Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Maintaining a Pleasant and Peaceful Home With Two-Minute Cleaning Stints

My dining table is kept ready for someone to do homework, eat a meal, or for me to host an impromptu dinner!

One of the reasons my Spring Cleaning can be relaxed and slightly enjoyable, is I'm not starting from a place of mess and chaos.

I keep up with my home to a point I'm able to entertain on a whim, spontaneously throwing a dinner party because my home is already ready for it.

I don't have to spend every weekend cleaning (though I definitely tackle a bigger project on most Saturdays and Sundays) because I do tiny things every day to help keep the house in a lovely, livable condition.

Earl Grey Supreme Tea, by Harney & Sons, on Amazon

My secret weapon is Two-Minute Cleaning. It stems from my addiction to hot tea (usually Earl Grey). Every morning I stand around my kitchen for two minutes, waiting for my mug of water to microwave. (I'd like to tell you I take the time to boil a kettle and make a proper pot of tea in the morning, then serve it to myself in a dainty teacup, but that lovely fantasy wouldn't be true!)

Long ago I decided to make use of that two minute period of time (I drink 4 of 5 cups of hot tea a day during spring, fall and winter, so those minutes add up!) I discovered that in the two minutes it takes to boil my mug of water in the microwave, I can completely empty the dishwasher. Or sweep or mop my kitchen's not-too-large floor. I can clear and sanitize my kitchen counters the next time I come in; or fill the dishwasher and still have a minute left to take out the trash and recycling.

I so enjoyed having a constantly clean kitchen, I extended my two minute cleaning to my evening television watching habits. Though I have a Tivo that lets me skip commercials, I started letting the show play and jumping up to clean or do a quick chore during the two (or three!) minute commercial break.

(I don't count super easy, quick tasks like throwing a load into the laundry and starting it. That only takes 30 seconds or less!)

Here are some of the things I can get done during a two or three minute commercial break:

  • Completely vacuum my downstairs family room
  • Fold a load of kitchen towels and rags and put them away
  • Remove clutter from dining table, coffee table, family room tray table, kitchen counter, and other places it tends to accumulate
  • Run through a room of my home and tidy it, removing unnecessary items (lost socks, shoes, sloppy stacks of papers or magazines, drinking glasses), emptying the trash can, straightening cushions or pillows or throws, etc.
  • Sweep front entryway and dust entry mail table - with leftover time for decluttering!
  • Febreze curtains and couches in two rooms
  • Empty and clean out candle holders, refilling with fresh candles and lighting to make my evening more pleasant
  • Make my bed (which I hate doing!) and declutter my night stand and dresser top.
  • Sweep front porch
  • Water houseplants
  • Change a dead light bulb somewhere (I usually have one out somewhere!)

Badger Basket Pink Laundry Folding Hamper, on Amazon

My eyes and back can get strained from spending so much of my workday sitting (probably slouching!) staring at a computer, so I try to take a break every single hour during my workday. I stand up and stretch; pet my animals; go get more water, hot tea or iced tea; and do a quick chore. I have found a few tasks I can split up into two breaks:

  • Fold and put away half a laundry basket, saving the other half for my other break in the next hour.
  • Sweep back patio
  • Shake out all throw rugs that are in front of my doors or under pet food and water bowls
  • Remove all items from one shelf of the refrigerator, wipe it down, inspect items for freshness, and replace everything. Repeat next break!
  • Vacuum one set of stairs; saving the second set for the next break. (But some people might be annoyed having the vacuum out sitting around between chores, I know)
  • Wipe down all three bathroom counters; saving cleaning the three mirrors until the next hour's break
  • Dust dining table, chairs, buffet and windowsills in dining room

What do you think of my two-minute cleaning? Is it something you could incorporate into your life if you're an avid TV watcher like me? Or would you get frustrated at all the little interruptions and breaks, and you prefer to do a bigger chore for a longer amount of time?

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