How to Get Motivated to Clean and Declutter?

declutter motivationNo one wants a cluttered, messy home, but it’s too easy to end up that way. Worse, energy stagnates once a room, apartment, or whole house falls behind, and motivation to clean the home becomes more arduous. The good news is that there are solutions.

  • 1. Why Do I Have No Motivation to Clean?

If you aren’t motivated to clean your room, house, kitchen, and so forth, don’t beat yourself up. It doesn’t help. As for why you’re not motivated, several reasons exist, going from the most minor or straightforward to the more complex.

  • Most people view cleaning and decluttering as a chore, and it’s hard to be enthusiastic about anything that seems like drudgery.
  • Life in 2022 is hectic, and the pandemic hasn’t helped. It’s easy to have good intentions and fall behind on the daily or weekly tasks that help one stay on top of clutter and dirt. If you work long hours, multiple jobs, or have a significant commute, it’s even more challenging. Then if you have children, it’s even easier to get bogged down with their activities and homework, leaving even less time for cleaning.
  • Mental health can be a factor. People suffering from depression or anxiety often have little energy for life’s basics, which can become a problem with clutter and/or cleaning. Or sometimes, people with depression think they’re keeping up and fail to recognize that insufficient effort is being made. Either option can turn into a downward spiral.

Those with ADHD can also struggle with motivation to clean and declutter. For these people, it’s often a lack of focus, which can spiral into overwhelm.

Those dealing with schizophrenia can have an even more intense version of avolition, such as an extreme lack of motivation to do anything. Even getting out of bed or off the couch feels impossible. Avolition can also be a side effect of certain medications or severe deficits in dopamine.

Avolition can also be a side effect of:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Severe clinical depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Dysthymia (persistent depressive disorder)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder (PDD)
  • 2. How Do You Get Motivation to Clean?

It helps to figure out what’s going on. If you have a case of “I don’t wanna,” bribing yourself with a fun activity or treat after completing the task can work. If avolition or some other aspect of mental health is a factor, speak to your doctor or therapist to address that underlying condition before proceeding with the advice below.

If cleaning and/or decluttering feels overwhelming, you need tactics to counter the overwhelm. If you’re feeling burnt out  from the stress of the past few years, address the burnout. You may also need help, especially if your to-do list is too much to handle. That might also require shedding tasks that aren’t necessary.

Some people benefit from setting a goal but be careful, which can feed overwhelm in some cases. Focus on small, achievable tasks  like “take out the trash,” “empty dishwasher,” or “clean sink.” Small accomplishments stack and feed motivation.

Consider a challenging approach. That can be cleaning for 10 minutes a day, every day (set a timer!) or setting a goal to get rid of X number of things every day (this works best if clutter is the main problem), or something similar. PopSugar has a cleaning challenge  you can download and check off as you accomplish it, so you feel satisfaction.

  • 3. How Do You Motivate Yourself to Clean Your Room?

Whether it’s a dorm room, an apartment shared with a roommate, or kids at home, motivation to clean your room is vital because clutter and mess can take an even more significant psychological toll in a small space. You can also do your children an excellent service by teaching them good habits and making cleaning fun – or at least not drudgery. WikiHow  has excellent tips for how to get and stay motivated to clean and declutter your room.

  • 4. How Do You Focus While Cleaning?

Using a timer is a focusing tip for cleaning or any other task people tend to avoid. Setting one for 10 or 15 minutes applies gentle mental pressure to keep you focused on a task. When the timer goes off, either stop for the day and do it again tomorrow, take a 5-10 minute break, and then start repeating as necessary.

For some people, shifting the time of day  you clean helps with focus. Morning people often do better first thing in the morning, especially if they can clean before others wake up and get in your way. For night owls, cleaning late when the house is quiet might help you avoid distractions. In either case, just avoid noisy tasks like vacuuming.

For those with ADHD or other focus issues, the “Junebugging” technique may work. This method acknowledges that focus is an issue. Pick a spot you want clean and/or declutter. Bring yourself back to your designated place if you get distracted or sidetracked. Don’t beat yourself up. Just keep coming back to the specified location and task until done.

Box&Co Helps You Get Organized


Less underfoot can help motivate you to clean your home and make cleaning easier. Store items only used seasonally – Box&Co can make it incredibly easy. Just request storage containers , and we’ll deliver them. Then, you pack your items, and when you’re ready, we’ll pick your stuff up and store them. We’ll return your items when needed, and you can keep track of your stored items online. To learn more, contact us today.

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