Every week it’s the same routine: disinfect the kitchen, wash the bedding, vacuum the living room, and scrub the toilets. Or maybe you’re the type who procrastinates on chores until you have company coming. Then it’s a dash to deal with the tower of dishes in the sink and mountain of laundry on the couch.
Either way, housework is something everyone does and no one really enjoys. Rather than slog through your usual cleaning habits, there are some easy ways you can up your housekeeping game. So move out of your cleaning rut and try these six ways to de-humdrum your household chores.
1. Engage Your Senses
It’s difficult to get excited about cleaning when you’re using the same old noxious cleaners. Sure they’re inexpensive, and they definitely do the job, but where is the joy in that?
Recently, the cleaning and laundry markets have exploded with a barrage of high-end fragrance products and lines. In stores and online, there are more options than ever to find aromas that take you straight to your inner sanctum.
From rosewater driftwood disinfectant sprays to basil and sage dish soaps, there are scents for every nose at every price point. You can take clothes washing to the next level with premium scented laundry pods or detergents that are absolute olfactory bliss. And don’t forget your candles and air fresheners! Spend your time cleaning in a haven of heavenly smells that will have you appreciating your hard work long after laundry day.
2. Check Off a To-Do List
Beginning your cleaning routine with a to-do list is a great way to stay focused and motivated. Having a clear picture of what you need to accomplish is proven to increase the likelihood of meeting your goals. It will also help you to recognize the work that you’ve completed, thus increasing your motivation to finish still more tasks.
By creating a list, you can concentrate on one item at a time, rather than bouncing from half-task to half-task. This alone makes cleaning far more productive and time-efficient. Crossing items off of a to-do list also releases feel-good neurochemicals like dopamine and endorphins. These chemicals give you a sense of achievement and eventually train your brain to look forward to receiving these rewards.
3. Make It a Game
Piggybacking on the role of dopamine and endorphins in motivation, it is noteworthy that the brain also loves games. Whether cleaning solo or with your family, reframing chores as games is a fun way to keep your mind engaged.
Have races to see who can fold a basket of laundry the fastest. Use a stopwatch while cleaning the bathroom and try to improve your time week over week. Play pretend or wear silly costumes while you clean. You can even use chores to practice mindfulness and see how present you can be while you work. When the mind stops dreading activities, it’s so much easier to start on projects and see goals to completion.
4. Work In a Workout
Combining your housework with your exercise routine is a fantastic way to kill two birds with one stone. Cleaning is obviously physically demanding, but studies show awareness of this fact can actually lead to greater health benefits. Simple tasks like vacuuming or tidying up for 30 minutes can burn 100 calories. You can keep track of your calories burned to make the most of your cleaning time.
You can bump this idea up a notch and create actual exercise programs out of your housework. Do sets of lunges while vacuuming. Add in squats while folding laundry. Wearable ankle weights bring an additional level of intensity to your floor sweeping. A clean house can be beneficial to both your mind and your body!
5. Reward Yourself
The brain doesn’t necessarily like starting projects when it’s not certain they will be finished. That’s one reason it can be so difficult to begin a cleaning routine. Give yourself that extra push by offering yourself a reward or incentive for completing those less appealing duties.
Allowing yourself a small post-cleaning indulgence, like a hot cup of tea or a sweet treat, might be enough to get you motivated. If you like longer-term goals, make yourself a monthly chore chart. When you meet your expectations for multiple months, reward yourself with that new gadget you’ve been eyeing.
Delaying gratification can be another good way to create motivation. If there’s something you’ve been looking forward to, put it behind a chore paywall. Excited to watch the latest episode of your favorite series? Make yourself do the dishes before you’re allowed to watch!
6. Put in Some Earbuds
Listening to music is a great way to amp yourself up for doing housework. And incorporating a dance party is even more fun. Spend some time creating the perfect high-energy playlist and then get to cleaning!
Listening to podcasts or audiobooks is another way to keep your brain entertained while you work. Almost everyone has a pile of books they just haven’t been able to take the time to read. Start using your time cleaning to put a dent in your reading list or to listen to fun and engaging podcasts. Before you know it, the whole house is clean, you’ve learned something new, and you haven’t even missed the time!
While few people look forward to doing housework, it doesn’t have to be a miserable experience. No amount of procrastination is going to take care of that sink full of dishes. Therefore, finding fun and silly ways to improve the quality of your cleaning time is the next best thing. An aromatherapy session or a dance party will add flair to your routine and speed your way to clean.