Sunday, January 15, 2023

The 5 Minute Rule for Easy Housekeeping

The 5 Minute Rule for Easy Housekeeping
I am a fan of the idea that nearly anyone and everyone can do something for five minutes -- even if there are times when you feel like you can't for whatever reason. Maybe you are seriously depressed or anxious or over-excited or sick or exhausted. 
You can probably carve out five minutes to do something, even if it's a tiny task.
On its own, five minutes isn't going to revolutionize your life or your housekeeping, but five minutes multiple times per day or multiple times over a week and built into a habit can have a significant impact.
If you are struggling with housekeeping, de-cluttering, getting things in order, or anything else, set a timer for five minutes and tackle one thing. 

In five minutes, you can probably:
  • Unload one rack of your dishwasher, if not the whole thing
  • Hand wash a few dishes
  • Hang up several pieces of clothing or coats
  • Gather shoes and put them away where they belong
  • Clear a small counter space 
  • Go through a small pile of mail
  • Match food storage container lids and bottoms
  • Sweep through a room with a trash bag and pick up trash
  • Take your recycling or trash out
  • Tidy a section of your workspace
  • Wipe down a counter
Some days, I choose one area of my house to focus on in five minute increments. Other days, I kind of go slipshod through my house and clean lots of small areas in five minute increments. Some days, I manage to do both. 

On days that I choose an area of focus, I make it a point to clean or de-clutter that area for five minutes either every time I go in that space or every few hours throughout the day -- I work from home, so this may be easier for me than it is for you, but you can still follow this method on a day off or over the course of an evening. 

Most recently, after a dinner gathering, my kitchen was an absolute wreck. My kiddo and I attacked the kitchen in five minute increments over and over throughout the day to make it more manageable. For us, it looked something like this:
  1. Gather any visible trash or recycling and put it in the appropriate bins. If full, empty the bins into the appropriate places.
  2. Put away clean dishes and items and move as many dirty dishes as possible to one defined space. Try to open up a clear space for air drying dishes later. Remove dirty dishtowels and linens.
  3. Put away any ingredients that have been left out -- usually spices, herbs, pantry items like pasta or rice, and so on -- or unused cooking tools.
  4. Wash dishes using my Five Items rule -- read about it HERE. Repeat until five minutes are up or repeat for another five items/five minutes.
  5. Choose a small counter space -- maybe 1ft by 1ft in size -- and focus on cleaning and clearing that space. Repeat several times over the course of the day. If our stove is particularly messy or cluttered, this might mean focusing on one fourth of the stove at a time.
  6. Spend five minutes tidying items in the fridge or freezer door or on a fridge or freezer shelf.
By repeating these tasks over and over throughout the day (or over several days, if necessary), eventually the mess gets taken care of and you begin to see progress. 
Of course, there is a risk that the mess will reoccur -- it does -- but, these five minute tasks have made subsequent messes much easier for us to handle and much easier for us to get back on track when we get derailed.
I've even used this rule when sick -- with the flu, with Covid, with food poisoning. When sick, I might take my time getting to the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, living room, and so on, but once I am there, I sit down for a few minutes and focus on catching my breath or gathering some energy, and then I choose a small task that I can focus on for five minutes, even if those five minutes are with me sitting down or with me expending as little energy as possible. I might fold socks and underwear (yes, I fold my undies) while sitting in bed or put away silverware while sitting on a stool or wipe down the dining table while sitting in a chair, but I get at least a few small tasks done. Of course, do NOT do this while sick if it will impair you further or put others in your home at risk! Follow your doctor's recommendations, please!

When it comes to doing these tasks, I also find it helpful to use tools that feel good in my hands or that make the jobs easier. A few of my favorites are from Grove Collaborative -- this post is not sponsored by Grove, but I do have an affiliate link following this small list -- and include: 
  • Grove Collaborative Free & Clear dish and hand soaps
  • Grove Collaborative glass spray bottles with silicone sleeves
  • Grove Collaborative Replaceable Head dish brush (the head can go in the dishwasher!) 
You can sign up for Grove Collaborative using my affiliate link -- I will receive a small commission if you sign up and order and YOU will receive a free gift set and $10 after your first purchase. Sign up HERE and login to take a look around! Please note that per Grove's terms, this offer is only open to new customers and they currently only ship to the contiguous United States.
I love that Grove Collaborative is committed to the environment and has worked hard to greatly reduce plastic and other non-sustainable products and waste. They are a certified B-corporation and I've had great customer service experiences on the rare occasions I've had to contact them about an order.

Have you tried any of my "Rule of 5" housekeeping tips? Have they helped you out in any way? What are some of the ways you make housekeeping more manageable in your home?

Check out all of my Rule of 5 and other housekeeping posts HERE.
And, please consider visiting our Etsy shop where we've got printable lunchbox notes, thank you notes, Valentine's and more! Just click on the image below:

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