I’m no stranger to disastrously messy bedrooms. From the age of about 16 to 22, I was almost constantly driving my parents off the wall with the state of my room. I’m not talking about a little bit of clutter, I’m talking about dirty dishes left all around the room, cups of milk and juice with mold in them, and bedsheets that hadn’t been washed in months. My room, and myself, were a constant mess.
I am proud to tell you that my room is no longer in a constant state of filth. I’m a filth-monster in recovery. Yay! But it took a long time to really learn to rein in my messy self. The main question that I had to learn how to answer was: “How can I get motivated to clean when overwhelmed by mess?”.
The more messy your space is, the harder it is to get motivated to clean. That’s a known fact. The dirtier it is, the more work there is to do, and the longer you’ve been putting it off and driving up your anxiety around it.
There is no doubt that a messy living space has a profound effect on your mental well-being. I know that the times my space was messy were some of the lowest points in my life. I’m not saying that because you’re space is messy you’re in a bad place, but there is definitely some correlation.
How to Get Motivated to Clean When Overwhelmed by Mess
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed by a messy space, you are not alone! And there is hope. Over the course of the last few years, I’ve found three things that are extremely helpful when it comes to getting motivated to clean.
Just Clean One Area
This might be one of the most common cleaning tips, but that’s probably because it’s so effective. When you are overwhelmed by the overall messiness of a room or home, just start with one task. I often start with throwing away any water bottles or Soylent bottles that I have around my room. It takes 2 minutes to grab them and put them in recycling, and when I get back I find myself automatically cleaning.
You’ll find, as so many others have, that this will often give you the momentum you need to get into a cleaning groove. I found that after 1-5 minutes of doing one simple task, I’ll often just clean for 30 minutes or an hour straight. Momentum is a real thing, especially when it comes to cleaning.
Why does this work? It works because it compartmentalizes the space you’re cleaning and takes the power away from the vastness of the mess. It also helps you overcome whatever mental block you’re facing about cleaning. Something inside you is really fighting against you when it comes to cleaning, and by subtly pushing down that mental block, it often opens the floodgates and allows you to really push past it.
Blast the Music (Or Podcast or Audiobook)
I absolutely love blasting audio when I clean my room. I personally prefer upbeat music like EDM or Reggaeton and I like to dance around while I clean. Eventually I usually get into a focus mode and tune out the music, but it’s great for getting me motivated when I’m overwhelmed by the mess at first.
If I’m not in the mood to get pumped up or blast music, I listen to podcasts or audiobooks. It’s just nice to have something to keep your mind engaged while you do the often mind-numbingwork of cleaning a space.
If you finally get in the groove of cleaning, don’t stop! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked my butt off for an hour cleaning, taken a short break lying down and playing on my phone, and then didn’t finish cleaning until days later. Something about having that momentum and then stopping it is absolutely detrimental to progress.
When you lie down or sit down after working really hard, you can almost feel the whoosh of energy and motivation leave your body. After that, you’ll be hard-pressed to regain that momentum.
If you’re overwhelmed by the mess around you, hang in there! You’re taking action just by searching about how to beat this problem. Just channel that desire to overcome the mess into starting that one simple task in front of you. Put on some tunes, do the small thing, and I promise you’ll be well on your way.
I’m always here if you want to reach out for support around this issue! Just comment on the post and I will reach out to you! I know the struggle and would love to help.