Tuesday, 12 June 2012

A clean home in 15 minutes (per day)

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Out of my social group I am the tidy, organised one (you probably guessed that from the fact I have a home and organisation based blog!). But just because I’m the one with the immaculate-for-a-family-house home doesn’t mean I spend the most time cleaning and tidying, if anything I’ve got housework down to a fine art and spend less time doing it. On average, I probably spend 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week, cleaning. With a bit of practise you could too.

First of all, I’m going to add a couple of disclaimers. That 15 minutes does not include housework that has to be done on a daily basis such as loading the dishwasher or doing laundry. Unless you can afford to hire a laundry service (and we can’t) then there is no shortcut for that. The second disclaimer is that if your house is a bit grubby or a bit of mess, then doing 15 minutes a day for a week isn’t going to magically transform your house into a show home by the end of it. Your house needs to be cleaned and tidied to a fairly decent standard when you start out with this routine. What I’m talking about here is maintaining the house to a degree where you don’t have to fly into a panic when you get an unexpected visitor (which if you are taking the time to read a post on cleaning I’m assuming you might). Once you are on top of things there is no need to worry if you miss a day – if the kids get sick or you’re just too damn busy just let it go, and make sure you remember to do the housework next week instead.
I used to have a pretty, laminated printable with a checklist all of my cleaning chores on it to help me stay organised. But this routine is second nature to me now and I rid myself of the printable (unnecessary clutter!) so I can’t share it. This is roughly how my week looks though:

Monday Bedrooms. The bedrooms are the quickest rooms in the house to clean and I can clean all three in under 15 minutes, easily. I shine the windows, dust the surfaces and wipe down any grubby spots that the kids have left on the walls, doors or furniture.

Tuesday Playroom. On average, this takes 15 minutes to dust because it has the most surface clutter, i.e, craft stuff and toys. I’m adding more baskets though, so I can just whip the basket off the shelf, do a quick wipe, then return the basket. If I’m rushed for time I might ignore top shelves and awkward spots. If you are generally on top of the cleaning then things shouldn’t get too dusty in the course of a week anyway.

Wednesday- Kitchen. I always spend a minute washing down the surfaces after dinner so I don’t need to worry about the work top. But I will spend 15 minutes wiping down the cupboard doors, scrubbing the sink and one or two miscellaneous jobs. This might be something like cleaning the fridge or de-scaling the kettle.

ThursdayBathrooms. Ugh, my least favourite cleaning day and the only room that always takes me longer than 15 minutes. In the family bathroom I will spend 5 minutes cleaning mirrors and glass surfaces, 5 minutes scrubbing the shower, 5 minutes on the bath and sink and 5 minutes scrubbing the loo. Unless I’m feeling lazy I’ll give the floor a clean too. The downstairs shower room is tiny, but I’ll spend at least 10 minutes doing that.

FridayDining area and lounge. I dust the picture frames, wipe down the mantel and sideboard, clean the desk and shine the French doors. Fridays are the days I have the least time so sometimes I’ll spend less than 15 minutes doing it, if I’m motivated I might spend a little longer.
Weekend – this is family time, other than laundry and  vacuuming I refuse to clean!
Tips for adopting the 15 minute clean routine
·        Being organised makes cleaning easier – if there are piles of stuff everywhere it is harder to clean because you have to move things around rather than simply wiping a damp cloth over surfaces.  I’m planning an organisation post next Tuesday, but essentially it comes down to giving everything a designated place and sticking to it.

·        Consider your clutter – A few knick knacks make a home feel cosy and lived in but if you have a lot of stuff on show then you are going to be spending a lot of time dusting. If you like having sentimental items on display then look at options like display cases to keep items clean and dust free.

·       Lower your standards - My home looks tidy and clean most of the time, but there are certain things I have compromised on. For example, I don’t vacuum every day and you don’t want to know when the last time I mopped my kitchen floor was, but it isn’t noticeable. A bit of dirt is good for the immune system. And honestly, no one but you is going to notice.

·        Little and often is the way forward. I rarely spend long on cleaning jobs because nothing in my home gets that dirty. That’s because I do little and often rather than waiting till something is in dire need of a good scrub. Sure, you may not feel like doing 15 minutes of cleaning after a day at work or running around after children, but in the long term you are cutting down on how much time you will be spending on housework!  

·        If you aren’t naturally organised, make yourself a checklist – Create your own routine that works for you, and stick to it until it becomes a habit! You could organise things by room, as I do, or give yourself a job a day such as “dusting” or “clean floors”.

 I hope there are some handy pointers in there for people who struggle to keep on top of the cleaning. Next Tuesday look out for my post on organisation tips – a tidy home is a home that is quicker and simpler to clean! ** edited - click the link for my post on creating a tidy home **


  1. Great tips! Who doesn't want a clean house in only 15 minutes a day?!

    Cute blog! I found you from A bowl full of Lemon's Linky party!

  2. I know it works, I have done it. Usually its takes 5 minutes to tidy any room if everything is in the right place. With kids in the house its harder. No matter how much I ask and plead to have them put things back, it never happens. I hope to change that this summer and get them to help me more.

  3. Love your tips! My house is pretty similar to yours in size but it looks like in my city (São Paulo, Brazil) we get more black dust because of the polution and the surfaces should be dusted everyday
    You and I have a difference, I find the kitchen work worse than the bathroom. :o))

    I miss England already!!!!
    Green kisses

  4. Great writing,I have really enjoyed your posts - so many good tips, thank you so much. But I have a bit of a problem with two young children I really struggle to keep on top of the ironing as I find the dryer shrinks lots of clothes here! Have you any tips on this, and also on the big jobs such as oven cleaning, freezer defrosting and general spring cleaning -inside cupboards etc

    1. Hi there! I don't have a dryer (house too small for one!) so I'm afraid I can't advise on the dryer shrinking clothes problem. We keep on top of the ironing by setting out the clothes we need the night before and ironing them then, rather than ironing a big load at the time. I think when you have big piles of unironed clothes lying around it can make you feel like you're out of control, plus once everything has been hanging in the wardrobe a while a lot of creases will have worked their way out and the garment needs less ironing. Win win!

      I'm working my way through spring cleaning at the moment and sharing on the blog (previous posts can be found under "organise" on the top menu, if you haven't seen them already). Oven and fridge freezer cleaning are both pencilled in already for April (cleaning posts generally go out Mondays) and I'll think about writing a general spring cleaning one once the kids are back at school.

      Help that helps.

    2. Response to rach1005 re: Shrinking Clothes in the Dryer

      Hi there,

      I used to shrink lots of clothes in my dryer, but I figured out a couple of solutions. One was to use my stove timer so that I wouldn't forget about the clothes. Another one that helps is to use the timer or the alarm on my phone. Even if I'm outside, I'll hear it because it's in my pocket. A third is to use the "Air Only" setting and get the clothes on hangers as I pull them out of the dryer. The maximum time I dry my clothes is 30 minutes. Hope these tips help!

      Val @ artsybuildinglady.blogspot.ca


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