10 Minute Tidy

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What is a 10 minute tidy? It’s a quick way to declutter your home and clean it up without feeling overwhelmed.

I’m using the phrase 10-minute tidy because it reminds me of the 10-second tidy from a children’s program my daughters loved. It was called “The Big Comfy Couch” and it always included the 10-second tidy at the end.

That was a huge help when I needed my young daughters to clean up their playroom or straighten their bedrooms. “Time for a 10-second tidy,” I’d call out, and they knew exactly what to do.

How to clean and declutter with 10-minute tasks

Egg timer to help with a 10 minute tidy.
Photo credit: Canva.

We adults can handle 10 minutes of cleaning up — and obviously can get much more done if we devote 10 minutes versus 10 seconds to tidying up. In fact, if you’re hesitant to tackle your winter cleaning checklist or another task, using a timer can help. You’d be surprised at how much you can accomplish in just 10 minutes.

By breaking down the process into quick, manageable tasks, it’s easy to keep your home tidy and stress-free. So, for each of the tasks below, set a timer for 10 minutes and do as much as possible in the allotted time.

Tidying up your kitchen

Trust me: You can get all of these tasks done in 10 minutes in your kitchen.

  • Start with the sink and counters.
  • Load the dishwasher or wash dirty dishes by hand.
  • Clear the counters of food items that don’t belong there — they go in the fridge, pantry, or trash.
  • Invest in a set of budget-friendly food storage containers to keep cupboards organized.

Extra time left? Starting on the left-hand side of your kitchen, empty declutter, and wipe down the inside of a cupboard or drawer. Or start working through your pantry cleaning checklist for just 10 minutes at a time.

Finally, save a list of your freezer items on your phone. Each week when you meal prep, make at least one dish from one of these items to declutter your freezer. 

Make it fun by trying a new recipe. For example, learn how to use frozen cauliflower and surprise your family with a new dish on a Meatless Monday. Start with the food that’s been in the freezer the longest. 

10-minute tidy in the bedrooms

Begin with your bedside table, as this is where the clutter often starts.

Next, remove old books or magazines you’ve already read.

Then, clear away empty glasses, water bottles, tissues or pill bottles.

Finally, dust the top of the bedside tables, plus any lampshades.

Extra time left? Move on to your dresser and closet, and do the same — declutter and dust, ensuring everything is organized in a way that makes sense to you.

Don’t forget to use under-the-bed storage containers and bins to keep seasonal and/or extra and accessories organized.

Get the kids involved

Make this a family activity, with each member decluttering their own room. 

Once you’ve set the 10-minute timer , have a race to see who finishes first. The winner can choose dinner, the family movie or the board game for family games night.

Remind kids to look under their beds for candy wrappers and any kids’ comic books they’re ready to donate.

Cleaning the living room

Here’s how to tackle the living room in just 10 minutes. One, gather any items that don’t belong in your living room and move them to where they do belong. Two, dust off all surfaces, including the TV and other electronics.

Three, vacuum or sweep the floor if needed — don’t forget those pesky pet hairs.

Finally, If you have extra time, you can use this tool to get pet hair out the carpet.

Tidy your entryway or foyer

Entries and foyers can be disaster areas, especially if your family includes pets and kids. 

“If I only have 10 minutes to clean, I immediately attack any clutter in high-traffic areas,” says Jessica Haggard of Easy Homemade Life. “This usually means entryway tables, kitchen counters, and main eating areas.”

Start with the coat closet. Then, remove items like old coats or shoes that don’t fit.

Next, place a bowl on your front hall table to collect keys, sunglasses, chargers and miscellaneous items. Then, remind your family to use them as their catchall when they come through the front door.

Finally, hang up any jackets, hats or scarves.

Consider adding a shoe organizer or rack to keep shoes in order. Also, you can place a small dresser to store hats, mitts and scarves if you don’t have a coat closet.

Bathroom cleaning tips

Begin with the medicine cabinet, by tossing out expired medication and organizing the items left behind.

Next, use your favorite spray cleaner and a soft cloth on the sinks and the bathtub to wipe away grime and remove stray hairs. 

Finally, use an over-the-door organizer to keep toiletries and hair accessories in order. You can even repurpose an over-the-door product designed to hold shoes to hold these items.

Photo credit: Canva.

Your home office

The home office can be one of the most challenging areas to keep clean. This is because it often accumulates paperwork and other documents over time.

Also, this is especially true if you have a combination home office and homeschool room.

So, here’s how to tackle the home office.

  • One, gather up outdated and unnecessary paperwork and shred it.
  • Two, file important documents in a cabinet.
  • Three, organize your desk and drawers — everything should have space.

Finally, use a filing cabinet or desk organizer to organize paperwork.

Cleaning up a garage or basement

It’s easy to forget about cleaning and decluttering these areas, especially if these are the spaces you use to shove items you’ve cleared out of the rest of your home. 

Sara Nelson of Real Balanced suggests using the 10-item method to make a quick dent in the clutter when you only have a few minutes. “I grab a trash bag and find 10 items to throw away. This ensures I declutter some items, and it gives me less time to overthink things.”

Begin with the items that are scattered or sitting on tabletops or even just on the floor. Next, sort them into piles for garbage pickup, to donate or to keep.

After that, sort through your stored items with a critical eye. Do you really need to keep them? If not, move them to the garbage or donation piles.

Finally, use pegboards and wall-mounted organizers to keep tools and equipment in order in either space.

The laundry room

If your laundry area ends up collecting various odds and ends during the week, take a few minutes to tidy it today. Here are easy steps to take.

  • One, remove clothing and other items from inside and on top of your washer and dryer.
  • Two, spray the exteriors and wipe them down.
  • Three, sort clothes that are no longer worn into three piles: one pile to use for rags or painting clothes, one for the garbage and one to donate.
  • Four, remove all empty detergent bottles and place them in your recycling bin.
  • Five, empty your wastebaskets.
  • Six, sort clean laundry into piles, one for each family member. Then tell them to come get their laundry to put away in their (now clean) rooms.

Finally, in a large family, use one laundry basket per person for clean laundry.  

Garden area

Whether you’re growing ornamental flowers, an herb garden or a vertical garden, you’ll find many gardening decluttering tasks that take 10 minutes or less.

  • Remove dead plant matter and debris from your garden area. 
  • Weed one flower bed, vegetable garden row, or herb garden row.
  • Prune overgrown bushes or trees.
  • Repot just one potted herb or vegetable that has outgrown its container.

Finally, use a garden tool organizer to keep tools in order and within reach.

Junk drawer

Yes, we all have them! 

So, set your timer for the 10 minute tidy, and this is how we’re going to tackle that junk drawer.

One, start going through each item one by one. As you do, decide whether or not it’s worth keeping.

Next, once you have narrowed down the items to only those you want to keep, sort them into categories. For example, office supplies, screws, and miscellaneous items.

Finally, find designated spots for each smaller pile.

Then, you can use drawer dividers or small storage containers to keep items in order going forward.

Your car or cars

Last but not least, take time to declutter and clean out the interior of your car.

  • Start with the glove box and center console. Then, toss out old receipts, candy wrappers, used napkins or tissues.
  • Use a handheld dustbuster or small vacuum on the front floors and seats.
  • After that, do the same for your back seats.
  • Next, wipe down the dashboard and console with a damp cloth.
  • Replenish tissues, hand sanitizer and any other item you usually keep in your car.
  • Finally, check under the seats for anything that may have been left behind or forgotten about.

After all of this cleaning, make sure you put a car trash can or organizer in your vehicles. This will help you to keep the interior clean and clutter-free.

Or invest in the laser-cut floor liners from WeatherTech to make future cleaning so much easier. We recently splurged on mats for the front and back seats of our Subaru Forester and wondered why we waited so long to make this purchase.

With just a few minutes of decluttering daily, you can help keep your home in tip-top shape. Here are some additional tips to make the process even easier:

  • Schedule regular decluttering sessions to stay on top of clutter
  • Use labels to keep items organized and easy to find
  • Donate or sell items you no longer need or use
  • Store seasonal items out of sight when not in use
  • Use multi-functional furniture to save space and reduce clutter

Final Word

By following these cleaning and decluttering tips and tackling one room at a time, decluttering your home and keeping it organized won’t seem so overwhelming. Remember, even tidying 10 minutes a day can make a big difference.

This article originally appeared on Food Drink Life.

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