When KC Davis started posting cleaning videos on TikTok, she felt that she would be judged.
“I almost didn’t post it,” she says. “I was like, ‘Oh, people are going to judge me for my messy house.’” Instead, she found a community of people who related to her casual approach to cleaning and quickly built an audience of more than a million followers on the social media platform.
“People felt as though the tips that I was giving were the first thing that ever helped them,” says Davis. “In particular, it was people with ADHD, with autism that were overwhelmed, or postpartum or had mental health issues; people that sort of classic aspirational Instagram cleaning tips were not helping them.”
As a therapist, Davis began to really engage with her followers over conversations around the emotional context of how our personal spaces make us feel.
Even if being in a dirty home makes you feel anxious, it can sometimes be overwhelming to get a cleaning routine started — especially with spring cleaning chatter ricocheting through your social media feed.
Which is why Davis encourages her followers to see their chores not as moral obligations but rather as care tasks they deserve. As you get started, she suggests asking yourself, “How can I make my home serve me better?”
“The best house hack out there is sort of shifting the way that we talk to ourselves, the way we view ourselves, and it begins to really help our mental health,” says Davis.
So if you’re considering doing some spring cleaning this year, here are six tips to help get you started (without stressing you out).
Start with a short to-do list (you can always add to it later)
Turning to a list is the natural thing to do when tackling cleaning tasks around the house, but Davis recommends starting with a small and manageable one. Apps like Tody can help users create cleaning lists that are managed by level of importance instead of strict deadlines.
“You can always do more than what’s on your list,” says Davis. “But if you end up doing fewer things than what’s on your list, it can really have a detrimental impact on your mindset.”
Use a timer
Davis says that sometimes we tend to overestimate how long a task will actually take, which leads to avoiding the task and never getting around to it. A more efficient approach is to set a timer when completing chores around the house.
“I really recommend getting a timer and being like, ‘You know what, I’m going to get up for 10 minutes only and sort of do some things for 10 minutes, then I’m going to sit down and do something I like,’” says Davis. “There’s something about having that, like your brain knows that there’s an end time where you don’t feel as overwhelmed.”
Rethink how you approach getting started
Sometimes figuring out where to get started and how to clean is what’s holding you back. Davis recommends doing a little bit of research and looking up the cleaning companies in your area for cleaning inspiration hacks. Most companies, such as Molly Maid, will post cleaning checklists on their websites.
These can be a great resource for those times when you’re unsure how to tackle a specific cleaning task, and you get a cleaning list while you’re at it.
Invite a friend to make cleaning less boring
Cleaning can be a very mundane task, which is another reason many of us don’t get around to it. For those moments when you’re lacking motivation to clean, Davis recommends inviting a friend over.
“There’s something about someone else being there that makes it easier to stay on task,” says Davis. “You’re talking to that person, you’re having social time with that person, so you’re not as focused on the cleaning aspect of it.”
If you don’t want to invite a friend over, pop in your earphones and listen to an audiobook or podcast.
Don’t confuse organizing and cleaning
Auri Kanenen, also known as the “Queen of Cleaning,” is a professional cleaner based in Finland. She shares weekly cleaning hacks and tips with her 6.4 million followers on TikTok. When it comes to cleaning, she understands that it can be overwhelming to get started.
“Usually people start organizing their stuff, and that is the slowest part, that is the overwhelming part,” says Kanenen.
Her advice is to start by removing any items or clutter from the space you want to clean. Place the items in boxes or off to the side so that you can focus on cleaning. Then once the space is clean, you can start to think about organizing.
Use fun cleaning products
Cleaning can be a time for you to express yourself and personalize your cleaning experience. “I have cool cleaning tools,” says Kanenen, who enjoys cleaning with colorful sponges and beautifully scented cleaners.
When searching the #CleanTok hashtag for inspiration, you will quickly spot trendy cleaning tools, but bear in mind that plenty of TikTok creators, including Kanenen, advertise for cleaning brands. In addition to the constant rotation of novelty cleaning items, such as flower-printed gloves and vibrantly colored mop buckets, the Scrub Daddy sponge with its happy face cutout is having a moment right now, as is Pink Stuff cleaning paste.
Although cleaning products that pop can enliven domestic drudgery temporarily, the most important spring cleaning skill is focusing on what you need to accomplish to feel at ease in your home, and then being kind to yourself as you take it one step at a time.