My biggest spring cleaning challenge is not cleaning my cupboards or mopping behind the fridge. It’s getting started. As a lifetime member of the I-Hate-to-Clean Club, spring cleaning is up there with getting a colonoscopy on my list of things to avoid.
Still, there are times when my hunger for order and hygiene becomes so strong I have to heed my inner Martha Stewart. To overcome my resistance to organizing and cleaning, I have devised some psychological hacks that compel me to act.
Here are a few of my favorite spring cleaning motivators:
Watching ‘Hoarders’ on TV
My favorite way to get in the mood to de-clutter is watching the TV show “Hoarders” on A&E. Though my piles of stuff are mere seas compared to the oceans of junk in which these hoarders swim, just the thought of what could happen if I don’t stem the tide makes me eager to tame a shelf or closet. After watching an episode of “Hoarders,” I feel like a juvenile delinquent who just saw “Scared Straight.” I’m not a clutter felon yet, but I never want to become one.
Playing Dump Truck
Another hack that helps me get organized is dumping a whole bunch of stuff on my bed. Since I have to use my bed to sleep that night, I have no choice but to sort through each item of clothing, memento, or whatever else lands in the mountain and make a decision on whether to keep it, donate it, or throw it in the trash.
Turning Up the Tunes
When I have a cleaning chore to perform that I have put off for too long, I hook up my phone to speakers and play one of my favorite Pandora radio stations at its highest volume. The happy energy from the music makes me feel great about whatever activity I’m doing — even sponging popcorn grease off the microwave.
Like the proverbial rabbit, I am more likely to do something if I know there is a “carrot” waiting for me at the end. Before tackling an unpleasant cleaning or de-cluttering task, I decide what my prize will be. Whenever I get discouraged, I play the image of the reward in my head. It can be anything from watching an episode of “Breaking Bad” to taking a relaxing bubble bath.
Avoiding Something Worse
When all else fails, I find something to do that’s worse than cleaning or organizing. Washing windows is way more fun than doing taxes and organizing my bathroom sure beats paying bills.
What’s your favorite motivational hack to get in the mood for spring cleaning?