If you’re like me — an overthinker who is also a little on the lazy side — household chores can seem overwhelming and endless. I’ve often wished for an easy way to learn how to stop being lazy and clean my house. Well, no magic fairy ever showed up to solve the problem for me, but hopefully what I’ve learned over the years will help you with this struggle.
Cleaning your house isn’t the only sign that you’ve learned how to stop being lazy, but it’s one that can bring a certain sense of satisfaction as you push past your personal roadblocks. Let’s talk about some tips for keeping things in order without changing your entire personality.
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Time to get real… This post is about one of my personal struggles, and I don’t claim to have this whole thing down perfectly. Honestly, having an operating-room-clean home is not one of my highest priorities.
I grew up doing specific house-cleaning chores every week. Then, when I moved out on my own, I realized that I was now in charge and didn’t have to do all that work if I didn’t want to.
So I didn’t.
I lived alone in an apartment on a street without much dust. Most things didn’t get very dirty, so being too lazy to clean the house didn’t really have any negative consequences.
Then I got married.
And had children.
And moved to a house on a dirt road surrounded by farmers’ fields.
And burned wood for heat in the winter.
And became a stay-at-home mom for a few years while my boys were little.
And then I was working full-time when my children were in school.
I realized that my house wasn’t going to clean itself. But, I kind of hated the whole idea of cleaning. I mean, what was the point when it was just going to get dirty again?
I had to figure out ways to MAKE myself clean. The skills were there, but I had to make some personal changes… and you will, too. Let’s get started…
The Dilemma: How Do I Stop Being Lazy and Clean My House?
Being motivated to clean does help you take action, but this post isn’t about your ‘why’ – for that discussion, read my post on how to get motivated to clean and declutter. This post is about answering ‘HOW to stop being lazy and clean my house?’
If you basically always feel too lazy to clean house, there are choices:
- Hire a cleaning person.
- Become homeless when the house is condemned.
- Delegate ALL of the various tasks to people who live with you.
- Learn how to stop being lazy and clean the doggone house.
The reality is, most of the time option #4 is the answer.
But how exactly do we do that? I’ve got a few suggestions and ideas. Implementing some or all of them will make a big difference. But even if your house is never 100% clean, at least it will be BETTER… and that’s really the point. 🙂
Define ‘lazy’ for yourself. When ‘meh, it can go a little longer’ turns into forever/never, there’s a problem. And there are certain minimums that nobody should fall below. Watch ‘Hoarders’ if you need a lesson. If you find yourself relating a little too much, this is your wakeup call.
Mindsets must be adjusted for personal capacity. I adopted the motto ‘good enough is good enough.’ To this day my house is never spic and span, eat-off-the-floor clean. But really, who wants to eat off the floor?
So… what is clean enough? The answer to this is different for everyone. I will never EVER see the point in spending two hours cleaning and tidying my house every. single. day. But as long as the counters are clean and I’m not walking through spiderwebs every morning or stepping in anything icky, I feel like it’s mostly good.
Find your ‘clean enough’ level… this should be several notches above ‘my house could be condemned’ and ‘CPS could take away my children.’
I know firsthand that saying ‘just do the things’ is NOT the answer. I still tend toward the lazy side, but using these tips and tricks usually helps when the house hits my personal ‘gotta do something’ level.
Actionable Tips to Start Cleaning Your House
First, two quick-win ideas that aren’t exactly about cleaning…
1. Host gatherings often. There’s NOTHING like having people over to prompt a cleaning spree! And the more often you have people over, the less dirt and clutter will have time to build up in between. 😉
2. Unplug from the tech. Unless you’re playing music/listening to a podcast while cleaning, you need to get yourself away from your devices for a while every single day. Turn them off 30-60 minutes before bed and designate some of that screen-free time for cleaning.
Okay, now onto the ‘how to stop being lazy and clean the house’ part…
Use a Timer and Let Go of ‘All-or-Nothing’
Setting a timer for cleaning and tidying is a good way to a) up your productivity and b) make the task more manageable. You would be surprised at what a difference 10 minutes makes!
If you’re tired and you’re staring at a messy room, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There’s no way you’re going to clean up the whole room.
Here’s the thing… You don’t have to do all of it at once to make a big impact on how the house looks. The kitchen’s a mess? Turn on some music and do the dishes. The hallway looks like a tornado hit? Pick up the coats and pair the shoes.
Use a timer on your phone and give yourself permission to stop when it goes off. You’ve done some work, and the world won’t end if you don’t get every item put away. You can always do another mini-session later.
This is a great way to make a task seem less daunting — you can’t get stuck doing it forever if you’ve got a timer going! When my dishwasher isn’t working and I have to do my most-hated chore — dishes — the ONLY way I can start is by telling myself ‘you only have to do this for 10 minutes.’ And you know what… that’s usually exactly how long it takes to get them all washed! If I can’t totally finish them… oh, well. I don’t stress.
When you start that timer, it’s not the time to fully evaluate which thing ‘should’ be done first. Either you already know what needs to be done, or you just start with whatever is closest to you.
Start Building Cleaning Habits
This isn’t an overnight solution, but habits can turn into the best way to stop being lazy… because you don’t have to DECIDE, you just DO.
The very first habit to start building is putting stuff where it belongs after you’re done using it.
Does that sound obvious? It is, but it’s something we’re all guilty of, especially when we’re tired or distracted.
When you’ve finished with something, where do you put it? On the coffee table? On your bedside table? On the floor?
If so, that means later you’ll have to pick it up and put it away. You’ve created a job for yourself. Instead, try and put it down where it belongs — and suddenly, you’ve eliminated a future task.
Don’t stack plates on the counter above the dishwasher; put them inside. Don’t put your clean laundry on the chair; hang it in the closet. You get the idea. The next time you’re tempted to set something down ‘for now,’ think about this post and put it AWAY.
Yes, I know ‘building habits’ is absolutely the MOST difficult thing to do when you’re on the lazy side — 😉 — so start small and practice.
Daily habits to keep the worst areas under control are the easiest way to feel like your house is mostly clean, most of the time.
Make It Fun-ish
This isn’t Mary-Poppins-fairytale-nonsense. Okay, by definition cleaning isn’t actually fun, but you can make it more enjoyable in little ways, and this REALLY WILL help.
Pair cleaning with something enjoyable.
My favorite is turning up the tunes. Upbeat music is fantastic for getting us moving. Once you’re moving with the purpose of cleaning, you’ll realize how playing fast music helps you clean faster.
You could even consider cleaning to be a form of exercise — especially if you usually tend to sit on the couch for hours every evening. Just sayin’… nothing wrong with counting this whole cleaning thing as double duty. 🙂
Reward yourself after or while you’re cleaning, and it will make the chore more bearable. You don’t need to go nuts, but turn household chores into something a little more fun by finding small ways to enjoy them.
Get Some Accountability
This could be as simple as cleaning with your spouse or partner — or your children (more on that later).
Maybe you take before and after pictures to prove to yourself that you really did the work and it made a difference.
You could also:
- journal your cleaning — this could be super-helpful if you want to really work through what you feel on your journey from being lazy to always having a clean-ish house
- make checklists and mark off your progress
- post on FB or Instagram
- send a message/picture to your mom
Really, do whatever it takes to keep you on track.
Keep Cleaning Supplies Where They’re Used
It might seem like a good idea to store all of your cleaning supplies in one place — and if you have little ones, that may be your only option. But that means any time you’re struck by the sudden, burning desire to clean something (hey, it could happen), you have to go get the supplies.
If you’ve already got them nearby, you’re much more likely to give something a quick wipe or polish as part of your daily routine.
Of course, this doesn’t mean leaving the vacuum cleaner in your living room. (Remember that part about putting things AWAY?) I’m talking about keeping a full set of cleaning supplies in each bathroom, etc. And now that I think about it, a vacuum for each floor of a 2-story house isn’t actually a bad idea at all. Hmmm… something to consider…
Teach By Example
If you have children, do the entire family a favor and teach them how to clean quickly and efficiently.
Those little ones won’t have mommy around to clean up after them forever, and you would be doing them a disservice by doing all of the cleaning tasks throughout their growing-up years. You really don’t want to toss them out of the nest (or drop them off at their college dorm) without them having a single clue about how to do laundry or wash dishes or clean a bathroom.
The bonus is that your children can take over several cleaning tasks long before they even move out of the house, taking a few things off your plate while they learn to be responsible.
FAQ: Is It Lazy to Have a Cleaner?
No. End of discussion.
If someone has put that idea into your head, you might want to stop following them on social media. Nobody needs that kind of negativity in their life. 😉
But seriously… what if none of the suggestions in this post work for you?
If you simply have so much going on in your life that you can’t even start cleaning, there is nothing wrong with hiring someone with the skill sets required to do the job!
And when I say ‘so much going on,’ it means anything from an insane work schedule and family obligations to being physically disabled, ill, or depressed.
There is no shame in getting help.
Heck, if you can afford it and just WANT to hire someone to clean your home, there’s nothing wrong with that either!
More Help to Get Your Life and Home Together
Concluding Thoughts On Laziness and Cleaning
We all know what it’s like to struggle with household chores and never feel you’re on top of them.
This is what I want you to remember:
- A few simple habits can make all. the. things easier.
- It’s not ‘cheating’ if you don’t finish everything.
- Your house does not have to be magazine-perfect.
- A ‘good-enough’ clean home that keeps you happy and safe… that’s what counts.
So it’s time to stop wondering how to stop being lazy and start cleaning… because now you have everything you need to begin AND succeed.
You’ve got this!
Don’t forget to grab the Tidy Home Habit Tracker…
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