With everyday life (especially with a family) keeping a tidy home can feel like a never ending task. But adopting some simple minimalist tips can really help to cut down the time you spend worrying about cleaning.
In an ideal world, there would be lots of time to whizz around the house with the kids Mary Poppins style. But in reality, this is pretty much impossible and most of us want to spend less time cleaning (or even thinking about cleaning) so we can focus on other things instead.
After all, that is ultimately what minimalism is all about—doing more of what matters and less of everything else.
How to Spend Less Time Cleaning
So here we go, 3 top tips to spending less time cleaning:
- Declutter your home
- Reconsider your expectations
- Make minimalist cleaning routines
Let’s look at each of these steps in a bit more detail.
How to declutter your home
If you’re only going to change one thing, we’d definitely say decluttering is essential if you want to spend less time cleaning. Simply because if you have less stuff, you have less stuff to clean!
Everything from the weekly wash to picking up toys becomes easier when there is less to deal with. For example, most toddlers like to “play” by dumping all of their toys on the floor. But by decluttering, it’s OK as even if they drag out every single toy they own, you can still clean it up in 15 minutes or less.
That is the simple joy of a decluttered home
If you want some advice on how to get started with decluttering (or perhaps how to follow through if you’ve already tried before) there are lots of different solutions and guides but the most famous probably been Marie Kondo.
Changing your expectations about a clean home
The next step to spending less time cleaning is to change your expectations and mindset about a tidy home.
So let’s get real for a minute—we’re not saying you have to be happy living in a pigsty BUT you do have to let go of some unrealistic expectations.
The reality is that we all have a limited amount of time and energy. There are only 24 hours in a day and most of us need and want to sleep, eat, work, etc. Your “free time” is really precious and probably pretty limited— so you need to ask yourself some tough questions about how you want to spend it.
Ask yourself what matters most to you. Is it really a tidy home?
Of course, we can’t speak for everyone but for most of us the desire for a clean, show-home standard is partly motivated by fear. Maybe being judged if your home doesn’t look like something out of a magazine.
Yes, most of us enjoy living in a tidy home but when you stop worrying about other people’s opinions, you can come to realise that the level of cleanliness doesn’t really bring you joy. You don’t need perfection to be happy.
Instead, a few extra crumbs on the floor could mean you have the time to read with your kids or have a few minutes longer in the morning in bed.
Your personal standards are just that—personal— but if housework is causing stress in your daily life, it’s definitely worth re-looking at your expectations.
The final tip is creating minimalist cleaning routines which work for you.
The power mini clean: You can combine this cleaning routine with another routine you have in your house. This might be as your kids are getting ready for bed, or as they leave for school/nursery in the morning. You only need 30 mins, so a great way to add into the day without causing too much disruption.
Put on a motivating playlist—and then get moving!
The main things to do every day during this time are:
- wash dishes
- clean all the kitchen surfaces
- put away all toys and random items around the house
Soaking dirty dishes throughout the day helps which this task, as normally they should be pretty quick to wash. Also, practise simple eating so there aren’t tons of pots and pans to wash. Cleaning the kitchen should take less than 15 minutes.
Note: if you have a dishwasher try and load in the evenings and unload in the morning while waiting for your morning coffee/tea to brew!
Next, tidying up. This shouldn’t take too long, when you declutter you won’t have tons of stuff and almost everything will have its place. This means putting things away only takes a few minutes.
Washing. Try and put on a load of laundry every morning.
When the washing is done, leave it in the machine until the evening— with a few exceptions.
If you have outdoor space. cloth nappies, towels and sheets are best to hang out as soon as you can, because they need to air out in the sun.
With the rest of the items:
- Anything that gets hung in the closet dry on a hanger. This makes it easier to put away and keeps things wrinkle-free (most things won’t need ironing).
- If you can dry most of your clothes on a rack in the bedroom. This means that when the clothes are dry, they get put away immediately.
- If you do need to iron or fold do this in the evening whilst watching TV or relaxing on the sofa. It’s a mindless task, no need to waste mental energy on it.
This means that after doing the everyday cleaning jobs you’ll likely have a few minutes left. This is an opportunity to tackle some deeper cleaning.
Don’t set yourself a daily schedule, instead, just look around and see what needs to be done. This might include:
- A quick vacuum
- Wiping down mirrors or windows
- Changing the bedding
- A quick bathroom clean (toilet and sink)
Do as much as you can, but when the 30 minutes is over, you are strictly done with cleaning for the day.
You will come to realise that having a set time to do this, is a great way to manage cleaning. Whatever doesn’t get done gets left for the next day and you’ll find peace with that. You’ll head to bed with that feeling of satisfaction you get when you know your home is clean and it’s the very best!
Any ‘Loose Ends’
As long as you stick with the daily cleaning routine, you should only need an hour or so to tidy up “loose ends” throughout the week. This will include things like mopping the floors, cleaning the shower, cleaning out the fridge, etc.
The tip is not to plan a set time for this hour but the weekends can work well. It’s also good to get other people in the house to help out with this extra hour. Perhaps your partner or older kids can help out with things like taking out the rubbish, folding laundry, cleaning any leftover dishes etc. but because of the 30 minute mini routine in the week, you’ll find that there isn’t a ton to do.
Ultimately, if you want to spend less time cleaning, sometimes you just have to decide to spend less time cleaning! Work out the essentials, declutter your stuff, and then create simple routines that are built around your existing lifestyle.
There are no magic hacks. Instead, a mini routine which fits your lifestyle.