I do not know if your kids are like mine, but when they have a GREAT day of playing that normally means their rooms look like a GIANT tornado has hit them at the end of the day.
Or if you are like me and you get busy or distracted through the day, by the evening your kitchen, and other spaces your family tends to gather, start to look like that same tornado made a visit!
I have tried my best to deal with these issues over the years. I have tried keeping up with the mess during the day by constantly cleaning but that leaves me feeling exhausted and defeated at the end of every single day, and ready to lash out at the next person to make a mess. I have also tried just ignoring it through the week and then spending my weekends or free time deep cleaning the entire house, and that tends to give me anxiety and overwhelms me! I am very lucky in the fact that I have a husband who is more than willing and often jumps in to help me clean, but I knew our routine could be improved upon!
With summer coming I wanted to find a way to change up the routine and find something that worked better for our family! And I think I found it in the 15-Minute Room Reset!
The reason I think this helps me so much is that I am not a total neat freak and I am not always the most organized when it comes to using things and putting them away. I have tried for years to “fix” this about myself and always feeling like a failure when I see clutter and messes all over the house.
This process though is less about changing myself and more about giving me a manageable system to keep order in my house without overwhelming me! It was also a tool to invite my kids into the process and get less pushback or whining from them!
Before I tried to invite my family in on this new process I tried it for a week or so myself and it went so well that I have now introduced the idea to my kids and they LOVE IT!
Here are the rules I gave for myself:
- At the end of the day reset the rooms, or areas that you use the most often. For me, that was the kitchen and living room.
- Once kids were in bed do one activity for 30 mins to relax. (Read, take a bath, etc.)
- When that activity was done face the mess, set the timer on your phone for 15 mins.
- Start the timer and clean until you are done, or the timer goes off whichever comes first.
- When the timer goes off STOP! If you were done, then GREAT! If you were not that is ok, I am willing to bet you got the bulk of it put away and “reset” and you are ready for a new day to enjoy your space!
- If you are still feeling invigorated or motivated you CAN keep cleaning if your space needs it or you have a second area that needs help. These rules are flexible and customizable!
Here is a small example
Here are the rules I gave the kids:
- At the end of each day, we are going to “reset” their rooms.
- I set a timer for 15 mins and they only HAVE to clean for 15 mins.
- They are racing the clock! If they get done before the timer goes off they get a point. (I will either just keep track of this on my phone or try to make a check-off calendar for it)
- If they get points every day for the week then I will take them to get ice cream or a small treat during the weekend.
- If they do not finish, it is ok, they can stop cleaning. (This is key! This is what takes the pressure off of all of you!)
So you can see for me, it is more about taking the pressure off and realizing I can clean for 15 minutes without a problem, most of the time I realize that I overestimate how long something is going to take. As of today, I have always mostly finished before the alarm goes off. This process stops me from looking at the size of the mess and getting discouraged because all I have to worry about is the timer!
For the kids, it was about making it into a game and them knowing that they only have to clean for 15 mins because like me they tend to overestimate how long it will take them to clean their rooms so a lot of their whining or protest is because they think it is going to take them a long time. This gets rid of that argument!
- This is not deep cleaning, this is simply resetting your space for the next day and lessening the clutter from day-to-day. If you need to do deep cleaning tasks like cleaning a bathroom, putting away laundry, or reorganizing a pantry, you will want to keep them separate! But if you do these resets I have found that I am less overwhelmed when it comes to deep cleaning around the house!
- While cleaning if you find things that belong in other rooms collect them in a box to distribute once your 15 mins are done, this eliminates you getting distracted by some other mess in another area of your house!
- Keep your “reset” to one room or area at a time. If you have an open kitchen and living area you can combine those, but if you are trying to do that plus your bedroom you will run into the issue of getting overwhelmed and defeat the purpose of setting the timer!