What To Do When You Don’t Feel Like Cleaning

lazy homemakerAn offline friend of mine who knows I have a homemaking blog, recently asked me how she could get in the mood to clean her house when she just didn’t feel like it.

Believe me, I totally understand this feeling. I try to keep a loose cleaning schedule, such as dusting, sweeping and mopping one day, the bathrooms another day, laundry every other day, etc.

However, there are days when life circumstances throw me off schedule and then the next day, I have even more house work to do. And then I feel overwhelmed.

Then there are those days, where I just feel lazy. I do have some excuses for it. I’m going through menopause, am over 50, have a thyroid issue that drains my energy and am taking care of a toddler and a disabled elderly mother. And trying to run several businesses. Who wouldn’t feel tired?

I seem to do pretty well keeping up with the housework for a few months and then suddenly, I am just too tired to deal with it. But that doesn’t make the cleaning magically do itself.

I sometimes daydream that I’m like Samantha in Bewitched, and I just wiggle my nose, and all the stuff that needs to get done, starts doing it by itself. The broom starts sweeping, the dishes are being washed by invisible hands and the laundry just miraculously puts itself away after being washed, dried and folded. Ahhh, wouldn’t that be nice?

Okay, Cathy, snap out of it! The reality is, unless I can afford to hire someone, which I can’t at the moment, the responsibility of keeping the house clean is up to me. And it’s so much easier to keep up with these tasks than it is to let it go and then try to catch up.

So what can we do when we don’t feel like cleaning? I’m sure this feeling isn’t just exclusive to myself and my friend. I suspect 99.9% of us feel that way at least occasionally.

Break it Down

Looking at a messy house knowing you have hours of housework ahead of you can be depressing to say the least. Instead, break everything down into smaller tasks.

I did this today. I had my toddler granddaughter with me for the past 48 hours straight and not only was I tired from taking care of an active toddler, the house was a mess. So I decided to just get the living room clean. That way if anyone came to the door, they wouldn’t see the mess in the rest of the house. I actually managed to get the living room, dining room, front hallway and bathroom clean before I pooped out.

Hopefully I’ll get to the rest of it tomorrow although I’ll have the baby again and I have to take my wheel chair bound mother to the doctor so I’m not sure I’ll get much done. But if I can just manage one task on my list tomorrow, I’ll feel like I accomplished something.


There is no better motivation for cleaning up your home than inviting guests over. For me, the thought of people sitting in my home, silently judging me for the film of dust over everything is a nightmare. I would do almost anything to avoid that, even clean up my house.

Watch Hoarders

I mentioned this in another post, but this show is such a great motivator to keep me on track. I see what can happen if you let things get too out of control. And somehow cleaning and/or organizing my house makes me feel like I’m helping those people on the show. Crazy, I know, but it works for me.

Trade Services

Years ago, I used to have a friend and neighbor who was a natural clean freak. She had 3 little boys and as we all know, little boys can be quite messy. However, I never saw her house in anything but perfect condition. It always looked like a picture in a decorating magazine. This gal actually liked to clean. Can you imagine that?

Anyway, we struck up a bargain. I would watch her boys one full day a week and she would clean my house for me top to bottom, once a week. Also on cleaning day, I would take her kids and mine to the park or the play park at McDonalds so she could clean without kids underfoot. So actually I had her kids 2 days a week. It was well worth it for me to come home to a beautifully clean house. This arrangement worked well for both of us until her family moved out of the area.

So if you know someone like that, think about what you might offer them in return for them cleaning your house.

Make a Bargain

Often, when I feel overwhelmed or tired and the thought of hours of cleaning is just too much, I will make a bargain with myself. I do it several different ways and they all work.

Sometimes I tell myself to get up and clean for just 15 minutes. That’s all I have to do and then I can sit back down and rest. I will set my timer for 15 minutes. But often, when the timer goes off, I just keep on cleaning.

Another way to bargain is to promise myself a reward when I’m done. An evening soak in the tub with a good book, going to a movie I have been wanting to see or even a pint of Ben and Jerry’s can be great motivation.


If you have able bodied people living with you, they should all have at least one chore they are responsible for even if you are at home full time.  You are not a maid or a servant.

When I did work outside the home and had a full house, we did a Saturday clean-a-thon. I made a master chore list and assigned each family member 2-3 jobs. Then we would crank up the music, and plow through the cleaning. No one could quit until their chores were done and were inspected for quality. Then when we were all done, we would go out to dinner and sometimes do something fun like go play putt-putt, go for a walk on the beach or go see a movie. It was a nice family time. Even the cleaning wasn’t so bad when everyone was doing it.

Those are my tips for cleaning when you don’t feel like it. If you have any more to offer, please leave a comment with how you motivate yourself to clean.



6 thoughts on “What To Do When You Don’t Feel Like Cleaning

  1. Hi Cathy,

    Stopped by on my ‘tour’ of the Top 25 Home Management Blogs….

    I had to laugh when you mentioned Bewitched…. some people don’t even know who Sam, Darrin or Esmeralda were… what a shame…. But anyhoo…. my friend & I don’t share Bewitched magic – we just dream of the day when Sven the masseuse, Cabana Boy – the cute pool boy & Mimi the maid will stop by…. It always seems that that darn Mimi has run off again with both Cabana Boy & Sven & we are once again stuck with the cleaning – dang ol’ Mimi!!! At least we get a laugh out of it & can get to work on a happy note.

    I like your tips! Thanks!

  2. OOOh, I like that day dream. I’ll take Sven the masseuse any day but I’ll make my maid in the dream some homely but very efficient cleaner.

    You are right, most young people wouldn’t know who Samantha was in Bewitched.

    I just asked my 3 kids aged 26, 23, & 20 if they knew who she was. The 20 yr old said he remembered who from TV Land or Nick at Night or one of those stations that plays old TV shows.

  3. I used to have places to put everything in place. Now I am old and my place is a mess. I always was neat, ever put canned goods, etc in alpha order. What happened to me?

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