The one cleaning secret that has helped me be more on top of things at home

No matter how much I clean and organize around my house, my efforts can seem to be in vain. I get the dishwasher unloaded and turn around to find dishes stacked in the sink. I finish putting away clean laundry and turn around to find the hamper already had dirty clothes in it again. Staying on top of household chores is a challenge!

Some people love to clean. I am not one of those people. Some people can’t stand one single thing out of place. I am not one of those people either. I’m somewhere in the middle these days where sometimes things get out of place and it can drive me crazy, but my house at least doesn’t look like it could featured on a documentary about packrats. (There have been times when my kids were younger that wasn’t always the case!)

I wish I would have inherited my mom’s love for cleaning. She enjoys it and she’s good at it. In spite of my tendency to be a slob, I learned some cleaning lessons from her while we were staying with my parents for a few months. I still apply those lessons, but I’ve also learned one secret to cleaning and household management that has helped me to stay on top of things.

I conquer small cleaning chores when they arise rather than put them off. I know. It doesn’t sound all that life-changing, but let me explain. I realized there are many times throughout my day that I encounter cleaning chores around my house that need dealt with and instead of just doing them, I put them off. Then they pile up and get out of hand.

I heard a similar tip somewhere and started paying attention to how long cleaning chores take. For example, in the 30 seconds while I’m swishing my mouthwash around, I can wipe down my bathroom sink and counter with a bleach wipe. In the 2-3 minutes while my frozen meal is heating up in the microwave, I can unload the dishwasher.

By itself, it doesn’t sound super life-changing, but just working on small cleaning chores as they come up and not putting them off has really made a difference for me. I realized how many small cleaning chores can easily pile up and become big issues that are overwhelming. (Hhmmm. Seems like there is an emotional/mental parallel there, too. But that’s for another day!)

Changing my habits to ask myself whether a cleaning chore can be done in two minutes or less has helped me stay on top of things. My house is far from perfect. There’s still some clutter. I’ll never get caught up on laundry or dishes, because that’s impossible. But my attitude shift is also helping me not let little cleaning chores get the best of me.

This morning, for example, I unloaded the dishwasher in the 2 minutes it took to heat up pancakes to go in my kids’ lunchboxes. I put away towels I had folded last night on my way to the office and only took maybe a minute to do so. I put away a few small items of clutter in my bedroom while I was swishing my mouthwash.

One small cleaning chore at a time is really so much more manageable. So what is going at your house right now that you can take care of in 2 minutes or less? Do it! You will feel better about it for having made the progress and feel motivated to find other small cleaning chores as you go!

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