cleaning

All of that down and dirty cleaning—mopping the floors, scrubbing the walls, actually taking the books off the bookcase to dust—probably doesn’t happen too often around your home. If it does, well, go you! For the rest of us, besides the occasional spring cleaning, it’s hard to find time to really deep clean the whole house. And, it’s even more difficult to find the motivation to do it.

Keeping up with the usual tidying, vacuuming and dusting takes enough effort. So, when you know your house could really use a good cleaning, how do you get yourself to do it? How do you work up the energy to all-out clean? If you’re lacking in motivation, don’t worry. Look to these three tips to help inspire you to make it a cleaning day.

1. Buy products you actually want to use (or make your own)

Encourage yourself to clean by stocking up on cleaning products you actually want to use—like ones that don’t harm the environment or your health. Natural cleaning products, such as those from Mrs. Meyer’s, Dr. Bronner’s and Seventh Generation, all look attractive, smell nice and won’t suffocate you with toxic chemicals as you scrub.

You can also make your own lovely-smelling nontoxic cleaning products with a few staple ingredients. Using just lemon, vinegar, baking soda, salt, castile soap and essential oils, you can whip up dozens of do-it-yourself green cleaners. Don’t know where to start? Our kitchen and bathroom cleaning guides are full of tips and recipes to make your own all-natural cleaners.

2. Put together a handy cleaning kit

Before you get started deep cleaning your home, assemble a cleaning kit. With everything you need in one location, you won’t have to stop halfway through cleaning the tub to grab that extra rag or that cleaner you forgot. When you stop mid-cleaning, it’s all too easy to get distracted with the T.V., another project, or pretty much anything besides the job at hand.

To make your own cleaning kit, stash an old basket or pail with all of your favorite green cleaning products and plenty of rags, towels, sponges, scrub brushes and whatever else you need to get cleaning. When you start out organized, you’ll feel more motivated (and less stressed) to do all of those nitty gritty cleaning jobs.

3. Reward yourself

Sure, a clean house can be rewarding in itself, but sometimes that isn’t enough motivation to really deep clean. You need a little bit more of an incentive to dust the tops of the door jams, clean the blinds, scrub down the shower and all of those other tedious chores that don’t happen on a daily basis. Motivate yourself with a treat that you can only have after you finish cleaning. Splurge on something you wouldn’t normally buy, like a bouquet of fresh flowers or that pricier wine. You could also indulge in a decadent dessert. Hey, all of that cleaning amounts to a pretty good workout.

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image: jaymiek