Listen, Mamaloo – I know that sometimes life just gets in the way of having that spotless kitchen, sanitized bathroom, or perfectly laid out bujo. But the truth is, we all get the same number of minutes in a day, and if we’re being honest – you and I both know that it’s far too easy to get sucked into facebook or instagram for half an hour than it is to get our butts off the sofa to do something productive. It only takes 15 minutes to do any one of these 15 productive things.
Those daunting tasks that, as we pass them, drive us nuts – yet we conveniently forget about them until the next time we look that way.
That grungy line of dirt under the fridge.
The water spots on the bathroom mirror.
The overflowing hamper in your kid’s room.
I’m. So. Guilty.
I decided to try this little ‘life hack’ loosely based on the Pomodoro Technique. If you haven’t heard of it, I suggest you look it up (but spend no more than 15 minutes on it!) and see how you can apply it to your life.
One hour = 4 things you can get done. Dooooood. Let me at it. I’d love nothing more than to bang out 4 things before noon and be able to spend the rest of the day focusing on stuff I really want to do instead of feeling bogged down by stuff I don’t want to!
So here’s my first list that’s going to be my plan of attack as soon as I publish this post… and get more coffee…
- Empty the dishwasher and load it back up. Yup, you and I both know that sink seems to fill right up as soon as you empty it, so let’s hit that baby first. Empty the dishwasher and load it up with everything that’s in the sink. Anything that doesn’t fit, gets washed, dried, and put away immediately. Then polish that baby up so she shines (and stops stinking).
- Swap out some laundry. Take whatever’s in the dryer out, and if you’ve got something clean in the washer (that hasn’t been sitting there for more than a day), toss it in. Add another load to the washer and go fold and put away whatever you first took out. Honest, people… this doesn’t REALLY take more than 15 minutes, so just get it done.
- Sweep. I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me more nuts than stepping on cat food, pony beads, or bread crumbs. Sweep any and all hard floors. You can save the mopping/scrubbing for when you’ve got 30 minutes.
- Declutter ONE surface. Our dining table is the first to get loaded with ‘stuff’. Kid projects, Hubby projects, Mama projects. Mail. Hair supplies that were left in a hurry on our way out the door for school and forgotten about until dinner. We also have a few spaces in the kitchen like this. And my desk. And my daughter’s floor in her room. And… And…
- Dust! I am obsessed with my Swiffer Duster. I just got a new pole that extends 3 feet too! Run around the house and get the cobwebs at the ceiling first, then hit the light fixtures (bathroom and bedroom seem worst). Then shelves and surfaces – but don’t ever, ever just go around stuff. Lift things up and watch that duster clean everything up in seconds! Yes, I know an old sock works too. Especially if you spray it with some kind of polish, or even better, a microfiber cloth. But seriously – a THREE FOOT POLE! No more ladders!
- Grab a box and run around the house putting everything that’s out of place in it. Then go around the house and put each thing back where it belongs.
- Change the sheets on one bed – and make sure to toss the sheets in the wash! Make the bed and notice how neat it makes the whole room feel.
- Vacuum. Your choice – deep vac one room, or just do a quick pass in every room in the house. Carpeted or not. If you choose to deep vac, make sure you get under furniture, IN the furniture, ON the furniture (especially if you’ve got pets, or just did some dusting). When the weather’s nice, open up the windows when you do this too.
- Write a meal plan for the next week. You don’t have to get all particular, but shop your pantry/fridge/freezer first, then make a plan with what you’ve got and a list for the store if need be. Check out my Kitchen Organization Inventory Digital Download Printables if you haven’t already. They make shopping the kitchen super easy!
- Sort out one bag’s worth of old clothing to donate/dispose of. If you don’t fill the bag the first 15 minutes, do it again the next day with another closet until all closets are done and then immediately put it in your trunk or trash bin.
- Clean out your car. Grab a plastic grocery bag (or larger if you must), empty all the trash you find into it. Get some paper towels and windex and wipe down everything (yes, everything including the windows). Add a small bin to hold everything you like to keep in the car so it doesn’t get tossed all over the place when you’re running late to pick up the kids. (Chargers, change, umbrella, napkins/tissues, etc.) – If you’ve got another 15 minutes, drive to the carwash and vacuum that baby out before taking her for a zip through the wash.
- Declutter and de-funk your fridge. Pull everything out and slap it on the counters. Wipe down shelves and bins – hubby likes to put them in the tub, spray with cleaner and hose them off while I’m wiping out the rest of the fridge. Toss out anything old or expired and put those containers in the sink to soak. Organize everything by type (cheeses, veggies, beverages, etc) and consider adding clear bins for things like snack foods and pre-prepared meal kits.
- Pick a drawer and dump it. You know what I’m talking about. It could be your ‘junk drawer’ (anyone else have 2 or 3 of these?) or a desk drawer. Dump it out, wipe it out, toss or donate anything you haven’t touched in more than 3 months. Organize the rest into dividers if you can – even washed out yogurt cups or 6 cup muffin tins will work.
- Pick one shelf of the hall/linen closet or your whole medicine cabinet. You guessed it – drag the trash bin over and ditch anything that’s expired (this includes that MAC lipstick you just ‘had to have’ but never wore in the past year), gross, exploded, or in general just funky. This includes towels/washcloths that can be turned into rags, old sheets with holes, flat sheets you never use and never will, old medicine be it over the counter or prescription.
- Clean every mirror and sink in the house. Windex and Clorox Clean Up are my besties. They go everywhere with me when I’m on a cleaning rampage. Plus one cloth for glass and metal and one for porcelain. Zip through the house and do a quick spray of every mirror and sink you’ve got. If you’re then feeling ambitious and have time left, zap some windows, too.
So there are 15 productive things to do in 15 minutes! What others have you come up with? I’m thinking I’ll work on creating a running list in my bullet journal so I can focus on feeling accomplished every day!