Motivation

How do those of you who don’t find cleaning relaxing/cathartic/etc motivate yourself to actually clean & tidy around the house?

I have an ongoing problem with this: I just can’t find the get-go to do housework. I look around the place, and I see little tufts of cat-fur, or dust, or what-have-you, and it bothers me, but that never stops me from doing anything but cleaning up. It’s somewhat like making the bed for me. I love slipping into a bed that’s been made, but everymorning when I get up, I look at the crumpled sheets & duvet and I think to myself: “Why should I make the bed? I’m just going to wreck it the night”. With housework, I often find myself asking “why should I [insert cleaning verb here]? It’s just going to get dirty all over again.” After a while, which is definitely slightly too long, it gets to be so gross that I have to clean. At this point, however, it always seems like far too much work, and so I let it sit for a couple of days more. If it wasn’t for Leah a)doing far more than her share of the housework b)kicking my butt to do some housework, I really worry what my place would look like.

When Leah was away, I did a big cleanup of the office/hall, bedroom and livingroom, and afterwards, the place looked great, I felt better about it, and I was happy that Leah would be coming home to a clean house. However, over the course of the next 5 days, it of course got a little dirtier. I had plans to mop & scrub the kitchen floor, do to dusting and tidying of everything in general. I, however, found innumerable other things to do in the interim, and it didn’t get done. This weekend now, I’m busy tonight. Saturday, I’ll be out from around 11:00 am until the evening, so I won’t want to clean. Saturday night I’ll be out again, so no cleaning then. Which leaves Sunday. I’m going to have to do some work on Sunday, which means I need to set aside most of the afternoon. If I get up late-ish, it’ll take me a while to get going, and then the weekend will be over and I still won’t have cleaned. It seems like virtually every weekend is like this. Somehow, the entire weekend slips past without me finding time to clean. Of course, I could possibly schedule some cleaning time, but I rebel horribly against scheduled things in my private life.

Maybe this is just a getting older thing? A being responsible thing? Am I displaying my clinging-to-my-last-vestiges-of-childhood by not cleaning? How sad would that be? If I liked where I lived more would I clean more? Is it a culturally inbred reaction to housework (the whole men don’t do any)? How lame an excuse is that!? Certainly my parents share pretty equally in the housework (now, I can’t remember how that worked when I was young, although they do have a housekeeper, and have had one for as long as I can recall, so the housework was mostly tidying so she could clean. And come to think of it, I’m a pretty good tidyer, but a piss-poor cleaner. Could be a connection there).

Does anyone have any solutions for how I could possibly motivate myself? Stories on how you motivate yourselves? Comiseration (sp?) because you can’t bring yourself to clean up either? etc?

18 Replies to “Motivation”

  1. Here’s what you do. You pay yourself every time you clean. For example, making the bed is $2, doing the dishes is $1, mop/scrub the floor is $5, etc… Then you take that money and put it in a jar or whatever, as long as you set it aside somehow. Then you use the money to take a trip or buy some big ticket item for the apartment. I realize you could just save the money and not do the work, but that wouldn’t get your place clean 🙂

  2. Here’s what you do. You pay yourself every time you clean. For example, making the bed is $2, doing the dishes is $1, mop/scrub the floor is $5, etc… Then you take that money and put it in a jar or whatever, as long as you set it aside somehow. Then you use the money to take a trip or buy some big ticket item for the apartment. I realize you could just save the money and not do the work, but that wouldn’t get your place clean 🙂

  3. hey….steve….when you guys were both away, I actually swept all the hardwood, cleaned your kitchen counters and did the dishes. 😛
    not much help, but I’m one of those freaks who enjoys it.
    sometimes.

  4. hey….steve….when you guys were both away, I actually swept all the hardwood, cleaned your kitchen counters and did the dishes. 😛
    not much help, but I’m one of those freaks who enjoys it.
    sometimes.

  5. You get past 25 years old, and your frontal lobe grows all the way out, and you figure out how to get past the moment where you feel compelled to do whatever you want, and haven’t yet figured out how to live with short-term boredom or discomfort.

    You get out of what Damion calls the “swamp of selfhood”. You realize that your desires, aversions and moods aren’t always good guides of what will make you happy or avoid pain.

    You realize how very little investment it takes to do a modest amount of cleaning regularly to get the long term reward of living with less clutter.

    That said, I’m still working on figuring out what I want to eat or how to make it before I become uncomfortably hungry…

  6. You get past 25 years old, and your frontal lobe grows all the way out, and you figure out how to get past the moment where you feel compelled to do whatever you want, and haven’t yet figured out how to live with short-term boredom or discomfort.

    You get out of what Damion calls the “swamp of selfhood”. You realize that your desires, aversions and moods aren’t always good guides of what will make you happy or avoid pain.

    You realize how very little investment it takes to do a modest amount of cleaning regularly to get the long term reward of living with less clutter.

    That said, I’m still working on figuring out what I want to eat or how to make it before I become uncomfortably hungry…

  7. I know that when I get everything org. that I will keep it that way by doing the everyday 30 min cleaning. My thing is getting everything done when you have so much to do!!! I started on my son’s room with all of the clutter and threw-away toys and cleaned his closet and made sure that when he came into his room it was clean, but that is all I have done and I have keep it clean, but moving on the next room is so hard. I just read that if you do the room that you are in the most that you feel like you have done something and that will motivate you to keep going. I just wish that I could stick with a plan that I make and do it but when I get home all i want to do is sit and watch t.v. and I am not a heavy person and I love to go out side and do things but my thing is that on the weekends i don’t even want to go home because i know what i will come home to, so we stay active and we don’t come home until night then we go to bed. What should I do, I am abought to just throw everything away and start over!!

  8. I know that when I get everything org. that I will keep it that way by doing the everyday 30 min cleaning. My thing is getting everything done when you have so much to do!!! I started on my son’s room with all of the clutter and threw-away toys and cleaned his closet and made sure that when he came into his room it was clean, but that is all I have done and I have keep it clean, but moving on the next room is so hard. I just read that if you do the room that you are in the most that you feel like you have done something and that will motivate you to keep going. I just wish that I could stick with a plan that I make and do it but when I get home all i want to do is sit and watch t.v. and I am not a heavy person and I love to go out side and do things but my thing is that on the weekends i don’t even want to go home because i know what i will come home to, so we stay active and we don’t come home until night then we go to bed. What should I do, I am abought to just throw everything away and start over!!

  9. Dear Steve,

    It sounds like you have forgotten how it feels to be proud of your accomplishments! Maybe you have taken the reward of a job well done away from yourself. There are a few tricks that can help alot.
    How many people are in your family?
    How many hours a week do you work?
    Do you enjoy the decor of your home?
    Do you have any discretionary funds to work with?

    Cathy

  10. Dear Steve,

    It sounds like you have forgotten how it feels to be proud of your accomplishments! Maybe you have taken the reward of a job well done away from yourself. There are a few tricks that can help alot.
    How many people are in your family?
    How many hours a week do you work?
    Do you enjoy the decor of your home?
    Do you have any discretionary funds to work with?

    Cathy

  11. I had an idea after reading about rewarding ourselves with money. I was thinking that you could also use a point system. For example, the dishes are 5 points, the whole living room is 10 points, etc. You use your points to get a reward. 50 points gets you a massage, a manicure, a trip to a nice restaurant, or whatever. You set it up yourself. Maybe 30 points could be renting a movie, buying a book, taking a bubble bath, or something of the like. That might work for someone. Good luck.

  12. I had an idea after reading about rewarding ourselves with money. I was thinking that you could also use a point system. For example, the dishes are 5 points, the whole living room is 10 points, etc. You use your points to get a reward. 50 points gets you a massage, a manicure, a trip to a nice restaurant, or whatever. You set it up yourself. Maybe 30 points could be renting a movie, buying a book, taking a bubble bath, or something of the like. That might work for someone. Good luck.

  13. When I lack motivation to do housework I make a list and set a timer to complete the tasks on the list. Kitchen 45 minutes, Fold & put away laundry 20 minutes, etc. This way it becomes funner, put on some up-beat music and let the fun begin. Sometimes my list will be even more detailed like Dishes 15 minutes, clean sink 5 minutes, Countertops and stovetop 15 minutes, Floor 10 minutes, etc., I’ll also put the time I start and the time everytying should be finished. By planning my entire day I accomplish so much.

  14. When I lack motivation to do housework I make a list and set a timer to complete the tasks on the list. Kitchen 45 minutes, Fold & put away laundry 20 minutes, etc. This way it becomes funner, put on some up-beat music and let the fun begin. Sometimes my list will be even more detailed like Dishes 15 minutes, clean sink 5 minutes, Countertops and stovetop 15 minutes, Floor 10 minutes, etc., I’ll also put the time I start and the time everytying should be finished. By planning my entire day I accomplish so much.

  15. Plan a luncch date/dinner date/ shopping trip etc at to whizz off to at the end of your cleaning spree. remember – you only need to do a couple of hours and a deadline relly gets you going.

  16. Plan a luncch date/dinner date/ shopping trip etc at to whizz off to at the end of your cleaning spree. remember – you only need to do a couple of hours and a deadline relly gets you going.

  17. Plan a luncch date/dinner date/ shopping trip etc at to whizz off to at the end of your cleaning spree. remember – you only need to do a couple of hours and a deadline relly gets you going.

  18. Plan a luncch date/dinner date/ shopping trip etc at to whizz off to at the end of your cleaning spree. remember – you only need to do a couple of hours and a deadline relly gets you going.

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