It's so simple, it's almost dumb to share..
This is such a quick and easy thing, it almost feels to simple to type it all out! But I didn’t discover it until recently, and it makes a huge difference in my life.
Any time I figure out a very (VERY!) easy “life hack” of sorts, I want to share it.
So many of my habits and routines and priorities have shifted since I became a mom a few years ago, but one thing hasn’t changed at all:
I must have a clean house.
I must. I will give up many other things, but not a clean house.
Let’s play a game of “would you rather"
Would you rather get to your appointment on time, or be late because you tidied the kitchen after breakfast?
A: tidied the kitchen after breakfast
Would you rather sleep in a bit, or wake up earlier to organize the house?
A: wake early and organize the house. Always.
Would you rather go on an all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii or stay home and clean your messy house?
A: I mean…Hawaii. But I’m going to find time to clean my messy house before I go. 😉
The kids are down! Would you rather lay on the couch and read a book in a messy living room, or tidy the living room?
A: Tidy the living room.
Which brings me to my favorite little 10 minute trick. Here it is:
After the babies go to bed (around 7 pm), I always spend 10 minutes tidying up the house.
I know that if I spend 10 minutes doing this, I’ll wake up to a clean house and my day will go 10% smoother.
It’s sooo simple. I know!
But here are a few rules I’ve created for myself that make it more impactful:
1. I can only spend 10 minutes. I literally set a timer! When the timer goes off, I stop cleaning. Knowing that there’s timer motivates me to hustle and get it done. I’m not going to get distracted by anything, because I don’t want to make this cleaning process any longer than it has to be!
2. I do it before I do anything else. I just get it done. Once the boys are asleep, I don’t do the things that I really want to do, like lie down on the couch, turn on Netflix, open a beer…because once I do those things I won’t want to get up to make the space around me all tidied and beautiful.
3. I use the word “tidy,” not clean… It makes a big difference! Cleaning, to me, means scrubbing, cleaning supplies, rags, sponges, getting rid of grime… I just don’t have the energy to do that at the end of a day. Tidy means making things “look” clean. That’s good enough, and it brings a sense of calm to the end of the day.
4. I have limits on the areas of the house I’m “allowed” to tidy. I always do the main living area (kitchen + dining + living room) and I clear things off the counter, put dishes in the dishwasher, straighten up the couch, and remove any random toys/socks/little boy clothes that have been left behind.
I do NOT ever clean the play room. I literally pick up toys from other parts of the house and throw them in there. Haha. It’s not worth the time to clean the play room every night. I also don’t clean the upstairs at all. I just focus on one small area of the house.
^ I snapped this picture early in the morning just before I got the boys out of bed. Once they’re up, the house is going to look very lived in…but I know that for the first hour of the day when I’m getting myself going, I’ll wake up to an organized, clean space. And that makes me feel so excited for the day!
When I wake up to a tidy house early in the morning, I’m always so happy that I took the 10 minutes to get this done. I love early mornings when I wake up to a clean, quiet house. It’s one of the most empowering things, and I think it starts a snowball effect on the rest of my day.
So, that’s my little 10 minute trick! It literally is just 10 minutes out of my day, but it sets up the next day so beautifully. Every time I’m doing this 10 minute tidy and I’m soooo exhausted from a day of working and parenting and just living, I tell myself: “future Kelsey says thank you.”
And it’s true! The next morning, I feel so thankful to my past self for taking the 10 minutes to make my house look so nice and clean.