2012-11-04 iClean

How To Clean Your House in 20 Minutes a Day for 30 Days
Credit: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/the-schedule-house-cleaning-in-131142
Twitter @AptTherapy

When I first learned to clean my own place, I thought Saturday had to be an all day clean-a-thon. I didn’t really have a concept of how to balance the work load during the week so weekends could be reserved for larger projects or even you know…fun! Now I clean in 20 minutes a day — every day — and things just seem to take care of themselves. Here’s a glimpse at the schedule I use!

No one said you had to do everything at once and even when time seems short, if you can manage one task a day, things should start to work themselves out. Adjust this list as your family’s needs require (those with more or less children might require doing certain activities more or less). If it’s easier, take a blank calendar and fill it in accordingly so easier tasks are on days where your day is go, go, go and reserve the more difficult ones for days when things are a little lighter. Here’s 5 tips to help make this 30 days a success:

1) Dealing With What Comes Through The Door Set up a small area by the front door to act as a “landing strip” for incoming items into your home. If you’re a long time reader this is nothing new to you. If this is the first time you’ve heard this phrase outside of reference to personal grooming habits, then make sure to check out Maxwell’s latest Home Cure video on the topic.

2) Do Your Dishes After Every Meal This will help you stay on top of your kitchen instead of having it turn into a monster! No one really wants to do them (after all, you probably cooked dinner to boot). But waiting for another meal or until you have enough to fill the dishwasher just makes things feel overwhelming and easier to put off. The same goes for take out trash as well. If you need to take the trash out, place it by the front door to go out in the morning or dispose of it that night so it’s over and done with.

3) Laundry If you have a washer and dryer at home, do a little bit each day. Spread things out so you don’t feel bogged down by 200 towels and stinky socks. If you take things to a laundromat, sort clothes as you go so things are easier to load up into machines when you get there. Fold them before you come home so you aren’t dumping baskets out on your sofa or bed and they can go straight into drawers and closets.

4) Whistle While You Work: Those who are happiest when cleaning are few and far between. Singing, humming, whistling or turning up the stereo are all great options to keep the beat in your feet and have fun while working. Here’s a few past posts on killer cleaning soundtracks.

5) Set a Timer: Most items on the list below should take no more than 20 minutes total. It’s easy to rationalize 20 minutes, but it’s also easy to get distracted by phone calls, emails, children and other projects that call your name as you tackle each chore. Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes (which ever works best for you) and that way when it sounds you know exactly how much time you have left. If you find yourself off task it’s easy to get back on track.

1. Surface clean living room and kitchen (pick up stray items, dust, sweep, vacuum)

2. Clean bathrooms (toilets, showers, floors, walls, mirrors)

3. Surface clean bedrooms (put away toys, clothes, dust)

4. Surface clean “extra” rooms (basement, office, play room)

5. Surface clean living room and kitchen

6. Clean bathrooms

7. Clean all interior windows (white vinegar and newspaper works great and is cheap!)

8. Sweep and vacuum all floors in the house (don’t forget stairs)

9. Surface clean bedrooms

10. Deep clean living room (mirrors, baseboards, dust artwork)

11. Clean bathrooms

12. Clean out closets (hang up clothes, mittens, jackets, hats)

13. Surface clean “extra” rooms

14. Deep clean bedrooms (organize drawers, check under bed, tidy closet, dust artwork, fans, lights, mop)

15. Surface clean living room and kitchen

16. Deep clean bathrooms (clean inside drawers, inside of trash cans, tops of mirrors, tile, mop)

17. Clean all door knobs, phones, entertainment equipment (remote controls), switch plates, banisters and other things that are repeatedly touched.

18. Clean out the refrigerator, take stock of food, organize pantry

19. Clean entryway, sweep porch (if you have one), clean out car (because they’re often our home away from home)

20. Surface clean living room and kitchen

21. Surface clean bathrooms

22. Surface clean bedrooms

23. Sweep and vacuum all floors in the house

24. Clean linen closet, straighten towels, sheets or regular closet if not applicable

25. Surface clean living room and kitchen

26. Deep clean kitchen (scrub appliances, wash trash cans, base boards, wipe down and straighten cabinets)

27. Surface clean bathrooms

28. Surfaces clean bedrooms

29. Clean one item you’ve been meaning to get to and haven’t (deep clean your stove, wipe down all light fixtures, tackle a particularly unruly area)

30. Sweep and vacuum all floors in the house

To this list you can also add chores that are to be done monthly or quarterly. It’s easier to plan for larger tasks like steam cleaning a sofa or heavy traffic hallway, then it feels like part of the routine instead of that thing you keep putting off and dreading.

Habits are formed by doing and one of the best ways to change a bad habit is to replace it with another action. So if the time spent right when you come home from work is usually filled with email reading and a small nap, try switching it out with your cleaning instead. Making the 20 minute time slot routine will build good habits and help you stay on top of the game without feeling like it’s a real chore.

Do you have anything to add to the list above? What cleaning tasks would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!

Image: Flickr member Tom Baugis licensed for use by Creative Commons

Re-edited from a post originally published 11.1.10 – JL

164 COMMENTS
12.07.11 8:00PM SARAH RAE
Categories: Homekeeping & Cleaning

i hate that too, crunchygran0la.

i love these tips (!) except doing a little bit of laundry every day. sounds like a waste of energy.

evansal3
2010-11-01 20:14:06 ReplyFlag
Maybe she meant that Saturday’s clean-a-thon had to be an all-day event?

jeannemarie
2010-11-01 20:16:26 ReplyFlag
I love this list! It is so straightforward and practical. And I’m thrilled that you posted this on November 1st so I can get started today and not have to do mental math for the rest of the month to figure out what day I’m on. :)
By the way, I love doing laundry every day, but having a washer in dryer in my home makes all the difference.

kellystokes
2010-11-01 20:28:21 ReplyFlag
I cannot be the only person who noticed that the “grammar police” doesn’t feel the need to capitalize, right?

But on topic, it’s pretty much impossible to spend so little time on laundry when you don’t have a w/d at home, and it can be pretty difficult to find space for separating loads in a small apartment. Any tips for that?

jelouise
2010-11-01 20:36:10 ReplyFlag
Thank you for the day-by-day list and again for posting it on the 1st! I’m going to print it out and actually try it!

I’m also questioning laundry every day – I don’t have a full load to wash every day and I’m not going to wash half loads. However I have started doing a few loads mid-week instead of everything on the weekend, and it really does feel easier.

And yes, the Saturday’s apostrophe is out of place.

sagekitten85
2010-11-01 20:38:18 ReplyFlag
Jelouise – I’m in an itty bitty apartment. I know a lot of people may cringe, but I only sort my clothes as “to be hung dry” and “drier-only”. That way, I can stick all of one type in a bag, and all of the other in a second bag. There are lots of tall/thinner hampers out there that have hanging bags that you can just unhook and take wherever, or you can just use big ol’ garbage bags (like my friend does). If you do laundry weekly, or even bi-weekly, it’s never more than 2-4 loads total for me (for two people).

Aimsly
2010-11-01 20:40:25 ReplyFlag
@jelouise – what about three bags hung on hooks? ie lights, darks, towels, tucked behind a door or something?

annekeo
2010-11-01 20:42:31 ReplyFlag
this list is exactly what i needed. THANK YOU!

homo-ners
2010-11-01 20:49:17 ReplyFlag
I can try although I doubt I will able to stick to the list.
But like sagekitten85, I have objections to doing laundry every day. Should I laundry every day, there would not be much left from the allocated 20-minutes-per-day. In addition, it would be very uneconomical (not to mention environmentally unfriendly). I thought you are supposed to do laundy in the biggest batches as possible? with the hydro rates climbing up steadily (and with new smart hydro meters that track not only the usage but also the time of usage [and rates vary depending on times] I try to do laundry only on the weekends.

CanadianMango
2010-11-01 20:52:49 ReplyFlag
Doing laundry every day is a good idea for families with their own washer and dryer. As a single person, I do maybe 3 loads a week, and it doesn’t take much time to load the washer then go feed the pets, or make dinner.

I wish I had started this 20 minutes a day cleaning years ago before my house got so cluttered! Now I have a lot of catching up to do!

mauras
2010-11-01 21:06:12 ReplyFlag
My husband and I do a variation on this. We call it the “10 minute tidy”. Every day we each have to tackle some sort of cleaning for 10 minutes. It becomes a bit of a game to see how much you can get done before the timer goes! 10 minutes is plenty of time to vacuum 2 – 3 rooms, clean out a tupperware drawer, clean a few toilets, do a pick up of any room, make several beds etc. The only rule is we can’t complain about what the other person picks for their 10 minutes. As long as they’ve cleaned SOMETHING then it’s OK! I like it better than having a rigid list to stick to.

We will do a big deep clean every other weekend when we wash floors, because that takes a bit longer than 10 minutes. But by doing the 10 minutes every day it helps keep the house still looking tidy.

There are two items that don’t count as “10 minute tidy” items and those are the dishes (done every evening by the non-cook) and laundry (done as soon as one of the three laundry baskets fills up – lights, darks & towels)

michelou
2010-11-01 21:07:51 ReplyFlag
Laundry everyday is excessive and wasteful! Otherwise this list is really nice and useful.

Jose A
2010-11-01 21:09:12 ReplyFlag
I do laundry every 2-3 days – sorted (blacks, lights, mids, towels, rugs/rags). But my best trick for keeping it from eating my day is to do it when I’m gone.

My new-ish washer has a timer. I put the laundry just as I walk out the door in the morning, set an 8hr timer, and the load is just wrapping up when I get home at night. Toss it in the dryer when I walk in the door, and by the time I’m done walking the dog/starting dinner/running a few errands, it’s ready to be put away. And since it’s only one load, it only takes about 10 minutes.

Granted, it usually sits around until I need the basket again, but hey. I work with engineers. They don’t care if I’m wrinkled.

failjolesfail
2010-11-01 21:15:35 ReplyFlag
I love this list…and I’ve tried a variation on this before. My main problem is that with 2 little kids and a dog, none of these things take only 20 minutes. When I stick to it, I definitely feel better, but it just takes me so much more time. Add that to the dishes…it’s a lot of time for me.

saraannsmith
2010-11-01 21:32:21 ReplyFlag
This is great… I was actually trying to find something like this a while ago, but it was more than 20 minutes of light cleaning a day. Thank you!

@failjolesfail – just a warning not to leave your washing machine or dishwasher going when not at home, if it leaks it leaks fast and if you don’t catch it there will be way more damage…. this is coming from experience, ugh.

lesova
2010-11-01 21:47:23 ReplyFlag
I used to try the “clean on the weekends” approach. It failed miserably because I didn’t want to waste my weekends cleaning. Then I adopted a new routine of cleaning for 10 minutes after work every night, (vacuum, windex, dust) and then tidying up for 10 minutes before bed (put away dishes, laundry, clear away papers). I love this method!

WrigleyHogsTheBed
2010-11-01 21:50:49 ReplyFlag
This is great. I’m on it!

thesleepyswan
2010-11-01 21:51:59 ReplyFlag
@ saraannsmith. I agree. When you have 2 little kids and a dog the only tasks that can be completed in 20 minutes are things like brushing teeth and or putting on shoes and I’m pretty sure it’s taken more than 20 minutes for me to get shoes on my feet and the kids’ feet before, ditto for clean teeth. It does help to tackle as much as you humanly can each day and accept there is some stuff that you don’t have time for.

Danica123
2010-11-01 21:54:57 ReplyFlag
This is a great list. I had been trying to make Wednesdays my clean-all, but it is just too much! I like this idea of splitting things up a bit more. It might be good to put these in a google calendar and set reminders…

LauraCore
2010-11-01 22:07:23 ReplyFlag
That plan is totally unrealistic. There’s no way a person could keep up with all 30 jobs on the list in only 20 minutes a day.

jeannenyc
2010-11-01 22:13:55 ReplyFlag
This is weirdly perfect timing as just two hours ago I was talking to a dear friend/coworker who is stressing out about her incredibly messy place (she’s a single mom & battling some health issues).

I was telling her: you don’t have to ship the baby off to the sitters for a week’s vacation to do some crazy deep clean, you can get a lot done in just a few minutes a night. I am pretty sure she didn’t believe me, but this posting will help her, I think. She’s so overwhelmed, poor thing!

leapkate
2010-11-01 22:39:44 ReplyFlag
I like the idea of this list, but I think I would break up the bathroom and kitchen tasks onto different days. For example, one day I’d clean the tub (while I’m taking a shower) and another day I’d scrub the toilet.

darcitananda
2010-11-01 22:45:01 ReplyFlag
This list is a nice reference piece and should be adjusted to suit each person’s home. For example, I have a dog that sheds like crazy. I would be irrational to think that I could keep up with my housework for only 20 minutes each day AND tackle the dog hair. For me, I think I could handle it if it were 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening.

tinkin3
2010-11-01 22:46:30 ReplyFlag
I found something like this on Lifehacker, except that involved a daily surface cleaning including bathroom and kitchen surfaces. It works pretty well, but especially in my office stuff can still build up because some days you just need to let that 20 minutes go!

Di from magickalrealism
2010-11-01 23:08:54 ReplyFlag
I spend two hours a week cleaning (dishes are every day, as are pet chores). Once every four weeks, professional cleaners come in and do a deep clean. Laundry, though… *sobs* I have a washer, but not a dryer, so I usually have to take it to a laundromat.

I’ve discovered that it takes 3 hours and fifteen minutes from start to finish to do, say, four loads, and that it takes 3 hours and thirty minutes to do eight loads. So I don’t try to do a little each week because it would take far more time overall. The schlep of driving, parking, getting everything into the laundromat and into machines, then back into my car and into the house, then put away… yeah, if I did that every week I’d go cuckoo.

rayma
2010-11-01 23:56:49 ReplyFlag
Clean all windows in the house in 20 minutes? Impossible. Clean both bathrooms in 20 minutes? Also impossible. Realistically, I’d say the daily tasks on this list would take me 40 minutes to an hour a day. I like the idea, but this is like those “dinners in 30 minutes” recipes.

littleengine
2010-11-02 00:25:21 ReplyFlag
not gonna happen, atleast not for me. I take 20minutes just wiping down and getting dust off everything. I live in NYC and I cant explain the amount of dust I get.

www.addicted2etsy.com

Cyn2
2010-11-02 00:53:46 ReplyFlag
If you have an apartment, I don’t think that even 20 minutes a day is needed.

I already follow the landing strip method, and shoes come off once in the door.

I also follow the wash dishes after meal routine.

I’m at work most of the day and live alone so my apt. doesn’t have much time to get dirty.

For the shower I spray it with the once a day shower cleaner which works pretty well. In the toilet there is a bleach tablet, that keeps the bowl perfectly clean.

If something looks dirty to me I’ll just clean it right then. So if there’s something on the toilet, I clean it off immediately. Toothpaste on the sink, crap on the stove etc. This only takes seconds to do. If you don’t get it immediately, you end up needing to scrub which is why cleaning end up taking a while.

I also keep fewer things than most people. So there is almost nothing that I leave lying around to pick up. It just goes back into its spot.

I’m considering getting a mint robotic floor sweeper/mopper since I have all tile and hardwood floors. As it is right now, without any robots, I only need to spend 30 minutes every weekend tidying up.

HeManStyle
2010-11-02 01:03:26 ReplyFlag
I LOVE this list! I just wish it came in a cute printable format so I could put it on my fridge!

Sweet T Studio
2010-11-02 01:35:29 ReplyFlag
Not at all impossible if you have decluttered. We used to be swimming in stuff, but after buying into the FlyLady a few years ago, I can swear that I can do any of those tasks in 20 minutes. Including windows. Or cleaning 2 bathrooms.

We do daily stuff (the whole kitchen gets cleaned after dinner, a load of laundry – not wasteful when you have three sweaty athletes in the house, mail, jackets, etc.) and instead of this approach we do about 1.5 hours on Saturday (2 adults, 1 teen). Some chores (vacuuming under stuff, windows, cleaning out a closet) only get done every month or two, but all the visible stuff gets done weekly. It works great.

But ya gotta get rid of all the clutter, first. :-)

suzee
2010-11-02 01:42:27 ReplyFlag
I’m always amazed and envious when I visit people with dryers and washers who seem to have them running every day. For me, it’s a twice monthly activity involving grading papers or reading :)

Many of my work clothes go to the dry cleaners, also twice a month.

I could probably spend half of that allotted time just dusting.

The shoes-off-at-door, landing strip (throw out all junk mail in the trash room on way to apt), and wash-as-you-go approach has always worked well.

And yes, decluttering really does make it all easier.

ProfKD
2010-11-02 02:04:11 ReplyFlag
I total agree with the comment of HeManStyle. Clean up immediately just take you little few seconds/minutes. Thats the way we do it as a couple, but in the end we still have a clean-a-thon of 5 hours monthly.
We definitely will share the practice of michelou with the “choose your daily 10min cleaning-zone” – not with following a cleaning-calendar-monster as shown above.
And since the most of you talked about laundry, I want to share our experience. We have our own washer but not a dryer. Even we have the space for a dryer, we dry the laundry in a really old style on clotheslines in the attic. This is because of our save the environment attitude. Once we have a full load (6 kg) of special laundry, we wash it. It´s all stuffed in one big basket and doesn´t need a lot of time to separate. But washing and drying is not a big deal with time – preparing it for the wardrobe cost much more. Any ideas how to speed this up?

Uwe Preul
2010-11-02 02:15:17 ReplyFlag
@jeannenyc the author is not suggesting that you do all 30 things in 20 minutes in one day. Each item is a 20 minute task to do once a day in 30 days.

On another note, love it! Between work and my Master’s classes at night, it can be tough to fit in cleaning, but I think I can manage these tasks.

rach1007
2010-11-02 02:29:47 ReplyFlag
@littleengine: I totally agree. How the HELL do you clean the interior of every window in 20 minutes?? Do you have 2 windows??

herong
2010-11-02 02:37:08 ReplyFlag
We are a family of five, and laundry done every day is NOT excessive, it is a necessity! It will take over your life if you don’t do it a little at a time. It may be sheets one day, towels the next, and clothing the next… It isn’t always clothes, but laundry every day is not at all wasteful at my house.

AmyLynn
2010-11-02 03:13:00 ReplyFlag
I appreciate this list but I’m one of those people who get into the mood to clean and it would be impossible for me to stop after 20 minutes.

maiopia
2010-11-02 04:04:36 ReplyFlag
You people are nuts. I do laundry maybe once every two weeks. I would do it less often if I had more underwear. If you wear something once, don’t get too sweaty, and leave it to hang overnight, I guarantee you it won’t be smelly in the morning, as long as it isn’t super tight or a synthetic fabric. (Kids are an exception because they tend to get their clothes dirty every day.)

Malala
2010-11-02 05:20:54 ReplyFlag
I do this! I mean, I have my own monthly list (with quarterly and yearly chores added). I actually spend less than 20 minutes a day cleaning, because it’s just two of us and we live in a small house.

I do laundry about three times a week. I have a front-loader washing machine that uses as much water is needed and I line dry on racks (inside during the winter). If I saved all my laundry for one day, I’d never be able to fit it all on the racks and I’d have to use the dryer.

Britomart
2010-11-02 05:47:57 ReplyFlag
When it comes to laundry, not everyone has the same needs, so please adjust accordingly. Obviously if you only had two towels and a sock to wash, it would be wasteful to do so, but please remember that families with 4 or more children will most likely need to be doing it each day…. and there’s as many of those folks out there as there are single apartment dwellers. In my own house we visit the laundromat every two weeks. In out, DONE!

On windows…. Interior windows in 20 minutes is possible, but you have to plan on moving… quickly. We have 8 30ft windows in our space, plus 8 “regular” size windows, all of which can be cleaned in around 25 minutes. If I can shimmy up and down a ladder, you can manage the same!

On homes with kids… try doing the chores and finding a spare 20 minutes during nap time or directly after they have gone to bed. Doing most anything while they’re awake can prove to be fruitless.

On pets… we have two dogs which shed like none other. I did eliminate it from the schedule above, but I do add a 5 minute pet cleaning in there every day as well. Some days I’ll vacuum the furniture, some days the stairs, other’s I’ll toss their bedding in the washer. It helps!

sarahrae
2010-11-02 11:11:01 ReplyFlag
I was going to write an opus on my domestic stigmata but, I realized it would take 20 minutes so I…

1. Surface cleaned living room and kitchen (pick up stray items, dust, sweep, vacuum)

instead.

hutchhalo
2010-11-02 12:21:04 ReplyFlag
rach1007, that’s why I used the wording “keep up with.” Many of the tasks would take far more than 20 minutes and there’s no way I’d be ok with only vacuuming, sweeping, dusting or cleaning the bathroom and kitchen only once a month. That’s just nasty.

jeannenyc
2010-11-02 12:55:42 ReplyFlag
Great list, it really helps!!

evajimenezbcn
2010-11-02 13:25:44 ReplyFlag
I’m going to share this with my daughter and plug it into our calendars. It should help keep us on track, which is also great with the holidays upcoming.

I {heart} Rhody
2010-11-02 13:54:52 ReplyFlag
20 minutes day? Ugh! I spend about 30 minutes to perhaps an hour one day a week. Luckily I have a W/D in my home now so I don’t have to be around and wait for them to cycle through. I do about 2 loads a week, but one of those loads is linens and takes no time to put up. I guess because I am in HeManStyles boat I can do this. I live alone, clean up immediatley after I take things out, and wash dishes after I cook. If you do these things, I don’t understand why you would need anymore than 1 hour a weekend to focus on vacumming, mopping, and cleaning the kitchen/bathroom. Clean your windows and such once a month. Good to go.

moke076
2010-11-02 14:07:59 ReplyFlag
Am I the only one that feels like a total slob after reading this? There’s no way in heck I can spend 20 minutes cleaning every day, and I certainly don’t spend my entire weekend making up for it, either.

I agree that it’s easier to clean as you go along (I always clean up dishes immediately, and try to sort mail right away), but otherwise, I just keep things relatively tidy and maybe do an all-out apartment cleaning about once or twice a month. My place may not always be spotless, but with a busy schedule, it works well enough.

phillaylay
2010-11-02 14:14:21 ReplyFlag
I do laundry most weekdays when I remember (two people plus one dog) as there is always something which needs washing – darks, lights, sheets, towels, doggy stuff (towels, blankets, bed) on a regular basis, plus those random extras like jackets/dressing gowns/super-hot-wash for tea towels/handkerchiefs/guest bedding/walking socks/waterproofs etc.

JMD
2010-11-02 14:32:25 ReplyFlag
Remember, this isn’t a LITERAL interpretation of how long things take…it’s an estimate. Some will take more time, some may take less. The author’s point – and Maxwell seems to share it with the Cure – is that if we make regular efforts to keep it clean, uncluttered and organized, then we’re going to be in better condition. I love these ideas, and braid them into my own routines.

krister
2010-11-02 14:50:39 ReplyFlag
I clean this way too. When I first started this method, some 12 years ago, I used index cards in a recipe box to remind me what I needed to do when until I got a groove going. I found the method in a book, but I can’t remember the title.

KittyAtlanta
2010-11-02 15:26:46 ReplyFlag
I have to add that I’ve cut down on floor cleaning time, as I invested in a Roomba and a Scooba. I dust the night before and set off the robots when I leave for work the next morning. What a boon this is. Love my robots!

KittyAtlanta
2010-11-02 15:34:30 ReplyFlag
@KittyAtlanta, glad you’ve found a way to keep your floors clean! This is exactly what’s missing in this list, to me. I just moved to a new place in L.A. that’s been completely re-done, including new dark hardwood floors. If I don’t sweep and dust-mop everything at least once daily, it looks like I haven’t cleaned in a week or more. Mopping should be done at least once a week, if not more often… between that and cleaning after cooking, if I did this list my daily cleaning time would be at least double what this article says. And it probably is! Also, as others have noted, it really depends on how big your place is, how many people and/or animals live there, and I’d add to that your climate – how much dirt makes its way in naturally!

jennyinthesouth
2010-11-02 16:27:19 ReplyFlag
I clean everywhere of my kitchen everyday. there is no dirt at all in my kitchen even I cook everyday

GenieWoo
2010-11-02 16:43:03 ReplyFlag
During the week, 20 minutes of cleaning a day feels like more than I can manage, so I try to do 10 minutes before I leave for work in the morning – then another 10 at night. The more organized I am, the easier it is to keep the mess at bay — and in a small, ground floor NYC apartment (shared with two small dogs and an occasional adult child), it’s nothing less than WAR against dust, dirt and chaos. You have to stay on top of cleaning and laundry because of the lack of storage, even though I seem to be constantly editing my belongings. Having a washer/dryer would make life so much easier – could wash things as they get dirty – ahhhhhh. Instead, on Friday nights/Saturday mornings, I hit the laundry room – doing cleaning between runs to/from the apartment building basement laundry room. During the week, I just try to do as you suggest: do the dishes as they get dirty, get the trash out, etc. The rest, I have just internalized over the years — I clean out the refrigerator before I put new food in it each week. Clean the bathroom after each use (even if it’s just a touch-up). I don’t feel I have to deep clean absolutely everything every day — as long as I keep at it! I wonder what my dogs would do to a Roomba!!

citipearl
2010-11-02 16:51:57 ReplyFlag
@hutchhalo – haha love it!

mimi2856
2010-11-02 17:13:40 ReplyFlag
wow- you people do a lot of laundry! I have a husband, toddler, and baby and do two loads once a week (one dark, one light). Every two weeks, I do the sheets in a separate load.

ek76
2010-11-02 17:26:31 ReplyFlag
I’ve been meaning to put together a list like this for months! THANK YOU!
Unfortunately I’m only able to do laundry until 9pm so I think I’m stuck with massive laundry days. At least I don’t live in a walk-up and/or have to go to a laundromat!

jennesy
2010-11-02 21:19:10 ReplyFlag
This is the best! I have been practicing the “do a little everyday” tactic of housecleaning, but I usually end up wasting a good 10-15 minutes just mulling over where to start. The only thing I must add is vacuuming daily (3 cats – the hair builds up quickly). Also, a tip to go along with washing dishes after each meal – I like to at least sweep the kitchen floor each night after dinner as well (what can I say? I’m a messy cook!) Thank you so much for posting this!

princesstial
2010-11-02 22:09:23 ReplyFlag
I printed this list. I live alone, but am a notorious slob. I’m going to put it on my fridge in hopes of inspiring me to do a little cleaning each day. I have a washer, but no dryer. I live in Phoenix; things dry quickly when it’s 115 degrees. In the winter it takes a little longer for things to dry, but it’s not unreasonable; it’s still 70-80 degrees here.

retropian
2010-11-03 04:51:18 ReplyFlag
I appreciate the tips but sincerely wish you had not suggested doing dishes every day when the dishwasher is NOT full as this is extremely wasteful. Why not load the dishwasher and leave it open a crack until it IS full? I live alone and only use the dishwasher a couple of times a week – running it every day would not only skyrocket my water/electricity bill but also uses natural resources in a very careless fashion. The same holds true for washing laundry every day if loads are not full. Also, for those of us living in apartments (as this website implies) many have multiple washers/dryers in the building. It would actually take MORE time to do laundry each day than to wash it all at once – in 2 or 3 machines.

Rachiti
2010-11-03 06:58:27 ReplyFlag
Rachiti – As stated above, this list should be adjusted to your personal needs. “Doing the dishes” is more a catch all phrase for wiping food off plates, clearing the table, wiping down your counters, taking care of the pots and pans you used while cooking. If they don’t fill the dishwasher, then don’t run it till the next day, but do something with all the dishware.

Same goes for laundry. We have well established that although our core readership will always be those in apartments, we have readers from all walks of life. If you don’t need to do laundry once a day that’s fine, but a family of 6 (apartment or no) might need to.

sarahrae
2010-11-03 11:25:15 ReplyFlag
Organization is key. Once I found a home for everything, I know exactly where it needs to go. I do a quick pick up of shoes, books, etc. and it doesn’t require any thought. I bought a stack of microfiber cloths from the dollar store and use them for almost everything. Then every few weeks I have enough to fill my tiny washer. I cut some in half and and have reusable swiffer cloths.

Eliz@beth
2010-11-04 01:11:26 ReplyFlag
Eliz@beth – You’re so very correct. If things don’t have a home, then when you go to tidy in 20 minutes or less, you spend that time making a home and you don’t make any progress!

sarahrae
2010-11-04 12:11:30 ReplyFlag
I used to be completely overwhelmed with cleaning my house after I had children. Let’s be real, I was overwhelmed before I had kids. I grew up with the clean all weeked routine, so that is what I thought you should do. But, with kids I was finding that impossible to do. I was desperately trying to find time in the day, week, month to get things done. Then I realized that there are not many things that I need to do that take more that 30 minutes. This includes mopping the floor in one room, dusting the furniture in another room, watching my favorite HGTV show, vacuuming the den, etc. That is when I started cleaning 30 minutes (or less) a day, and it has worked great! I have a 2 1/2 year old and a 1 year old and like @sarahrae mentioned
“….doing most anything while they’re awake can prove to be fruitless.” So, I started waking up 30 minutes earlier to clean one big thing in my house every day. One day clean the master bathroom floors, next day mop the kitchen floors, another day scrub the shower, etc.
Like @jennyinthesouth, I have dark hardwood floors throughout my house,so cleaning them was a priority. I just tackle the hallways one day, the dining room another day,etc. This has helped me to keep my floors reasonably clean even with two little kids crawling around. Another thing that has helped to keep my dark floors clean is to have a no shoe policy. For years I thought it did not matter, but with dark floors, if you look closely you can actually see things that you track into the house.

@pricesstial – I used to mully over where to start when I first started my program. The key is to write everything down. Make a cleaning schedule for the week, and this will make all the difference. This does not need to be formal, I have my schedule written on a napkin that I keep in my purse. I reference it to remind me of what needs to be done on what days.

@sarransmith And @Danica123 – with two small children you have to try to find time when you can. Here are a couple of examples – I clean my kids bathroom during my 2 year olds potty time. I clean the bathtub one day, and mop the floor (with a natural cleaner) on another day. I used to sit with him and think about how much time I was wasting just sitting there waiting for him to poop, but now I clean. Also, I let my son eat dinner in the dining room, and I dust (with Method natural dusting cloths) while he eats. That way i can keep an eye on him, we can still talk, and get something done at the same time.

@HemanStyle – I will by stock in the company that makes those bleach tablets to clean the toilets. I used to try those blue ones years ago and they just didn’t work. But a couple of months ago, I bought a couple of store brand bleach tablet toilet cleaners and they work like a dream. Now I just have to clean the toilet seats and the outside of the toilet, which take seconds.

I’m not one of those people who need to keep their home spotless, but starting this cleaning program has helped me in a big way to try keep my home clean. In reality, there are days when I want or have to sleep in (like when my 1 year old decides that bedtime is not until 1 o’clock in the morning). On those days, I either postpone that cleaning item until the evening when the kids go to bed, or put it in the timeslot of a smaller item later in the week.

I have found the key is to not lose your mind over cleaning, it will all get done eventually.

brokencrayons
2010-11-05 15:07:13 ReplyFlag
So far I cannot complete the entire day’s tasks from the list in 20 minutes. But looking through the schedule I see that I will have another chance at the same task in just a few days, which is great. Honestly it has been hard to make myself do even the 20 minutes but I’ve been doing it!

sagekitten85
2010-11-05 21:36:25 ReplyFlag
Having used a very similar system while my kids were growing up, I can attest to the effectiveness of this. For those who doubt the “20 minutes” I challenge you to time yourself doing chores as usual. I was super surprised when I did this: Even with a family of four, indoor pets and living in a dusty windy place, almost every chore took 20 minutes or less. That is what sold me.
For those buried in tons of clutter: Take 20 minutes a day and declutter ONE area. Keep a trash bin handy and a give away box. It is amazing how much de-cluttering can be accomplished one drawer, shelf, nightstand, or paper-pile at a time.

princessavi
2010-11-06 04:47:59 ReplyFlag
I find that the less clutter I have, the faster and easier it is to clean. I am actually able to deep clean 1-3 things per week (kitchen floor, bathroom, windows etc.) It is when I had more “stuff” before a big purge, that it took WAY more time keeping up with the dust and dirt they collected. Now that I’m on a minimalistic path, we can keep everything WAY cleaner, and we get sick less often.

medusa12120
2010-11-06 21:30:02 ReplyFlag
Hahahahaaaaa. I have 2 kids and I cringe to think of what my living room or kitchen would look like if they got “surface cleaned” once a MONTH so that I could focus on washing my windows and organizing my closets. The whole reason I never get my windows washed or my closets organized is I’m frantically trying to keep up with things like the living room and kitchen!

So this post pretty much boils down to: BREAKING NEWS — if you don’t have much mess in your house it is easy to keep clean in not much time! Earthshattering!

girlndocs
2010-11-07 01:34:37 ReplyFlag
I have a list of chores to do each day, as well, but it repeats every week.

I vacuum the floors everyday, because I have dark wood floors which show every. little. thing. I have an Oreak cordless stick vacuum, so it’s a breeze.

Monday-Deep clean kitchen and bath-
I want to start the week with clean counters, appliances, fixtures, and floors, and an empty refrigerator and dishwasher.

Tuesday-Shopping for groceries and supplies-

Wednesday-Laundry and trash-
I presort laundry. Kitchen towels in one hamper, bath towels in another, sheets in another, and so on. The full hampers are washed. I have enough kitchen towels to last a month, but I wash sheets every week it seems. The trash chute is near the laundry, so it’s easy to drop off the trash on the way to get dry laundry.

Thursday-Dust and polish furniture-Clean wood floors as necessary. I have genuine imitation wood floors, and sometimes they have to be damp mopped to remove the smudges. (Did I mention they show every. little. thing?)

Then I take three days off. I’m not cleaning on Friday for sure, and I’m not fond of doing any on the weekends either. I usually work on a house project. Right now I am arranging my living room shelves, and touching up the paint in my bath.

I have someone who cleans my windows as necessary.

My biggest problem is emptying the dishwasher, and cleaning up after every meal. I can’t seem to find the rhythm of emptying/filling the dishwasher.

Village
2010-11-07 02:24:25 ReplyFlag
In a family of more than 4, the likelyhood is you do need to do a laundry everyday even if you wear jeans a few times before washing.

Also, I was advised by a washing machine engineer that it was better to use a machine only once a day than trying to do all your laundry in one day (4 loads!!). My washing machine is still working and about 12 years old.

Maurs
2010-11-07 10:26:25 ReplyFlag
Well, it looks like you’re supposed to “surface clean” kitchen, living room, bathrooms, etc. once a week… which is a bit of a joke… if I don’t “surface clean” the kitchen and living room twice a day, it turns into a disaster. Maybe my kid and husband are messier than the norm? I know DH takes three (or more) showers a day, never re-uses a towel, and changes clothes 3 x a day– so our laundry is just incredibly overwhelming… and nope, he doesn’t do ANY of the laundry. I think I spend 2 hours a day dealing with kitchen and food prep/cleanup, 2 hours on laundry, and 2 hours picking up DH’s and toddler’s endless trail of debris… pretty much everything else gets done when (and if) it gets done…

Gwydion
2010-11-07 10:59:30 ReplyFlag
I like the idea but 20 minutes isn’t enough for quite a few of these tasks. Who can tidy, dust, sweep and vacuum their kitchen and living room in 20 minutes? Or clean even one bathroom (which is all I have, but the list says bathrooms)? And I’m afraid the person who says she can vacuum 2 or 3 rooms in 10 minutes can’t possibly be doing them properly.

Really?
2010-11-07 12:19:39 ReplyFlag
I was really excited about this article. Then I read the list. I could do maybe 10% of these tasks in 20 minutes. No matter how fast I move. I will try to use it as a checklist, though. I have two kids and two pets and probably spend an hour a day cleaning and doing laundry, unfortunately. And I keep up with everything as well as I can. In fact, my biggest problem is that keeping up with the day to day stuff makes me hard to do the deeper clean stuff. I guess there’s no magic formula for keeping my house clean without using lots of time:( Just will have to wait until I can afford a maid!

BadJuJu77
2010-11-07 14:55:05 ReplyFlag
Relax, people. If you do housework badly, but somewhat more often, you still come out ahead.

If you just START a task and do it for 20 minutes, it’s an improvement. So yes, our bathroom is a nightmare right now, but with 20 minutes of effort it will be better. The next time the bathroom comes around I’ll get to a little more.

(What’s with the laundry obsession? There is no right way to do laundry. There is no wrong way to do laundry. There is just laundry to do.)

untrussedgourmet
2010-11-07 21:56:38 ReplyFlag
3plus showers a day is amental health issue

chicelectic
2010-11-08 01:19:00 ReplyFlag
Cleaning 20 minutes a day does not appeal to me. The only thing I have to do every day is sweep. I wipe as I go in the kitchen and bathroom. Mopping gets done twice a week (no kids or roaming pets), dusting every 2 wks, with olive oil and warm vinegar (it doesn’t get dusty in my house; I use a hypoallergenic air filter), laundry every 2 wks, windows (inside and out) once a month. I do a thorough cleaning of the kitchen and bathroom every two weeks. I use a bleach tablet in the toilet tank and a homemade daily shower spray http://www.ehow.com/way_5167015_homemade-daily-shower-spray.html.
I don’t mind cleaning for about 1-2 hours over the weekend. It’s when I have the most time, so it doesn’t really cut into anything. Also it’s a bit therapeutic. I grab a beer, play some music, light some incense and become one with my house. It’s all very “omm” lol.

LittleMissSunshine
2010-11-08 08:39:48 ReplyFlag
I just went through at least five minutes of trouble (resetting passwords, etc.) to sign in so I could say what a bunch of sanctimonious douche bags half of these commenters are! DUDE, if you don’t want to do the 20 min. a day cleaning then DON’T. Spend the 20 min. trying not be so fucking annoying.

lswan
2010-11-08 23:03:19 ReplyFlag
Ha ha Iswan, too true!!

Maurs
2010-11-09 12:37:33 ReplyFlag
haha lswan!

LittleMissSunshine
2010-11-15 00:11:19 ReplyFlag
wait, were you talking about me?

LittleMissSunshine
2010-11-15 00:13:51 ReplyFlag
i find daily laundry incredibly wasteful and don’t know a single person who does that. even my parents with a small child don’t do daily laundry. how does one even accumulate that much laundry that it fits into a huge modern washer in one day? i do laundry every week or two. i find it amazing that commenters wanted to bite off the heads of someone who takes out daily trash just so their house doesn’t smell and is so much more forgiving of those who waste energy and water needlessly.

Aristeia
2010-11-28 16:50:07 ReplyFlag
I don’t think I can do all that in 20 minutes!

pixiedust03
2011-01-03 18:15:42 ReplyFlag
I do a bit of laundry every few days, better than being overwhelmed. The best cleaning tip I’ve got though some LCD Soundsystem on my headphones. (Turning up the stereo doesn’t work so well when I’m vacuuming.

pixiedust03
2011-01-03 18:18:39 ReplyFlag
Another cleaning tip, wipe down the shower tiles after every shower (I keep a towel handy just for this.) It only takes about 30 seconds and the tiles stay clean forever!

pixiedust03
2011-01-03 18:24:23 ReplyFlag
Thank you for this post!!

Also, lswan I think I love you. I was about to comment on the sheer number of neuroses and even psychoses this article managed to attract.

tulpoeid
2011-01-03 20:58:50 ReplyFlag
This really caused a stir! I live in a small apt with a 3 yr old. I tidy, sweep, try to put things away every day. Clean after each meal, run the dishwasher nearly every day as all our meals are cooked at home.
If I relax for a second, it looks like a bomb went off. This list is a great idea but I need extra time. 40 min a day is more realistic. I do several loads of laundry a week. sheets once a week, clothing nearly daily (HE machine). I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed by keeping up and when it’s not clean, it bums me out very much!
And my landing zone is out of control. What’s the secret? Mine seems really cluttered but it’s functional. I think we may have too much stuff.
Just downsized so maybe it’s just an adjustment. I try to weed things but I feel guilty wasting things which are still useful or cost a lot. good luck everyone!

alexisinla
2011-01-04 04:36:45 ReplyFlag
This really caused a stir! I live in a small apt with a 3 yr old. I tidy, sweep, try to put things away every day. Clean after each meal, run the dishwasher nearly every day as all our meals are cooked at home.
If I relax for a second, it looks like a bomb went off. This list is a great idea but I need extra time. 40 min a day is more realistic. I do several loads of laundry a week. sheets once a week, clothing nearly daily (HE machine). I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed by keeping up and when it’s not clean, it bums me out very much!
And my landing zone is out of control. What’s the secret? Mine seems really cluttered but it’s functional. I think we may have too much stuff.
Just downsized so maybe it’s just an adjustment. I try to weed things but I feel guilty wasting things which are still useful or cost a lot. good luck everyone!

alexisinla
2011-01-04 04:41:59 ReplyFlag
I had a scooba in my last place and it was awesome. I got a roomba but it’s not doing an adequate job here. The layout is too tight and the place is on the street so it’s just filthy. But I would recommend the scooba as a savior.

alexisinla
2011-01-04 04:44:34 ReplyFlag
I am pretty sure that if you don’t do laundry everyday then that’s okay. Secondly, I am pretty sure that none of us are perfect and thus need no grammar police at anytime on this Internet thing.
Thirdly, to the author: Cleaning is a daily nightmare for me, and one that I usually avoid because it makes me surly. In fact, if he sees me cleaning, my partner generally assumes that I must be angry about something (because cleaning is a great way to avoid confrontation) and I have horrible reactions to being asked to clean. So this list comes as a relief to someone who see the whole big picture and has trouble breaking it down into small tasks that are also part of a consistent routine! So thank you for that.

ficklelittleme
2011-01-04 22:01:59 ReplyFlag
Really love this idea. I absolutely hate doing a one day cleaning because I am far too busy to waste an entire day. Though I do love to clean and keep things tidy, I still hate wasting the day. If you must clean up in one day, here is a great way to not waste time, especially when you’re cleaning up after kids! http://inspiringpretty.blogspot.com/2010/09/clean-around-rosy.html

PrettyLins
2011-01-22 00:48:14 ReplyFlag
Late to the party – a friend sent me this list a little while ago. I’ve been using it for about a week and it’s working great for me. I find the frequency of bathroom cleaning a bit high – my bathroom doesn’t seem to get dirty that quickly – but you can easily switch items around if there’s something more urgent to be done.

However, I live in a really small house (quarter lot in a big city, only one floor and basement, one bedroom, one bathroom). Surface cleaning a room doesn’t take longer than 10 minutes or so, because there’s not that much surface to clean. I can imagine if you lived in a big place this wouldn’t work for you, or each task would take a lot longer.

Gwydion, if your husband is taking 3 showers a day and creating all that laundry (and doesn’t work in, say, a slaughterhouse or a coal mine), he should wash his own damn clothes and towels. You’re not a housework machine! He should show more respect for you and your time.

KristinMH
2011-03-06 17:10:31 ReplyFlag
It’s fascinating, and not in a pleasant way, how so many people looking for help immediately dismiss an article because it is not tailor fit to their home, or schedule, or specific life circumstances.
The list is a guide. The time frame is a guide.
If you need to spend 30 or 45 minutes a day, or abbreviate some of the “daily” tasks, you still benefit by not having to spend an entire day of your free time doing housework.
Goodness gracious! Tweak the laundry schedule if you must. If you are single, yes, washing 1 outfit everyday is a waste of energy for you and the planet. Maybe, if you have an in home washer/dryer, you drop your dirties in the washer everyday until it’s full. Then turn it on.
They point is, not everyone is capable of managing their own time to it’s fullest potential. Someone has offered you help.
Until you hire a maid, as some have suggested, you have to put some of your own effort into it.
This list is a great jumping off point.

jables79
2011-05-17 17:00:45 ReplyFlag
I LOVE this list. it’s not a set-in-stone thing, but it’s a great jumping off point…i put it into a calendar and added things as i needed to, took off things (i don’t have a linen closet, for example), moved a few days around, and now i have a very workable day-by-day plan to keep my apartment in check in less than an hour a day, THANKS!

Faye Elizibeth
2011-06-08 18:11:26 ReplyFlag
I know this is kind of an older post, and I haven’t read through all the posts…but the way we do laundry in our 700 sqft home is everything in one basket…then before taking to do laundry I pull items into smaller mesh bags that will be dumped straight into the different loads. I can’t get my two boys to actually sort when putting away and honestly we don’t have the room for two sets of sorting baskets, and it only takes a couple minutes extra. And I also treat stains as I pull them out…hope this helps!
Love the post by the way!

CassieAnne
2011-07-09 14:37:34 ReplyFlag
Love this list!!! My house has never been cleaner. It must be a little smaller than yours as it takes me 30-40 minutes a day. But I love the idea non the less. Absolutely hate spending an entire day cleaning…it puts me in a horrible mood. So my family thanks you as well!! Coming from someone who works out of the home, it is so hard to be home all day and the house be out of sorts and no time to clean it because I have work to do. This makes it so much easier, I just squeeze in my cleaning when I get a chance :)

miscake
2011-11-10 16:18:49 ReplyFlag
People….must we be so critical and correct what seems to be a typo???? I was reading into the suggestions, which are great, and not paying attention to the tiny misprint until it was pointed out! So there was a mistake……so what???? Is there a single person out there who is perfect??? There are some of us who truly take the time out of our busy schedule to reach out to others with the sole intention of helping enrich others’ lives!!! There is a certain degree of satisfaction in helping others. Those of us who want or need the help, welcome it and are grateful. Those who do not feel a need for change find things to criticize.

I personally think this list is great and I thank the person who took the time to actually put it in writing and decided to share with us what has worked for her. I take the advice not the grammar and I will be applying these tips to my daily life. Thank you very much for sharing!!!

tweetyful
2011-11-29 02:35:39 ReplyFlag
I use beach totes and buckets, the cheap plastic variety of both. I found a micro-fiber hand sock in the auto section of the local market. I thought it would make an ideal dusting tool and I was correct. I bought two so I always have one even when the other is in the washer. In my general bucket I carry the duster, a packet of wipes for glass and another for polishing wood, and finally a pair of cheap rubber gloves because I like to save my manicure. That and a floor duster go with me every day. What I see is dirty gets a quick once over. I also have my laundry divided into the colors: Black Monday, Blue Tuesday, Jeans Wednesday, Red Friday. I don’t clean on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays. But here is the most helpful hint of all:

Straighten table and bed covers, fluff pillows, shine the glass,mirrors and faucets, put little vases of flowers in nooks everywhere or small plants, dustmop the floor every day and folks will think you are a fanatic about house keeping. The most odious job I have is watering the plants. On Saturday I fill the bathtub with about 2″ of water and then set the plants in there to soak while I go do my Saturday errands.

Sauveteur
2011-12-07 18:34:02 ReplyFlag
these crazy comments seem to happen on this SAME POST that AT has put up every few months. literally, the same information.

wanna give us something new to complain about?

aprildeann
2011-12-07 19:10:06 ReplyFlag
I like the idea of doing something each day. I just tackled my closet, bookshelves in the library area of our house in the past 2 days. Each task took me about an hour. I have been putting off both of these tasks now for months! Once I turn on some music and dived in.. it was a snap and I was reminded (as per usual) that if I just show up.. the task is less daunting than I always think it’s gonna be.. so I’m now onto both my desk (drawers and filing cabinet) and also my “in box”.. yes I have tens of thousands of emails to rid myself of!! I’ve decided that each day I will tackle something until I’ve gone through each room. I’m moving in the next 6 months and I want to make sure this is done before hand so I can de clutter & have a couple garage sales and make all the donations before I move! Will certainly help when I’m in a crunch and I will not have to do as much when I’m packing which will equal less stress all around!

prettyinperiwinkle
2011-12-07 19:17:52 ReplyFlag
The “whistle while you work” thing really does help – I like to put on call-in shows while I clean the bathrooms so I can laugh out loud at the nutso people calling in, or silly pop music so I can sing along to cheesy catchy songs. It really does help. Since I don’t know how to whistle. :)

chimera
2011-12-07 19:37:19 ReplyFlag
I think this reference guide is pretty much only useful to those who are already super tidy, organized and living with significantly reduced clutter. Because honestly, under those circumstances the list doesn’t seem that big of a deal.

good time teeth
2011-12-07 19:38:44 ReplyFlag
I think surface cleaning the kitchen is something many people need to do everyday, so its a little unrealistic to list that every few days. If you’re making dinner almost every night, you’re likely cleaning the kitchen every night.

heathercan9
2011-12-07 19:39:22 ReplyFlag
For the people who say they can’t clean a bathroom in 20 minutes, how are you cleaning your bathroom that it takes that long?

Xtina
2011-12-07 19:46:28 ReplyFlag
there is a wicked iPhone app called “HomeRoutine” that lets you program in this list (or your own version), including daily, weekly, monthly tasks. It will send you reminders if you turn notifications on, and it has a timer built in that you can adjust the duration of. It is GREAT. (no, I don’t work for the developer… lol)

My mantra when it comes to chores is… “You can do anything for 20 minutes!”… as in – I know this seems really overwhelming, and the last thing you want to do is get your butt off the couch and go do it… but it’s just for 20 minutes, and then you can come back and be a vegetable again for as long as you want! I ALWAYS set my timer when I’m going to do any kind of chore or dreaded task, and then I play a game with myself to “beat the clock”… it is AMAZING what you can get done in that amount of time if you are actually focused and not wasting any energy. Even on things I’ve been putting off for weeks, I will find that I finish and am looking for more things to clean for the last few minutes of the time. Even better, usually I am so impressed with myself for getting that thing done so quickly, that I set the timer again right away and tackle something else – it is amazing how motivating small victories can be!!

Great list… Thanks!!

mrs_mouse
2011-12-07 19:52:03 ReplyFlag
I once lived with someone who couldn’t seem to keep up with daily chores beyond walking the dog. I spent a lot of time working out of town and would come home to a massive mess. He watched TV nightly and I encouraged him to stop flipping between shows during commercials and do a little 3 minutes-at-a-time cleaning. It worked!

pondrocket
2011-12-07 19:53:41 ReplyFlag
Oh, and for people with kids… why not get their “help” while you are cleaning? What kid doesn’t love to “dust” with a real feather-duster?? Or “wipe” the front of the kitchen cabinets for you with a dry cloth? I have a friend whose toddler gets upset if she doesn’t let him “vacuum” when she is cleaning. It’s only 20 minutes of keeping your kid entertained by your side, and it will set them up with GREAT habits for the rest of their lives.

mrs_mouse
2011-12-07 19:54:39 ReplyFlag
Oh, it’s a repost. No wonder there were already so many comments!

Yeah, I don’t think many of these are 20min tasks… maybe an hour for ppl with actual houses. Perhaps the upkeep would be only 20min once you get the first cycle done with? But as the Cure shows, lots of ppl benefit from having things laid out this way. (Though this seems a bit more demanding than “buy flowers” every 5 or so days. XD)

lepidoptery
2011-12-07 20:00:26 ReplyFlag
I enjoyed the spirit of the post, and will be adapting the list to my own situation. With a toddler and another child on the way, I can’t stand 20 minutes of intense cleaning, but I’ll try to devise a schedule that won’t be exhausting. Tomorrow, I’ll take care of the bathrooms (the -s will make the chore longer than 20 minutes).

I don’t care that these posts are reruns; they are good ones and I enjoy them. It’s like a tiny bite of the Cure I love so much, and it’s what makes AT special to me.

Loora
2011-12-07 20:20:00 ReplyFlag
I have this great system– I have this wonderful person who comes once a month and cleans everything. I pay her $100, and it is well worth it. BTW– I do my own laundry, when it’s needed.

jackiesand
2011-12-07 20:39:57 ReplyFlag
My favorite part of this post is that the guy in the photo looks so completely frazzled (as a result of the fuzziness of the photo, not his own physical attributes, which I do not mean to insult in any way, as I’m sure he is lovely) that it totally undercuts the idea that this list will make cleaning easy and un-frazzling.

Compared to most of the commenters above, I’m a total slob and my apartment is filthy. That’s okay with me. But I do subscribe to the 20 minute rule. I use it for a lot of things in life, not just cleaning. It’s kind of magic.

eliz
2011-12-07 20:46:57 ReplyFlag
James Manli – Haters gonna hate… my list works great.

sarahrae
2011-12-07 21:00:09 ReplyFlag
Yeah, I’ve got a 1600 square foot house. It takes me much more than 20 minutes to clean all the floors in this house, even just with a quick vacuum.

macbride
2011-12-07 21:23:52 ReplyFlag
I dare anyone who has cats (or kids or dogs or…) who like to “help” to get any of these done in the actual 20minutes. I think it takes me 10 minutes alone to pick up the cat toys when I want to vacuum! As for any surface cleaning, as soon as I pick up anything I guarantee there will be a bright little face trying to see what I’m doing, if the toy (real or imagined) will be thrown, and if it’s not thrown can we play twenty-claws-keepaway? I do work with the “little bit at a time” method, but I don’t think I’ve ever managed to focus the way lists like these suggest.

DreamHunter
2011-12-07 21:56:13 ReplyFlag
I appreciate the list. Another comment mentioned FlyLady, which is something I’ve been trying to get myself into lately. One thing she keeps saying is that it takes a long time for your house to get the way it is, so don’t expect it to get clean immediately either.

Maybe the list won’t work for everyone, but I like the concept – do a little bit at a time and things will improve. Maybe I’m just a disgusting person, but I don’t really clean that often (I say I will, but it won’t get done), so even a little each day would help. Even if I can’t complete a task (like vacuuming the entire house) in 15-20 minutes, the rooms I do vacuum will be that much better for it. If I do then get around to cleaning on the weekend, it will take me less time. If I put off cleaning on the weekend once again… at least some of the floors are now clean.

everythingistaken
2011-12-07 22:13:49 ReplyFlag
Thanks for this core list, which we can each adjust to our own needs. Personally, I do like to keep the kitchen clean (and ant-free), cleaning counters (those anti-bacterial wipes make it easy) and washing dishes as used. I like Michelou and her husband’s plan to set a timer for a 10 minute limit and get done what you can. Also, thanks to Mrs. Mouse for letting us know about the iPhone app that does all this planning and lets you personalize it.

22
2011-12-07 22:44:58 ReplyFlag
thank u this is life changing

vanyllabeenz
2011-12-08 00:12:28 ReplyFlag
Thanks! I’m printing this out right away. As for the “debate” as to whether or not to do laundry every day, why is there just one answer? In our family of four, owners of a small washing machine, we HAVE to do laundry every day or the mountain of dirty clothes quickly gets beyond manageable. But if there were fewer of us, with a larger washing machine, we could go days without. Chill.

Zsuzsi
2011-12-08 00:22:14 ReplyFlag
I have a bigger house, two kids and a dog and use this method. I need 45 min to an hour a day, but am starting to get the kids more involved. I listen to books on my iPhone while I clean and the time flies! I even look forward to it so I can hear a few more chapters.

Artmom87
2011-12-08 00:57:03 ReplyFlag
Artmom, I might have to try the iPhone books trick. Anything that makes it less unpleasant. I hate cleaning.

sally305
2011-12-08 01:52:57 ReplyFlag
Get real, people. Some of the stuff the list wants you to do three times a month I do three times a year. If that. Clean and sort your pantry/refrigerator every month?
How about every decade? And yet I have not died of ptomaine poisoning yet…….

ccrat
2011-12-08 07:15:45 ReplyFlag
this is far too much work

rangda
2011-12-08 09:43:37 ReplyFlag
Anyone who uses a pantry regularly knows it needs a tidy at least every week… We have a pull out pantry and an entire 4 foot shelf above the sink dedicated just to spices and things like rice, dried beans, lentils, cous cous… if you cook, these things get unorganized pretty quickly.

This list is great. I do laundry 4 times a week with 2 people living in an apartment. Usually clothes midweek and Sundays, bedding Saturdays and then towels and/or bath rugs when I feel they need a wash. We have a small combo washer/dryer so as soon as the wash cycle is done the dryer turns on automatically. It’s the greatest thing ever. I often stick things in before bed or before work, and they’re dried and ready to fold when I wake up or when I get home.

I’m only just getting into the whole “clean every day” thing. Dinner dishes are the hardest for me. After cooking I just don’t feel like washing up, and we don’t have a dishwasher. It gets easier the more I make a habit of it though.

ShangriLyla
2011-12-08 10:15:28 ReplyFlag
I love set my timer everyday before I go to bed to rush around in my pad and clean. It helps me to keep my pad in shape but without 2 hours a week totally spend on cleaning I would be lost. I ususally do this on friday when I am off from work. I collect my dark warm wash laundry (that is most if the laundry of the two of us) allready inside the laundromat to start it at once when here is enough.

nicolezh
2011-12-08 10:20:42 ReplyFlag
Laundry everyday – for a one person household to often, for a family with lots of kids or the grandparents living with the family under one roof, makes sense. We are 4 (husband, 2 Kids (4 and 6) and me) and with towels, bed sheets etc. there is enough laundry to have one load every monday till friday and have the weekends off for fun or bigger projects.

I had to laught at the “clean all the windows” task for one day – 20 minutes, thats a joke or not? We have, let´s count, 16 windows in our house, no way that I can clean them in 20minutes or less from inside and outside.

But it makes a lot of sense to me to think about the tasks you have in and around your house that should be done daily, weekly, monthly, every three month, once in a year etc. and to make a To-Do-List and try, if it works.

My mom tells me since years, on saturdays, that she is so tired, she washed 5 loads of laundry and hat to vacuum her rooms (shes living in a 2 bedroom plus living room apartment) and she had to clean the kitchen and tidy up all the things that were lying on tables and other surfaces. And everytime I told her, that it would be much easier for her, if she would just wash one load of laundry after work or maybe before work and vaccum on 2 or 3 days during the week. But maybe she will never change that. :) Not my freetime. I want to have time for my family at the weekends and not to stay in my house and everywhere ist clutter and dirt.

PS: One of the reasons, that we have so much laundry is, that our laundromat is not so big (think it can take 4 or 5kg, bigger ones here in Germany, take up to 7kg) and my kids play outside everyday, in Kindergarten they go to the forest once or twice a week and they are coming home dirty with mud, dark sand, and gras stains and if it´s not that, they can sometimes have toilette accindents and so on.

MommyOf2123
2011-12-08 15:08:02 ReplyFlag
Thanks a lot for the list. I think it gives a good idea for all the things you could and some you shood do more often. :)

No need for haters to blame on Sarah Rae Trover.

Everyone can ajust such lists to his/her own needs.

A small appartment and people with not so much stuff / clutter (? .. :)) can finish these tasks in 5 or 10minutes, others will need a few ours for some of those. I think that depends on lots of thinks like – how many persons life in the household, how big / how many rooms are there, how much stuff is in the closets and so on.

I would never ever clean the walls of my bathroom so often. I´ve seen on a Martha Stuart List the task cleaning the ceiling of the kitchen. ??? My firth thougt was – why sould I do this? :)

For her it works, she just wants to share to help others. :) Use of her list, what you can use and don´t be a hater. :)

MommyOf2123
2011-12-08 15:18:05 ReplyFlag
How can a person shower 3X a day, change clothes 3X a day, never reuse a towel, and expect someone else to do their laundry???!

bejeweled
2011-12-08 16:33:47 ReplyFlag
Sauveteur, try putting ice in your plants to water them. They love it! It melts slowly and doesn’t make a mess.

bejeweled
2011-12-08 16:40:04 ReplyFlag
This list is great! I take out the kitchen trash DAILY and swipe the toilets DAILY. What a difference this makes. I feel good about the state of my home, even if it’s not spotless.

bejeweled
2011-12-08 16:52:32 ReplyFlag
I wouldn’t last 30 days. Here’s my schedule.

1) Set Roomba to vacuum at 11 am everyday

2) On Monday, clean kitchen and bath.

3) Take out the trash when the bag is full.

4) To keep stuff in check, I keep a silver salver on the table next to my chair. Stuff goes on the salver only.

5) Landing strip for mail-When it gets cluttered, separate junk mail from the good stuff, which goes into the IRS box. (I have a photograph box where I save everything until tax time.)

6) With a Roomba, the dust is cut way down. But if I see dust, I swiffer.

7) I keep separate laundry bins, one for clothes, one for sheets, one for bath towels, one for kitchen towels, etc. When a bin is full, I wash. I have 3 dozen sets of kitchen towels, so I only have to wash kitchen towels every month or so. I have four sets of sheets, so I wash sheets once a month or so. Everything has it’s own cycle, so I have about a load a week.

If I had to clean daily, I would be looking for someone to kill. Not my idea of fun.

Village
2011-12-08 17:33:23 ReplyFlag
Try cloth diapering, and you will have loads of laundry to do each day (between my clothes, kid’s clothes, husbands clothes, and diapers).

But we have 5 bathrooms – so 4 minutes a bathroom LOL! This is why we are hiring a cleaning person. We just can’t keep up.

jng2b
2011-12-08 18:31:46 ReplyFlag
Great list – but I have 2 German Shepherd *cough* *Shedder* Dogs and must, MUST vacuum and brush them everyday or I’d be drowning in dog hair.

lawgirl
2011-12-08 21:06:44 ReplyFlag
Yayyyyyyyy! Thanks. simple and breaks the monster down into tiny bits I can attack daily.

urban opulence
2011-12-08 22:26:55 ReplyFlag
jeannenyc, it’s one job/day!

nato
2011-12-08 23:29:41 ReplyFlag
I learn a lot from these posts. Coming from a non-domestic mother, you would be amazed what I don’t know. (Seriously – I thought ‘dusting’ meant polishing the chairs once every five years, until I was 23.)

I married a French guy who was trained within an inch of his life by his mom and ex-wife. I learned everything I know from him cleaning-wise, but the lessons continue. Nowadays with kids, we do laundry once a week – wash/dry the first day, fold/put away the next. Otherwise there is always a pile waiting to be folded, every day.

So, yeah, these posts are always illuminating – “So THAT is how people do it!”. Hiring someone to come clean when we had a newborn was what gave me my best habit: keeping things wiped off. We had to keep it clear so the cleaner could come deep-scrub the bathroom and kitchen, and that was the biggest lightbulb ever. Things are not scoured around our house, but they are clear and wiped down.

More than once every five years. Ahem!

p_capucine
2011-12-09 01:07:57 ReplyFlag
The person cleaning the apartment looks like a young Bob Dylan. . . .

MCMFan
2011-12-09 02:59:52 ReplyFlag
I’m still working out how windows can be cleaned in 20 minutes.
I get maybe two done in that time.
Virgos. Obsessive, nit picking Virgos!
(that would be me)

I like the keep up with it and have Sunday to do anything else idea.

I do laundry about every two days, but that is hand washing and rack drying except for sheets, towels and jeans, all but one load a week.
My partner does his laundry as needed. That seems to average five loads a month.

truepeacenik
2011-12-10 05:06:33 ReplyFlag
What a wonderful list however, in Australia our newspapers no longer have any lead and use a plastic coating which if used to clean windows leaves smears. I’m not sure if this is the case in America? I use an enjo window cleaner and it does our windows in 20 minutes.

Kylie65
2011-12-10 05:29:45 ReplyFlag
OK, I have a great tip for you guys, every one that I know use Arm&Hammer baking soda to refresh their fridge, after the time indicated on the pack you are advised to toss it out, well just use it then as a cleaning agent, it is known for over a century that Sodium Bicarbonate is a n excellent cleaning agent, 2 table spoons mixed in a gallon of water warm or cold does the trick (degreasing capabilities) you do not have to buy these synthetic cleaning agents, this one does the trick and gives you double the value for your money, try it.

charpini
2011-12-11 04:17:59 ReplyFlag
I’m too fierce a defender of my limited free-time to squander it chasing after dust bunnies and disinfecting shower tiles. Loosen up and LIVE a little, people – see a movie, read a book, walk your dog, go to the gym!

mimarie
2011-12-11 05:58:12 ReplyFlag
Great list! Unfortunately, I suffer from OCD. (I don’t just mean I’m a clean freak. I mean I have been diagnosed with actual OCD). It would be impossible for me to get things clean enough in only 20 minutes. But it might be a healthy thing for me to try. A really good exercise in attempting a task, without taking so long just in an attempt to make it perfect. I couldn’t get it perfect in 20 minutes… but maybe that’s a good thing? Hmmm… I might have to run this by my OCD therapist and with her help, try this out! Thanks! :)

mom2themonk
2011-12-12 04:58:55 ReplyFlag
People, please, have some imagination! Some commenters say they tried this and that method, but it isn’t a perfect fit for them. Instead of saying you have not found a fitting routine and shaking your heads with sadness and despair, why not adapt a method to your needs or, better yet, create your own?

I got into the FlyLady routines, but realized quickly that it was too kid-centered and car-centered, and I have neither kids nor car. Nevertheless, I stuck with her routines but modified them as needed. She has one thing she needs to do every day that is something that becomes dirty or cluttered very fast and gets in the way of her cleaning once it gets messed up. She says to shine the kitchen sink every day, but mine never actually gets dirty, so I decided I will make my dining room table the daily habit instead, as it does get messy every day. It works, too. See? Just adapt!

My daily routine includes emptying and filling the dishwasher, a load of laundry, watering the plants (some of mine need watering every second day while others only once a month), a bathroom swish-and-swipe which is a quick surface cleaning of the sink and bowl, sets of push-ups and sit-ups, taking out the garbage and the recycling and putting everything back where it belongs in the living room.

I agree that most people don’t need to do a load of laundry every day. But it is on my routine either way. On days when I don’t manage to gather a full load of whites or darks, I just skip it until the next day. Same with watering the plants. As for washing dishes, I have a dishwasher which I could not live without, and there is no particular time I start it: whenever it is full, on it goes!

I otherwise have days of the week assigned to each room of the house and that usually takes half an hour, and then I have a designated zone for each week, and I can do those tasks whenever I want to as long as they are done by Monday, when I switch to the next zone. It repeats every six weeks, so I clean cobwebs every six weeks, I wash inside windows every six weeks, I declutter drawers every six weeks, etc.

The thing I like with precise routines like mine is that if you come across an item on the list that doesn’t really need to be done at this point because that would be overkill, I just skip them until the next time they come up. This is how I don’t dust my living room every week even though it is in my weekly routine, and I don’t mop the bedroom floor each week even though it says to on my routine.

I think the important thing with routines is not to actually do everything it says to do, but to just have a tool to remind you to check whether something actually needs to be done and to remind you to set aside some time to do the things that need doing.

Viktoria
2011-12-20 22:56:01 ReplyFlag
Oh, I wanted to add that I, too, think that, on the one hand, you should absolutely get some cleaning done every day instead of doing one big, maddening cleaning day per week, on the other hand, there should be at least one day of the week where all you do is your daily chores and nothing else. I have one day per week for cleaning my body instead of cleaning the house, and that is when I get done body-related jobs like hair removal, eyebrows, nails, etc. it feels like a day at the spa, really, so it doesn’t count towards keeping the house clean. I do this on purpose, though, not only to get that done as a bunch of chores but to get away from cleaning and escape for a few hours. It makes me feel good about myself, and this puts me in a state of mind that encourages me to get the not so glamorous chores done.

Other than this spa day, I have an extra day per week when I have no chores other than my daily routine.

All in all, I probably spend about an hour per day cleaning. I think this is reasonable, and an hour at a time is much more manageable and stress-free than sitting on my bum all week only to be stuck doing a whole day of cleaning on Saturday.

I also use HomeRoutines, mentioned earlier by another commenter. It is complete, easy to use and best of all lets you customize your routines to your specific needs. Combined with a timer, it really keeps you on track. It is the single most used app on my iPad.

Viktoria
2011-12-20 23:26:48 ReplyFlag
Oh, and one thing sorely missing on that list is decluttering. The more clutter you have in a house, the harder it is to get to what you are trying to clean, and the more things you have to clean, too. This is an item on my daily routine. Fifteen minutes per day really does make a big difference. I decluttered my kitchen counter this week-end, it took me half an hour, but thanks to this, I have much more room on my counters which makes washing them much quicker, and less things to wash on it, which will again save me time in the long run. With that half hour of work this week-end, I may just have saved dozens of hours of cleaning over the course of the coming year. And that is just the kitchen counter! Now, if you also do your pantry (I don’t mean throwing away bad food but reorganizing it for efficiency), your kitchen and laundry drawers, the furniture in your living room, your basement and all your closets as well as all visible surfaces, I guarantee you will save at least an hour per week of cleaning from now on. It is a much better investment of your time than any other item on that list!

Viktoria
2011-12-20 23:36:06 ReplyFlag
Maybe it’s just me, but there is no way I can do most of these tasks in 20 minutes. Pick up four bedrooms in 20 minutes? Clean three bathrooms, including toilets, in 20 minutes?? It takes 20 minutes just to mop the kitchen floor…

kk60
2011-12-30 18:30:16 ReplyFlag
I like these lists as a guideline for me to extrapolate upon. I have a suggestion for the people with kids. If your kids can walk and talk, they can help out. I think it’s a good idea to get them used to responsibility of cleaning/helping out early on. If more people did this, we wouldn’t end up with so many partners/spouses who have absolutely NO CLUE how to clean or tidy up.

BTW, It takes me about 1 minute to mop my kitchen floor. I have one of those swiffer things, and I refill it with diluted Dr. Bronners soap and use microfiber cloth that I can throw in the washing machine when they’re too dirty.

darcitananda
2012-01-03 05:17:59 ReplyFlag
@ all of the morons complaining about the “daily laundry” task…

I am SURE the intent s 100% along the lines of “don’t put off landry until there are no clean clothes.” God gave us each a brain when we were born. Please use it.

Smrterthanu
2012-01-03 05:59:08 ReplyFlag
Brilliant list for people who live in an apartment. It would have worked for me when I was in a 400 sq ft one-bedroom apartment in Paris 20 years ago. Alas, I am now in a much bigger house, with 2 dogs and a cat, 1/4 mile from the ocean, in an untarred (sand) street, so you can imagine the sticky salty thick sand dust that finds its way into my house every single day. On top of everything else, I have louvres, meaning that each window has a minimum of 18 glass blades.

So… Your 20 minutes a day would be rather 90 minutes in my case… I still love your post, but unfortunately, it won’t work for me (I need at least a part-time cleaner, and it’s part of my 2012 decisions to get one).

manuoccansey
2012-01-04 07:01:06 ReplyFlag
For those who can’t clean their windows in 20 minutes, I bought a very nice squeegee from a cleaning supply store to clean my windows and it works beautifully. We have eight large (4.5 x 8 foot) windows, two sets of French doors, and some small kitchen and bathroom windows. I can clean the inside of all of them in less than 20 minutes.

I also do a load of laundry, run my dish washer, and empty my kitchen garbage each day – I wish I could these things less often, but there is no way – everything would be out of control. Even with this, my house is not spotless – it’s just picked up.

This is a great post – cleaning a little each day works for me and it keeps me from being overwhelmed on the weekends.

Loveacleanhouse
2012-01-08 20:22:51 ReplyFlag
We recently decided to cut every-other-week professional house cleaning out of our budget. After years of not cleaning my own house, I was worried about how I was going to get it all done with two little kids and working full time. I didn’t want to spend my whole weekend cleaning, and I didn’t want to fight with my husband over who was going to do it.

After a little over a week of doing this plan religiously, my house is waaaay cleaner than it ever was when I was paying someone to clean it, and I’m not at all stressed about cleaning. I do my 20 minutes after the kids are in bed, and I still have time to relax before I go to bed myself. The division of labor is not exactly equal, but I actually enjoy my part, since it’s not so burdensome as an all-day clean-fest.

I laminated the list and put it up in my kitchen. I check off the list as I go with a dry erase marker. Thanks for this plan… It’s revolutionary in our house!

Leroi_de_larue
2012-01-14 15:17:16 ReplyFlag
I didn’t read all the posts, but here are a couple of my ideas:
First, if you live in a little apartment or house, look at the Haier 1 cu.ft washer (they also make a larger one). I have a regular size washer now, but intend on getting this when the current one dies. The Haier is very compact and uses minimal water/elec. And you can store it in a closet.
Second, for washing windows, I use good microfiber cloths or even the Shamwow type cloth with just plain water (wrung out really well). Takes everything off – no need for special cleaners. If windows are greasy (kitchen) I use a little cornstarch or baking soda, then wipe clean with the cloths. Works great for me and saves money and storage of yet another cleaner.

MaddyWho
2012-01-18 18:32:26 ReplyFlag
I think this is a great article. I don’t know the author, but I assume because it is an article posted on APARTMENTtherapy.com, that they live in an APARTMENT. I also assume because it never mentions animals, that they don’t have any animals.

Obviously, this is not going to work for everyone. Does it take me more time to clean up my house now than the apartment I lived in a year ago? Absolutely. So you’re probably going to have to adjust the time based on the size of your home, the people (or animals) you live with, and how messy everyone tends to be. Because everyone is different, some of these ideas are not going to be feasible.

I applaud the author, I think it is a great article and a great idea. I read these kinds of articles with a “take what you like, leave the rest” mentality. If something doesn’t apply to you, ignore it.

I apologize for wasting the time of people that realize this is a “duh” comment. I also apologize to the people who can’t understand what I wrote because I put a period or comma in the wrong spot.

chrislac
2012-01-19 13:42:11 ReplyFlag
The laundry one is great, but tough for Americans to get a handle on! In my experience they are used to those huge tank style top loading washers that do only one kind of load. Enormous. TV ads constantly tout the benefits of washers that will do 17 bath towels or 23 pairs of jeans! Who has that much stuff? And more important who waits until every washable item in their homes needs washing? I have now trained my room mates to use the little front loader I bought and they are amazed to find out that they can put in a pair of shorts and a shirt and it figures out the weight and amount of water required and uses only that. Funny thing is tho’ you can put a queen size comforter in it and that comes out perfect also. Come on people, get with the program! A Brit in Florida :D

kerensa.b
2012-01-19 17:50:00 ReplyFlag
I never would have thought a schedule of how you keep your home clean would inspire so many people to take time out of their day to tell you why it won’t work. I mean, I assume it works in your house, or you would change it. I guess I also assume that you and I have not have identical home situations and that I might have to adjust what works for you to something that works for me. I just wanted to say thanks for trying to help other people find a way to not get bogged down with their housekeeping. While I cannot personally accomplish each of your tasks in 20 minutes, I get a sense that if I put 20 minutes in each of those areas, in the course of a month or two, I’ll get technique down and it will be an improvement over what I currently do.

ILoveAnOtter
2012-01-19 19:45:13 ReplyFlag
Thankyou so much for this! I used this and the kitchen cleaning plan found at http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-keep-your-kitchen-clean-in-20-minutes-a-day-for-30-days-164563 to create my own 30 day cleaning plan for home and kitchen. I added a few things needed for a townhouse including cleaning our rabbit cage, tidying the lawn and tidying the garage. Personally I don’t think you had vacuuming down on the list often enough, I do the main living areas daily and the whole house weekly. I don’t think laundry every day is excessive if you have children, for our family of 3 I do laundry every 1-2 days. Thanks again!

kachoww
2012-01-19 21:03:36 ReplyFlag
I should also add, as I don’t live in an apartment this plan will take much more than 20 minutes a day, but I’m just grateful for such a good plan to follow!

kachoww
2012-01-19 21:05:54 ReplyFlag
I really love this idea! Especially the bit about timing yourself, as I just started to do something kind of similar to tackle the ginormous mess I have and establish a better organizational system.

I downloaded a time tracking app and set it to beep after about an hour of browsing/working/playing games/etc, which signals me to stop and tidy up for ten minutes. I then reset the timer, carry on what I was doing, and wait for the next beep. By the end of the day, I’ve cleaned for an hour’s worth of time without feeling like it!

When I’m done figuring out this current mess, I’ll probably adopt this monthly system to maintain my hard work :)

tavi
2012-01-20 00:09:49 ReplyFlag
This is such a great list! I’ve made an iCal calendar called ‘Cleaning’ and everything repeats every 30 days. I’ve uploaded it to Dropbox if anyone else would like it too. It’s great to see in my daily calendar for a reminder. http://db.tt/UpJA6SOi

Becki Thompson
2012-01-23 16:47:37 ReplyFlag
I grew up out in the country in Montana and I learned more outdoor, physical chores first. Chopping wood, shoveling snow, taking care of the animals, keeping a wood stove going yatta yatta yatta. Let’s just call them not very girly chores for a girl. Our family didn’t really have the time to make cleaning a priority between maintaining a home business, all our kids’ sports, keeping up with all the outdoor chores and few indoor ones then finally finding family time to be together.

To make a long story short, the transition from country girl to house wife (and workin girl) in the suburbs has been a long road. People only know I’m from the Midwest anymore when I bust out the word “supper” or my slight hint of a combo of Canadian/Minnesotan accent comes out. But you don’t know how difficult it has been trying to organize and maintain my own home in a normal 4 season’s state. This list has honestly given me a specific regimen to follow that has made my life so much easier. Nothing else has been specific enough or has been too intimidating. What used to be “well lets hang out and I’ll get to that tomorrow” is now “just give me 20 minutes and we can head out!”. I have a husband, a dog and a three bedroom house I take care of and your list works perfectly for me. If you look at all these comments and wonder if it helped anyone, you can sure as hell bet that it helped me! Thank you dearly. I will be passing this along to all my gals back home, I’m sure they will love it as much as I have.

Meggera
2012-02-08 19:17:19 ReplyFlag
I love this. And if you have able-bodied kids over 10 and a hubby, they should definitely help as well. My theory is you’re not the only one that lives there, why should YOU do all the work. It won’t kill em. Have Hubby tackle item #1, you tackle item #2, kid one tackles item #3, kid two takes item #4…etc. ;)

socalgal619
2012-02-24 16:51:16 ReplyFlag
Just wanted to update after month one of attempting this and the kitchen version. I slacked off at the end of the month, but wow! The apartment is far cleaner on a daily basis, unlike when I tried to do everything together. 20 minute chunks in combination with having the small tasks broken down is very helpful. My approach has been to either complete the task or spend 20 minutes, whichever comes first. That means I don’t always finish every task, but over a month it adds up. Plus I found myself getting to things that I always neglect, so those will not require such an effort the second time around. Additionally I like that since the tasks are nice small units I can easily knock out several on a day when I have time if I get behind. I will be working on customizing this for our family over the coming months.

fhmom
2012-03-01 14:59:52 ReplyFlag
The last time I had my house cleaned by ‘MOVING MAN AND VAN’, my house looked unbelievable. you can also get their services at http://www.movingmanwithvan.co.uk Thank you!

Arian
2012-03-08 15:31:38 ReplyFlag
I really wanted to write down a brief comment so as to express gratitude to you for these wonderful instructions you are sharing at this website. I feel extremely blessed to have encountered your entire website and look forward to many more fabulous minutes reading here. Thanks again for all the details.

Domestic Cleaning Expert
2012-03-12 15:57:12 ReplyFlag
I tend to assign specific rooms or tasks to each day of the week. For example, clean bedrooms and do laundry on Mondays, clean bathrooms on Tuesdays, do outdoor tasks on Wednesdays like weed and sweep the patio, deep clean the kitchen and dining room on Thursdays…and so on and so forth. Obviously there’s some wiggle room as life isn’t that orderly, but it helps keep me on track and keep things manageable. Much easier to get into a routine and remember, too :)

amarie8
2012-08-21 19:43:29 ReplyFlag
I tell you what, I’m going to print out the 30 day schedule and tack that to my wall. My problem is just getting overwhelmed by cleaning. I’ve use great house cleaning services in the past but now I’m on a tighter budget and need to clean up after myself.

Patkr
2012-09-13 02:11:28 ReplyFlag
We’re a sloppt family, pure and simple. I do find that focusing on one room at a time makes the task a little less daunting, and that’s the beauty of this list. Even after a long day if you know you just have to wipe down your bathrooms it makes housework seem manageable.

shgra
2012-09-29 20:06:41 ReplyFlag
We’re a sloppt family, pure and simple. I do find that focusing on one room at a time makes the task a little less daunting, and that’s the beauty of this list. Even after a long day if you know you just have to wipe down your bathrooms it makes housework seem manageable.

shgra
2012-09-29 20:06:51 ReplyFlag
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6 Bathroom Spacesaver Resource Guides
Using Your Home to Reach Your Dreams
Reviews of IKEA Kivik, Carlstad & Poang?
10 Simple Things to Make You Happier At Home
How To Clean Your Kitchen Sink
New Tours
Jane’s Jewel Box Nursery
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Habit House Halloween Stage Set
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