Does the thought of cleaning and organizing make you run for the hills? Is that pile of random things in the corner of the room growing and you’re not even sure where to start with it? Has your vacuum been sitting alone in a dark closet for way too long?
Cleaning is definitely not something that many people enjoy, but it is necessary, not only for your sanity but also for your health. Organizing is more enjoyable (at least for me). It’s so satisfying making a space for everything and getting rid of items that are no longer used.
Below, I have provided 19 tips for making cleaning and organizing more fun, so that it happens more frequently. Even your kids will want to join in and they should! The earlier your kids learn to clean and organize, the more likely they will grow up enjoying completing these tasks in their own homes.
First up, let’s cover tasks that will motivate the whole family to help out:
Tip # 1: Make cleaning and organizing a family event
Cleaning is much faster when everybody is pitching in at the same time. If the family knows that they can go do something fun when the cleaning is done, they will be more likely to keep working at it.
To make it even more fun, turn each completed task into a celebration. Even a quick dance party for the whole family. If kids see their parents having fun completing tasks around the home, they will learn to love it.
In addition, getting the kids involved will help them understand how much work goes into keeping the house clean and tidy. So they are more likely to pick up after themselves.
Tip # 2: Use a large Bristol board to make a weekly cleaning schedule
Having the chores on display with big letters and lots of color, in a place that is easy for the family to see, will allow everybody to pick out what they want to complete.
Use sticky notes to write down each of the tasks that need to get done for the week and sticky notes with each person’s name on them. Then each family member can put their name on the tasks that they want to complete. Once the week is done, take off all of the names and start again for the next week.
You could even have a tally sheet to keep track of how many tasks each person completed. Make it a friendly competition!
Tip # 3: Prepare a to-do list
Being able to check off tasks or rooms as you have cleaned and organized them is incredibly motivating and makes it more likely that you will keep going.
I have a post about making effective to-do lists. But the main idea is to prepare your list every Sunday for the week ahead. This way you can really brainstorm what you want to get done for the week. If you remember something partway through the week, it can still be added.
For house cleaning, I would highly recommend preparing a list that can be used forever. You don’t have to say exactly what day the tasks would be completed on. But have a list ready so that you can pull cleaning tasks from it and put it on your weekly and/or daily to-do list quickly, without thinking too long about it.
Tip # 4: Have a movie playing in the background
Let the family pick out a movie that you have all seen before and enjoyed. It could even be a movie that just had a great soundtrack. So you can enjoy the music in the background.
This way, it won’t be as distracting, having to watch every single minute of the movie. Everybody already knows what’s going to happen, so it’s mostly just background noise to keep everybody moving.
Tip # 5: Make a reward system
For the kids, a little bit of spare change goes a long way, or they could work towards getting a toy that they have been wanting, or game night with the family.
The reward shouldn’t be too frequent that it loses its meaning, but frequent enough that it is worth working for. A small reward once a week after all tasks have been completed is frequent enough for kids.
Now for yourself, if you are able to get through your long to-do list, you may want to indulge in some ice cream or buying that nice dress you’ve been eyeing up. Or maybe you just want to get away for a few minutes and have a nice warm bath to relax your sore muscles. Whatever will motivate you to keep going.
For both adults and kids, putting a picture on the fridge of the potential reward can be really motivating. It’s a constant reminder that once everything is done (even if not done perfectly), there is a nice reward waiting.
Tip # 6: One item out, one item in
For every item that leaves the house, one new item can come in. Or even better, no more items come in!
To avoid many new items coming into the home and adding to the clutter, keep track of how many items were donated. Not just put in the box, but actually delivered to the donation center.
Then before buying new items to replace those items, consider first:
- Do you have a place to put the new items? OR
- Could you create a tidy space for the new items?
If yes to either and it’s something you, your spouse, or your kids really want and will love, then get it!
Always have a box available, in a set location in your home for donations. As soon as it is determined that an item is okay to donate, immediately put it into that box.
Once the box is full, it should be taken directly to a donation center.
Tip # 7: Deliver “to donate” items to a center as a family
Donating can either be to a donation center, like Goodwill. Or it could be taken directly to families in need or even women’s shelters. No matter where clothing and toys are being donated, it is a heartwarming experience.
Taking items right to the people that will be using them and seeing how happy it makes them is so much better. Take your kids with you when donating their items, so that they can see where their clothes and toys are going. It will give them pride in knowing that they are helping another child to have a better life.
Younger children often don’t realize that not everybody can afford nice new toys or brand new clothing. So this can be an eye-opening experience for them, that could change their lives in a positive way forever.
Tip # 8: Plan a night out for the family
Preparing a list of what needs to be done for the week will help the whole family stay on track. If everything on the list is checked off at the end of the week, treat the family to dinner and/or a movie.
If there is a drive-in theater nearby, that’s a true experience for kids. It also allows the family to stay distant from others during the pandemic!
Tip # 9: Use cleaning products that smell good
If you are always using really harsh cleaners that smell bad and give you a headache. You’re not going to feel like cleaning the next time. So buy cleaners that you like the smell of and that make cleaning quicker and easier.
There are even cleaners that have lavender in them or other scents that are meant to calm the mind. This can really help get up the energy and desire to get everything done.
Buying a sweeter smelling cleaner that is safe for the kids to use will help motivate them.
Should you clean or declutter first? Check out this post for more information.
Tip # 10: Buy products that are fun to use
For kids, they often like soft fuzzy things that are really colorful. So buying a colorful dusting wand that the kids can go around the house with, will help with the dusting tasks. They may not do a perfect job, but it’s better than nothing, right?
I also love dusting wands that extend so that I can easily reach the cobwebs that tend to appear in the upper corners of the room.
Buying a vacuum that is easy to use can also make cleaning more fun. I personally love the Dyson cord-free vacuum. I have the Dyson V10 Absolute which is sold on Amazon. It is nice not tripping over a cord and the battery lasts a long time on the normal setting. It does a really great job cleaning up tile, hardwood, and carpet.
Another option is buying a robot vacuum so that it can clean up some of the mess for you. There are both expensive and not too horribly priced options out there.
I use the iLife A4s Robot Vacuum, which is one of the cheaper options. It does not have the option to set where it goes in the home, but it still gets to every area and does a great job. It runs for about two hours before it parks itself.
For mopping floors
I’m all for something else doing a lot of the work. There are robot vacuums that can both vacuum and mop, but they are quite expensive.
Another option that is more budget-friendly is the Bissell Spinwave Cordless mop. You do have to spray the solution and push the mop, but it does a lot of the hard scrubbing work. I actually love mopping now!
There is a corded option and a cordless option. The cordless has worked well and again, there’s no tripping over a cord!
Cleaning and organizing tips for the kids:
Tip # 11: Buy fun bins to organize in
Kids love bright colors and fun characters, so either buy some bins that match what will excite them and encourage them, or buy some plain bins and print out your own colorful characters to attach to the side.
For adults, buy what will make you happy to look at. If you want pink bins to match your decor, then find pretty pink bins that will fit into a shelving unit or on a table. Neutral bins work well anywhere and can store/hide many items.
Tip # 12: Let the kids pick out dinner that night
If the kids manage to clean up their rooms and put their toys away, let them decide what to have for dinner.
This is a huge motivator for kids! Because they can often be really picky and are more likely to actually eat if they get to choose. They could even get involved with preparing dinner!
Tip # 13: Make toy clean up easy
Don’t make it too complicated for kids to put their toys away. Kids aren’t going to put everything away in tiny little containers that have little labels on them (which they may or may not be able to read).
Buy one big bin that they can toss stuffed animals into, like a game of basketball.
Buy medium-sized bins for most other items. They can still toss similar items in; such as all dolls in one, all Legos in one, all toy trucks in another, etc.
A toy box is great to contain all of the random pieces that are often left lying around. A nice ottoman would also work. An ottoman can be used in the main room of your home and will still look nice and can be used for extra seating if needed.
At the end of the day though, the goal is to get the kids to just put everything away. It may not be organized the way you would like. But if they fill a bin to the top and then move onto the next bin. That’s “good enough”, for now!
The rest of the tips are just for you when you’re completing a lot of the tasks on your own.
Tip # 14: Put some upbeat music on
We often underestimate the value of having cheerful music playing while completing mundane tasks. It can actually help to pass the time so that you’re not constantly thinking about what you’re doing.
I put this in the “for you” section, because each family member would be motivated by different music. So put on some music that YOU enjoy while you are deep into cleaning and organizing.
Listening to kid’s music might actually cause you to lose motivation! Since they are often repetitive and sometimes, dare I say… annoying?
Tip # 15: Set a timer for 30 minutes
Set a timer for half an hour per task. You may be surprised to find out that something that you felt took a long time to complete, didn’t even take the whole 30 minutes!
Sometimes just switching from one task to another is enough to motivate a person.
So if you’re not done a task after a half an hour, take a quick breather and then move onto the next task for the next 30 minutes. If you prefer to keep working, go for it! Whatever will help to get the work done and make you feel proud of your accomplishments.
Sometimes just having something “good enough” in that 30-minute timespan is just fine. Cleaning and organizing are constant, so that work will always be there. Having “good enough” is better than nothing!
Being able to break your tasks into smaller times makes it seem less daunting. If you see that the house is a mess and you’re immediately thinking that it’s going to take all day. It’s easy to get discouraged and quit. However, if you have smaller chunks of time to complete what you can. It’s way more motivating.
This is in the “for you” section because kids get sidetracked easily anyway, so they are likely not spending 30 minutes working on one task.
Tip # 16: Take a break part-way through cleaning and organizing
You can take your break every 30 minutes when your 30-minute timer is up, or if you just want to keep going so that you don’t sit down and not want to get up again, then take a break halfway through your tasks. Remember to check your to-do list to determine where that halfway point is.
Have a sip of water, have a snack or just put your feet up. You deserve a little break. Just don’t get sucked into your phone and scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, or whatever other social media trap we often fall into.
It’s easy to lose time quickly when scrolling and that’s not helping get things done around the house.
Tip # 17: Listen to an audiobook or podcast
I would recommend listening to an audiobook or podcast when you are cleaning and organizing alone.
If the kids are distracting you or you are getting pulled in different directions, it will be hard to hear what is being said in the book or podcast.
This is definitely a situation where you should wear a good pair of earphones and zone out while completing tasks. This is great when organizing because organizing is often sitting in one place and going through items in one area. Then putting items in bins and then away, without having to move around too much.
Tip # 18: Have a drink
Did I just say that?!? 🙂 This could be a glass of wine, a mixed drink, or a mocktail, whatever will relax you and make you feel at ease.
Having a small drink allows the mind to slow down and focus, which helps to get through tasks that we dread. Just don’t turn it into multiple drinks, or you won’t end up finishing everything that you wanted to get done!
More drinks could maybe be a reward for completing everything after the kids go to bed. 🙂
Tip # 19: Treat yourself to a spa day/night
Don’t forget about yourself! When everything is done, you will have deserved some pampering.
This could include a warm bubble bath, using a foot massager, getting a massage from your significant other, doing your nails, using a facemask, using paraffin wax on your hands and feet…..whatever will make you feel relaxed and special.
Cleaning and organizing are much less time consuming when it is done frequently. There is no build-up of dust, toys, and general “stuff”.
Getting your whole family involved and making it fun will mean that it is quicker and less cumbersome on you and your home will look and smell amazing!
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