Keeping It Together: 15 minute cleaning

This is the beginning of a series, probably never-ending, about how I keep our busy household functioning.


Until Isaac completes his degree, doing anything related to everything is up to me. That doesn’t mean he won’t or can’t help sometimes, but overall his schoolwork consumes all the available time in his days. Four out of the five weekdays he is in class from 9 am to 7 pm, his nights are spent doing homework, and he works on the weekends. After some trial and error I’ve put together a great way to keep my sanity and be able to have a clean and happy home.

Having a clean and tidy house is a pet peeve of mine. And when I say “pet peeve” I really mean I am neurotic about it. I’m not sure how it came into being, as I was a fairly messy teenager and young adult. Isaac, our roommate and her boyfriend can all attest to my neurotic cleanliness. So help them if they track mud on my freshly cleaned kitchen floors!

However keeping everything to my liking is time-consuming. My secret? 15 minute cleaning. I set the timer on my phone for 15 minutes, decide what it is I want to clean, and hit start. It’s truly that simple.

Let me say  that one can accomplish a lot in 15 minutes. The first couple of times I did it I was astounded by what I did in the allotted time! Of course, there are things that take longer than the time frame will allow, like doing laundry or picking up dog poop (unfortunately) or cleaning out the garage. Those tasks are either done in pieces or saved for days I have more time to devote to them. My regular 15 minute cleaning tasks can include vacuuming, dusting, wiping baseboards, mopping, unloading/loading the dishwasher or finishing up non-dishwasher safe dishes, or filing papers. To clarify, I don’t do all of those things in 15 minutes! Usually just two or three can be done.

Before implementing the 15 minute clean I found myself dreading housework. After working 10 hours the last thing I want to do is spend an hour cleaning the house. But because of my need for things to be clean and organized, I had a hard time relaxing after work if things weren’t neat. (I still have a problem relaxing if things are neat.) In fact, at this moment I’m fighting some anxiety because the house needs vacuuming. Which, the house always needs due to three dogs constantly shedding their hair.

What about you? Are there any tricks you keep up your sleeve to make household chores easier?

About Miranda

A flailing attempt at keeping it all together while doing All The Things.
This entry was posted in Cleaning, Family, Time Management and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Keeping It Together: 15 minute cleaning

  1. This is a great idea! You’re right that you can accomplish a lot in 15 minutes.

    • Miranda says:

      Yes, you really can! I actually got the idea from “microwave training” from Laura VanArendonk Baugh’s book “Fired Up, Frantic, and Freaked Out”. (Doing a training session while you’re heating something up in the microwave.)

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