The hamper is overflowing with dirty laundry, the bathroom faucet is covered with water stains and stray hairs, and there’s a heap of recyclables that need to get to the curb before the truck comes around. When we let household chores accumulate, cleaning can feel like a daunting task. You know you will feel much better once you tackle your to-do list and restore order to your home, but how do you find the motivation to do it all?

The secret is to make cleaning fun. Chances are, your favorite teacher wasn’t the stuffy old man who passed out worksheets and forced kids to sit still for hours on end. She was the bright-eyed educator who turned math into a game! It’s easy to apply that same energy to cleaning. Here are five tips for lifting your spirits, getting yourself off the couch, and getting your home back.



1) Make it a race against the clock. Use an app (or an old-fashioned stopwatch) to set a timer for fifteen minutes. Challenge yourself to tidy, rearrange, organize, and clean everything you can before the buzzer goes off. When you run out of time, move on to another room or surface. You might be surprised by how much gets done when you do it with a sense of urgency. If you’re especially competitive, you might even want to do a second round just to out-do yourself!

2) Turn it into a dance party. Snap on your rubber gloves, pop in your headphones, and rock out to some music that make your toes tap. If you need some inspiration, try searching for the top 40 pop songs from the year you graduated high school, songs recommended for wedding receptions, or ready-made playlists with upbeat names. Shake your hips while you scrub the tub. Samba in the laundry room. Belt out a tune while you organize the pantry!



3) Pretend your house is going to be a reality star. We’ve all seen those home improvement shows that feature dirty, ugly homes getting total makeovers. If a TV crew were to show up on your doorstep right this second with a filming permit, what would you most want to shield from the cameras? Start there! Get the dishes off the kitchen counter, mop the muddy footprints off the tile floor, and clear away the cobwebs. Anything that would embarrass you on TV is worth taking care of today.



4) Set a cleaning date with a friend. Chances are, you have a sibling, a friend from college, or a buddy coworker with a cleaning to-do list of their own. Pick a time to call each other up on speaker phone, bluetooth, or headphones and banish your messes together! Keep each other company, and make a deal to stay on the line until you’ve scrubbed every refrigerator shelf and every baseboard. Or, if you don’t mind an outsider seeing your hair-clogged sink, invite each other over and take on the challenge in person!



5) Reward yourself with something special. Super pumped about that new episode of your favorite drama? Make a promise not to indulge until you’ve completed the task at hand, and tape a note to your TV or computer screen as a reminder. Need a bigger motivator for a bigger amount of work? Do some research online to see how much it would cost to have your home cleaned by a professional company. Cut that number in half, and spend that money on dinner at a restaurant, a bottle of wine, or the pair of jeans you’ve needed. If you want to take the challenge to the next level, look for items around the house you could sell online. Keep the cash or spend it on a special treat!


The hardest part of any project is getting the motivation to actually start the work, and these fun tips are sure to get you out of that dreadful rut. Your squeaky-clean house is definitely within arm’s reach. Turn up your tunes, arm yourself with brooms and trash bags, and get the party started!