Here Are 5 Simple Ways to Slow Down and Make Cleaning Your House More Enjoyable

published Jun 25, 2022
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Listen to my idea of a well-spent, relaxing weekend afternoon: Time alone at home so I can clean the way I want to with no interruption. No sarcasm or joking here. Granted, a weekend afternoon spent kayaking with my family at a beautiful spring, wiggling my toes in the sand at the beach while I watch my kids paddle board, or tucking into a roomy armchair by the fire reading a book also sounds like perfection. But I do truly enjoy cleaning my home.

Cleaning is relaxing and enjoyable for me. I love using it as a way to make a visible and immediate difference in how my surroundings look and feel. I pour love into the process as I regain control amid the chaos. Therefore, I find that cleaning boosts my mood, both through the act itself, which grounds me in my senses but still allows my mind to wander, and through the enjoyment of the positive effects it has on my home and family. 

You might not enjoy cleaning like I do, and I totally get that. But even if you don’t, I’ve found some simple methods that have helped me to slow down, appreciate the process more, and make cleaning our home relaxing, calming, and dare I say, even fun. Maybe they can help make you a believer in a less painful, more enjoyable cleaning routine too. Here’s a breakdown of what works for me.

Listen to an audiobook.

When I’m in the middle of a good audiobook, I look for excuses to clean so I can keep listening. Nothing compares to getting lost in a good book and immersing yourself in another world. It’s the best way to forget that you’re scrubbing toilets or scraping a razor blade between the countertop and the stove to dislodge crumbs. Music or a gripping true crime podcast are both equally effective. Try it!

Light a wonderfully scented candle.

I’ve found that the aromas from a candle filling the space you’re cleaning can have an outsized effect on your feelings while you work. The pinpoint of light can help keep you focused on the task at hand in the room you’re in and the fragrance delights your olfactory senses. Although you can certainly light a candle while you’re mopping or organizing bookshelves, I find that I like to light one when I finish a room in the common areas, such as the kitchen, as a sign of a job well done. 

Use cleaning products that smell really good.

Again with the fragrance therapy, you ask? Yes. Engaging my senses is one sure way for me to be in the present moment, and incorporating good smells into the job of cleaning is an excellent way to turn a chore into a mindful sensory experience. My personal favorites include Mrs. Meyers and Safely (which has two scents to choose from, both of which linger for such a long time in the spaces you’ve cleaned). Scents not only make cleaning more pleasant; they also make the house smell and therefore feel clean. 

Invest in good cleaning tools.

While I don’t want you to replace the perfectly useful cleaning tools you already own, when it comes time to purchase or replace outdated or ragged tools in your home, consider taking some extra time to be sure you find the best ones for the job. A good tool can transform a frustrating task into one that’s actually satisfying. For instance, this Cadillac of buckets has made many of my household chores so much more efficient and less stressful. 

Give yourself a treat when you’re done.

Dangling a carrot in front of your own face can help you get a tiresome job done with minimal procrastinating and a feeling of accomplishment at the finish line. I like to treat myself to freshly cut flowers displayed on the kitchen table or to a special drink or snack while l read in my freshly cleaned living room. Maybe planning to have friends or family over for the day to share a meal will motivate you to clean with joy and anticipation. That’s worked wonders for me. Whatever it is, find the why and reward yourself with a symbol or activity that highlights the benefits of a clean home. 

Okay, now go, exhale, and consider inserting some updates into your household cleaning routine that favor less stress and more peace — even if the process takes you a little longer next time, I think you might discover that it was well worth it.

This piece is part of Go Slow Month, where we’re celebrating taking your time, taking a deep breath, and taking a step back from it all. From deliberate design ideas to tips for truly embracing rest, head over here to see it all.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Cleaning Doesn’t Have to Be a Chore — Here Are 5 Simple Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy It More!