If you are already someone who doesn’t find cleaning fun or relaxing like the Hinchers, figuring out how to get motivated to clean when overwhelmed by mess is even harder than getting motivated to clean on a normal day.
I remember having a meltdown when I was about 9 because my room was so messy and I couldn’t figure out where to start.
That dramatic kid comes back every so often when somehow my house has become the site of an atomic bomb that has scattered stuff to every corner of the room and I’m trying to find calming things to do based on the stress my house gives me.
In this guide on how to get motivated to clean when overwhelmed by mess and clutter, we’re already past the point where I can advise you to clean as you go so it doesn’t get to this point.
Like, you’re there. It’s a mess. Now what?
Firstly, you can work on your actual motivation to start cleaning, which won’t be there inherently because no one wants to clean a messy room.
So what can yo do?
Firstly, check out this amazing housekeeping and decluttering printable which goes a long way to help you organize and tackle the tasks without it feeling like such a chore.
1. Visualize the room clean and how it makes you feel
Close your eyes and picture yourself standing in a freshly clean room.
How do you feel?
Do you finally have space for a hobby or activity you’ve been wanting to work on?
Before you actually tackle the room, try to sweep all the mess away in your mind and use that to inspire you.
2. Get mad at yourself
Someone let the room or house become overwhelmed by clutter.
Was it you?
Get mad about it.
Get mad at yourself for letting it get this far and use this anger to encourage you to get off your butt and start picking things up.
Is this really the kind of person you want to be, living in your own filth?
No, of course not.
Be mad at the person who did that and promise to never do it again.
3. Recruit HELP
We all have that one weird friend who lives to clean and organize.
Recruit their help in exchange for cooking them dinner or taking them out somewhere.
When you’ve committed to cleaning with another person, you’re much more likely to stick with a plan and feel less overwhelmed.
This is obviously a tactic to use when the room has gotten so far past the point of no return and not just for regular cleaning.
And don’t make them pick up anything gross.
Do a sweep of the room to make sure they’re not going to be putting their hands in ten day old pizza sauce.
Secondly, to get motivated to clean when you’re overwhelmed by mess and clutter, you can take steps to make sure you’re cleaning in the least stressful way possible.
These are some of my top tips for how to actually clean when the mess is overwhelming.
4. Clean one section at a time until it’s fully clean
There’s an argument to be made that the best thing to inspire you to keep cleaning is seeing a portion of the room actually clean, not just visualizing.
Divide the room into zones and tackle just one zone at a time.
The zones can be as big or as small as you want, but the idea is that by fully cleaning each zone, you’ll be more inspired to keep going and able to stay focused on your cleaning goal.
For example, if you need to clean your entire downstairs, just start by fully cleaning the front entrance.
Then let the cleaning progress further and further, only focusing your attention on small bits at a time.
5. Do one cleaning task across the whole room before moving on to the next one
Another tactic is to only do one type of cleaning or decluttering task at once.
For instance, sweep through the room and only focus on picking up any dirty clothes.
Once that’s done, go through it again and this time you’re looking for any trash.
Keep this going until you get to things like dusting and vacuuming.
This helps because it keeps you focused in a different way on a very specific task, which can help you temporarily ignore the rest of what’s going on around you.
6. Make it a challenge
It sounds like something you do with kids to convince them to clean their rooms, but we’re all kids at heaet.
Set yourself a challenge to clean the room by a certain time to both minimise your time cleaning and make you see it as a game or challenge.
This isn’t a good idea if you’re the type of person to get stressed out by a time limit, but if you’re competitive or just really don’t want to spend too much time cleaning, let this help you focus on the clock instead of the mess.
7. Accept that it sucks
Sometimes we try to find motivation for things that just inherently suck.
You’re not curing cancer, you’re cleaning up your disgusting bedroom that has junk all over it.
The fact that you lack motivation isn’t entirely surprising, and sometimes you just have to have a real talk with yourself and be like ‘yes, this sucks, but you got yourself into this literal mess so you can spend this time getting yourself out of it.”
No amount of inspirational jargon, quotes on staying focused, or self help books are going to make it fun to wipe pizza sauce off the floor, so just suck it up.