How To Get Motivated to Clean When Overwhelmed by Mess

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Last Updated on March 20, 2024 by Saskia Friedrich

Are you trying to figure out how to get motivated to clean when overwhelmed by all the mess around you? Has the mess piled up in every room and you don’t know where to start?

You haven’t cleaned in a while because you’re busy with other things in life or constantly get distracted. Your house gets messier and messier, and you feel terrible when another day has passed without getting out the vacuum cleaner.

I’ve got you covered! I’ve been going through the same as you, but once I started following the steps below, it has become much easier to feel motivated and stay on top of the mess.

Learn how to get motivated to clean when feeling overwhelmed by the mess with these tips!

How to Get Motivated to Clean When Overwhelmed by Mess

  • 1. Make a Plan & Get Prepared
  • 2. Schedule Time to Clean
  • 3. Take It Easy
  • 4. Do One Thing at a Time
  • 5. Declutter First
  • 6. Start with What Annoys You the Most
  • 7. Take a Before and After Photo
  • 8. Make Cleaning Fun
  • 9. Realize That Cleaning is a Form of Self-Care
  • 10. Be Realistic
  • 11. Reward Yourself
  • 12. Ask for Help
  • 13. Keep Up the Good Habits

Disclaimer: Some of the links here are affiliate links and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. Hope you find the information here useful! Thanks.

how to get motivated to clean when overwhelmed by mess

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1. Make a Plan & Get Prepared

You don’t want to give up tackling the mess a minute after having started it! If you want to become (and stay) motivated to clean and not feel overwhelmed, you need to do this first:

Sit down, grab your planner and start by outlining a schedule. If you’re not sure what works better for you, check the difference here between a bullet journal vs planner.

What tasks need to be done? What bothers you the most at the moment? And what has a priority?

However, don’t put too much into your planner just yet. Focus on what’s important and later on, you can always add some more tasks to your schedule.

Don’t overwhelm yourself with a long list that might scare you from doing anything at all.


Once you have decided on the WHAT, you need to think about the HOW. How can you clean and organize? Do you have everything handy that you need?

You might want to check if you have the following things at home (and if they’re still working) before getting started:

2. Schedule Time to Clean

Now you know what needs to be done around the house and what supplies you need; you can decide on WHEN you want to do those things.

Don’t expect to clean your house whenever you have time. That clearly didn’t work in the past. You need to actively find and make time to clean.

This could be during your morning or evening routine or any time that suits your daily schedule around work, kids, and other commitments.

how to get motivated to clean when overwhelmed by mess

3. Take It Easy

This tip is essential in getting and staying motivated to clean when feeling overwhelmed by the mess.

Start slowly and take it easy. Have a break whenever you feel like it, even after just 10 minutes of cleaning. You’ll be more productive when you’ve had a rest and gained some strength.

It’s ok to go for 10 minutes, then have a 5-minute break, and go again for 10 minutes. This way you will stay motivated to keep going and not exhaust yourself right at the beginning.

Once you’re used to your cleaning schedule you can extend the 10 minutes to 20 minutes (but still have a break in between).

4. Do One Thing at a Time

Mess can be so overwhelming! That’s why you need to focus on doing one thing at a time.

Avoid any distractions that could interrupt or stop you from doing what you planned. Also, don’t think about the next task off your to-do list yet, it will only overwhelm you.

Find joy in being able to finally get on top of the mess. Even if you’re just doing a minor task today, it’s still better than doing nothing.

5. Declutter First

Now, let’s get down to business! If you want to learn how to get motivated to clean when feeling overwhelmed by the mess, take good note of this step.

There’s no point in starting to clean if your home is full of clutter.

You would only be moving stuff around from A to B to be able to clean, and then move them back to their original spot (or worse, leave them lying around).

Save yourself time and stress and get rid of the clutter once and for all. What can you donate, and give to your friends, and what needs to go into the bin?

You can also go from room to room (zone cleaning). Declutter and clean one room on a Saturday, then do another room the next day or the weekend after.

how to get motivated to clean when overwhelmed by mess

6. Start with What Annoys You the Most

This step has helped me so much in getting motivated to clean and keep going!

Before you randomly start cleaning a corner of the room, do something that bothers you the most. What is constantly in your face and drives you up the wall?

I’m sure, something will instantly come to your mind, and you will see that once you have cleaned it up, you will feel a lot better and motivated to tackle the next task.

Some ideas:

  • Get rid of the mess on the dining table
  • Clean up the shoes and jackets in the hallway
  • Pick toys and clothes off the floor
  • Clean the piled-up dishes
  • Organize your purse
  • Fold the washing
  • Clean out the pantry and fridge

7. Take a Before and After Photo

Taking a before and after photo (and midway) of the area you plan to clean and tidy up makes you realize it’s worth putting in the work and time. You can track your progress and see the difference.

Another tip I have for you is to save the midway and after photos in a separate folder on your phone.

If you feel overwhelmed by the mess and don’t know where to start, you can look at them and motivate yourself knowing that you’ve done the hard work before and how good it made you feel to clean up.

8. Make Cleaning Fun

Cleaning doesn’t have to be boring and horrible!

Make it fun by putting on your favorite music or audiobook and having a cup of coffee (or tea, hot chocolate, etc.) while doing your chores.

Whatever comes to your mind and makes cleaning a little bit easier and more fun for you.

Just don’t put the TV on, that’s too much distraction, and you won’t be able to get much cleaning done.

9. Realize That Cleaning is a Form of Self-Care

Have you heard about the 8 areas of self-care before? If you haven’t, you can read all about them in my post.

One of the areas of self-care is environmental self-care and includes activities such as cleaning and decluttering your home.

By doing this regularly, you create a place where you feel comfortable, safe, and happy. Getting rid of the mess and dirt also prevents you from having physical and mental health issues.

10. Be Realistic

Don’t set your expectations too high! Be realistic and don’t try to get everything done in a day.

You know that’s not possible so don’t discourage yourself by thinking you’re some kind of superhero. You’re human and you have a limit.

Just focus on a few things a day – it will get you further in the long run.

11. Reward Yourself

If you still don’t feel motivated to clean when the mess overwhelms you, try rewarding yourself.

Do a few tasks and then do something you love. These 5-minute self-care activities are perfect for when you only have a little bit of time to spare.

You could reward yourself by:

  • Having a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine)
  • Having some chocolate
  • Sitting in the sun with your eyes closed
  • Taking a hot bubble bath
getting motivated to clean

12. Ask for Help

You don’t have to do it all by yourself!

Whoever lives with you in the same house, needs to do some cleaning as well. They might start to produce less mess when they see how much work is involved to clean up after themselves.

If you live by yourself, get your best friend over and clean together! This is much more fun than doing it by yourself and it’s a good excuse to catch up.

13. Keep Up the Good Habits

Keep up the good work and don’t let your home become too messy again. You have put in so much time and energy and don’t want that to go to waste.

It’s easier to do a little bit of cleaning every day instead of putting it on the back burner for too long. Leaving an area unattended for too long will result in a lot of mess.

How Do I Stop Being Lazy and Clean My House?

Getting into the groove of cleaning your house and maintaining a tidy place can be hard! Especially when you let it fall behind for a while.

But there are ways to stop being lazy and finally having a clean house. First of all, it’s important to have a vision. What’s the outcome you would like to achieve?

Once you have set your goal, you need to work out how you can get there.

Start with a plan, then take baby steps and regular breaks. Also, reward yourself regularly. This will motivate you to keep going.

What Is the Fastest Way to Clean a Cluttered House?

There are a few tips and tricks you can follow to make a cluttered house look nice and tidy (and smell good!) within a short amount of time. Do this when you haven’t got much time on your hands and need to get things done fast:

  • Make beds
  • Pick up toys, shoes, and clothes off the floor
  • Start a load of washing while cleaning other areas of the house
  • Put dirty dishes in the dishwasher and wipe down the counters
  • Throw away trash
  • Put up air fresheners
  • Once all the clutter is off the floors, you’ll be much quicker in vacuuming and mopping

How To Get Motivated to Clean When Feeling Depressed

Being depressed makes it hard to master life, let alone staying on top of the household chores.

However, a dirty and messy house makes us feel even worse, so we need to find ways to motivate ourselves to clean.

A clean house makes us feel better and more comfortable. It also gives us a sense of accomplishment. Let’s have a look at a few tips on how to get motivated to clean when you’re feeling depressed:

  • Do a little bit every day so the mess doesn’t pile up
  • Set goals that you can achieve
  • Eliminate distractions
  • Ask a good friend to come over and help you
  • Delegate the work
cleaning schedule

FAQs on How to Get Motivated to Clean When Overwhelmed by Mess

How Do You Start Cleaning When You Are Overwhelmed?

The approach to start cleaning when you are overwhelmed is to take it easy. Don’t overload yourself thinking you can do hours of cleaning without taking a break.

  • 1. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
  • 2. Spend 10 minutes cleaning without getting distracted.
  • 3. Have a 5-minute break and do something you enjoy.
  • 4. Repeat.

Conclusion: How to Get Motivated to Clean When Overwhelmed by Mess

I hope you are able to take away some tips that can help you get motivated to clean and stay on top of the chaos.

The main step is to just START and everything else will fall into place. Once you have mastered one task, it’ll become easier to master the next one.

Seeing the outcome of your work will motivate you to keep going. If you do only a little bit of cleaning every day, the mess won’t pile up and you automatically feel less overwhelmed.

You’re able to achieve so much more than you think!

Let me know how you go in the comment section below. If you have any other helpful tips, I would love for you to share them with me and my readers! Good luck!

How To Get Motivated to Clean When Overwhelmed by Mess

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About The Author

Saskia is a mom, blogger, and freelance writer. She loves sharing tips on self-care, personal growth, and productivity & organization. Find out more about her or get in touch with her here.

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