Anyone can feel overwhelmed by the amount of time, energy, and mental space needed to keep up with everyday chores. And for many people with executive dysfunction, ADHD, depression, or similar conditions, dealing with chores can become its own burden. Although the fully self-cleaning home is not yet a reality, technology can help make handling these everyday tasks a little simpler. Here are some ways to take some of the stress out of tidying up and reduce the risk of becoming overwhelmed.
1. Use Cleaning Apps
For many people, a clean, tidy living space can help them feel a sense of control and peace of mind, according to a Cleveland Clinic article. Not to mention, regularly cleaning your house can lead to better air quality, clean cooking surfaces, and fewer germs in the bathroom—all of which are important to your overall well-being. Clutter, meanwhile, can sometimes lead to feelings of distraction or tension.
So many tasks go into maintaining your living space, however, and sometimes you don't know where to start. In these instances, the structure offered by apps simplifies and automates the cleaning process. Whether they turn tidying up into a game or simplify your cleaning schedule, these apps make household tasks feel like less of a chore and remove that excess stress from your brain so that you can focus more on the present moment.
Designed to make tidying up simpler, the Tody app tracks and prioritizes your cleaning habits. You can keep track of daily chores as well as those once-in-a-while tasks to keep your place orderly.
Start by setting up a selection of tasks for each room in your living space. For instance, you can add dusting and vacuuming to the living room area, while the kitchen gets tasks to wipe down the counters and clean the sink. Select from a list of tasks for each room or add your own.
You have to maintain your routine to keep Dusty, the animated, dirt-loving cartoon character, at bay. There's something motivating about the creature's taunts every time you spruce up your space, and it's a fun way to gamify your cleaning routine. You can split tasks among the members of your household, as well. There's also the option to rotate tasks regularly to make sure no one gets stuck with the same chore too often.
By breaking down every area into manageable tasks, the app’s divide-and-conquer approach helps make tidying up a lot simpler. Even if you miss a day or two here and there, it's easy to get back in the tidying flow (and defeat Dusty). By using Tody, you no longer have to worry about which task to do next and which you keep forgetting about. Plus, you can easily jump back into the "game" anytime, so there's no pressure if you go off-schedule.
Receive gentle prompts to complete your tasks each day with this cleaning-focused app. The app also provides smart suggestions if you’re overwhelmed, so you can transfer some of the stress of even planning a cleaning session over to the app.
Start by selecting one task you can do every day, such as decluttering the dining room table. In time, add tasks for each area of your home, whether that's cleaning the microwave or taking out the trash. The app offers a variety of suggested tasks for each area, and you can request new tasks to be added to the app as well. You also select the frequency with which tasks need to be completed, whether that's daily or every six months.
Tasks automatically show up in your app whenever they are due, and you can snooze anything that doesn't work with your schedule that day. You can assign tasks to specific members of your household as well. There's even a focus mode with a timer to help you concentrate on that day's chores for a specific amount of time. That's a great addition for people who like to track the time they spend on activities to appreciate the work they put into them.
A statistics page keeps up with your cleaning streaks, and you can earn badges for cleaning a certain number of days in a row. It's fun to see the rewards stack up for your efforts. But the app's core features—suggested tasks, date-based surfacing, and focus mode—are what make it a great companion for people who constantly feel anxious about chores.
Download: Dirtfree for iOS (Subscription required, free trial available)
Homey - Chores and Allowance
If you're trying to get kids involved with household tasks (delegation is a great way to take some of the stress off your plate), the Homey app can help simplify that process. Tasks include both responsibilities, which are chores assigned to specific family members, and jobs, which are more challenging chores. Jobs might include mopping and vacuuming the entire house, for instance.
Create profiles for each family member, then assign them specific jobs or chores. The app includes a pre-selected list of chores for each household area, so you can scroll through a list and assign away instead of typing out everything from scratch. If you like, you can require a photo for each completed chore. You can scroll through the chore lists at any time to see what each family member has completed.
In addition, an allowance feature adds financial incentives to the chores. You can opt to pay the allowance immediately upon completion. For the most part, the Homey app is a thorough and feature-packed option for families who split up household tasks. It'll help you manage both your chores and your family's responsibilities without stressing over who's doing what every day.
2. Automate and Outsource Chores
Whenever possible, let devices take over household tasks. Most people are familiar with the smart robot vacuums that take care of dust and pet hair. However, there is also a great selection of robot mops that can scrub hard floors clean with the push of a button.
Put virtual assistant technology to work, as well. There are some great Alexa skills for working at home that can help you with tidying up, such as the Chore Chart and Whose Turn. You'll always know which person in your household is responsible for specific tasks, taking the guesswork out of tidying up.
In addition, several websites and apps make outsourcing your chores easier than ever. For instance, hampr offers laundry pickup and drop-off services through its app. Services like Tidy make it easy to schedule house cleaning services online, and you can also search for local cleaning companies in your area.
3. Get a Cleaning Buddy
Call a friend on Zoom and clean simultaneously for a few minutes, or get a virtual accountability partner to stay on top of your chores. Sometimes a little social boost is all it takes to get going on your chores list.
4. Use Timers to Stay Focused
Try to do your cleaning in specific time frames. How much gets accomplished in 15 to 20 focused minutes might surprise you. And if you struggle to focus for extended periods of time, you can adjust the increments to an amount of time that suits you. Do multiple 10-minute chunks instead of 30 minutes straight of cleaning, with 2-minute breaks in between. That way, your brain doesn't feel like it's being overwhelmed with hours of cleaning per week.
To use this technique, take advantage of your phone’s clock function or download one of the great mobile timer apps available, such as Brain Focus or Goodtime. If you're already a fan of the Pomodoro Technique for work, then the best free Pomodoro productivity apps will come in handy for tidying up, too. Just about any task seems more doable in 25-minute increments or shorter. Just don't forget to reward yourself at the end!
Let Tech Ease the Stress of Tidying Up
Whether you use apps to keep your chores organized or automate and outsource household tasks, tech can help make tidying up a little easier on your mind when it's already struggling to juggle other worries and responsibilities. Sometimes the right apps and devices are all you need to take the stress out of tidying up.