I really don’t like cleaning. But I also really like having a clean house.
That’s a conundrum, isn’t it?
I’m guessing there are many of you out there who feel the same way. (Actually, I know there are a lot of you out there who feel the same way. Because you tell me so. You want a clean house but you hate actually doing it. And you don’t have the time for a full house clean.)
Note: If you DO love to clean and have no trouble keeping a clean home, then this post isn’t for you. You go on with your bad self. But if you are like me and don’t really enjoy the process and have a hard time making yourself clean your house, read on.
Frankly, keeping a neat and clean house is much less fun than decorating and DIYing and dreaming of those perfect spaces. But I actually think it’s more important – because keeping your house neat and clean is something that can make or break your home.
While you can finish a room and make it look picture-perfect for one day, it takes daily/weekly/monthly maintenance for that space to look great forever. And don’t you want that space to look great forever?
This isn’t to say that every space should be perfect. It shouldn’t. And it won’t be. But you want to live in a home that you are proud of – a home you love. And that means keeping it well-maintained. And it means that you don’t constantly look around seeing the mess and stress of cleaning and straightening you need to do.
And guess what? You can keep your house neat and clean without making yourself crazy.
When I posted about the beauty of a lived-in home, I had several comments and emails telling me that my house still looks great, even with smooshed pillows and extra cups lying around.
That’s because I have a secret.
My house IS fairly neat and clean, even with the beautiful imperfections of daily living.
- It’s not because I spend all kinds of time cleaning. (I don’t.)
- It’s not because I have giant cleaning days. (I don’t.)
- It’s not because I have a daily cleaning routine. (I don’t.)
Instead, it’s because of a simple, 10-minute rule.
It goes something like this: If I see something that needs done that takes less than 10 minutes, I try to do it right now.
Guess what? Almost anything can be done in 10 minutes. (And most projects around the house take FAR LESS than 10 minutes.)
- Making the bed.
- Unloading the dishwasher.
- Cleaning the toilet or shower.
- Throwing in a load of laundry.
- Wiping down the countertops after supper.
- Sweeping the floor.
These are maintenance tasks that are simply NOT FUN. No one I know looks forward to cleaning the toilets. And I still don’t. But if I remind myself that it will take less than 2 minutes to clean the toilet while Henry’s in the shower, it’s harder to put it off. (Also – I’m a #boymom and dirty toilets are nasty.)
I think it’s really easy to put things off because you just aren’t feeling it. But God knows we spend more than 10 minutes scrolling Facebook. So don’t tell me you don’t have the time.
There are many times I give myself excuses about why I can’t do something around the house. But the more I put it off because I’m tired/busy/cranky, the more will be there the next day. And the day after that.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t go away when you ignore it. It only gets worse. And I can handle almost anything for 10 minutes or less.
Wondering if this could work for you? Here are my two pieces of advice when you feel like you can’t keep your house looking neat and tidy:
The problem with having a clean house is that we try to do everything at once. It feels too overwhelming. If you look around and see all the things that need cleaned and organized and purged, you will choose to watch a Gilmore Girls marathon instead.
And I wouldn’t blame you. That is too much work to even wrap your head around.
But if you start with one problem area and 10 minutes – you will realize that this is totally doable. Having a neat and clean home is attainable. It just takes one step. And then the next.
It will take a little time to get going – but start with a few of these daily habits to keep your home looking great. And then add in a little maintenance every day. For example, I did a quick floor cleaning and wiped down the kitchen tonight. (It seriously took less than 10 minutes.) Yesterday, I wiped down some windows that were past-due.
Just focus on those things you can do quickly. That will start to get your home looking presentable with very little extra effort.
DON’T STRIVE FOR PERFECTION.
I don’t want to be perfect. I don’t aim to have a perfect home.
What do I aim for?
- A home that brings my family comfort and peace.
- A home that I can open to friends and family often – without stress.
Instead of scrubbing floors with a toothbrush, I want to enjoy our home. Instead of checking for dust with a white glove, I want to make memories inside its walls.
That means I focus most of my attention on the big picture – those tasks that I need to do regularly to keep our home looking it’s best. The tasks that mean our home always looks fairly presentable. But it also means that I don’t stress about the small details – those tasks that only add stress and take too much time away from other things.
I think having a beautiful, neat and clean home is a wonderful gift to myself and my family. And in only a few minutes a day, it seems like something that’s more than worth my efforts.
What about you?
Could you get behind the 10-minute rule?
Like it? Put a pin on it.
Can I let you in on a secret?
You don't have to spend all your time cleaning to have a presentable home.
Grab our 6 tips for a clean home (in no time).