Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Household Cleaning Tip

Twenty Minutes to Tidy

I found this household tip at

Of course my teenagers refused to help in the experiment but I thought what the heck--I'll
give it try by myself. I confess it took me thirty-five minutes not twenty--mostly because the high traffic area in my house includes the stairs and those take the most time to vacuum.

1. Start a Load of Laundry
Save time by letting your kids sort the laundry while you work on a different chore.
After the laundry is sorted, throw a load of messy kid clothes into the washing machine.
If you don't have a washing machine, have the kids sort the clothes and bag them for your next trip to the laundromat.
Time Limit for You: 3 Minutes
Tip: Spray stain remover on the clothes needing extra attention first. While it's working, move on to another chore so you don't have to wait.

2. Straighten Up the Family Room
Have your children arrange the magazines and books.
Kids can dust with socks on their hands.
Time Limit for You: 0 Minutes. No time investment for you. The children are doing the work.
Tip: Your family room touch up can be left to the kids so you can focus on other areas of the house. Give them age appropriate chores to keep them safe.

3. Pick Up the Toys
Have your children pick up their toys as fast as they can.
Hold a contest to see who can put away the most toys.
No losers in this game. Choose a prize everyone can enjoy when time's up.
Time Limit for You: 0 Minutes. No time investment for you. The children are doing the work while learning how to pick up after themselves.
Tip: Baskets and bins make toy pick up easier and more fun for children.

4. Make the Beds
Start with your own bed. You deserve a made bed to crawl into at the end of the day.
Pull the top sheet and comforter back in place. Straighten up the pillows.
Older kids can make their own beds to help save time.
Time Limit for You: 4 Minutes
Tip: Wrinkle-resistant sheets make your bedroom look cleaner than crumpled up sheets.

5. Vacuum Daily
Vacuum high-traffic areas every day.
Alternate vacuum days between the kitchen and bathroom.
Time Limit for You: 5 Minutes
Tip: Use a handheld vacuum cleaner for spot cleaning without having to drag out the big vacuum cleaner.

6. Wipe Down the Kitchen
Use a disinfectant wipe to clean the counters, fixtures and sink.
Don't forget to wipe the refrigerator handles little hands have been touching.
Take a quick swipe inside the microwave with a damp cloth.
Time Limit for You: 2 Minutes
Tip: If you have a lot of counter space, only clean the counter areas where you prepared your children's food for the day.

7. Disinfect the Bathroom
Clean all bathroom fixtures with a disinfectant wipe.
Wipe the bathroom counters
Time Limit for You: 2 Minutes
Tip: Add an automatic toilet bowl cleaner to keep the inside of the toilet clean for 2-3 months.

8. Load the Dishwasher
Put the day's dirty dishes into the dishwasher.
Start the dishwasher at the end of the night.
Time Limit for You: 3 Minutes
Tip: Use downtime while you're cooking to put the dishes away.

9. Freshen Up Your House
Use air freshener throughout your house.
Spray fabric refresher on your furniture, especially those areas where the kids hang out.
Time Limit for You: 1 Minute
Tip: Open windows on a sunny day to remove odors with fresh air.

Time's up! You and your family just tidied up the house in twenty minutes.

I see only one drawback to this method of cleaning for those of us who really despise housework--the temptation to substitute the 20-Minute pickup for a thorough housecleaning once a month!

Happy Cleaning

A Cowboy Christmas Dec 09


Anonymous said...

Love the tip. I'm a clean freak although with three boys and a dog, my house doesn't always reflect that anymore. I can't think in clutter. I will have to say that I finally found the one thing that can lure me away from scrubbing house...and that's writing.

A friend once sent me one of those forwarded emails that hit home. I have no idea who wrote it and I take no credit for "Dust if you must" but a couple of lines read:

Remember...a layer of dust protects the wood beneath it.

A house becomes a home when you can write 'I love you' on the furniture.


When you go - and go you must - you, yourself will make more dust!

Of course, I still love a clean house! Happy cleaning!

Linda Henderson said...

Thank you for the tips. It's the dusting thing that usually gets me. It seems like no matter how often I dust, when you turn around, there is more dust.

Sara said...

That sounds like a great way to stay caught up at least...and it will make the monthly in-depth housecleaning a lot easier...

Anonymous said...

I'd love to hear anyone's daily cleaning tips for stainless steel appliances, granite counters and wood floors in a high traffic kitchen!

Victoria Chancellor said...

Just reading those tips made me tired! It's a great idea, but for someone who is easily distracted (for example, I start painting baseboards instead of sweeping or vaccuuming) it's hard to stay focused. As far as the dusting, I've found that if I don't change or clean my A/C filter often enough, the dust really comes back fast. I hate dusting! Come to think of it, I hate housework in general. I'd rather start a huge decorating project than clean a bathroom.

Kara Lennox said...

Wait a minute. What if i don't have any kids? Can I glue dust rags to the cat's paws?