Are you overwhelmed by the idea of keeping up with your clean house? You only need to follow one simple rule to maintain a tidy home! Check out this post to learn what it is!
There’s a funny scene in just about every parenting themed movie, TV show, or commercial – mom spends forever cleaning her home until you can see a gleam on the counter with a loud ‘ding!’ indicating just how squeaky clean it is and then the kids come home. Within seconds the home is destroyed and it looks just as bad, if not worse than it did before she started.
Rinse and repeat, such is life when you have children.
I’m sure there are families out there that somehow have spic and span homes for the majority of the day. I’m not sure what their trick is – staying out of the house? A play room to confine everything into? Following a foot behind their children and cleaning as they go? Whatever it is, I clearly do not possess that skill.
No, by the time I get the boys to bed and I look around my empire, I shudder at the chaos that I see.
But somehow, I go to bed each night with a reasonably clean home.
In fact, I can’t sleep if I know the place is a mess. Partly because I know that if I don’t go to bed with it clean, there is no freaking way that the house will be even manageable once the boys wake up the next day.
At this point, you might be thinking something along the lines of, “Well, that’s great for you that you have the energy or time to spend an hour or two cleaning each night.” But you’d be wrong. In fact, most days I can’t even find the motivation to do the basics. It’s hard to find the motivation to do a nice, deep clean on your house when you know it will only stay that way until your demons wake up. But here’s the thing – you don’t need to be deep cleaning every day to have a clean home. There is only one rule you need to maintain a tidy home. No, really. One. Little. Rule.
Here it is: At least once a day, spend an uninterrupted 15 minutes cleaning. That’s it.
15 minutes is all you need to get the majority of your tidying done. For me, the ‘unbreakable rule’ is to spend the first 15 minutes after I get the boys to bed cleaning and tidying. Not convinced? In preparation for this post, I tested my theory the other night – I put a timer on my phone for 15 minutes and got to work once I put Ryan down for bed. Here’s what I got done:
-pick up all toys and place into toybox.
-vacuum and mop (Swiffer Wet Jet, to be fair) mudroom, kitchen, and living room.
-wipe down coffee table, TV and baseboards in the living room.
-put away dry dishes.
-wipe down kitchen counters.
-clear off and wipe down the kitchen table.
-remove dry clothes and transfer wet clothes to the dryer.
To be honest, those are the main things I try to accomplish before I go to bed in order to be able to fall asleep without stressing about the mess. And I got it all done before Ryan even fell asleep. It wasn’t dragged out over 2 or 3 hours when I could be relaxing or blogging or spending time with Alex or whatever it is I want to do when I am child free. It wasn’t rushed or done half-assed and exhausted right before I gave up and went to bed. It was done early in the night and I was able to sit and relax while the boys slept. And I was able to wake up and not worry about catching up on all that I didn’t get to the night before.
No, my house isn’t spotless, sanitized and perfect each night. Once a week I spend the majority of an afternoon doing my ‘big’ clean, where I do all of the more in-depth cleaning. I set Ryan up with a movie and a snack while Owen takes his afternoon nap and go crazy. But these 15 minutes a night will maintain the cleanliness and tidiness in your home and keep everyone sane. 15 minutes is all you need to maintain a tidy home.
So choose a time – if you’re a mom, I HIGHLY suggest right after the kiddo goes down for bed or a nap (or both!) Otherwise, maybe right after dinner or the 15 minutes before your favorite show comes on will work best for you. I love this tip and method because it puts a timeline on things – I know that I only have to spend 15 minutes cleaning, and I don’t have to guilt myself into cleaning for 30 minutes or more. Just 15 quick minutes completely devoted to getting the house into order.
If you find you need a little more time to get it together (I do have a small house and younger kids with less stuff) think about adding another 15 minutes – maybe after breakfast or lunch. Also be sure to do things like wash dishes or load the dishwasher throughout the day. A sink full of dishes in and of itself will take over 15 minutes for me, so I try to clean mine as the day for on.
Need tips for living without a dishwasher? check out this post!
Give it a try- I promise you’ll be shocked at how much you can accomplish and how much it will transform your cleaning routine!
Interested in more home tips? You might also like these posts!
Make Your Own Cleaning Schedule
How to Get Smells Out of Wooden Cutting Boards.
Gretchen | Gretchruns says
I read a book called the 10 minute declutter that had this same idea, and it’s SO smart. I’m just horrible and can’t get myself to do it every night. As soon as I get a house I need to start working harder at keeping it clean!
I think that since I put the kiddo to bed at a specific time, it helps with giving myself a time when I need to start. I know that once I sit down and start doing blog work and relaxing, I’ll never want to get up and clean!
Carrie This Home says
This is SUCH an easy yet effective way to keep things picked up! I’m going to do this in the coming week and I’m sure it will make life a little less chaotic. Thanks for the great tip, Morgan!
Heidi Kokborg says
This is so true! I try to do this every day too so I don’t have to be afraid of getting unexpected visitors and also so I don’t throw a fit. I hate it when it’s to messy. Happy weekend 🙂
I spend a lot of time daily with those tasks…also laundry 🙁 my hubs would I’ve in a cesspool if I weren’t around… I am a valuable asset 🙂
What a great tip! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Debbie W. says
I sit a timer all the time, but usually devoted to a room. Love your ideas.
Jenny @ Unremarkable Files says
Yes! Even though you’re SO exhausted and all you want to do is sit down and just veg out or read or blog or whatever once the kids are down, you can’t or you just won’t get back up to do any real work. At least I won’t! I have no idea how you accomplished all that in 15 minutes, but I try to do the same thing!
I agree! I feel like uninterrupted in s the key… but with kiddos running around that is the hard part!
Jamie @ Medium Sized Family says
I am always surprised at how much I can accomplish in 15 minutes. Especially since cleaning isn’t exactly rocket science, and you can blow through most of it pretty quickly if you aren’t concerned about perfection. Great post!
I am going to try and incorporate this tip into my days! I know it would help my house so much. Thanks!
Katie Westenberg says
I think I might just set the time today! Thank you for this encouragement. Thankfully, my kids are old enough to help with many of the chores as well – it’s the tradeoff for outgrowing naptimes. 😉
Great tip! With three kids under age 6, I seem to get easily distracted and it takes forever to get stuff done. Sharing with others. Visiting from Wow Me Wednesdays link party.
I try to keep up on the housework through a little bit a day, but sometimes my 15 minutes a day just morphs into an hour on the weekend- ha! 🙂 But totally, I need to remind myself to JUST DO IT at the end of the day after the kids are in bed.
Visiting from Women with Intention!
Ana (@ANAWINSblog) says
I agree, just picking a time and doing it helps keep our homes cleaned up! I like to do it after dinner to get all the daily crumbs swept up! Kids sure are messy little things 😉
Erin @ Stay At Home Yogi says
I think it makes a big difference to do this immediately after your kids go down! If I sit down and relax for a minute, or start doing something on my laptop, it is MUCH harder to get up later and do the cleaning. Excellent tip!
I completely agree! Sometimes the task looks so large, that we end up shooting ourselves in the foot by not just doing it. Thanks for this reminder!
Angela @ Setting My Intention says
It’s true that you can get a lot done in 15 minutes. It’s always hard to get started, but if its made a daily habit, I’m sure it makes a big difference. We as a family haven’t created a daily list of chores but since my kids are old enough to participate, I’d like to involved them in it too! Thanks for the tip!
I need to do this! I can do 15 minutes! Thank you for this!
You can do it Lara! It’s pretty much changed my outlook on cleaning.
Lux G. says
Interesting how simple and doable it sounds. Must try that. 😀
I always find it amazing how setting a timer helps productivity and focus – for me, at least! Good tips.
Timers are wonderful things. Sometimes I’ll put on on but on silent- it’s a great way to trick yourself into working longer!
Karen Del Tatto says
I like this idea!
It matches up with another tip I’ve heard and that is when you are procrastinating and just don’t feel like cleaning, to simply “just start” and before you know it, what you’ve set out to do is done. It’s like once you are on a roll, you just go with the flow. If that make sense. lol.
Thanks for sharing!
I completely agree with that philosophy! I think half the battle in most things is just getting of your behind and hetting to work. After that, I have no problem continuing usually. It’s the starting that is hard!
Easy enough. My one rule is be sure everything has its place and put it back when you are done using it. That way, no cluttered countertops, shoes at the door or coats wherever. It all has a place.
Has a first time mom i can say it can be tough learning how to take care of a baby and getting things done around the house,you have really good points and great article thanks for sharing.
Great tip! So true! If I just focus on cleaning I can get so much done! Inviting friends over usually motivates me to get it done fast;) Linking up with you at #momssmallvictories!
Heather @ Simply Save says
Doing a little each day definitely makes it easier than putting it off and having to tidy up a ton! Thanks for sharing on the Small Victories Sunday Linkup!
Katherines Corner says
great post! Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. Pinned and featured you today xo
Thank you so much, Katherine! So glad you enjoyed it!
These are easy actionable ways to keep the house clean! LOVE it. I find that these are the things I struggle with most often, especially the floor. So it’s nice to know I can clean it up in just 15 minutes. I’m pinning, stumbling and tweeting this.
Oh so true – just commit the 15 minutes and anyone would be shocked how much you can get done. Thanks for sharing, I found you at Thursday favorites 🙂
Stopping by thanks to the “Turn Up Tuesdays” link-up – I LOVE this tip, and I agree. I need to put this into practice ASAP.
Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories says
Whew, you got a lot done in 15 minutes! I feel like everything takes me twice as long because my hands have been damaged by Rheumatoid Arthritis. I drop things a lot or have trouble with some seemingly simple tasks and sometimes I get a little too perfectionist about tasks. But today, I tried cleaning up 1.5 of the bathrooms as fast as I could and it seemed to not take as long. Score a small victory for me!
Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday Linkup. Pinning to our linkup board and hope you found some great posts to visit this week!
Me too! For me its the 15 after breakfast! I always tell myself I am getting technology on my side. Load and start the dishwasher, start a load of laundry, tidy everything up and I am ready to go!
I tell this to my husband all the time! I often do 15-20min tidy ups each day, and it really doesn’t take much time and effort, whereas he often expects it to be 1-2 hour job.
Such a good tip – you really can get so much done if you do that each day. I do it during naptime too! My house will never been sneaky clean with two kids, but I will do what I can in those 15 minutes! Thanks for sharing.
Kathryn Grace says
I WISH I could get that much accomplished in 15 minutes! Perhaps I did when I was your age. I can’t mop my floors in 15 minutes these days, even if I didn’t have to dip the mop in a bucket of water and ring it out every so often. Thank goodness for robots. They save arthritic backs and hands!
But I surely can manage most of the other things you mentioned in that time, and since I don’t do the floors, I could add in some judicious dusting of the book shelves. Thanks for the tips. Several years ago, I took to a similar five minute cleaning method, which I employ most often in the bathroom to keep it ship-shape. But it works with dusting the blinds and even vacuuming the furniture too. Just a little at a time, for those of us with aging bodies, helps to keep the house tidier too.
Glad to have found you and your site, thanks to the Simply Natural Link-Up.
This is such a great tip that I desperately need to implement into my daily routine! I don’t know how my house gets so messy but this would help cut down on the mess and clutter. Thanks for sharing at Simply Natural Saturdays!
It’s really the clutter that makes it seem super messy, for me at least. It drives me nuts! Making sure all the clutter is away makes the “real” cleaning so much easier!!
Yes! I find this to be very true. If I can get right to decluttering and cleaning after my son starts his nap, I am most certainly more productive than if I put it off until later in the day! Good post!
Great tips for keeping the house in order. Thank you for sharing at Inspiration Galore Project Pty. Hope to see you next week.
Heather @ Polyglot Jot says
Great idea–I have been doing a little bit in spurts right now and it makes all of the difference. I also find that having a made bed makes me feel more accomplished haha!
YES. I never ever made my bed until I had kids because it’s such a small thing that makes a room feel cleaner. Until your toddler decides to play”bedtime” and rips it off….
Great tip, Morgan. It really is amazing how much you can accomplish when you put a timer on. I usually use the first 20 minutes of naptime to do my daily cleaning task (which usually involves tackling a different room each day). That way, Each week I know I’ve hit the major things at least once, and if I miss something one week…I know I’ll have the next Tuesday to clean bathtubs…or whatever the chore may be.
That’s so smart to break it down a room a day. I usually do one big day a week of going to town on my house, but that probably takes the stress out!