Have you ever felt that having a clean and tidy house just isn’t possible for you?
Well, I’m here to tell you that however busy you might be, it is very possible, with a just a few small mindset tweaks, to keep your home in a reasonable state at all times.
I hate cleaning a lot. My house is ‘just about’ clean. I don’t think I have ever had a super clean house, apart from the time we were trying to sell it. I have to say, it was very nice indeed having a straight house at the time, but it was a big effort to keep it that way.
I have learned over the years that having a pristine house simply isn’t possible when you have a full-time job and a couple of messy children. Something has to give, and I refuse to feel guilty!
I find that 10 minutes cleaning time is so easy to achieve that sometimes I do it by accident. Picking up a cloth to wipe the surfaces I might find myself wiping the kitchen cupboards too, and then I might as well finish up by going over the sink, and before I know it, I have done my clean-up for the day.
Believe it or not, I have an OCD personality. That is why I only allow 10 minutes maximum for any cleaning task. If I allow myself to have any more time than that, I can’t trust myself to stop.
If you have OCD tendencies too, make sure you use a timer and set it to go off after 10 minutes. Force yourself to stop when the timer goes off. Take a look at your work, and ask yourself if it looks better than when you started. If the answer is ‘yes’, then pat yourself on the back and move on.
When I was working full-time, I guess I could have employed a cleaner, but it is not something I would ever pay out for when I can do it reasonably well myself.
Instead of taking on a cleaner, I worked out a simple 10 minute clean up schedule that I could do in 10 minute bursts. This strategy consisted of one 10 minute general clean, ideally at the end of the day (that way I could wake up the next day with a fairly straight household). Additionally, I would choose one other 10 minute job, allowing me to keep on top of the deeper cleaning tasks such as the bathroom or kitchen. These 10 minute jobs are so tiny, I hardly notice I’m doing them.
I admit that this strategy was evolutionary rather than a pre-conceived plan. I’ve fallen into this routine because it seems to be working. The great thing is, I don’t feel I’m spending too much of my time cleaning up when I could be doing something much more interesting instead.
Remember. If, like me, you are on the OCD scale or in any danger of overdoing anything, make sure you have a timer, so you don’t forget to stop.
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Your daily 10 minute clean up routine
My 10 minute clean up schedule is a super-simple strategy that you are going to love. It will, quite simply, change your life. You will find you have so much more time for other things, and you won’t get stressed about how clean the house is. It will be clean enough.
Step 1 – The daily 10 minute clean up – general tidy up
Do a 10 minute general tidy up on a daily basis. Keeping up with this routine means that it should only ever take you ten minutes max. A good time to do this is at the end of the day.
- Stack the dishwasher
- Wipe around the sink and the counters and put things away
- Empty the garbage
- Tidy up toys or anything else misplaced
- Put shoes away
- Do a quick vacuum or floor sweep
- Wipe the bathroom sink and tidy around
- Put on some laundry/take out some laundry
Feel free to modify this list to suit your household. If you have pets, there will be extra tasks, or less if you don’t have children at home.
Step 2 – One 10 minute clean up task of your choice
Choose one 10 minute clean job. It should be something that needs doing now. If it isn’t all that dirty/messy, then choose something else. Your time is extremely precious. Don’t spend time polishing things that don’t need it.
Here is a list of some 10 minute clean-up jobs you can do, with some suggestions on how to do them nice and quickly.
Your 10 minute clean up tasks
10 Minute vacuum
Choose one area of the house and take 10 minutes to vacuum. Don’t make it too small an area. You need to stretch yourself to get it done in the time. If you have a cordless vacuum, all the better. I find it much quicker to get started with a cordless vacuum than the bigger one that has to be plugged in and then moved to another plug during the clean.
10 Minute floor mopping
If you have hard floors, pick up a mop and clean all the floors, including the bathrooms. The best mop I’ve found is a microfiber mop head that you can use with just water. It’s great for wood flooring as well as tiles, and the floor dries very quickly too.
10 Minute houseplant water
If you have houseplants or patio plants, go round and water them.
10 Minute garden tidy
Tidy your backyard, sweep, do a little weeding, or some watering, whatever your garden needs to survive and thrive.
10 Minute bathroom clean
Apply cleaner all around the toilet bowl and then pour some bleach down the pan. Leave it while you clean around the sink and bath or shower with a dry microfiber cloth. Wipe around the toilet.
Clean the shower drain of any loose hair and pour down some bleach.
By the way, I love, love microfiber cloths! There are so versatile because you can clean virtually anything with them. They are great for cleaning windows, mirrors, sinks, and more. Wring one out, and you can use it as a tea towel, and when damp it is a great duster. Plus, you can clean microfiber cloths very easily even with homemade detergent.
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10 Minute bedroom clean
Choose a bedroom and give it a general tidy up and dusting. Change the bedclothes, and vacuum behind furniture. Give the window a wipe over.
10 Minute declutter
Choose a single messy area and tidy it until it looks reasonably straight, or your 10 minutes are up. You could make a point of coming back for another 10 minute stint another day if more work is needed. But remember, you are aiming for ‘just about’ tidy.
10 Minute dust
Take a dry microfiber cloth and dust a single room. Wipe over blinds, windows, furniture, skirting boards or anything else that catches the dust. You don’t need any stinky sprays when you use microfiber cloths, that’s another thing I love about them.
10 Minute cooker clean
Take a wet cloth and wipe all around the oven and grill area, plus the stove area. Try and do this job at least once a week to avoid build-up. If your oven needs replacing, make sure you replace it with a pyrolytic one. The pyrolytic cycle makes deep cleaning a total breeze by turning all oven dirt to dust that you can wipe away easily.
10 Minute kitchen sink
Wipe around the sink and drainer with a cloth and some dish soap. Wipe the taps. Apply some white vinegar to remove watermarks if necessary. Pour a bit of bleach down the plughole.
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10 Minute refrigerator clean
Refrigerators never really get too unsanitary. It’s the dirt created by food debris that is the problem. If you can get into the habit of giving your fridge a 10 minute wipe down once a week, you avoid having to do a much deeper clean later on, and you won’t need harsh antibacterial cleaners.
10 Minute kids room clean
If you have kids, take 10 minutes to shoot around the room, picking up clothes and tidying away toys. If your kids are old enough, get them to help you. Better still, set them a 10 minute well-defined task for them to do, such as clearing the floor.
10 Minute car tidy
Spend 10 minutes picking up any trash and wiping over seats, cup-holders, dashboard etc. Whiz round with a handheld vac. If you have time, wipe over the inside of windows and doors.
You will find that forcing yourself to do a job for just 10 minutes max focuses you on the task like a laser beam, and it stops you from going overboard on the cleaning.
If you have kids. Get them kids to help out too. I am a firm believer that children should understand early on that keeping a clean and tidy home is a joint responsibility, and that if everyone does their bit it is far easier all round.
If your kids currently don’t help at all, I recommend starting out small to begin with. Get them to help you with something they can do easily, such as clearing the table after dinner. Then you could move on to something bigger like stacking the dishwasher with the aim of training them to do it all themselves. Children are never too young to help out in some way. If you can make it into a game, then all the better!
What I love about this way of cleaning is knowing that it will all be over in just 10 minutes. I don’t dread starting a clean any more because I know it will be pretty painless and finished in an instant. I don’t feel I have to have everything polished and sparkling. The house is clean enough. I feel in control, and I’m not embarrassed when visitors come to call.