Cleaning Your Home with Low Energy or Motivation

by emilysmaids - August 15, 2022

Cleaning Your Home With Low Energy or Motivation - Emily's Maids of Dallas

Hello! We’re back with another article and this time we want to talk about something a bit different: Cleaning with low energy or motivation. We understand that, even if you find our cleaning tips interesting and valuable, sometimes you just don have the motivation to try them.

There are multiple possible causes for this: maybe you’re busy with life and your mind puts cleaning at the bottom of your priorities. Or, your current cleaning checklist is unrealistic, making you feel pressured and overwhelmed.

Perhaps you’re going through a rough patch, and you don’t have the right spirit or mental place to take care of cleaning or organizing your home. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the last few years haven’t been easy to anyone, and it’s completely understandable your energy levels are low.

Related: Organizing vs Cleaning: What Matters Most?

And even if you do have the energy and motivation to accomplish other goals in your life, you can’t let aside your household maintenance and cleaning.

When you are thinking about cleaning your home with low energy, it’s important to give yourself little room for second-guessing. In this article, we’ll discuss some reasons why you might not feel motivated, and how to implement cleaning strategies to make you take action without thinking twice.  

Now, you have the option of hiring a professional cleaning service, of course. This will get any issues about time, energy or motivation out of the way. But if this is something you feel like doing on your own, then we hope these tips are helpful. Without further ado, let’s go through each one. Enjoy!

Cleaning When Feeling Tired

Create a Cleaning List

One of the reasons you might be having a hard time cleaning is because you have numerous cleaning tasks and you don’t know where to start.

Or, you do have an idea of what areas to go through first, but you don’t know what to do for each area.

In any case, creating a list will help you sort out the first step of your cleaning routine: setting your objectives and always knowing what the next step is.

Besides, if you’re able to strike out cleaning tasks as you go, you will feel accomplishment and more motivation to continue with the next task.

There are hundreds of cleaning checklists on the internet so make sure you check a few until you find the right combination for your household.

Related: Pre-Spring Cleaning Tips and Checklists

The 20-10 Method for Cleaning With Low Energy

This rule is related in general, to procrastination. Procrastination is the act of postponing tasks that are important in favor of more menial, enjoyable ones such as taking a nap or checking social media.

This gives you momentary relief, but the guilt and discomfort caused by getting behind at work will be higher in the long run.

And this happens frequently with cleaning, as many of these tasks can be long and menial. In this case, the 20-10 rule will be helpful. It is a good method for tasks that are physically demanding, and cleaning can be one of those, certainly.

At this point, you might be asking, what is the 20/10 Cleaning rule? We’ve talked about this method in the past, so feel free to check our article.

This method involves doing an activity (in this case, cleaning) for 20 minutes, and then resting for 10 minutes. Although this work/rest balance might seem too “easy”, it can be more productive in the long term than working for an hour and then quitting, for example.

It is effective for various reasons. First, 20 minutes is a reasonable time to accomplish several cleaning tasks. Sweeping, mopping or vacuuming a room or two, doing the dishes, making your bed, and tidying up your bedroom are just a few examples.

Second, this rule allows you to start slowly and “guarantees” you some resting time between each task. By scheduling your resting time, you will be less likely to take unplanned, long breaks that go on forever.

You can combine the 20/10 method with the “Set a timer” strategy for better results. We’ll talk about this one next!

Cleaning With the 20-10 Cleaning Rule

Set a Timer for Each Cleaning Task

This strategy is similar to the 2-minute rule. However, the difference is that, while the 2-minute rule is meant for quick cleaning tasks, a timer can be set to any time you wish, and it’s perfect for longer or more complex tasks.

With a timer, you’re pretty much already giving yourself the time you will need. Research has proven that there’s a phenomenon called Parkinson’s law, which means, essentially, that works expands to fill the time available to its completion.

If you think it will take you 15 minutes to vacuum your living room, it will. If you think it will take you half an hour, it will!

Keep in mind this might be a double-edged sword: if you’re too unrealistic about the goals you’re setting, you might feel defeated or frustrated when the timer goes off and your task remains unfinished. But don’t worry! This is a matter of trial and error.

If you know you tend to underestimate the time it takes to finish a task, then make that time times 1.5x or 2x. For example, if you are thinking of setting a 10-minute timer to tidy up your office, then make it 15 or 20.

This might seem counterintuitive, especially after reading about Parkinson’s law. You have to compromise here, as you want to finish your task as fast as possible, but avoid the negative feelings of not completing that task within the timeframe you set.

Setting a Timer for Cleaning Tasks

Apply The 2 Minute Rule for Cleaning with Low Energy

This is an interesting strategy. Basically, the purpose of the 2-minute rule is to minimize the mental effort it takes you to start and finish small cleaning tasks.

To apply this strategy, think of any chores that will take you less than 2 minutes. There are many examples: decluttering your desk or workspace, taking out the trash, and even loading a dishwasher. The rule is: if it takes you less than 2 minutes, do it right away.

That sounds like a very small time and energy investment, and if your brain realizes it, it will give you the extra motivation you need for it.

Think about it: taking out the trash takes you less than 2 minutes. Thinking about whether you should take the trash out or not is just not worthwhile.

First, you probably will take longer to convince yourself of doing that task. Second, by considering whether to do the task or not, you have a chance of not “gathering” the energy to do it and feel bad afterward.

The 2-minute Rule for Cleaning

Play Some Music While Cleaning!

Believe it or not, this strategy is really helpful. With music, it’s easier to engage with your task, in this case, cleaning. Fortunately, this is a task that doesn’t require a high mental or creative effort, it is mostly physical energy.

Second, music will make this a more pleasant task. A survey shows that users report positive feelings if they are cleaning while listening to music. Scientific research has proven that music helps increase productivity in repetitive tasks.

However, try to play some music that will not distract you, such as instrumental music with no lyrics.

Listening to music while cleaning

Create Cleaning Momentum Slowly

This is not a cleaning strategy, but rather an approach to the other strategies that we have mentioned.

If you have experienced cleaning with low energy (or attempting to), or procrastinating on your cleaning tasks, it is not uncommon for you to have sudden bursts of motivation sometimes.

In this scenario, you feel motivated and try to reach many long goals that you have wanted/needed to do for a while.

Although positive, this might lead to feeling tired and overwhelmed quickly and being inconsistent with your cleaning schedule. If this has happened to you in the past, you might want to focus this time on creating momentum.

As you may have read so far, many of these methods are quantifiable (e.g., setting several tasks, a timespan for each task, etc.).  What you want to do is start with an easy, feasible challenge. And then work from it slowly, increasing “difficulty” as you go.

For example, you can challenge yourself to sweep and mop all your floors in one hour. Next time, make it 55 minutes, then 50 minutes, until you reach a level that you are comfortable with.

Disconnect From Cleaning (and Life) for a While

We all know that cleaning comes with many benefits, including the improvement of mental health. However, it is just as important to take a step back and disconnect if you are feeling overwhelmed. In fact, one of the ways for restoring energy or motivation is to rest, both physically and mentally.

Dedicating at least half a day of your week to yourself and anything that makes you happy is a great way to reset and bring back the energy and motivation that you’ve been missing.

Related: 6 Surprising Health Benefits of Spring Cleaning for Your Family

Nowadays, it’s so hard to disconnect from work, family obligations, running errands, and taking care of your home. Try to save at least two to three hours from your weekend or your free day(s) and dedicate that a hobby or activity that lets your mind get some rest.

The goal is to learn how to improve your energy and mindset out of a positive place (self-improvement, good mental health) and not out of a negative one such as guilt or frustration.

If this lack of energy and motivation is present in other areas of your life, you must talk to someone about this, whether it is a mental health professional, a family member, or a friend.

And talking about family, don’t forget you can (and should!) incorporate your family into cleaning. Perhaps you feel unmotivated because all the household work falls on your shoulders. Make sure you include your SO and the rest of your family with tasks according to their age and time availability.

Related: Dividing Housework for Happier Homes

Resting from cleaning to improve mental health


If you’re feeling unmotivated and not in the right mood, these organization tips will help you stay motivated. Remember, give yourself some time to get used to a cleaning routine.

Be patient, trial and error is the key to finding the balance in cleaning (and in life in general!).  

And don’t forget that you can also hire a cleaning service, and this is a perfectly valid choice. With a cleaning service, there’s no need for you to work on improving your motivation for cleaning.

This will allow you to dedicate your time and energy to more fulfilling tasks, such as your family, leisure time, or personal growth.

We hope these tips for cleaning with low energy were helpful. Feel free to try them either on their own or combined, and let us know if you had any positive results! You can contact us or check our social media.

Until next time!

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