No One Helps Clean House! Here Are Some Ways To Get Everyone Motivated
Aug 06, 2022
(Photo by RODNAE Productions)
If you don't live on your own, cleaning and organizing can be a tricky situation. Everyone has their own idea of what is acceptable and it can cause some tension in relationships. It's easy to let frustrated feelings simmer, but it's best to let other people know how you feel. To assertively say what's important to you and what you would like.
Some of us have an area, or a few areas, that are the most important to us to be clean. Letting others know what's important to you should help to make it more important to them. Compromise is only possible with open and honest discussion, don't wait until you're angry. It might make it harder for you to express your feelings in a calm way.
Cleaning together or separately
The purpose of getting organized is to reduce stress for everyone in the space. Depending on how much needs to be cleaned, this may take a while. There may be a "settling in" period where the habits aren't solid and someone slips a bit. Take it slow, stay compassionate, and keep it light.
Here are also a few ways to keep this civil, easy, and more fun for all involved:
Find common ground
Temptation bundling91 can be a fun way to involve your family or roommate(s). This is when you pair an activity that you like with one that's not as fun (cleaning). Is there something that everyone enjoys that you can do while cleaning? Like putting on music and singing loud or dancing like crazy?
Have a "meeting" beforehand where everyone gets to suggest something fun. Whatever you all land on is what you do while cleaning. If you can't agree, let one person choose and rotate out who gets to choose from then on. But you should still make sure it's something that everyone is ok with, no one should dislike or hate the choice.
Make it a game
This one has several options. You could start a video game and whoever finishes their task first gets to play until someone else finishes. Keep trading out who's playing until everyone has completed at least one task. You can even time it to see who was the fastest and "won" at cleaning.
You could go with the classic chore wheel, but add some twists to it. Make one or two of the items something unrelated to cleaning. Like one of you gets to do silly sports-like commentating on the others' cleaning. Or one person is responsible for making or ordering food for everyone who is cleaning.
Try adding rewards to the "worst" chores. Like whoever has to clean the bathroom gets one uninterrupted hour on a shared gaming device. Or reward everyone by doing something together afterwards. Go out to a movie, to dinner, play a game, whatever everyone wants to do.
Clean together, celebrate together
Cleaning then enjoying an activity is a great way to show that you care for and respect each other. Everyone works together to choose a time and/or a day to do the majority of the cleaning and organizing. Then follow that with a reward that you can all enjoy as a group. Clean the house and then all go for ice cream. Straighten up then go out and get sushi.
When you all know that you have to clean and when, it takes some of the stress out of it. This may be the key to motivating anyone who dreads and procrastinates about it. Again, it's about doing whatever can be done to reduce everyone's stress.
If you have conflicting schedules, you can work to agree on a time for each of you during the week. Then find a time to celebrate together at the end of the week, if possible.
Divide and conquer
You can also divide the work by preference. There's usually a task that someone can't stand to do, but someone else might not mind doing it. Be honest about what you each do and don't like to do, and see if there's any overlap.
This is not to say you have to love doing what they hate, but it may not affect you as negatively as it affects them. Someone may hate cleaning the kitchen while someone else doesn't mind doing it. Splitting it up like this can ease some tension and help the process go more smoothly.
Still having trouble?
You may still have a roommate or family member that isn't interested in working together. Depending on some factors, like their sense of humor, you have options.
Lead by example. This can show everyone what your standards for cleanliness are. Don't do everything all the time, but just try to show what your ideal cleaning level is. If you clean up after yourself, others may start to feel compelled to do it too.
Try to be understanding. Are there other things going on in their life that are a higher priority, or are stressing them out? Many things like depression, anxiety, and fatigue can make cleaning harder. Work together to see how you can make things easier for them. Try to acknowledge when they do clean, so they know you noticed and appreciated it.
Be assertive. Say what you need in a calm way and see what compromises can be made between you. Try to use "I feel" statements. Like "I feel a bit stressed out when there's clutter around the house. I would love for us to work together to find a way to make this easier on both of us." If you're sure to make it about your feelings and not their actions, it should be easier to find a middle ground.
Set up silly "punishments." Like having to hop on one foot, or having to lip-sync to a funny song for everyone. It's very important that you all establish these "rules" together. It's not fun if you don't all agree to it. And make sure it's not an actual punishment, this is supposed to be fun for everyone, the "punished" too.
There are many more ways than above, but you might try everything and still not be able to get help. You may have to compromise and settle for keeping your own area tidy. Or you may have to make harder decisions, like finding a new place or new roommates, if possible.
If your problems are with family, you may not be able to do anything about your living situation. You'll have to do whatever you can to feel comfortable. You just need one area where you can feel relaxed, even if it's outside of your home.
Find what works for you
Hopefully one of these methods will help you. Try a few out and see what sticks, or rotate a few out and keep everyone interested. Cleaning doesn't have to be a chore, and then afterwards you all get to share in the stress-free and calming space.
Make sure to show that you appreciate others when they try, this will make it more likely that they continue to try. As long as everyone is paying in to make the space better, it doesn't matter how they contribute.