job.

See what you can delegate to your family to help things run smoothly. Splitting the tasks makes keeping up with housework much easier. It may not be perfect or just the way you would do it, but that’s ok. Everyone is learning different skills and forming better habits.

>>If you’re looking for a Simple DIY Chore Chart system for your kids, check this one out!

And lastly, let’s look at what I think is the most important motivation for cleaning house.

House Cleaning Motivation Tip #6: Get On Your Knees and Inspect Your Heart

You can learn all the tips for cleaning house in the world, but if you’re not addressing the real heart issues, your newfound wisdom will still fall short. A friend of mine once said that many times she has scrubbed her floor on her hands and knees to remember to be grateful for her floors.

When we’re tired and trying to get all of our to-dos done, how much better would we feel if we changed our perspective as we checked off our lists?

If we remembered to thank God for the home he’s provided us as we dust and vacuum.

If we remembered to be thankful for the food that was enjoyed off of that dirty plate we now have to wash.

If we remembered how grateful we are for the chance to mother the children that dirty up all those clothes and leave handprints all over the walls. And yes, even for the ones with terrible aim that you’ll one day swear to your daughters-in-law that you tried, you really, really tried.

If we remembered that for many of us, what we have right now is something we used to dream about and pray for.

Would the you that used to pray for this life be proud of how you’re managing her dream come true?

Do you think God feels like you’re being a good steward of the time He’s granted you and the people with which He’s entrusted you?

If we can fill our hearts with gratitude and remember WHY we are homemakers, it’ll be much easier to find our motivation. Remember, our help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121)

Wrapping Up Motivation for Cleaning House When You Just Can’t Even

I hope these 6 ideas will help you in your homemaking, Friend. By creating a schedule, getting yourself ready for the day, playing music, setting timers, delegating tasks to your family, and inspecting your own heart, I believe you’ll be ready to keep up with housework steadily.

You can get off the Stay at Home Mom Struggle Bus and create a home that thrives.

Tell me, where do you find motivation for cleaning house, even when you’d rather be doing something, anything else? Can’t wait to see what tips you have!

If you loved this post, read:

Modern Homemaking – how to find happiness as a Stay-at-home-mom.

Tired Moms – when mom life is tough, know that you’re not alone.

Soul Care – self care for Christian moms.

Motivation for Cleaning House

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