Cleaning When Depressed -Tips to Clean When You Feel Like Garbage

I don’t even want to talk about how gross my house gets when I get depressed, it’s a whole other level of disgusting.

I’m messy all the time but usually, I spend a lot of time putting things away and cleaning.

When I’m depressed that goes right out the window.

Cleaning when you’re depressed can be incredibly overwhelming especially if you’re like me and give up on it.

It’s really easy to have a messy house when you’re depressed and you can quickly find yourself in a vicious cycle.

You stop cleaning because you’re depressed but then the dirty house makes you feel even worse.

Challenge yourself to break this cycle and do a little bit right now if you can only do something small that’s OK!

Instead of focusing on what still needs to get done celebrate what you are able to do.

Recently, I did a big declutter of my house and it really helped me feel like I was giving myself a fresh start.

You can check out my video about it below.

If you’re interested in more mental health resources be sure to check out my other posts on depression and subscribe to my channel on YouTube.


Clean the things that will make you feel better first. For me, it is the dishes.

This is the first area I give up on when my level of functioning is low.

I get sucked into a self-hate cycle of putting off the dishes and then feeling bad about it.

Plus dishes get gross the longer you leave them. If having your bed made makes you feel like a queen then do that.

Pick something that will make you feel good and clean that first.

When you’re depressed your energy is precious and you want to make sure you spend it on the things that will actually start to make you feel better.

Write a list of what needs to be done and then just pick one or two things and only focus on those things.




Do a Little

Do a little bit. You don’t have to wash all of the dishes.

Start with a few or even just one.

A lot of times I end up getting a lot more done than I originally planned on.

Sometimes the hardest part is getting started.

Pick something easy at first.

Clean off the kitchen counter, your desk, or divide your house into areas and clean a small chunk of it at a time.

Start with a corner of your room or one side of the kitchen.

If you can’t clean your whole house it’s OK.

When you’re going through a hard time the goal can be to get a little bit done to keep everything from getting out of control and making you feel worse.

You won’t feel this way forever and when you are feeling better you can tackle more of the cleaning.

Make a Schedule

Make a list of what you need to get done and then divide it up throughout the week.

Make sure you are being realistic about how much you can expect yourself to get done.

Write it all out and hang it where you can see it. I like to set reminders on my phone to help me remember.

Schedule the things you absolutely need to do each week and do your best stick to your schedule.

I have posted the mental health planner I use and you can download it for free.

It’s really hard to remember anything when you’re depressed so writing things out is crucial.

I always forget basic stuff like what day the trash goes out when I’m depressed.

mental health planner

Don’t Be Hard on Yourself

If you haven’t cleaned in a month don’t expect to clean the whole house in one sitting.

You’ll probably have to do small chunks but that’s OK.

Don’t compare yourself to what others are able to do or even compare how your house is now to how it was when you weren’t depressed.

Not everyone is managing mental health issues.

You are dealing with something difficult and it makes life hard sometimes, just do the best you can.

Beating yourself up is only going to make you feel worse and make it even more difficult to clean.

If you need some encouragement, check out the pep talk for when everything sucks that I recorded on the podcast.

Use Affirmations and Mantras

Pick an affirmation and try saying it out loud or writing it down.

Hold it in your mind and use it to give you strength and energy.

You can see some of my favorites affirmations in this post.

If you need even more inspiration, I have a Pinterest board of affirmations.

Affirmations can help you replace the negative thoughts in your head with positive ones.

Your subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between someone saying mean things to you or your own mind telling you negative things.

All it hears is a voice saying “you are useless” or whatever it is.

You want to feed your subconscious mind positive thoughts and that’s where saying affirmations can help.

Pick a few that resonate with you and say them throughout the day.

Pump the Jams

Play music that will put you in a good mood.

I like Beyonce but it can be whatever motivates you.

Google Play has a radio station for literally any mood you’re in. I’ve really been liking the indie disco station.

They even have a clean the house radio station here.

Putting on music can help elevate your mood so you can do a couple of the tasks on your task list.


Focus on what you’ve accomplished instead of what is left to do.

Any bit of progress can be a win. Just do a little bit and then rest or do more if you’re up to it.

Recognize you’re doing something hard and you’re strong. Getting down on yourself isn’t going to help anything.

Focusing on success is the key to cleaning when depressed.

After you do a task or two reward yourself with a TV show or your favorite snack.

Don’t expect yourself to clean the whole house and celebrate any small victory that you have.

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Set a Timer

Decide to clean for a certain amount of time.

Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes and see how much you can get done in this time.

Sometimes it’s easier than trying to go task by task.

When I find myself sucked into Netflix and/or the couch, I set a five-minute timer between episodes to clean the house.

This helps me feel like I am accomplishing something and keeps me from laying on the couch for hours on end.

Cleaning for a small amount of time can help you get motivated to clean when depressed.

Cleaning When Depressed

Hire Help

I personally have never (and still can’t) afford a housekeeper but if you can afford it you should absolutely do it.

You’re going through something difficult so take any help you can get.

You’re getting something done that you need to have done and you’re helping someone else make money.

It’s a win-win. Everyone needs help at certain points in their life and there’s nothing wrong with asking or accepting help from others.

I am a huge advocate of going to therapy and if you’ve been struggling with depression I urge you to talk to a Doctor and a therapist.

Getting a good therapist and getting on medication completely changed my life for the better.

I will always be thankful I finally took the steps to get help and I hope you will do the same.


I hope these ideas help you get motivated to do some cleaning when depressed.

Remember that it’s OK if you can’t clean your whole house and your main priority right now should be on improving your mental health.

Everyone has hard times at some point so don’t feel like anything is wrong with you if you’re struggling right now.

If you’re looking for more articles about living with depression check out some of my other posts here.

Want to save these tips for later? Click here to pin this post to your favorite Pinterest board!



cleaning when depressed


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25 thoughts on “Cleaning When Depressed -Tips to Clean When You Feel Like Garbage

  1. This was a really great post, thanks for sharing! These tips for great anyone who is just going through a lazy period and needs a push into the right direction 🙂

  2. Often times I can be hard on myself which doesnt help. Thanks for the reminder to be gentle with myself. And gradually it gets done at my own pace.

  3. I get really down on myself too which ends up just making me less productive and feeling worse. It’s a hard cycle to break.

  4. Thank you for this! I totally get that feeling and I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets in that cycle of depressed and don’t want to clean and its dirty so it’s hopeless to even try. But you are right, even the smallest effort is a step in the right direction. And a clean space is easier to function in when I can barely function to begin with.

  5. This is just what I needed! I’ve never been a neat and tidy person, like the rest of my family, and when depression hits it looks a bit more like a bad disaster movie. Hearing that I’m not alone really helped and I like your suggestions. I think it will help me keep from getting completely overwhelmed and further depressed. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  6. I love this post. Sometimes I can keep up with the mess, but sometimes I just let it get so bad it’s all consuming – a vicious cycle like you said. I signed up to get your planner, and I can’t wait to take a look!

  7. I really needed this. I’ve been going through depression and this is probably the worst my house is seen it. I feel like it’s closing in on me and it was becoming overwhelming instead of tackling areas I just laid down because I couldn’t do it. It was overwhelming to even think of starting a small area. My lovely wonderful caring boyfriend unfortunately does not understand when I go through these periods. My meds help for the most part but something will trigger it and I don’t even usually know what that something is until after I’ve come around it and can look back and see and then think of maybe that is what caused my spiral down. Your blog just gave me hope and the motivation. Thank you. Thank you for understanding thank you for putting it out there for me to stumble upon and thank you for not making it shameful or embarrassing but approaching it with honesty and adorable idea.

  8. Thanks for the article. I really like your upbeat tone. I get depressed because long work hours make me too tired to keep my house clean. And a dirty house gives me anxiety and nightmares about people calling me dirty. I’m going to try your suggestions and have another try at managing better.

  9. I have osteoarthritis and in chronic pain from it. Sometimes all I can do is 10 minutes of anything before I have to sit. My house is in such disarray from not being able to do what I used to. It’s overwhelming, and it’s true — doing just a little at a time helps, and it adds up. I have another tip – find a different way to do your chores, or cook, than you used to. Sit on a stool to wash dishes or stir the pot while cooking. Chop veggies while sitting at the table. Use one of those reachers to pick up around the house – while sitting if need be. Then stop just before it’s too much for your body or mind. Then congratulate yourself for the work you’ve done.

  10. Hi, Faith. I, too, have suffered from depression for most of my life – over 40 years. The meds I am on leave me with no ambition to do anything. Before I was on meds, my house was spotless. I am so thankful I found this website! I actually feel like I might be able to get something done now, thanks to you.

  11. Thanks for this article regarding cleaning house when depressed. I found this article helpful. Since I don’t share with anyone that I am depressed this helps me to know that I am not alone and this helps me not to feel helpless. Thanks again to you and for those who responded who are going through depression as well.

  12. omg why haven’t I seen this before?! reading this made me feel I was reading about myself. Thanks for writing this sometimes I feel like others see me as lazy not wanting to do nothing but I’ve struggle with depression since a young age. this is a everyday struggle for me always a constant battle in my brain with myself its so tiring picture cleaning on top of it….. Thank You !

  13. Thank you, most helpful ideas! Got to go:) ….clean my bathroom before I change my mind?

  14. Its nice to read a post that actually recognizes the struggles some of us deal with as far as depression or anxiety, and not just another post about how hard it is to clean when you have kids. Not all of us have kids…if you do, fine. But we don’t ALL have them…It doesn’t make staying focused and keeping the house spotless any easier with depression or anxiety. I work 7 days a week in a factory, and my husband has 2 jobs…sometimes, its all just a bit overwhelming. Thanks for the push in the right direction!!

  15. Thank you so much for this. I always forget that I don’t have to complete my chores all in one hour or even one day. I have to remind myself more often that I just chip away at everything until they’re complete. Seeing my messy room or house depresses me a lot, so I should definitely take this blog to heart. xx

  16. Even when I was so depressed that I didn’t want to get out of bed I discovered it was critical to keep on some kind of a daily schedule of routines so I didn’t become a complete mess. Every day I would force myself to shower and brush my teeth, make the beds, keep the house neat and call or write to someone so I wouldn’t isolate myself. The few things I managed to clean would actually afterward make me feel better because it would be a form of exercise which produces good feeling endorphins.

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