Take Five – How Five Minutes Can Tidy a Home

It’s Monday evening, dinner is over and the children are finally snuggled down for the night. You take a look around and sigh in exasperation. What a mess! There’s a way to get the place looking neat and tidy and it only takes five minutes per room.

Before you begin your five minutes, gather up the cleaning supplies you might need. If you don’t have one, get a carrier that holds furniture polish, a soft cloth, window cleaner, Chlorox wipes and a roll of paper towels. You’ll also need a timer that you can leave in the carrier or borrow one from the kitchen. Let’s start in the family room.

Set the timer for just five minutes. Begin immediately picking up the largest items first. Gather the newspapers, magazines, toys, pillows from the sofa, and anything that catches your eye. Put them where they belong. Straighten up end tables, removing any glasses, cups, or plates. Quickly dust the end tables using the furniture polish and a soft cloth. Do the same if you have a coffee table. Spray the TV screen with window cleaner if there are fingerprints or dust visible. Stop tidying up the room when the timer goes off. If you think you’re finished and the timer is still ticking, you may have time to dust off the top of the TV or entertainment center. Once five minutes is up, leave the room taking the carrier and timer with you. Move on to the next room.

Many homes have living rooms that are used less than the family room. Go ahead and set the timer for five minutes. Again, pick up all large items first, if there are any. If not, plump pillows on the sofa, dust the room, or wash a window or two until time is up. The idea is to tidy.

Move on to the dining room. A dining room can be formal or perhaps just the eating area off the kitchen. Regardless, it too needs a five minutes, so set the timer and begin. First things first, pick up large items that may be lying about. If you didn’t gather up used dishes from dinner in your rush to put children to bed, do it now. Don’t wash the dishes, yet, just put them in the kitchen. Wipe crumbs off the table catching them in a paper towel. If there’s time use the furniture polish on the tables and chairs.

It’s time for bathrooms. Set the timer before you begin. Pick up clothes, towels, and bath toys that may have been left behind, put them where they belong in a hamper or basket. Put combs, brushes, etc in containers where they belong. With wipes clean off the rim and the outside of the toilet. Wipe out the sink and the surface around the sink with another towelette. Clean any mirrors with window cleaner. Put out a fresh hand towel. Remember, though; stop when the timer goes off no matter where you are. If there’s still time on the clock empty any waste paper baskets.

The bedroom is next on the list. A word about bedrooms, if your children are old enough you can have them do a five minutes before getting ready for bed or before leaving for school in the morning. Make it a game. Who can beat the clock? This is not a deep cleaning, just a tidying up, so let the children help you by being a part of the five minute tidy up plan. Set the timer and start by picking up large items. Clothing lying about, magazines, books, shoes, pillows, whatever catches your eye when you first walk in the door. Straighten up the nightstands dusting them off. Hopefully the bed was made before going to work or starting your day. If not, make it a habit to make your bed as soon as you get out of it. You may also decide that 5 minutes in your bedroom works out best in the morning. Continue tidying up the room until the timer goes off. If you have picked everything up and there’s still time, dust off any chest of drawers, bureaus, or stands that you may have. If you have a TV in your bedroom clean the screen. Empty the wastebasket and clean any mirrors.

We’ve come to the kitchen at last. It’s nearly impossible to do a five minutes in the kitchen. Loading a dishwasher takes up all the time. These suggestions will make kitchen cleaning faster and easier. Whenever you’re cooking, always have one sink filled with hot, soapy water if you don’t have a dishwasher. Do the dishes as you cook. While the onions are sautÃ?©ing, wash up the knife and cutting board used to chop. Get all your ingredients out before beginning to cook and then put them away as you use them. By the time your cookies are baked the counter will be cleaned. Teach the children to take their dishes to the sink after the meal is over; this small gesture helps the cause. Wipe out sinks with cleaner on a daily basis. Sweep the kitchen at least once a day and if you have a Swiffer, use it every other day or at least twice a week. The kitchen being the heart of most homes tends to get more use and in turn it gets messy. The key is to not allow the mess to build up.

Now you’re thinking, well this was misleading. I thought I was going to learn how to clean my entire house in five minutes. There is a way for that to happen with the exception of the kitchen. Get the whole family involved! Teach the children how simple and easy it is to do a five minutes. Assign one room per person, leaving the kitchen for last. Depending on how many children you have and if your better half will join in and how many rooms there are in your house, you can have the entire house tidied up in five or ten minutes.

Worried about how you’ll convince the children to help you out with the five minute plan? Tell them to think about it this way. If you come home and do the five minute pick up in each room it will take you thirty minutes; if they help it will take five or ten minutes. That means you’ll all have that much more time for playing together. It works!

Give five minutes a try. It’s not the deep cleaning you’ll do once a week, but it will make doing that big chore easier. The good feelings you’ll get from a tidy house, if not perfectly clean, is enough to convince you that it’s definitely worth the time. When children do small chores around the house it teaches them responsibility and how to be a part of a team that works together to achieve a common goal. The entire family reaps the benefits. My grandmother always said, “Make your bed every morning, clear off the dining table and do the dishes and your home will always look tidy.” That’s pretty darn close to the five minute tidy up plan.

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