Every now and then I get what I call the "housekeeping Blues". Okay, so it actually happens to me at least a couple times a week! I feel completely lethargic and overwhelmed. Usually, the house just needs a good straightening and a little cleaning. Once the house is organised and/or cleaned, I feel immensely happier and energetic. Sometimes all the time it takes me is an hour or so, but getting started is like climbing a mountain!
So, whether I just need to pick up the house or actually do some real cleaning, here's what works for me!
1. I start with an easy room, particularly one at some sort of "end" of the house: the front door, the back door, or just anywhere that feels like the "end". In our last house, it was the bathroom! In our current home, that's either the back porch or the childrens' bedroom. No matter how "BLAH" I feel, I can usually at least muster up enough motivation to clean the boys' bedroom (they don't play in there, so no toys). ;)
2. I pick up/organise that one room first. I take out anything that doesn't belong there, and put those things away. I straighten up what does belong in there. I wipe down things if needed (or dust). I don't do the floors yet. I just make things look tidy and move on.
3. I work my way "around" the house, moving from room to room, cleaning each room as described in step two. If in the bathroom, I clean the toilet and wipe things down. If in the kitchen, I put dishes in the sink to soak and wash all counters/stove, but don't wash dishes or the floors yet. In my house, I usually do the rooms in this order: children's bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, porch, living room, and upstairs.
4. When I've tidied every room, and all that's left is the dishes and floors, I vacuum every room. Then I mop the linoleum, and while it's drying, I wash the dishes. By then the floor's dry, and I put the (two) rugs back after I shake them out.
"Sounds great, but I have kids!"
Keep them with you in whatever room you're currently working. Use a baby carrier for tiny ones, and make the older ones (the ones who can walk) help put things away.
Find any and every thing they can do to assist you in your cleaning. Sometimes I give my two-year-old things to throw away. If I have several things, I give them to him one at a time, so he makes several trips to the trashcan. He feels like he's really doing something important, it keeps him busy, and it keeps him out of trouble! And I want to instill in my children a love for order and tidyness, and joy in working alongside their parents.
As a side note...
I hate dusting and I hate shaking out rugs. I usually skip dusting if possible. I only have two rugs in my house, because I hate having to move them to clean. If I have more rugs, I feel even less like cleaning. I love rugs. I love a clean house more. Someday when I've really got my act together, I'll have lots of rugs on the floor and clean under them all, every week.
If possible, put on some favorite music. Then try to straighten up an entire room before each song finishes. :D
Just make yourself do it. I have to do this one a lot. Sometimes the only way for me to get motivated is to just make myself start cleaning out that dirty diaper, or start sorting the laundry. I'd rather nap on the couch, but oh well!! Boy, this article is so helpful. :P