When you’re tired, overwhelmed, or managing chronic health problems, it can often feel impossible to figure out how to get the energy to clean house. Cleaning a messy home is often tedious and exhausting work.
You might be tempted to believe it’s simply a matter of reading some good cleaning motivation tips or learning how to stop being lazy and clean the house. There are times when one or both of these is the best way to get the job done.
However, this whole ‘energy’ thing is different — and it’s just as important as motivation. Sometimes the trick is to find more energy, but usually it’s about managing what energy you already have — which can FEEL like you have more energy.
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While I am not a medical professional and cannot speak to specifics regarding depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, or other conditions… I do know what it’s like to feel like I have zero energy for cleaning and housework.
Over the years I’ve learned there are ways to increase — or at least manage — your energy level so you can complete the necessary cleaning tasks around the house. Let’s talk about what you can do in order to get the energy you need for your next cleaning session.
What is the Role of Energy in House Cleaning?
When your mind is overwhelmed or your body refuses to cooperate, you may find yourself putting off chores such as cleaning. You WANT a clean home, but your brain is telling you that the only way that can happen is if you clean the entire house at once — and that sends your stress level soaring and basically makes you shut down completely.
You might think, ‘I’ll do it tomorrow.’ But the problem with putting off tasks is that ‘tomorrow’ we often STILL don’t have the energy we need to clean effectively.
Putting everything off means it takes extra time to get through specific tasks when ‘can’t put it off any longer’ cleaning time comes around. There might be a buildup of dirt and grime that needs to be dealt with before the next chore can begin or an entire month’s worth of dirty laundry that needs to be sorted through so it can be taken care of.
Why is Energy Important When Cleaning?
When your mind isn’t focused and you don’t have much energy, not only does it impact what you are able to do in the cleaning process, but it also gives you a negative outlook. When you feel exhausted after work, for example, you might feel too tired to clean or you might dread it because of all the other tasks on your list that seem more appealing to accomplish first.
Many people assume that energy is the same thing as motivation. I learned that energy levels are different from motivation levels. You can have all the motivation in the world to WANT to clean your messy house — but then it just doesn’t happen… again and again and again. (No judgement! I’ve been there!)
What you CAN do is find ways to do little things to make cleaning house a task you can accomplish on a regular basis.
Building Energy for Cleaning
There are a few different ways that you can build energy in preparation for doing your next round of housework. The next time you’re facing the prospect of tackling a dirty house, consider implementing these energy boosters and ways to manage tasks vs. energy.
1- Take a Shower
A shower is a good energy booster for housework. Basically, you’re giving yourself a mini-break to clean your body before cleaning your living space.
You’ll feel refreshed and ready to keep moving at least for a little while.
2- Eat Healthy Food and Drink Water
Eating healthy food and drinking enough water can really improve energy levels. Try to get in solid meals that have protein for energy and fit with your health management goals. Avoid sugar — any temporary energy spike isn’t worth the longer-lasting negative effects.
Finally, make sure you drink plenty of fluids — especially water — throughout the day to avoid feeling dehydrated.
3- Put on Some Music
Listening to energizing music can make you want to do something active — like cleaning the house.
Listening to energy-boosting music when it’s time for cleaning my home is the quickest way I’ve found to feel some extra energy and get into a good mood — which makes the whole process much more enjoyable!
4- Keep Things Basic
What are the most important things that absolutely MUST be cleaned? This isn’t your wish list, this is things like clean dishes, clean clothes, clean(er) bathroom fixtures, or maybe a pass with the vacuum cleaner or Swiffer.
Figure out these absolute necessities and don’t worry about the rest. You already know you’re not going to deep-clean your whole house anytime soon. Just get that out of your mind.
Be realistic about how much energy you have and what you are able to accomplish with it. This is about managing energy, not creating it. And while I absolutely believe that ‘clean enough’ is good enough, there is a certain level of cleanliness that you and your home both deserve to enjoy.
For example, if you’re tired, then an entire clean kitchen might not be possible that day. So take it down to what’s actually necessary, which is probably dishes and wiping down cooking areas.
Facing a mountain of dishes and thinking ‘nope’? Keep reading…
5- Create Everyday Habits
Most people don’t realize the power of a few simple habits and how they could be the key to making their homes cleaner.
By structuring different parts of your day to include doing a small task that doesn’t take much time, it becomes much easier to keep the house cleaner without having to put in too much energy.
For example, taking a few seconds after your morning shower to use a daily shower spray can stretch how long you can go between deep cleanings. Then, swish the toilet and wipe down the sink before starting a load of laundry.
Boom… three minutes-ish and you’ve made some good ‘clean house’ progress without expending too much energy.
6- Focus On Short Timed Tasks
Cleaning an entire home — or even an entire room — can be a daunting task, so it’s time to shift your thinking a little bit. In addition to building new habits and figuring out the most important thing that needs to be done, it’s okay to ‘only’ do a small area of a job that might otherwise take a long time or completely exhaust you.
If you break your cleaning sessions down into smaller tasks, then it will seem more manageable and you’ll find yourself eventually getting the job done — even if it’s not all at once.
A couple of tasks that come to mind are dishes and scrubbing the tub.
Standing at the kitchen sink for more than 10 minutes at once absolutely kills my back. So even if there is a big pile on the counter, I set a timer and work for 10 minutes. After that, I might leave something to soak and come back to it in a little while as part of another 10-minute session. But sometimes I simply drain the water and walk away because it’s what I have to do.
Of course, cooking simply with fewer dishes whenever possible helps too. 😉 And more often than I expect, that 10 minutes is enough to wash most or all of the pile.
I often do a similar thing with the tub. We have well water that makes the tub and shower difficult to clean even with a water softener and daily shower spray. So even though I might have ‘clean the bathroom’ on my weekly cleaning schedule, that doesn’t mean I can’t modify the list.
Sometimes it takes me three days to completely clean the tub area — and I don’t feel bad about it. Instead, I look at that tub and smile after the job is finally done.
Emptying the dishwasher takes about 3 minutes. So does ‘folding’ a load of laundry, especially if you hang all of the shirts and then fold the rest as you remove it from the dryer.
So don’t be afraid to set your timer and pace yourself to just do what you can. Telling yourself ‘I only have to do this for 5 minutes’ might be all it takes to give you the energy to take the first step and make headway toward a clean home.
I firmly believe that one of the short tasks in your regular cleaning routine should be decluttering for 10 minutes every day.
Here’s the thing… Getting rid of clutter makes EVERYTHING easier — including cleaning! This means it doesn’t TAKE as much energy to clean… you can get the job done in less time and with less effort… win win win!
Plus there are other benefits to reducing clutter — less visual stress, less dust and other health hazards, and so many other life areas that improve when you declutter and simplify.
More Clean Home Inspiration
Pacing With Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Verywell Health
Need more help for regular cleaning? My 27-page Essential Cleaning Planner has everything you need!
This cleaning planner was designed to take the stress out of cleaning. Create your personal scaled-down cleaning plan, or use the checklists as-is to stay on top of the exact cleaning and maintenance tasks that will keep your home clean and comfortable.
Final Thoughts On How To Get Energy To Clean
Cleaning is an essential part of life, and it’s not something that should be dreaded! It’s how we maintain our living spaces and how to stay healthy.
However, the energy you have in a day is finite and if it’s not managed correctly, then your productivity and your health suffers.
In this blog post, we explored the role energy plays in cleaning and provided some easy tips to increase energy levels when needed.
It isn’t always easy to get motivated enough to start cleaning, but with these ideas, I hope you’ll be able to find success more often than before!
You’ve got this!
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