How To Even…Motivate Your Useless Self To Do Chores

By Michael Gushue & CL Bledsoe

Life, amirite? It gets messy. Literally. Even when you just sit around the house, doing nothing, dust and small, angry sprites seem to magically appear everywhere. (Okay, maybe the sprites are because of an unfortunate incident involving a lot of Coors Light and the destruction of a magical glade we were TOTALLY NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR, but we digress.) You come home from work or the bar or your work at a bar and find this dirty house/apartment/Dumpster that those fucking sprites refuse to clean up, no matter how many sparkle gumdrops you bribe them with.

You need a clean home, unless you want to get cholera, which is really not as sexy as it sounds. But it’s so hard to motivate yourself to clean when you’ve been working all day (or maybe lying on the couch, but you see our point). Besides, you can get used to the filth. The filth may seem like your only friend. But that’s the kind of thinking that got you banned from Fairyland along with the sprite clan to begin with. (Which, hey, it’s their fault for listening to you, right?)

So how do you get off the couch/bed/magical mossy forest floor and get things done? We have a few suggestions.

Bribe Yourself

People do this all the time. They say, “Oh, I’ll clean the bathroom, and then I’ll let myself have a piece of cake,” or whatever. But this doesn’t work very well for most of us for one very important reason: you can probably just climb over the dust dunes in the living room, distract the angry sprites in the hallway, and battle the dust leeches in the dining room in order to get to the kitchen and go ahead and have that cake, anyway, which is some good cardio, don’t get us wrong. But your place is still a mess, and now you’re out of cake.

If you really want it to work, you’ve got to hide the cake. But then you’ll just go find it, so you’ve got to hide it while you’re in a state that assures that you won’t remember, i.e. get wasted and hide snacks everywhere. You don’t want to be too obvious, or that defeats the purpose; hiding chocodiles in the toilet, for example, well, that’s just a bad idea all around. But you could stick snack cakes under all the cleaning supplies. Get creative. Just don’t poison yourself. And once you finish hiding the snacks, you should probably have a piece of cake to reward yourself.

Hire Someone To Yell At/Explain Things To You

Longtime readers of the How To Even blog may remember this as one of the solutions in our How To Even…Deal with Erectile Dysfunction and How To Even…Feel Something, Anything, Again, Oh My God, I Am So Hollow Inside. Or would, if they hadn’t been censored. (By us. We censored them. They made everyone too sad. Or angry.)

So, yeah. Folks need jobs. You need to clean. Folks sure love to yell at each other on the internet; how about bringing that energy into your living room? A mouth-breather or virtue signaler or mouth-breathing virtue-signaler can follow you around, lecturing you about stuff you already know or trying to shame you for doing innocuous stuff, and the only way to get them to shut up would be to clean your sink and put away your laundry. Honestly, they’d probably do it for free. They might even pay you.

The drawback to this, of course, is murder. So don’t commit murder. Or do. Hey, we’re not some kind of judge-y Jesus. Just clean up the scene, after. And then have some cake.

Force Yourself Into Social Situations That Require Cleaning

For this one to work, you have to have a little bit of self-respect, which, we know, can be hard to come by. Basically, what you have to do is invite people to come over, which forces you to have to clean up your place. This only works if you’re intimidated by those people at least a little (or feel empathy for other human beings and don’t want to subject them to the horror show that is how you live.)

For example, if your mom is coming over, you might not do so much because she’ll forgive you, whereas if your older sibling is coming over, you’ll clean to avoid their derision (Spoiler: They’ll just find some other reason to mock you.) Maybe reach out to someone who picked on you in high school. The desire to impress them will give you energy. So, you’ll straighten up a bit before they come over.

There are many shortcuts to this method, which is good because you’ll probably wait until the last minute to start. Instead of putting away your laundry, you could shape it into a chair and throw a blanket over the top. This also works for piles of trash or any roommates, family members, or squatters who’ve passed out in your living room. Just try to steer your guests away from sitting on them, since they’re probably not structurally sound. Unless, you know, you’re really good at stacking trash, which is kind of our demographic, so. At very least, you’ll move the squalor around, which gives the squalor opportunities to experience new things and see new sights, like instead of being under your couch, now it’s under your bed. It’s basically a study abroad program for trash that you sponsor.

Try A New Cleaning Product

Who doesn’t love toys? Other than Timmy that is, with his childhood of booby-trapped teddy bears and hostile pets. Blowing your paycheck on a snazzy cleaning substance or cleaning equipment might seem like a desperate move just to get rid of some dust under your bed. And it is. But sooner or later you are going to reach Maximum Dirt Level (MDL). MDL is the point at which you cannot tell what’s dirt and what is, for example, the couch or your roommate. At MDL, you can expect to come home and find CHUDs rooting through your kitchen cabinets. Not fun. So, before that happens, maybe you should forego paying your utilities, or buying food for a month or two, and invest in some shiny cleaning machine. But which one should you get?

Roomba. We’re not really sure what this is. Some kind of dance that sweeps up dirt? In any case, people seem to swear by it. Then Alexa, Siri, or Samantha hear and record that swearing, and adjust the crypto-algorithms that control your life, your every thought. It’s good when Roomba does that. It’s very good.

Flamethrower. Sure, for Ex-whyers a flamethrower is the ultimate mantoy. But let’s not let that get in the way of its usefulness as a cleaning implement. Dust, dirt, grease, trash, whatever that is crawling through the stack of newspapers and junk mail — Mr. Flame-y is going to take care of all of it. Just call yourself Montag and get to work. Soon, everything cluttering up your house will be reduced to ash. Of course now you’re stuck with piles of ash. Hmm. Okay, it’s not perfect. Maybe add some broken concrete and twisted rebar and you can practice for the world-wide devastation that’s coming. NOTE: be careful using the flamethrower around things you don’t want to burn, like the couch or your roommate. ANOTHER NOTE: Similar approaches would be to melt the mess with a caustic agent like sulfuric acid or chlorine gas. We say knock yourself out. Literally. At least that way you won’t care about the mess, or maybe you won’t be alive, which would be a bummer.

Robot. It’s a cleaning machine…and your friend! Or possibly your new master, who will laugh at your weak human flesh and puny human intelligence and then experiment on you by switching your limbs around and replacing your head with a toaster oven. But there’s a decent chance you can have sex with it, so.

Nanobots. These are like robots — technically, they are robots — except they’re all named Nano. We’re kidding. Nano is a mathematical prefix which means super teensy. So, um, we guess we’re saying hire a math teacher to clean for you. Lord knows they need the cash.

Fire hose. Long-time readers of HTE might recognize this as our solution to How To Even…Open Up and Share Your Dumb Feelings. The principal is the same; point the fire hose at the thing you don’t want to be there anymore. The pressure of the water will obliterate it, and all you’ll have left to worry about is the angry firefighters who will eventually track you down.

Laser. A laser is lot like a flamethrower except more science-y. The great thing about lasers is the laser enthusiast community, which is mostly made up of science geeks, weapons manufacturers, and super-villains, though there’s a lot of overlap.

Personal Growth, Probably With Some Essential Oils or Some Shit

Yeah, so, hey, how about not making so much trash? Maybe instead of dropping your fast food bags and candy wrappers directly onto the floor, you put them in the trash? Or maybe eat at home so you don’t make so much trash? Haha jk. Here’s the thing: floors are just big shelves to put things on. And chairs and couches are just smaller shelves. That’s why they exist. If you don’t cover them with trash, then what is the purpose of their existence? Do you want to give your floor or couch an existential crisis? What did they ever do to you to deserve that? Sheesh. Think about someone other than yourself for once.


At a certain point, you’ll probably have to accept the fact that you’re a dirty person. But that doesn’t mean you have to actually clean up after yourself. When your home fills to the brim with trash, you can just move and leave it all behind. Or set it on fire. Or hire someone to clean it for you. Or, you can make peace with your filth and channel your inner fly, humming happily to yourself in your own, disgusting life, raising little maggots — okay, maybe too far. Either way, the important thing is that you got snacks. If you could only remember where they are…

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