While I was scraping dried food bits off my seven-month-old son’s Bumbo the other day, I was reminded of the best universal cleaning hack there is.
Photo by Messy Nessy
Clean it right away.
Seriously. If I had wiped off my son’s Bumbo as soon as he finished spreading his meal hither and yon, it would have hardly taken any elbow grease, and at most, it would have killed two minutes of my time.
Instead, I chose to wait until later that day, which meant I had to roll up my sleeves, use the scouring pad, and devote ten minutes of time I could have spent emptying the dishwasher, folding a load of laundry, or reading a blog post.
Even a few minutes of time really adds up when it comes to managing our home.
Ask yourself this – which is easier, rinsing and loading your dishwasher right after dinner, or scrubbing off hardened bits of food the next morning? What about folding and hanging a freshly dried load of laundry, or folding wrinkled shirts that will then need ironing in order to maturely wear?
I’m telling this to myself as much as to you, so please don’t think I’m breathing down your neck. It’s so easy for all of us to breathe huge sighs of desperation when we think of the day’s chores ahead of us.
But consider how long – really – your typical daily chores could take, on average, if you did them right away. Here are mine:
- making the bed – 1 to 2 minutes
- decluttering the bathroom counter after getting ready for the day – 1 minute
- wiping off the bathroom mirror and faucet from water marks – 10 seconds
- clearing the dining table from the meal (especially if everyone brings their own plate back to the kitchen) – 1 to 2 minutes
- unloading the dishwasher – 3 to 5 minutes
- loading the dishwasher – 5 to 10 minutes
- wiping off the dining table – 1 minute
- wiping off the kitchen counters after cooking – 2 minutes
- throwing away items after using them (envelopes, wrappers, etc.) – 5 seconds
- putting the magazine back in the basket after I’ve perused it – 5 seconds
You get the idea. I just wonder how many minutes – or hours – I spend cleaning things that could take mere seconds or minutes if I did them right away. Add to that the reduced stress, the lessened physical output, the visual peace, and the increased space acquired from a home cleaned quicker, and well, I’m sold.
I’m going to work on getting better at cleaning as I go.
Set a timer for 15 minutes and see how much you can get done in your immediate environment. If you’re in your office, just stay there and declutter what’s around you. If you’re currently surrounded by clutter in your living room, that’s an obvious choice. Just declutter or clean for 15 minutes, get back to your computer, and post a comment. I’m not asking you to rearrange your day’s schedule – just spare a tiny handful of time.
Oh, and after posting a comment, step back and review your decluttering job. Does it look better? Does it make you feel better?
As soon as I post this article, you better believe I’m getting up to empty the dishwasher.
I’d love to hear if you applied this idea. Do you find this idea to be true in your life? What are some daily chores that could be cut in half if you did them immediately? Have any tips on quick cleaning? I can’t wait to read your comments today.