Nine Minutes

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I’m always the first to admit that I’m an awful housekeeper. You’ll pretty much always find crumbs on my floor unless I’ve just-this-second finished vacuuming and all three kids are asleep. (That has happened approximately once.) Our bedroom is generally a danger zone. My kitchen is never going to be in Better Homes and Gardens. (The fact that it doesn’t have any windows probably doesn’t help that aspiration.)

But tonight, I decided to use my last burst of energy to change the sheets on our bed and clean up my dresser a little bit. I happened to see how long it took me, and you know what the total time was?

Nine minutes.

How many days have I been procrastinating changing those sheets? Sure, there is often a child asleep in our bedroom so it’s not always a possibility. But there are plenty of times during the day where I could take nine minutes and accomplish that task.

This afternoon, I scrubbed down the kids’ bathroom due to the fact that it smelled like an animal died in there.

[SOMEONE’s kids might have been “cutting through the frozen heart” during bathtime and deposited most of the water in the bath onto the bathroom floor and their lovely rug. Said rug was the death-smell culprit.]

Our bathrooms are pretty small. Even scrubbing the floor on my hands and knees with a washcloth, the quick washdown – including the toilet and tub – took a total of twenty minutes.

I’m reminded of Christine’s post recently, where she urged us, “If it takes 2 minutes or less, do it!” Putting off something that would take two minutes – or even nine – is just kind of ridiculous in my book. Even the busiest individuals probably have nine minutes they waste playing Candy Crush on their phone or staring idly into space.

My goal is not to have a perfectly tidy apartment. I have three young kids, and I refuse to pick up after them constantly. I want them to have fun, and for them that involves making messes. My goal is not to be embarrassed if someone stops by unexpectedly. I want to always be a willing hostess, happy to have people in my home for whatever reason.

And if I can make that happen in a few ten-minute spurts throughout the day … well, for me, that is doable.

How do you make housekeeping work for you?

13 thoughts on “Nine Minutes

  1. I need to get better at this. I always look around and feel overwhelmed so I don’t do anything. but you are so right. It really doesn’t take as long as we think.

  2. I bribe myself. Munchkin in bed? Hmm then if I take 15 minutes and rub the dishwasher and wipe down the counters then I get the ice cream I’ve stashed in the freezer and an episode of House.

  3. I always make an overwhelming “to do” list (just my nature) and then I go back and I pick the very most important things, one or two of which are always some sort of cleaning project. I pat myself on the back if those get accomplished, and anything else is just icing on the cake. Sometimes my house looks slightly tidy (meaning I picked stuff up off the floor and vacuumed) but we haven’t gotten to the point yet where things actually look like they are in their proper homes. That’s the step I can’t seem to conquer!

  4. This is SO TRUE. I forgot how LITTLE TIME things actually take! And then I put them off until the mess is so huge it actually takes a lot of time. So dumb! I try to do the last-thing-before-bed pickup. It really doesn’t take that long. Some nights, though, I’ll admit it’s just too much. I should try to break up my day with a few more “bursts.” I’m going to try it tomorrow. 🙂

  5. Mopping is my nemesis…it takes me forever because of “how” I do it–very thoroughly. So it happens rarely. Wet Swiffing is an interim help, though, and it can take about 10 minutes. Swiffers in general are magical.

    SO wise of you with three littles to break cleaning up into bite size pieces! That way at least something is always clean :).

    • I guess this is one area where I should be glad I have a smaller kitchen. I usually scrub on my hands and knees, so it can take awhile, but at least it gets clean.

  6. I have exactly the same problem! In my mind it takes at least 30 minutes to unload the dishwasher, if not longer. In reality it only takes 5 minutes, and I know that because I timed it.
    I struggle with this because I didn’t have a good example growing up, but I will say that I find it easier to do certain tasks on certain days of the week every week.

    • Ha. Yes. Why does unloading the dishwasher always seem so daunting?

      I know scheduling one room on a certain day every week would help me. And that is what I always say I will do. But then I don’t. I need a good kick in the rear.

  7. Hello there! I am hoping over from MMD! I love the idea of watching to see how much time a seemingly daunting task really takes. I guess the opposite approach is to set a timer and work on a given project until it goes off. Sometimes I give the kitchen (my dreaded task) 10 devoted minutes, only to discover I am done before the timer goes off! Granted, it isn’t perfect and clean in every corner, but is clean enough to use for preparing the next meal.

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