If you live in a giant palace with a whole staff of housecleaners, this post is not for you. However, if you are a Regular Joe (or Regular Joan) that has to clean up their own messes (and probably the messes of others too), then you've come to the right place. Now, I do know a few people that genuinely enjoy cleaning their house. While I understand how it can be a therapeutic thing to watch something go from dirty to clean, I would always rather skip the actual cleaning part and just have it go right to the "it's-already-clean" stage without any help or interference from me. That being said, clean doesn't just happen by itself though, now does it? I tend to do the procrastination method of cleaning where it's a pretty big mess until the night before there is a party, event, or my husband comes home from a long trip. For some reason he prefers walking into the house vs. wading into the house. Weird, I know. So when a job that I don't really want to do anyway now involves cleaning the entire house all at once, well, it's no surprise that it takes forever. Emma said recently she knew someone who kept their house clean by only cleaning for 15 minutes a day, and I was certainly intrigued to try the mini cleaning solution. After I thought about it for a while, I came up with a process to make it work for my house too!
Estimate your efficiency: First, you'll need to gauge what you can actually clean in 15 minutes. It might be helpful for the first couple of days to spend time each night cleaning for 15 minutes and see what actually gets done. You might be surprised at how much you can get accomplished, and you'll want to adjust your list accordingly.
Decide if you want to do light maintenance or deep cleaning: It's kind of your call whether you want to spend the time doing "light" or "heavy" cleaning during your 15 minutes. Light cleaning would be things like dusting, putting away clutter, or easy vacuuming, while heavy cleaning would be chores that involve lots of scrubbing or need large pieces of furniture moved to get underneath. Some rooms like the bathroom or kitchen may have more of the heavy cleaning (scrubbing out the tub or drip pans), so you might want to have both a light and a heavy cleaning day for those rooms.
Make a cleaning supply basket: I think a lot of people are like me and have their cleaning supplies spread all throughout their house. Some supplies are in the garage, some are under the kitchen sink, some in the bathroom…so if you only have a 15 minute window to clean, you probably don't want to spend it running from cabinet to cabinet trying to find the mirror cleaner. Make a little basket of your most commonly used cleaning products, and then you'll have everything you need already bundled together when you start.
Keep a cleaning calendar or chart: There's something about having a "to-do" item written down in plain sight that makes the probability of it actually getting done go way up. Once you get an estimated cleaning schedule together, write each area on the appropriate cleaning days and keep it where you'll see it often. Like I said, it may take you a few weeks of adjusting before you get a schedule that works. It's kind of like when we first started a written financial budget and it took a few monthly rotations before we figured out the right amounts for certain categories.
Sorry, but you can't count your must-do-everyday cleaning routines: Unfortunately, you shouldn't count the 20 minutes you just spent cleaning up after dinner towards this cleaning challenge. If you're like me and love taking advantage of the privilege of eating several times a day, you'll constantly have to keep up with those messes and you'll never get to anything else in your 15 minutes of cleaning. The same goes for other habitual cleaning categories like pet chores that have to happen everyday. I don't think the kitties (or us) would like it if we only got around to their litter box every 8th day. Gross.
Share the list! Unless you live alone and your pets don't have opposable thumbs, there are probably other people (like significant others, roommates, or kids) that can help with the cleaning challenge too. Imagine how much more can get done if two people are doing this every day! In case math wasn't your strong subject in school, the answer is "double the cleaning." I know it can be tough to rope people into helping clean up, but if you set a timer for only 15 minutes, well, it doesn't sound like a very huge commitment and your chances of group participation goes way up.
Of course, depending on your house or apartment size, the number of days it takes for your rotation to start over again will vary, but I'm really excited to get my cleaning rotation established and going strong. I do love my house best right before guests come over for a party when everything feels so clean and neat, so I would love to get as much of that feeling everyday as possible. What are you waiting for? Get out your feather dusters and get cleaning! xo. Laura
Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman, Photography: Laura Gummerman and Todd Gummerman: Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.