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10 Minutes to a Spit-Spot House!


Ahhh…. order!

I am not a great housekeeper… like my dear mother was.  I love order, but something about 7 kids and homeschooling and living in the country (think dirt) sort of got me off track on the path to a clean house.  Yes, dishes and laundry and meals get done, but the general clutter seems to build and increase daily. Some people have the gift of being able to see useless things and discard them. I am not one of them.

Recently, my daughter Louisa and I have hit upon a winner of an idea that is really working!  We work on clutter control for just 10 minutes. Truly.  Just ten minutes a day.

Ten minutes is not enough to wear anyone out.  It is not even long enough to feel complain-y or resistant about.  10 minutes is, after all, just 10 minutes!

So, after breakfast, we are committed to 10 minutes. Every one of us…Dad included.  If you have a household of 4, that adds up to 40 minutes of good solid work each and every day.  In a household of 9….well, you can see the possibilities! Ten minutes may not seem like much when you are tackling a cluttered house but it is breathtakingly amazing what 10 daily minutes of effort looks like after a couple of weeks!

The first day, we really didn’t know where to start. So much had stacked up, so much was in need of getting rid of, organizing and cleaning. Really, decades of raising 7 kids can create a staggering accumulation of once much-needed and well-used stuff, from homeschool supplies to holiday decorations to kitchen utensils!  You know what I am talking about!

We set the stove timer for 10 minutes and just tried to do something.  We focused only on the main living areas: living room, dining room and kitchen.  Our goal? Clutter control. “Everybody just get in there and take what is yours and try to tidy up the place.”  We actually got Dad to haul the Christmas decoration boxes away! When the timer rang, we stopped. Not very impressive . . .  but it was a start.

Before too many days had passed, we realized that the clutter in our living areas was…uh, er, can it be?in control! Seriously.  So at our next 10 minute cleaning session, Louisa opened a kitchen cupboard and worked on the contents.  We are branching out to including other areas of the house too. A drawer can be cleaned out in just 10 minutes! Even if it is a drawer that hasn’t been tackled for years. Just leave in it what you really want and use often, and put the rest in a donation box…to be donated in the future.  If you are really missing something badly, you can go fish it out. If there are nostalgic items,  you can give other family members a chance to take a look through the box and claim them. Or you can gift them to a pioneer museum…hee hee.

The great thing is that this clean-it-out mentality starts to take over, and pretty soon Dad was cleaning off his dresser in his free time, and Louisa was tackling her bedroom closet.

Visitors to my home started remarking on how clean and organized everything looked.  This is a “first” in my personal history! Louisa provides the steady push to do it every day.  I provide the guidance on what to throw away and what to keep.  I have the easier job.

Order begets order.  When a counter is clear and clean, it is hard to set the mail down on it, for sure.  It gets easier to nip clutter before it ever stacks up again.

Just “ten minutes” is really working for us! Yay!

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  • Rebecca Aguilar April 21, 2014, 5:28 am

    I can so relate to this! I have 7 children also and the clutter in our small house is incredible. I’m going to implement this 10 minute a day idea! I look forward to a clutterless future! =)

  • Ellen April 21, 2014, 7:33 pm

    This is a great idea! I am sitting at my desk aching from tackling a dirty house ALL DAY LONG. I get the whole clutter thing with 5 contributing members…I have already started the “if you used it and can place it on the counter, you can place it in the dish-washer just as easily” rule which has helped my kitchen mess quite a bit. I can’t wait to start the 10-minute marathon! Thanks for the tip!

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