We often relegate cleaning to the weekend. It’s likely the only time we can enjoy a reprieve from work and just relax, but instead, there’s a pile of dishes in the sink, tumbleweeds of dust in the hall, and about four loads of laundry that need to be folded. But you don’t have to dedicate hours every weekend to housework if you follow my 30/60/90 rule of cleaning.
It’s simple, breaks everything into chunks, and can be applied throughout the week. If you have 30 minutes to spare—either before you have to run out for an appointment, or in between work and school pick-up—focus on certain tasks that’ll make you feel accomplished rather than frenzied. Those tasks change if I have 60 minutes to spare—and the same for 90 minutes. Read on to find out about my 30/60/90 rule of cleaning, and see how it can make your life that much easier!
If I only have 30 minutes to spare, I focus on the superficial: Is everything tidy enough for a guest to pop by? Are there small tasks that I’ve been procrastinating for days, even though they’ll take me five minutes? Here’s what I usually take care of:
- Do The Dishes: Just getting through the pile of dishes in the sink—and putting away the clean ones—will make a huge difference.
- Tidy Up: Make sure everything is in its place, blankets are folded, and any trash is put away. Clear off the counters in the kitchen and bathrooms, then make your bed. Bonus points if you’re able to tackle any clothes that have piled up on “the chair.” (We all have one!) Finish by giving a quick spritz of Room & Linen Spray throughout your home.
- Fold The Laundry: It’s been sitting there for days anyway, so you might as well just fold it and put it away. You’ll feel that much better when the weekend comes and you don’t have to sift through half a dozen piles of clean clothes.
Sixty minutes offers a little more wiggle room to get out some cleaning supplies and get to business. This is what’s usually on my list when I have an hour to spare.
- Wipe All Surfaces: Wipe down any high-traffic surfaces, like counters and doorknobs. Now’s not the time to tackle windows, but earn bonus points if you have time to do the coffee table, side, table, or any other surfaces in the common areas of the house.
- Clean The Floors: This is an especially great task if you’ll be leaving the house for a few hours so they can properly dry. Remember to tackle the baseboards, too. Break out the vacuum for any carpeted areas in your home, too.
- Do A Load of Laundry: Most loads take about 50 minutes in newer washing machines, so you’ll be able to toss everything in the dryer before time is up. Don’t stress about folding it—or delegate it to a partner or your children if they’re old enough.
An hour and a half is usually more than enough time to bang out some of the more annoying tasks—but I find that putting a time limit on it makes it less dreadful. That way, I don’t feel like I’ve lost an entire day to housework.
- Strip The Beds: When I have an hour and a half, I strip the beds and throw the sheets in the laundry. They may not dry in time for me to put them right back on, but then I can use my favorite excuse: I’m just letting the mattress breathe! (If you choose this one, just make sure you’re able to make the beds—or delegate the task—before bedtime.)
- Clean The Bathroom: In my head, this task always takes two hours minimum, but it doesn’t have to be that involved. Spray the tub with a 4:1 mixture of water and bleach, and while the bleach is working its magic, sprinkle baking soda throughout the tub and let it sit while you move onto the toilet. Give it a quick wipe-down (don’t forget the handle!), wipe the floors and the sink, then move back to the tub. Fill a bucket with dish soap and water, and use a brush with substantial bristles to scrub off any residue. Rinse it clean.
- Clean Out The Fridge: I’ve gotten into the habit of doing this every Sunday morning before I go food shopping. It’s one of those tasks that makes you feel super accomplished and organized with fairly little work. Plus, you’ll have enough room in there for the next batch of groceries.
And that’s it! You can rearrange the tasks you want to cross off depending on your home, but having a list of 3-4 things you know you can get done in an allotted time will make it that much easier to keep things clean throughout the week, rather than saving it for a precious weekend afternoon.