Have you ever felt so exhausted, that even washing your hair starts to feel like the most daunting task?
Work, getting ready for work, driving to work, cooking for your family,cooking for yourself, exercising, resting and cleaning? It can be too much sometimes. It’s no wonder why cleaning often falls to the very bottom of our priority lists. Why wouldn’t it? I know I would rather eat some halwa and sleep after a long day at work, then worry about dusting that coffee table.
But, this is where we go wrong! For years, I felt too tired after work to do the dishes or put away those magazines that were collecting dust on the kitchen counter. I didn’t realize that every day, I was spending 2-3 minutes adding to the mess, when I could just spend 2-3 minutes taking away from it.
Example 1: Dishes.
The dishwasher is full, you don’t have time to empty it and hand washing dishes is never an option. What would happen next? The dishes would be placed in the sink, 2 dishes per day until that stainless steel sink is overflowing with dishes. Now there’s this stench coming from the sink and its spreading to the living room. Not to mention, there’s mold growing from this rotten tomato I threw in the sink two days ago. There could be a banana peel too that was left with hopes of it going down the disposal, but it never did. Now there’s a few fruit flies added to the mixture.
Now it’s gotten so horrible, that not only is the dishwasher waiting to be unloaded, but the entire sink is full of dishes. Just looking at that mess makes me want to run away it. Tackling it now, would require a good 1 hour. Probably another 15 minutes scrubbing the sink and counters and another 10 minutes to get rid of the smell. You know, lighting up some incense or turning on that lavender essential oil diffuser on. Total time= 1.50 hours.
Example 2: Laundry.
You have a huge hamper full of clothes that started to pile up 3 weeks ago. It’s gotten to the point where you are wearing your swim suit bikini tops or sports bras, because you have officially run out of bras. Or, it’s gotten to the point where you’re rambling through that hamper to finding decent smelling black trousers for work and popping it in the dryer to dewrinkle it as you spray it with a couple squirts of your perfume. Now, laundry day comes, and not only are your sheets dirty which will require 1 completely separate load, but now you have this 3 week mess of laundry sitting in your hamper. Total time= 3 hours.
Have you done this before? I know I have.
How can this be avoided? The 15 minute rule.
Every day, put on your timer for 15 minutes whether it’s an actual clicking timer or the one on your IPhone/smartphone. Spend only this amount of time cleaning, no less or no more. As you start to complete your daily tasks, you’ll realize how many minutes each tasks takes and you will be able to plan your time accordingly. For me these are a few trends I’ve noticed:
- Putting in a small load of laundry and adding the detergent takes me a total of 1 minute. Loading the laundry into the dryer takes another minute. Lastly, folding the small load takes me a total of 7-10 minutes. That’s a total of 12 minutes at most, that I’ve completed one load of laundry. Now imagine, if YOU did this every 3-4days, the clothes would NEVER pile up. I can guarantee it.
- Spend every day, doing at least SOMETHING in your house.
- Dusting a coffee table only takes 1-2 minutes, I’ve timed myself before.
- Taking out the garbage from 3-4 rooms and replacing the bags takes about 10 minutes.
- Wiping down the kitchen counters takes 5 minutes.
- Vacuuming one room never takes more than 10 minutes, again I’ve timed myself. I have vacuumed my living and dining room in ten minutes. Now of course, size will play a roll in this, but on average, you can still tackle vacuuming of at least 1-2 rooms in 15 minutes.
The examples above are just trends I’ve noticed. You will have to practice this rule to see its benefits and determine the timings of your individualized home tasks. Again, cleaning should not take hours out of your day, if it is/you’re doing something wrong!
The key is prevention. If your constantly maintaining your spaces on a daily basis, it will decrease the probability of them becoming a complete mess. This will then decrease the time you need and spend to return your living space back to appropriate conditions, i.e. having your guests come over without feeling self-conscious.
Starting today, take one task and time yourself. Whether that be the dishes, dusting or wiping off the headboard of your bed. See how long it takes and challenge yourself to see just how many small tasks you can actually complete in 15 minutes! Be kind to yourself, this will take practice and time! Also, there will just be some days that despite your best efforts, things will pile up! That’s life! Send me your successes and post your comments below!