I work more than fulltime on parenting two small girls, being a wife, mama, chief cook and bottle-washer, while also holding down a position in the paid workforce. I have no time for clean-under-the-fridge tips for keeping house, when all I need is a basic idea of how to keep my home clean, neat and tidy, with less than half an hour a day to spare for it all.
I have two separate but equally important aims for housekeeping when life is full on clean and tidy. Here’s how to break it down while you’re working fulltime and not go insane.
Do a bit each day. Don’t catastrophise the housework! It’s never as hard or as long as you think it is, and once you get started time and dust flies. Set a timer and tackle one of these jobs in the morning, and another in the afternoon or evening. Save the deep clean for the weekend or a night where you have more energy, knowing that doing small bits each day means the house doesn’t turn into a pig sty requiring hours to clean.
Kitchen 12 minutes
- Clean out the sink and give it a scrub (1 minute).
- Grab a clean cloth out of the cupboard. Run a sink of hot water with a good squirt of detergent (1 minute).
- Meanwhile, pack the dishwasher (4 minutes).
- Wipe down the benches and stovetop (2 minutes).
- Wipe spots on the floor that you can see. If you leave them, they attract grime and grot and the weekend mop will be that much harder (2 minutes).
- Sweep the floor, drain the sink and hang up the tea towel. Chuck the cloth at least in the washing machine, if not in the bin (2 minutes).
- BONUS ACTIVITY: wipe the bin over before tossing the cloth away OR spend 2 minutes throwing out the obviously expired food from the fridge.
Bathroom and toilet 11 minutes
- Squeegee the shower glass and spray a cleaner on spots that grow mildew and mould (1 minute).
- Collect up all rubbish, return items such as tweezers, makeup or hair brushes to their homes and straighten items on the bench (2 minutes).
- Hang up all towels, bathmats, hand towels and face washers. Open the window to air out the bathroom this reduces the growth of mould (1 minute).
- Using a bottle of general cleaner and a rag, wipe out the sink, getting the drips of soap, the blobs of toothpaste and errant hair before they set solid (2 minutes).
- Wipe anything obvious off the mirror and shine with a dry cloth (1 minute).
- Spot clean the floor (1 minute).
- Same rag clean the outside of the toilet cistern and seat (1 minute). Throw rag away!
- Brush the toilet then squirt toilet cleaner into it. Swish again and leave it for the day (1 minute).
- BONUS ACTIVITY: check whether you need to buy anything (toothpaste, toilet paper, soap etc), or dust the window sills.
Bedroom(s) 5 minutes
- Make the bed every day regardless of whether your version is spick and span with hospital corners on flat sheets, or a fluffy quilt tossed over a sheet (2 minutes).
- Put your shoes away, hang clothes up or put them in the wash (2 minutes).
- Collect rubbish, last night’s water, jewellery and reading material and put it all in the right spot (1 minute)
- BONUS POINTS: dust window sills and the tops of cupboards, wipe down the bedside cupboards and put a drop of essential oil on a tissue under your pillow.
Living Room 7 minutes
- Straighten the sofas and chairs. Fold blankets, put the pillows back neatly and find the remote controls (2 minutes).
- Pay attention to the obvious surfaces coffee table, centre of the room, couch. Collect all the stuff and things that have migrated into the room, into one spot or basket (3 minutes).
- Dust, wipe and clean surfaces such as the coffee table, tv screen and powerpoints (2 minutes).
- BONUS POINTS: sort the extra things into piles for each room OR vacuum.
Dining area 11 minutes
- Collect up clutter, paperwork, discarded rubbish and clothing and put them away (3 minutes).
- Spray and wipe down the table and chairs (2 minutes).
- Replace the linen on the table, restock salt and pepper, wipe the placemats or pick a new flower for the centre (2 minutes).
- Sweep or vacuum the floor (4 minutes).
- BONUS POINTS: Set the table for the next meal!