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.
Thursday – Bathrooms. 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.
Friday – Dining 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 **