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I’m gearing up for my book tour, which is always a season of travel for me. (Side note: OH MY GOODNESS MY NEW BOOK COMES OUT IN LESS THAN A WEEK!).
Travel is many good things: fun, adventurous, new and an excuse to tote around my adorable carry-on. But it’s also some not fun things when you’re living a life that’s more disjointed than normal. There’s not a lot of routine to be had on the road.
It also means leaving my house for stretches of time. And I’m not alone when I say that I like to come home to a clean house. Especially after the celestial snow goddesses have wreaked havoc on my property for the last few months.
I like to come home to gleaming floors. And sparkling windows. And bright white grout. And Marie Kondo-worthy closet organization. The hard part is getting it all done!
All of this is to say that cleaning is on my mind.
(to judge whether this time of the year has the same effect on me, see my clean out post from last year.)
I’ve got another thing on the mind too: timed tasks. As I mentioned in my blog on productivity, I am a sucker for a chicken timer.
15-minutes is a short time, it feels manageable. An hour, that’s a long time. But 15 minutes? I can find 15 minutes. I bet you feel like you can find fifteen of those minutes too.
So what can you do in 15 minutes? How many emails can you delete? How much of that stack of mail can you trash? Can you get everything cleaned out of your car?
So I went and searched the wisdom of the organizational gurus. This is because I am not a guru. Honestly, I just aspire to know where all my shoes are at one time. I searched for organizational or cleaning tasks that can be done in 15 minutes, and I found so many! Those gurus really come through for you when you need them, huh?
So I’m sharing and the subject is all cleaning (don’t get me started on the organization part. I’m not organized enough right now to share them!) Here’s three sets of 15-minute tasks you can do to spruce up your house before those beautiful spring breezes start.
Spring cleaning your kitchen
- Minute 1, 2 & 3: Dust the top of cabinets, the refrigerator, all surfaces starting at the top of the room and working your way down!
- Minutes 4, 5, & 6: Get microwave safe bowl or cup, fill about 1/3 with vinegar, 1/3 with water and leave 1/3 room empty. Put in microwave for 3 minutes. While that runs, take out the tray from the bottom of your toaster, dump in the trash and rinse off with hot sponge. Take any washable components of the coffeemaker and put in the dishwasher. Now the microwave dings, wipe the inside with your warm sponge. Take the trashbag out of the trashcan, set on the ground. Wipe down the inside and outside of the trashcan and THROW AWAY that sponge. Tie up the bag and put a fresh one in the freshened up can. Toss a dash of baking soda in the bottom of the fresh bag to pull out any odors.
- Minutes 7 & 8: Take the bowl you just had in the microwave, fill it with vinegar and set open side up on the top rack of your dishwasher. Put in soap or a pod and run a cycle – you can leave whatever dishes (and that coffee pot) in there while it runs!
- Minutes 9-15: I know this is the longest step, but it’s worth it! Take everything out of the refrigerator, set it on the counter. Make some hot soapy water and use a new sponge and wipe down all the shelves and doors and everything else. Then put everything back in the fridge (do take this opportunity to trash anything that’s obviously old or expired, but don’t think too hard.) Then use that hot, soapy water to wipe down the countertops where you just had everything.
- Voila! With the exception of emptying the dishwasher you’re finished for today.
Spring cleaning your master bathroom
- Minutes 1 & 2: Climb up and dust those high surfaces, the tops of your cabinets, the tops of your shower stalls, etc.
- Minutes 3 & 4: Time to clean the shower head. If it’s a wand that’s removable set it in a bowl of vinegar and leave overnight, if it’s attached then pour vinegar in a ziploc bag and tape or tie or otherwise attach the bag over the showerhead and leave soaking overnight.
- Minutes 5 – 9: Turn off the lights, and then take apart whatever lighting you have and wash the glass/plastic parts (away from the electricity!) with soapy water. Maybe those are sconces, maybe it’s one large rectangular over-the-mirror light – whatever it is take it apart, dust and give a little scrubbing love to everything and then screw it all back together and turn the lights on!
- Minutes 10, 11, 12: Spend a few quick minutes moving items from the shelves to the countertops. Then wipe off those shelves! As you’re moving items back take quick stock and throw away anything obvious but don’t spend too much time, gotta be fast.
- Minutes 12 – 14: For your last few minutes take Windex and clean the mirror and windows. Many miss cleaning bathroom windows because they are frosted or obscured glass. We’re past daylight savings time so help the light shine bright through those windows!
- Minute 15: Run a load of laundry with the bathmat, shower curtain (the pretty exterior one, but make sure it’s washable!) and any other linens in the bathroom that aren’t laundered regularly.
- Voila! Move that load of laundry to the dryer and put away, but otherwise you’re finished.
Spring cleaning your master bedroom
- Get excited – the bedroom has the least steps of any other room
- Minutes 1, 2 & 3: Start by dusting all those high places again – curtain rods, tops of dressers, backs of TVs, ceiling fan blades – all the tall things you might otherwise skip with the duster.
- Minute 4 & 5: Start a load of laundry with your curtains, any (washable!) shams that aren’t part of your regular washing routine, the decorative blanket you keep on top of the comforter, anything else that might apply to your room.
- Minute 6-10: Clean those windows and any other glass or mirrors you have in your room
- Minute 11-15: Turn the lights off and take down those globes or sconces whatever light fixtures you have and give them a light scrub with some hot soapy water. Then place them back and turn on the lights!
- Voila! (And I bet I don’t even have to clarify about that load of laundry this time.)
Now pour yourself a beverage and take a small walk around your house and see how much you’ve accomplished. And all in less than an hour in total. Just marvelous!