1) Do not ever under any circumstances kick your own ass for struggling with this. We are wired for big projects, not daily upkeep stuff.
That doesn’t mean giving yourself a free pass to live in squalor, but it does mean give yourself credit for trying, and celebrate even the little successes. The point is gradually building better habits, so that daily household maintenance becomes part of a routine that you don’t have to motivate yourself to accomplish.
2) When all else fails, lower your standards.
Meaning to set your own personal bar for what counts as clean to you. (I’m 46, I’ve had time to figure mine out, lol, and it’s the “dull roar” standard.
For me, I’m okay with a certain level of clutter, but not dirt. I will move my clutter, clean under and behind it, then put the clutter back where it was. Just keeping the chaos to a dull roar.
I use trays everywhere to corral my random clutter, like on the kitchen counter or table— when the tray is full, it’s time to deal with its contents.
I don’t worry about getting all the way to the bottom of Laundry Mountain, but I have a limit on how tall it’s allowed to get before I gotta take it down a few notches.
*Also, underneath Laundry Mountain is the best hiding place for Xmas presents ever!
3) Make it fun, or funny
For me it comes down to a handful of mantras, like “half ass is better than no ass”, also known as the “make a dent” rule, which I’ll remind myself of when I keep walking past the sink full of dirty dishes that I have neither the time nor willpower to fully tackle.
If I take 2-5 minutes to either just empty the dishwasher or organize the dirty dishes by category, then the next time I walk past the sink on my way to do something else it only takes 5 minutes or so to load the dishwasher, etc.
If my husband and I both half-ass it, eventually it adds up to a whole ass!
4) I realized a while back that I get more done by puttering (IF uninterrupted) than by setting a specific goal, so a couple times a week I’ll wander through each room in my house and spend about 10 minutes making a dent, and it’s usually enough to get us by.
5) If it’s tuesday, scrub a toilet. If it’s trash night, clean out the fridge.