“It is scarcely surprising, then, that so many people imagine housekeeping to be boring, frustrating, repetitive, unintelligent drudgery. I cannot agree. (In fact, having kept house, practiced law, taught, and done many other sorts of work, low- and high-paid, I can assure you that it is actually lawyers who are most familiar with the experience of unintelligent drudgery.)” ~Cheryl Mendelson, Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House
This quote speaks to me in so many ways. Perhaps I relate to the unintelligent drudgery of practicing law. But mostly I think the quote speaks to me because I firmly believe that our home should be anything but frustrating, repetitive and unintelligent drudgery. Quite the opposite is true.
Having a regular neat and tidy home does not require you to spend hours each day cleaning. In fact, you should and you can make your home guest ready in about 20 minutes. This of course assumes you have already taken care of the basic decluttering.
The harsh reality is that if you have a home over run with clutter you will never be able to make it company ready within 20 minutes. Less stuff means it is easier to clean, its just that simple. If your home is still bogged down by clutter, stop and read this post on how to get started on a clutter free home.
So if your desire is to have a home you can have neat and tidy within 20 minutes start with removing the excess clutter. It is important to remember, that removing all clutter from your home is an ongoing process. It’s not easy and won’t happen over night, for now the goal is to get a basic handle on it. So again, read this post to get started on decluttering your home.
Okay, now that you have a basic handle on your clutter, here is a list to help you achieve a neat and tidy home in 20 minutes.
1. Make Your Bed
This is the simplest and the most important habit you can develop to ensure your home will be neat and tidy in 20 minutes. Your bed is the biggest area in your room. When your bed is make the entire room instantly looks neater. Not only that, but did you know that people who regularly make their bed are actually happier. Yes it is true, check it out here.
2. Clean Your Surfaces
Along the same lines as the beds being the biggest items in the room, making the room look neater when they are made, the same principals applies with clearing the surfaces. Take a large basket and go through your home. Take everything that is cluttering up your surfaces and place the items in the basket. You can go through the basket later when you have some extra time.
Having the surfaces clean instantly makes your whole place look cleaner. Do your best to keep your surfaces clean and clutter free as a regular habit.
3. Keep Cleaning Supplies Where You Use Them
I keep all of my cleaning supplies that I use to clean the kitchen under the kitchen sink. In addition, I keep all of the cleaning supplies I use to clean the bathroom under the bathroom sink. After I am done getting ready in the morning it is so easy to grab a disinfectant wipe, wipe down the sink and bathroom surface areas really quickly. By keeping your cleaning supplies where you use them, you save time and are able to quickly wipe down the areas that need it.
4. Create Morning Chores
The morning is the perfect time for a regular routine of super simple chores. A routine of doing a few simple chores before your day gets started will help you to keep your home neat and tidy. I’m talking about things that take 5 minutes or less. While you are waiting for the coffee to brew, wash a few dishes or unload the dishwasher, throw in a load of laundry, water your plants, check your emails. Super simple and super quick tasks, when you do them first thing in the morning, they are done and out of the way.
5. Weekly Chores
Get in the habit of performing certain tasks each week. For example, before shopping clean out the fridge and cup boards. This will help you keep a handle on maintaining the kitchen cleanliness. You will not keep bad or spoiled food and you will be less likely to over shop, making things much easier to maintain.
Having regular weekly chores also prevents things from piling up and requiring you to spend hours cleaning. I like to pick a different day of the week for each weekly chore. I may clean the shower on Monday, dust on Tuesdays, mop or vacuum on Fridays. By keeping up with weekly chores on different days of the week, I never spend too much time cleaning and I can have my home company ready in 20 minutes.
6. Clean as You Cook
I don’t know why, but I always seem to struggles with this one. My nature is to be a very messy cook. But, when I do make the minimal effort to clean as I go along, I probably save close to about an hour of clean up time.
I have found one of the simplest things to help keep things clean as I cook, is to fill the sink with warm soapy water before I start. This way as I finish using items I just toss them into the water for a quick clean up. The warm soapy water also makes it super easy to wipe down the counters and stove.
7. Assign Everything a Home
If everything in your home has been assigned a specific space or place, tidying up takes no time at all. All that is required is picking up the wayward items and popping them back into their preassigned place. You can walk through your house quickly, pick up out of place items, then easily put them away.
8. Go Digital
Honestly, I feel like paper is my biggest clutter problem. Every time I thought I had a handle on my paper clutter, in no time at all I would feel like the house was being overrun with paper again. When paper is laying around it just makes everything look messy. There is a certain amount of paper that can never be eliminated and this is especially true if you have school aged kiddos. However, even though we cannot eliminate all paper clutter, there are effective ways to reduce.
Every day when the mail comes in I have 3 piles that I separate the mail into:
- mail to be opened
- credit card offers and any other items that need to be shredded
- mail to be recycled, this is the mail that goes out to the recycle bin
Probably the most effective way to reduce paper clutter is to go digital.
- Sign up for paperless billing
- Many stores now give you the option of having receipts emailed
- Sign up for online banking
- Unsubscribe from catalogs
- Purchase a scanner
- Deal with junk mail immediately
By going digital you can reduce a significant amount of the paper that comes into your home. I know that in my house less paper means less clutter on my surfaces. This of course makes the house so much easier to tidy up.
9. Just Do It
Sometimes Nike knows best. It is so important to avoid procrastination if you want to keep a tidy home. If you have a small task that needs to be done, just do it.
Instead of reaching into the dishwasher to pull out your favorite coffee cup. Stop and empty the entire dishwasher. It will literally only take you a few moments.
Don’t put off sorting the mail, do it as soon as it comes in. Take care of those little tasks that will only take moments as soon as they come up.
10. Make It a Joint Effort
Unless you live alone, maintaining a tidy home should be a joint effort. Have you heard the saying many hands make light work? It is easy to tidy up your whole home when everyone pitches in. Even if you have little ones, you can make it fun for them. Have them put socks on their feet to dust the floors, they will love sliding around and you will have clean floors.
Having a neat and tidy home in 20 minutes is an easily doable task with some simple pre-planning. Make sure to implement these easy steps and spend less time cleaning your home and more time enjoying the things you love.
Do you have any tips for keeping and making your home neat and tidy quickly? I would love to hear, share in the comments.
Now live simply, live fully and make today your Favorite day!