Cleaning is definitely not my favorite activity. It’s one of those things that I have to be in the mood to do. But I’m also one of those people that feels pure joy and satisfaction from the looks of a sparkling sink and bare countertops. The appeal of a tidy home hits me on more levels than one. My parents taught me to always value and be responsible enough to take care of my stuff. Along with that came the idea that when your space is clean and organized, it’s easier to feel a little bit more at peace and happier.
That said, I’ve learned how to prioritize maintenance cleaning and a few hacks that have surely made the process more bearable—or in other words, the ability to clean your home in 15 minutes a day.
Decide what “clean” means to you
If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that everyone has a different definition of “clean.” Two people can live together and their expectations of cleanliness be completely opposite. Even if you live alone, it’s good to know your limits.
Know what drives you crazy: crumbs on the stovetop? Smears on stainless steel? Dishes in the sink? And, what doesn’t matter to you at all: leftover food in the fridge? Un-fluffed pillows on the couch? Dog hair on the floor? What housekeeping tasks do you like, and which ones give you the ultimate blues? Figuring out your general attitude and approach to cleaning will help you understand how and how often you’ll get it done to your standards.
Spend 5 minutes on 3 rooms
The reason for maintenance cleaning is to do things bit by bit, not all at once. This is also referred to as the 5-5-5 rule: Choose 3 rooms where you spend the most of your time, take a look at the clock, and organize the room for 5 minutes. Move to the next two rooms. Repeat. And you’re done! The key to this strategy is quick, light cleaning that keeps those spaces always neat and dust & clutter-free.
Let’s say you spend the majority of your time in the living room, kitchen, and bathroom, these rooms would be the priority rooms. They also tend to be the rooms with the most traffic, so it’s good to manage the upkeep on a regular basis.
5 minutes: Living Room
Living rooms are quick and easy—they typically don’t get that dirty, just messy. But you can make it look better in no time.
- Dust away any dirty surfaces, such as the coffee table or TV stand
- Neatly fold throw blankets and arrange/fluff pillows as they’re supposed to be
- Sweep or vacuum the floor (personally, vacuum lines make me feel very, very accomplished)
- Store away anything that doesn’t belong: books, dog or baby toys, random clothes, etc.
5 minutes: Kitchen
Whoo, the kitchen. Where dishes tend to pile up in the blink of an eye. The place where everything in your cabinets magically appears in the sink or on the countertops.
There are two tricks to keeping your kitchen in order: an empty sink and countertops free of mess that isn’t kitchen-related.
- Place all dirty dishes in the dishwasher, or if you don’t have one, rinse and neatly stack the dishes. And if all else fails, you could wash them (since ya know, that’s the “right” thing to do).
- Take your personal stuff to the bedroom! I am the queen of using my kitchen island for my purse, mail, headphones, anything. But it seriously makes a difference to just move it to the proper room.
- Wipe down your counters with anti-bacterial wipes or spray
5 minutes: Bathroom
I cannot stand a filthy bathroom. It honestly makes my skin crawl. Dirty toilet bowls, water stains on the mirror, grime on the floor. Have mercy! But these things tend to make their appearance in my bathroom every week, so here’s how I get rid of them:
- Put toilet cleaner in the toilet bowl and let it sit for a few minutes before brushing it and flushing the grime away
- Close the shower curtain
- Take some Windex (or your preferred glass cleaner) and a paper towel, clean the mirror
- Empty the trash
Voilà! You’re all done and have managed to keep your sanity intact. But before you go on about your day, don’t forget to light a candle or plug in your aromatherapy diffuser — just for giggles!