10 Tips for Decluttering and Cleaning When You Don’t Have the Motivation

Sometimes the best of us want to have that clean, clutter free house. We want the benefits of feeling better that come with a decluttered home. Unfortunately, for many of us, it can be tough to know where to start. There have been so many studies that prove that a cluttered home can actually aid in depression. So what do you do when you feel stuck? How do you start decluttering and cleaning when you just don’t have the motivation? Well, I have put together some practical tips to help get you started.

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Set a timer

The biggest problem with cleaning and decluttering is often how long we think about it beforehand. I swear, after we downsized our house, I went through a PTSD type of struggle when it came to cleaning.

Our previous home took forever to clean and I cleaned every single day. So when our new home started to look a little messy, I would spend a good hour just panicking about the fact that I was going to have to clean.

Then you know what? I would just start cleaning and BOOM, I was done in less than 30 minutes.

The best way to get over this hump and out of your head is to just set a timer.

Set a timer for 15 minutes. That way you are only committing to a small amount of time, but you are sure to get something done.

Consider a smaller space

Like I said, cleaning a bigger house is going to take more time and effort. Do you think you and your family are ready for a downsize? Would that improve not only your cleaning times but your relationships as well?

I’m not saying downsizing is for everyone, but it’s often a solution that is the least considered.

For us downsizing not only cut back on our cleaning times, but it created more time for us as a family, improved our relationships and helped us get right with our finances.

Is downsizing right for you?

Watch Marie Kondo on Netflix

Now, I’m not giving you permission to binge watch on Netflix! I do however recommend checking out Marie Kondo’s Netflix special, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

This show has the ability to give you ideas on how to declutter and organize your home, plus a little added motivation to get going.

After watching 2 episodes Tom and I immediately tackled our dresser and closet. Checkout our results.

Clean while you microwave

The microwave is like a timer you don’t even have to think about. In fact, you could probably get 15 minutes worth of cleaning in every day if you just took the time to clean something whenever you use the microwave.

I could probably clean my entire house with how much I use the microwave just to re-heat my coffee.

Scrub down the counters, throw dirty dishes into the dishwasher and if you have longer than a few minutes, maybe you could do a quick vacuum session.

You’d be surprised how much you can accomplish in such a short period of time.

Other great decluttering posts:

Include the family

If you have people living at home with you, who says you’re in this whole decluttering and cleaning thing all by yourself? My theory is, if they helped make the mess, they can help clean it.

Tips for quick cleaning with kids:

  • Write 5 minute chores on pieces of paper. Put in a bucket. Every day everyone grabs one chore.
  • Everyone picks up their clutter whenever the microwave is on.
  • Once a month, give everyone a garbage bag to declutter and clean their rooms.

Make a small to do list

Just like we tend to over-think our cleaning and decluttering process, we often make our to-do list way too big.

Chances are you have spent all day making a mental note of all the things you need to fix, clean or tidy. This is me giving you permission to break that list down a little bit.

Sure, you might have 20 things that need cleaning, but start with 3. Make a goal to get through just those 3 things. I promise, it will make a world of difference and can help inspire you to keep going the next day.

Start with the easy stuff

Maybe you have a huge craft room filled to the brim with clutter. Don’t start there. Start with the paperwork on the kitchen counter.

Starting with smaller tasks has the ability to make you feel successful and will encourage you to keep going.

Have you ever heard about the book Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World? It’s based around the idea that if you start your day by making your bed, it can transform the trajectory of your day because you are starting your day with one small success.

Avoid creating clutter

Chances are, there is probably a way you can avoid creating clutter in the first place. Think about where your biggest problem area is in your home and come up with some ideas on how to prevent it from happening in the first place.

For example, our family has always struggled with dishes in the sink. When I see dishes in the sink, I instantly feel dirty and frustrated.

Our oldest daughter used to be in charge of doing dishes but she wouldn’t do them until night time. That meant our dirty dishes sat all day long. Clearly we needed to make a change.

Instead of just tossing dishes into the sink, we rinse them off and put them in the dishwasher right away! What do you know, it worked!

This took a while to create the habit for our family, but I am so thankful we implemented it. Avoiding the clutter altogether is a great way to save time and frustration.

Stop buying new things

If you still need to declutter your closet or clean out the garage, get yourself in the habit of not buying anything new to fill up these spaces.

Often times when we feel stressed or depressed, our first thought is to give in to our bad little habits. For me, shopping was is of those habits.

Remind yourself that purchasing anything new is working against your cause, especially if you are battling a lot of clutter. Before you buy anything new, make it a goal to clean through the space in your home where you’ll be placing the item.

If you’re going to buy a new shirt, make sure your closet has already been completely decluttered and organized. Otherwise, you are working against yourself.

Seek help

There is a big different between lacking a little motivation and finding yourself seriously depressed.

If you think you might be depressed, don’t assume that clutter is the only problem. In order to assure your best health, don’t be afraid to reach out and seek the guidance of a physician or therapist.

Decluttering and cleaning can help improve your moods immensely, but there may still be further help that you need.

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