HOW TO SPEND LESS TIME CLEANING
Housework doesn’t have to be complicated or use up your precious time and energy. Here are some simple tips on how to spend less time cleaning and minimalist cleaning routines to keep your home clean without you spending ages cleaning it!
SIMPLIFYING TO CREATE MORE TIME AND SPACE
A Minimalist life is not a perfect life but it is a life of decisions, priorities and letting go.
In my own life, I know that one of the motivations for following a simpler life was my home. Instead of being a place of joy, relaxation and laughter, it was a drain on my energy, a place where I’d come to hide at the end of a long day and that still wore me down in the constant battle to clear the toys, laundry and stuff that my busy life and busy family bought home with them every day.
One of the first and biggest changes since I chose a Minimalist way was to declutter and streamline my home. My home then required less of my attention and I could focus that attention on my kids, my family, myself and whatever I needed and wanted.
In this article I’d live to give you some Minimalist cleaning tips. Not ideas to clean red wine off the carpet or 100 things you can do with vinegar, but simple ideas for keeping your home clean and tidy whilst giving you more time and freedom for the rest of life. In short, it’s about how to spend less time cleaning!
HOW TO SPEND LESS TIME CLEANING AND MORE TIME ON OTHER THINGS!
So often our homes can drain our energy and our time. We have to spend time cleaning, tidying and looking after them. It can seem like a never-ending cycle, especially when you have a busy family and/or busy life!
Yet, there are ways to make looking after your home so much easier with a few changes, a little bit of planning and some flexible routines in place.
As I was thinking about my own cleaning and household routines, I came up with a few ways I save myself time and energy on a regular basis just by simplifying and streamlining my home and how I keep it clean. In this article I’m sharing a few of my favourite tips on how to spend less time cleaning which I hope might help you too.
I have a busy home with busy kids and a (lazy) dog! Your life might look different to mine but I hope my tips inspire you to come up with a cleaning routine that works for you.
Try them out, see what works for you and your family and share your thoughts in the comments…
DO LITTLE AND OFTEN
If you’ve not done any housework for a month and you have a family, the chances are that getting your home sparkling again could be a big job!
Instead, what about doing housework in smaller, bite-sized chunks? You could set your timer for 15 or 30 minutes per day, even a dedicated ‘Power Hour’ for bigger jobs. Pick a room or a particular task (for example, the windows) and set to it. Keep going until your timer goes off and then stop.
Short periods of time seem much more manageable and can be squeezed into our day in between other things.
ESTABLISH A ROTA
Make a list or some kind of chart that lists all the rooms in your house. Go through each room working out exactly what needs to be cleaned and how often.
Make sure you include everything from skirting boards to ceiling lights and the cobwebs you don’t really see unless you look up. Don’t forget behind and under sofas – the places where everything from food to Lego pieces collect.
Come up with a rota for tackling each room. Work out whether it’s easier to group similar jobs together, for example, dusting all the skirting boards downstairs, rather than as you do each individual room. Or maybe doing all the toilets in the house in one go, or one at a time when you come to do that particular room.
Work out how often you need to do each job. Is it weekly, monthly or every six months?
Write it all down so you have a note of it somewhere, on your phone or stuck on the front of the fridge.
Stick to the rota as much as possible but if you miss a task, don’t worry. Just catch up when you can and keep on track.
If you’re not the only one in the home then why should you be the only one to clean it?
Make a list of all the jobs that need doing around the house. Include things like washing the dishes, putting away the clean laundry, putting the dirty laundry in the wash, putting the bins out, feeding the dog.
Come up with a rota so that everyone who lives in the house can help to keep it clean.
The kids can get involved if you look at age-appropriate household chores. It teaches them a valuable life skill and helps you out in the process.
ORGANISE YOUR CLEANING SUPPLIES
Gather together your cleaning supplies and keep them all in one place. Replenish as and when needed and add to your shopping list whenever you’re running low on something.
Separate them out by room or type of cleaning product so that you can easily grab what you need when you’re cleaning a particular room e.g. the bathroom. Have some spare baskets or boxes so that you can pop things in to carry them around the home.
Keeping your cleaning supplies in one place will make it easier for you to grab what you need when you need it, avoids you buying things you don’t need because you couldn’t find what you were looking for and ensures you do buy what you need when you’re close to running out.
Alternatively, you could keep some of your cleaning products in the room for which they’re used. I do this for my bathroom because it means I can give the bathroom a quick scrub whenever I notice something needs cleaning! I don’t have to waste my time by going to my kitchen to get what I need from the cleaning cupboard. Just find what works for you!
Your home is never going to be show-home material, especially if you’ve got a family.
Your home is for living in and if you’re holding yourself back from doing things just because you don’t want to mess up your home, then it might be worth revisiting those priorities!
That being said, I know I do prefer a cleaner, tidier and more organised home so it’s just about finding a way to balance this alongside my kids and their stuff!
Unless I clean 24/7 and ban my kids from entering the front door, my home will never be spotless but it’s clean enough and we can live freely in it too!
Forget perfection and, in this case, that perfectly clean home. Do what you can, when you can to keep things ticking over. It may not be spotless but clean enough is probably good enough.
Cleaning doesn’t have to be a specific amount of time that you set aside every day, week or month. It can easily be slotted in between other tasks if you think a little creatively! Here are some examples:
- When my kids were small, I used to clean the bathroom whilst I was watching them splash in the bath.
- Whilst I was waiting for dinner to cook, I’d clean out and wipe down my fridge.
- When I’ve finished in the shower myself, I quickly clean the tiles, shower screen, bath and taps.
These are just a few examples of thinking creatively about your cleaning routines and making good use of your multi-tasking skills, time and resources!
ESTABLISH ROUTINES AND SOME EXAMPLES
This tip is perhaps my favourite because it helps my home run on auto-pilot, with minimal effort and input needed from me. I keep things ticking over by doing a few chores each day. It makes keeping my home clean and tidy feel more manageable and the dirt and mess never really get a chance to build up.
1. Make your bed every morning
The process of making your bed each day becomes a habit that signals your brain to say the day is beginning and you’re ready for it. A tidy bed makes your bedroom seem tidier in general and calmer and more peaceful for when you go back to it in the evening.
2. Tidy up before each mealtime
Grab a laundry basket before every meal time and walk around the home. Put everything in the basket that doesn’t belong in each particular room and return the items to where they should go. Examples could be toys your kids have been playing with or dirty mugs to go back to the kitchen.
Straighten the rugs, plump up the cushions and take any dirty dishes etc into the kitchen whilst you’re at it.
3. Clean up after every snack and meal
Get into the habit of washing the dishes, glasses and cutlery straightaway after eating. It will take just a few minutes instead of piling it all up in the sink throughout the day for you to wash and put away in the evening. There are plenty of better ways you can be spending your evenings!
Wipe down the kitchen surfaces during and after cooking , clean the table after you’ve eaten and sweep or hoover under the table.
A few minutes spent like this can save you a lot of work later on!
4. Keep on top of the laundry
Run a load of laundry as often as your household requires it. I tend to put a wash on every day and make sure it’s dry, folded and put away before I go to bed that night. We never run out of clean clothes, don’t need many extra sets of anything because I can turn the laundry round pretty quickly and I rarely have to spend time dealing with a backlog.
5. Check the bathroom whenever you walk past it!
Get into the habit of checking the bathroom regularly. It’s amazing how dirty the bathroom can get, particularly when there are little ones in the home! You can be sure there’ll be some drip or smear where there shouldn’t be one!
Every time you walk past the bathroom, give it a quick once-over. Wipe the surfaces with a baby wipe, pick up the towel from the floor and return the toilet roll to its holder!
6. Put your home to bed each night
Before you wind down for the evening, do a quick reset of your home. Tidy up, return items to their proper home, straighten the cushions, clear the kitchen counter. Clear the clutter from the day because you won’t want to wake up tomorrow and be greeted by yesterday’s mess!
HAVE LESS STUFF
It may sound pretty obvious but if you’ve got less stuff then you’ve got less to clean, tidy up, move around and get in the way.
Table tops, worktops, floors, beds, cupboards and stairs are all just a few of the places where clutter builds up.
Yet, your home is so much easier to clean when it’s not cluttered and you don’t have to move loads of stuff out of the way to run a duster or hoover over it.
In the words of Annie Dillard, ‘Whatever takes up your space, takes up your time’.
Do you really love all those ornaments on your shelf or are they there because they’ve just built up over the years? Did you really notice how many you’ve got until you came to dust the shelf but thought better of it because you’d have to move everything?
Think carefully about what you have in your home and whether you love these things enough to warrant spending time looking after and cleaning them.
Think for a moment what you could be doing with that time instead?
Here are some suggestions for further reading so that you can assess exactly what your clutter is costing you!
- 20 reasons to own less stuff
- 10 reasons to declutter your home
- Why declutter instead of organise
- 6 tips to help you declutter
BE VIGILANT FOR CLUTTER
Our homes may never be squeaky clean but they do look cleaner without clutter. Although we’ve talked about the benefits of owning less, many of us do still have stuff in our homes!
The trick is keeping that clutter in check and stopping the influx of new clutter coming in.
This post on 20 habits for a clutter-free home might give you some ideas.
RESOURCES FOR DECLUTTERING
If you’d like to explore what decluttering your home and life could mean for you, here are some resources which you might find helpful:
- How to declutter your home and life – a helpful guide to what it is and how to get started.
- 6 tips to help you declutter
- 20 daily habits for a clutter-free home
- Declutter Starter Kit – a free guide and workbook to help you understand the what, why and how of decluttering. Projects, tips and guidance to clear the clutter in your home and life.
- Your Intentional Life – a free 7-day email challenge to help define your priorities and begin your intentional living journey.