The Lazy Girl's Guide To Cleaning In 20 Minutes For 30 Days
THE LAZY GIRL'S GUIDE TO CLEANING IN 20 MINUTES A DAY
When I first learned to clean my own place, I thought Saturday had to be an all day clean-a-thon. I didn't really have a concept of how to balance the workload during the week so weekends could be reserved for larger projects or actual FUN! Now I clean in 20 minutes a day, every day, and things just seem to take care of themselves. Here's a glimpse at the schedule I use!
No one said you had to do everything at once and even when time seems short, if you can manage one task a day, things should start to work themselves out. Adjust this list as your family's needs require (those with more or less children might require doing certain activities more or less). If it's easier, take a blank calendar and fill it in accordingly so easier tasks are on days where your day is go, go, go and reserve the more difficult ones for days when things are a little lighter.
Here are 5 tips to help make these 30 days a success:
1) Dealing With What Comes Through The Door
Set up a small area by the front door to act as a "landing strip" for incoming items to your home. If you're a longtime reader this is nothing new to you. If this is the first time you've heard this phrase outside of reference to personal grooming habits (heehee), then make sure to check out Maxwell's Home Cure video on the topic.
2) Do Your Dishes After Every Meal
This will help you stay on top of your kitchen instead of having it turn into a monster! NO ONE wants to do them.. after all, you probably cooked dinner to boot. But waiting for another meal or until you have enough to fill the dishwasher just makes things feel overwhelming and easier to procrastinate. The same goes for taking out trash as well. If you need to take the trash out, place it by the front door to go out in the morning or dispose of it that night so it's over and done with. Procrastination never makes things better!
If you have a washer and dryer at home, do a little bit each day - spreading things out will mean you don't feel bogged down by 200 towels and stinky socks. Not feeling inspired? Treat yourself... to a new laundry basket and an easy line to hang things on. It's the little things that make the jobs go quicker!
4) Whistle While You Work
No one really enjoys cleaning, but singing, humming, whistling or turning up the radio are all great options to keep the beat in your feet and have fun while working. If you feel like you are missing out on your reading, try an audiobook, or even put on a TED talk.
5) Set a Timer
Most items on the list below should take no more than 20 minutes total. It's easy to rationalise 20 minutes, but it's also easy to get distracted by phone calls, emails, children and other projects that call your name as you tackle each chore. Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes (whichever works best for you) and that way when it sounds you know exactly how much time you have left. If you find yourself off task it's easy to get back on track.
Day 1. Surface clean living room and kitchen (pick up stray items, dust, sweep, vacuum)
ONE ITEM A DAY TO DO LIST:
Day 2. Clean bathrooms (toilets, showers, floors, walls, mirrors)
Day 3. Surface clean bedrooms (put away toys, clothes, dust)
Day 4. Surface clean "extra" rooms (office, playroom)
Day 5. Surface clean living room and kitchen
Day 6. Clean bathrooms
Day 7. Clean all interior windows (white vinegar and newspaper works great and is cheap!)
Day 8. Sweep and vacuum all floors in the house (don't forget stairs)
Day 9. Surface clean bedrooms
Day 10. Deep clean living room (mirrors, baseboards, dust artwork)
Day 11. Clean bathrooms
Day 12. Clean out closets
Day 13. Surface clean "extra" rooms
Day 14. Deep clean bedrooms (organise drawers, check under bed, tidy closet, dust artwork, fans, lights)
Day 15. Surface clean living room and kitchen
Day 16. Deep clean bathrooms (clean inside drawers, inside of trash cans, tops of mirrors, tile, mop)
Day 17. Clean all door knobs, phones, entertainment equipment (remote controls), switch plates, banisters and other things that are repeatedly touched.
Day 18. Clean out the refrigerator, take stock of food, organise pantry
Day 19. Clean entryway, sweep porch (if you have one), clean out car (because they're often our home away from home)
Day 20. Surface clean living room and kitchen
Day 21. Surface clean bathrooms
Day 22. Surface clean bedrooms
Day 23. Sweep and vacuum all floors in the house
Day 24. Clean linen closet, straighten towels, sheets or regular closet if not applicable
Day 25. Surface clean living room and kitchen
Day 26. Deep clean kitchen (scrub appliances, wash trash cans, oven hobs, wipe down cupboards)
Day 27. Surface clean bathrooms
Day 28. Surfaces clean bedrooms
Day 29. Clean one item you've been meaning to get to and haven't (deep clean your stove, wipe down all light fixtures, tackle a particularly unruly area)
Day 30. Sweep and vacuum all floors in the house
To this list you can also add chores that need to be done monthly or quarterly. It's easier to plan for larger tasks like steam cleaning a sofa or a heavy traffic hallway, when it feels like part of the routine instead of that thing you keep putting off and dreading.
Habits are formed by doing and one of the best ways to change a bad habit is to replace it with a good habit. So if the time spent right when you come home from work is usually filled with email reading or a short nap, try switching this out with your cleaning instead. Filling these first 20 minutes of your time at home with quick cleaning will build good habits and help you stay on top of the game without feeling like it's a huge chore.
Do you have anything to add to the list? What cleaning tasks would you add? Let us know in the comments below!
- Georgina Roberts