Housework Motivation

When it comes to doing housework, I have to say, I am not a fan. I have friends who actually enjoy the whole process of cleaning house, but I simply can’t relate to that feeling. Instead, I’m always searching for a better system and some helpful motivation.

I previously posted about the fact that inviting people over often serves as excellent motivation for me to whip this house into shape.

But what about the day-to-day, no one’s coming over but things have to get cleaned up anyway kind of stuff? I’m happy to say that I’ve found a great little motivator: audiobooks.

ipodHere’s how it works:

I treat myself to an audiobook download (from either or iTunes) and I make sure it’s a book that:

  1. I’ve been wanting to read
  2. Is unabridged (I want to get lots of hours out of this)
  3. Sounds fascinating, intriguing, suspenseful, or all of the above

I load the book on my iPod and then make a deal with myself: I am only allowed to listen to that audiobook if I am doing housework of some sort. [And no, checking my email or preparing a yummy snack does not count as "housework."]

I’ve been surprised at how this little mind game gets me moving. It can prompt me to fold laundry (a task that is often postponed indefinitely at this house); it can motivate me to clean the kitty litter (by far, one of my least favorite household chores); it can even inspire me to do some serious decluttering, especially if I’m nearing the end of a book and really need to know how it’s all going to turn out.

A typical book can last 10 or more hours, and since I don’t always listen to the audiobook when I’m cleaning, that means I get several weeks out of each book.

Turning housework into an opportunity to consume a good book? That definitely works for me.


Visit Rocks in My Dryer to find out what’s working for other bloggers this week.


  1. Anonymous says:

    I notice noone commented about their cleaning chores yet. Does this say something? Love Mom

  2. I do this too.. and it is GREAT! Itunes has some great free podcasts to use too.

  3. It’s funny that you mention unabridged books. When I’m browsing audible, if I am trying to decide between two books, I definitely go for the longer one — more bang for the buck.

    I also love to listen while housekeeping, but I also use it for kitchen stuff (dinner prep etc). It might be a good incentive to keep it exclusively for that task.

  4. I’ve thought about audiobooks, but I’m not sure how they work. Can you just pause wherever you are, or do you have to wait for a chapter break? (I’m pretty new to the iPod thing.)

  5. Okay I totally need to do that!!!

  6. Wow I just started downloading and listening to audiobooks from the library. Phoenix has a Greater Phoenix Digital Library – just have to have a library cards at one of the area libraries and be in good standing (no late dues, etc). It’s much cheaper than buying a book everytime you want to read one.

    I always choose the unabridged version of whatever book I’m reading. Right now it’s Les Miserables. I don’t think I could have read this one out of a book myself, I would have been too frustrated with all the french. But having someone read it to me in tbe correct pronunciation etc, it’s great!

    Also, my mp3 player (Creative Zen) allows you to set a bookmark so that next time you start reading you can start right where you left off.

    I’ve been listening at work when my job is mundane, but listening while doing housework is a GREAT idea! Thanks for the post!

  7. Hm. I really have never been able to get into audio books much but perhaps if i were doing something, like cleaning, might make a difference. I just might try this . . . more as a way to read more though! I’ve given up on house stuff again for a while!

  8. Good to know I’m not the only one who can get “swept away” while listening to an audio book cleaning the house. ;-)

  9. I do the same. I catch-up with my podcasts. :D Thank you Steve Jobs! I love my Ipod. lol

  10. I put on a CD with a really good rock beat and a great bass line and turn it WAY up. Makes cleaning a whole lot easier for me. The audiobook idea is a great one too. Check with your local library to see if they offer free audiobook downloads. Many now do.

  11. This is an AWESOME idea! Thank you thank you thank you for sharing it!! You may have just changed my life.

  12. OH, I’m so glad you posted on housework. Sigh…you and I could be twins. Company is pretty much my only motivator. Cleaning has NEVER been my strong suit. Heck, it’s not even my weak suit! I’ve started streaming Air 1 Christian music on my computer. That keeps me going to a degree.

    Glad I’m not in this boat alone.

  13. Great idea! I love to read, but I’ve never tried an audiobook. I don’t drive much, and I couldn’t think of any other opportunity I’d have to actually listen to one. This would give me an opportunity to listen AND to clean! Good post!

  14. It’s so true! I clean my hubby’s Grandmother’s house. I listened to Anne of Green Gables while doing it awhile ago. I clean it weekly & it takes me about two to three hours to complete all the tasks she asks of me. It worked even better than music. I’m going to have to go get some more books. You may want to check out Free downloads of books in the public domain. They are recorded by “amateurs” so some are done better than others but hey, it’s free. ;-)

  15. I absolutely hate housework but this just could get me up and cleaning. I think we could be two peas in a pod. I can relate so often to your post!

  16. This is a great tip! I always need something to motivate me to clean, too!


  17. i think i better listen to audiobooks while doing chores so I can shoot 2 things at a time. :)

  18. Sigh. I was hoping I could get the book and still NOT do the housework…

  19. I like this idea. I’d have to do it with podcasts (maybe Dobson or something like that). I’m way too visual to do an audio book: I’d be stopping in the middle of my tasks to picture what the character looked like and how he was standing when he said that and so on . . .

    Now that we have DVR, I’ve been treating myself to re-runs of some of my favorite shows that are now in syndication. I play them while I’m folding my 999 loads of laundry or loading and unloading the gazillionth load of dishes, etc. Since they are re-runs, I’m okay with not capturing every detail of the show . . .

  20. Great tip…thanks!

  21. The main thing I hate to do is clean the shower! Can you listen while scrubbing the shower?

  22. I love listening to books or podcasts too-as you know!! I like the idea of limiting yourself to only listening while cleaning.

    I get a lot of books on CD from the library and add them to my iphone!

Leave a Comment


CommentLuv badge