Five Quick Cleanups in Five Minutes or Less

March 2014
Cleaning, I don’t like doing it, but I don’t like when it doesn’t get done. For me, there is nothing better than coming home to a clean house. But with such a hectic schedule these days, it’s hard to set aside a large block of time to clean. Devoting half my day to cleaning always feels like a monumental task too. 
I feel like I can’t think straight when my home is messy. I also feel a little more stressed knowing I have to clean but don’t have the time to clean the way want (or need) to clean.
Just last month my goal was to thoroughly clean the main floor bathroom, living room and kitchen. I set up my cleaning supplies and started cleaning the living room. After my third interruption and my third attempt at trying to get back into my cleaning routine, I ran out of time. I had no choice but to move the cleaning task on to the following week’s list instead.
What a surprise I had when my oldest son walked through the front door after swimming practice with six of his friends, each one of them needing to use my messy bathroom! I was mortified!
From that point on I told myself that I have to find time to clean, even if it is only a few minutes a day.
My goal was to keep my home looking tidy so when unexpected guests arrive, I won’t be embarrassed! I accomplished this goal by learning the art of five minute cleaning. I realized that if I can keep up with a basic routine of five tasks, each task taking about five minutes a day, things won’t get so out of control and my home will look good all of the time.  Plus, I don’t have to worry about devoting half my day towards cleaning. This basic routine has changed my life!
The most important thing was to get myself in a simple rhythm of daily up-keep in my home. Once this was accomplished, the other tasks didn’t seem so overwhelming. Setting a shorter time for the job at hand also kept me focused on moving quickly through the process and completing the task rather than getting lost by distraction.
Of course, keeping my supplies stocked up and easily accessible always helps. I actually keep my all-purpose cleaner, my glass cleaner and a few microfiber cloths under my kitchen sink cabinet and my microfiber mop and HEPA vacuum in the kitchen closet.
The basics of cleaning five tasks lasting around five minutes each will cover quick cleaning chores on my main floor:
1.       Clear the clutter on countertops and off the floor. Make a home for bills, paperwork and mail so it is not spread all over the counter or table. Clear the sink. A stack of dirty dishes in the sink always makes a home look messy. Wash dishes after you are done using them so they don’t pile up. It is easier to clean a few dishes at a time than a full sink of dishes. Clear floor clutter. Put everything back in its place. Pick up dirty laundry and run a load of laundry while clearing clutter. Pick up toys and put them away. Place a coat rack by your front door to hang coats, backpacks, umbrellas and shoes so they are all in one spot. Keep a box in the dining room for items you want to donate.
2.      Dust off tops of wood furniture with a microfiber cloth. Dust off hanging lights and knick knacks. Use a dry paintbrush to help dust off hard to reach areas. Clean pet hair off upholstered furniture by placing a rubber glove on your hand and wiping up the hair.
3.      Wipe all noticeable fingerprints off doors, walls, glass tables and mirrors. Use a mix of vinegar and water to clean areas. Wipe with a dry microfiber cloth.
4.      Surface clean. Clean all countertops in the kitchen and the bathroom. Throw some vinegar in the toilet bowl for a quick sanitizing clean.
5.      Vacuum floors and area rugs with a HEPA vacuum cleaner. Vacuum tops of baseboards too. No time to vacuum? Grab your dry microfiber mop and quickly brush over your floor making sure you pick up all noticeable crumbs and dust.
Keep in mind as you learn to incorporate these five minute tasks into your schedule, your house will stay cleaner longer and you won’t have to do each task every day.
The best part about five minute task cleaning is that once you make it a habit, it will feel like you hardly ever clean, but your house always looks great. 
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