How To Stop Feeling Overwhelmed About Cleaning Your Own Home

How To Stop Feeling Overwhelmed About Cleaning Your Own Home

It’s so easy for cleaning a home to overwhelm. Some reasons?

  • You hate the thought of cleaning
  • You would rather be doing other things
  • You think it will take longer than it actually will
  • You feel overwhelmed when you look around at your messy home
  • You think cleaning is a low priority
  • You’re too busy
  • Your mental health gets in the way

You might relate to some of the above.

What are some ways you can get rid of that overwhelmed feeling of cleaning your home?

Clean in 15 minute intervals

A major project may seem less intimidating if you commit to working on it for small periods of time.

One period of time that has proven successful is cleaning in 15 minute intervals. 15 minute intervals when accomplishing many tasks in life has proven to be a good sweet spot.

Take Anthony Trollope, for instance. He was an english novelist and civil servant of the victorian era. Without all the tools and technology we have today to speed things up, he still managed to write 47 novels. How did he do it?

He didn’t measure his progress by chapters or books. He measured his progress by writing in 15 minute increments.

What did he get as a result for writing in 15 minute increments? A feeling of accomplishment sooner rather than later.

The faster we get positive feedback, the more likely we are to continue moving that way. This is the principle we learn from Trollope.

Writing a book isn’t easy, but doing it in 15 minute intervals helps

Another benefit you’ll receive: You’ll get started quicker.

The musician and journalist Paul Cantor lives by this method to stop procrastinating. He relates that 15 minutes is an easy end point. It gets you immersed in whatever it is you are trying to stop procrastinating on. You won’t find tasks as intimidating anymore.

When you commit to 15 minutes, he explains, you trick your brain. It now sees the project as a less intimidating task. Why? “Cause 15 minutes is like nothing in the grand scheme of things”, he says.

Think about this too…We have 1440 minutes available per day and 15 minutes represents only one percent of that time.

That doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but when you focus within that period of time, you can actually get a lot done. It is a block of time that is small enough to make room for and large enough to get something significant done.

So now that you’re convinced, how can you work practically in 15 minute intervals?

Use a timer!

Successful business people know time is one of your most valuable assets.

As a result, it’s critical to keep track of how much time we are spending on things. It’s easy to allow a 15 minute interval turn into 20, 30, 60, 90 minutes…

If possible, use an old fashioned timer or your watch instead of a timer on your phone or other smart device.

clock at 4:05
Using an old-fashioned timer or clock will keep you focused

With a phone or device, It can be tempting to see an email, or news article, or alert, and reset the timer to do those other things.

Staying focused on the task at hand is key.

Use a list!

Create a plan of action for your cleaning. See what you can get done in 15 minutes and set that as one interval.

A good exercise is to make a list of 10 to 20 cleaning tasks you can do in less than 15 minutes. Break everything, and I say everything into 15 minutes chunks.

person writing on a book
Create a list ahead of time in 15 minutes chunks

If you have more cleaning tasks that will task 30 minutes, you’ll have two intervals to do.

If you’d like to get help creating a list, use a smart cleaning app like Dirtfree to generate your plans for you. You can check out other cleaning sites or blogs for checklists, like this one or this one.

Take a break

If a task is too monotonous, take small breaks between those 15 minutes chunks and work on something else. It’s proven that taking breaks can restore motivation.

Listening to your body is also important. If you do, you can prevent injury. Don’t overexert when your body is asking for rest.

person on hammock
Rest is important to prevent injury. Take breaks as necessary

Think “Maintain rooms”

One way to look at things is to try to maintain your rooms.

To do so, create categories that you can place your tasks into.

For instance, you could say there are three types of items you need to clean up in a room. Everything falls into one of three categories:

  • Trash
  • Things that don’t belong in the room
  • Things that belong in the room, in a different place

If you work with a small set of categories, your cleaning session will run smooth. If you think, “maintain rooms”, you’ll be less overwhelmed during more intense cleanings.

They’ll be less to do and your rooms will look great way more.


A helpful thing to remember is “done is better than perfect”. You shouldn’t need to do it alone.

Get help in cleaning even if it doesn’t get done exactly how you’d do it. It could be help from a spouse, children, nanny, roommate, or anyone else living in the home.

person in red sweater holding babys hand
Teamwork is key in cleaning a home

Children are a great way to get help. If you have any, delegate to them!

Delegating to children will help them to step up to responsibility and development. Children CAN learn to pick up behind themselves.

What if your household whines about it when you ask them to clean up?

Work on how you ask for help

For instance, for kids, don’t ask them: “Do you want to clean up your toys?

Instead, ask: “Would you like to clean up your toys or make your bed right now?

multicolored learning toys
Small kids can help clean up too!

It may take some patience to teach them at first, but both you and your kids will be happier in the long run.

If you have a spouse, be patient in explaining to them how to help. Try to get them to see how working together in the household can help everyone.

What if they just won’t listen!?!

Ask for preferences

Everyone is unique and has their own identity. And most don’t like hearing commands on what to do, especially teenagers.

Allow freedom by asking what tasks or chores a family member or roommate would like to do. They’ll be more receptive to the tasks.

person showing handcuff
No one likes to feel locked up. Give some preference to others.

If you’re cleaning your home all by yourself, you may be missing out on quality time with your family.

With joint effort, your home cleaning and housework won’t overwhelm you.

Create Incentives

Lack of motivation can add to overwhelming feelings to clean your home. Try to add incentives to you and your household.

doughnut with sprinkles
Make cleaning fun with awards for completing tasks

Consider charts with awards.

If you have children, you could use stickers, privileges or points for allowance.

FYI, the Dirtfree app actually has an achievements feature built-in already! You can unlock awesome badges when you finish tasks to help keep you motivated. Check it out on the iOS App Store here: Dirtfree


Cleaning doesn’t need to be overwhelming. You can be in control and not stressed out.

Try to break out tasks into 15 minute intervals, delegate, create incentives, and maintain rooms.

If you do, you’ll be on your way to keeping up a beautiful, clean home with peace of mind!

On your next cleaning day, use Dirtfree to feel less overwhelmed. It keeps track of your tasks, and keeps you motivated, so you don’t need to worry. Try it today!

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