When your house is a mess and you feel too overwhelmed to clean, take a breath.
You’re not lazy — you’re busy, and everyone knows that cleaning kind of stinks sometimes, especially when you’d rather relax after a long week. Instead of looking at your house as one enormous chore waiting to be accomplished, start small. Make your bed.
Marathon cleaning is the worst way to start, according to blogger and author Rachel Hoffman in an interview with Today. Tackling it all at once is exhausting and just worsens your anxiety — after all, you know your house will be messy again soon.
How to avoid the stress of a cleaning marathon? Simple — don’t do it. Vreak everything into manageable chunks, and instead of worrying about everything that needs to be accomplished, focus on what you can accomplish right now. And according to Hoffman, making your bed is an ideal place to start — it takes a minute or two at most, and immediately makes your bedroom look better. And it’s an easy habit to establish — just roll out of bed and do it every morning.
Hoffman also recommends the 20/10 method, which alternates short bursts of cleaning with a break. Set a timer for twenty minutes, and when your timer goes off, take ten minutes to relax with a cup of coffee or read a few pages of your book.
If you don’t have the time to do a 20/10 clean and your bed is already made, try picking one small area to tackle when your stress levels rise, like your coffee table or a messy bookshelf. No matter how small the task or how tiny the area, you’ve accomplished something meaningful.