The Secret to Keeping Your House Clean (All the Time)
I can't tell you how much easier my life would have been if I'd discovered this trick years earlier. That being said, I can largely credit this one, silly-sounding rule for being the reason my house doesn't look like a tornado just hit.
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The Two Minute Rule
When you see something that needs cleaning, fixing, or organizing in your house, ask yourself if it would take more or less than two minutes to do it.
- If it takes less than two minutes, do it right then and there.
- If it takes less than two minutes, write it down on your to do list.
Get a bill in the mail? It takes 60 seconds to write a check, throw a stamp on it, and chuck it by the door to go in the mailbox. Do it now.
Get several bills in the mail? That would require a trip up to your desk, some quality time with Quicken (or whatever financial app you use), and way more than two minutes. Write "pay bills" on your to do list and put it in the appropriate pile on your desk (an act which takes less than two minutes, so you do it now to get them off your counter), and move on.
Benefit 1: An Easy Choice
With the Two Minute Rule, the second we see something, we can apply this quick litmus test and know exactly what to do. It saves time, but also thought. And we moms know that's just as rare of a commodity.
Benefit 2: Immediate Action (Reprograms Your Bad Habits)
When you see something, no matter what you're doing, you immediately take action on it. Whether that action is writing the task down or actually getting it done, this will effectively eliminate your bad habit of seeing a task and thinking "meh, I'll do it later".
Giving yourself a "to do list" option for tasks that would take longer than two minutes means that you now respond immediately to 100% of your messy items, the second you see them. Not bad, right?
Benefit 3: The Clutter is ALWAYS Gone
You'll be shocked how fast your house goes from mildly messy to actually clean.
The Only Downside
You can't keep your house clean if you never do anything that takes longer than two minutes to complete.
(Laundry would pile up into mountains, I would never ever deep clean my irritatingly-white baseboards so my house would look like a bumper-car ring, etc.)
However, if you occasionally set aside some time to really dig down and complete your "to do" tasks, the Two Minute Rule will keep your house looking shockingly clean and tidy in the meantime.
Your Next Step
Commit to that awkward getting-used-to-it phase where you feel like you're spending more time writing things on your to do list than you do on anything else.
Decide that no matter what, you take some kind of immediate action the second you notice something needs doing.
I promise you'll be shocked by the results.
Let me know how it works in the comments section! What was the biggest change you noticed when you tried it?
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About the Author
Founder | Contributor
Liz (or Dr. Mommy, as her toddler started calling her after learning what a PhD was) is the happily sleep-deprived mom of a baby boy (and professional raccoon noise impersonator), a sparkle-clad toddlernado, a teenage stepdaughter, the canine embodiments of Pinky and The Brain, and a rabbit of unusual size. During nights and naptimes, she uses her PhD in business psychology as an author, speaker, and consultant. She also serves as an executive and principal for three companies, two of which she co-founded with her very patient (and equally exhausted) husband.
My Motto: All I can control is how hard I work.
Motto: All I can control is how hard I work.
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