15 Minute Cleaning

Yes, you read the title correctly- it says 15 minute cleaning. No, this is not a gimmick and I do not claim to have found the fountain of motivation- just a tip I have learned over the years when it comes to housework. I must admit, however, I am the exception to the rule of cleaning because I make up the roughly less than 1% of the population who actually happens to enjoy chores. So when people tell me they are behind on their cleaning or just can’t muster up the motivation to do it, my initial response is either 1) have you met my old friend, coffee? Or 2) Can I do it for you? Please? But neither of these offer practical solutions. I am not obsessive compulsive, but if cleaning for fun was a disorder, I am certain I would be professionally diagnosed. I am the textbook definition of a type-A personality- very task oriented and “to-list” extraordinaire. So it should come as no surprise that I have a system for cleaning- did I mention I love cleaning?

My love for cleaning stems from my childhood. When I was a little girl, I would put on this old blue and white striped dress that resembled something off of The Little House on the Prairie, and would help my mom around the house (unfortunately, my children did not inherit the cleaning gene). These early memories of helping my mom utilize the power of elbow grease- long before there was a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and Swiffer Wet Jet- instilled the practice of stewardship in the maintenance of my home. And over the years, I have managed to find a balance with time that allows me to keep a consistently tidy house, without compromising my allowance of the more valuable things in life. Of course there are chores that cannot be done in a matter of 15 minutes, no matter how much coffee you’ve ingested. And despite my love to keep a clean house, it is by no means how I wish to spend a large portion of my day.

So I created a list of tasks that can each be easily accomplished in 15 minutes- when I actually meet that moment of spare time (Please see the dictionary for a definition of spare time). But this so called spare time is usually met in small increments, like bathroom breaks- and even those often get interrupted with the usual “mom!” questions. In these brief moments, I have found it is good to strategize what can be accomplished. Each individual task on this list can be completed in 15 minutes- yes, I have timed myself and I know it is possible.

Disclosure: child cooperation not included. It is nearly impossible to complete a task from the start to finish for a prolonged amount of time. But that’s the beauty of 15 minute cleaning- easier on the little ones who inevitably will lose patience or give in to their short attention spans.  Incorporating this philosophy will give you and your family the grace that is required throughout your daily routine.

15 Tasks that can each be accomplished in 15 minutes:

  1. Fold a small load of laundry
  2. Load or unload the dishwasher
  3. Vacuum 2 or 3 rooms
  4. Clean a powder room
  5. Mop the kitchen floor
  6. Change sheets on a bed
  7. Dust 3 or 4 rooms
  8. Clean out and organize the refrigerator
  9. Organize one or two kitchen cupboards
  10. Make all the beds
  11. Organize toys in a playroom
  12. Sort through mail and monthly bills
  13. Organize a coat closet
  14. Clean out a bathroom vanity
  15. Iron 3 or 4 clothing items

Cleaning does not have to be a huge chore- sometimes accomplishing small tasks in a short amount of time can be a victorious win for busy moms- moms who are searching daily to find balance between maintaining the home and spending quality time pouring into the hearts of their little ones. Keeping our homes clean is important, but we should never allow ourselves to get sidetracked from the real duty as a mom. The goal is to get things done efficiently and quickly in order to get back to just being with our husband and children. Because at the end of the day, success is not measured in a pristine and spotless home, but in the time invested in your family’s lives.

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker



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