Let’s face it, we have one billion things to get to during our week and sometimes it may seem like there’s just not enough hours in the day. To make matters worse, who wants to actually clean when they’ve had a long, exhausting day?
Most people don’t actually enjoy cleaning, that’s why it’s called a chore. Well, the good news it that cleaning doesn’t have to be an extensive process if you develop quick, effective habits of prevention and daily cleaning routines that take 15 minutes or less.
 Make your bed every morning.
Time needed: 4 minutes
I have timed myself while making my bed. It takes me 4 minutes or less. Just by taking this step every morning, you’re not only promoting a healthy habit for yourself (and whoever shares your household with you), but also have one area of your house that’s clean with minimal effort. It also feels amazing to sleep in a clean, well-kept bed at night.
 Wipe down your bathroom counters every other day.
Time needed: 30 seconds-1 minute.
Keep a specific cleaning cloth hanging inside/under your bathroom cabinet for easy access. Doing this prevents mold, rust, and bacteria from forming. It also takes about 30 seconds to do, which will save you from frantically scrubbing (until your hands hurt) later on when you haven’t cleaned your counters for three weeks at a time and pink mold is growing everywhere (agh!). Same concept works just as well for kitchen counters.
 Go the extra minute.
Time needed: 1 minute
Already doing a chore in the week? Just go the extra minute, literally extend that chore just by one minute and fit in something else. For example, taking the dishes out of my dishwasher takes 10 minutes. On the 11th minute, I take my stainless steel e-cloth and wipe down my refrigerator. That’s it! A minute here and there is all you need to keep things looking good. No one’s aiming for perfection here, but we all know how disgusting stainless steel can look if it’s not maintained.
 Do smaller loads of laundry every 3 days.
Time needed: 15 minutes or less
This prevents laundry from piling up and taking up too much time at once. It won’t feel as big of a hassle when you have to fold 2 large loads, versus a small one every 3 days. You’ll feel a lot less burdened with laundry.
 Create organizing bins everywhere.
Time Needed: 1 minute or less (once you have the systems set up)
This prevents clutter from piling up and allows you to easily put things away where they need to go. Labeled baskets are a perfect solution (because they A) look nice, B) hide and organize your things without looking cluttered), which I use in my home frequently. By spreading out organizing systems in my home, it decreases the time needed to put something back and keep the areas maintained on a daily basis.
 Vacuum with baking soda and essential oils (EOs) weekly.
Time needed: 10-20 minutes
If you haven’t tried this yet, I promise it’s amazing! Whenever you have 10 minutes or so, take just one room to vacuum up quickly. Before you vacuum, mix baking soda and an essential oil of your choice (mine is lavender of course!) into a bowl. Depending on how large your area is, proportionately measure out the baking soda. Typically 10-12 drops of EO work well. Let the mixture sit on your carpets for 30 min-1 hr. The longer you leave it, the more fragrant your home will be. Vacuum up and not only have you killed bacteria, removed dirt and dust, plus made your home beautiful, you’ve also added the extra benefits of EOs to your home (lavender for example promotes calmness and reduces stress).
 Always put dishes into the dishwasher (and run a load at least 2 times/week).
Time needed: 5-10 minutes
Dishwashers conserve more water than hand washing. It also saves a lot of time. Get into the habit of never leaving your dishes in the sink or letting them pile up. As soon as you’re done with a dish, rinse and put it straight into the dishwasher. It will also prevent your kitchen from smelling up due to rotting dishes from the night before. Unload your dishwasher every 2-3 days and that’s it! No more stinky, crusty, moldy, and fly filled dish piles.
See? That wasn’t so bad!
Like I mentioned earlier, a few minutes here and there can really keep your home clean all year round. If you have children, ask them to help with small activities here and there too (like dusting!). Not only does this promote responsibility, it also allows for some cleaning/bonding time together where you can put some fun music on and have a quick 10 minute cleaning routine together. If you have just a significant other, absolutely make sure both of you are pitching in as an unequal distribution of chores can sometimes lead to conflict!
Lastly, using a system helps too if you have someone in your household who can’t remember, has a tight schedule, or may be a bit lazy. This could range from using a whiteboard, iPhone apps, or Post-its.
For example, for the life of me, I do not understand why my significant other cannot keep up with his chores, ever! He is never consistent. So now, I’ve created a shared list in the Reminders App on our IPhones, which lists:
- which chores are pending
- which chores have been completed (we put our initials next to the chore we complete before we mark it as done, so there is no conflict about who did more than the other person)
- reminder alarms can be set into the app as well as due dates.
- a variety of chores spanning from some deep cleaning sessions, 1-2 minute ideas as mentioned above, or 5 minute tasks. This way, based on his schedule availability and what works for him, he can still complete house tasks as needed without me pestering him. Now, there is also a clear written record of how we are both contributing.
I know, I know, this may sound a bit nit picky, but I really had no other choice! I am hoping once he uses this system enough, it will become habitual and we will no longer have to use it. Prior, I would still use my planner daily to set up a 15-20 minute cleaning routine and list specifically what I needed to do for the day. I do not try to spend more time than this everyday. Now, I also do not have children or pets, so of course, this time may alter depending on your needs and responsibilities.