03 November 2010

the 10 minute cleaner.

It is 11:30 at night and I {jane} am standing in my kitchen looking at a mess – again.  To make matters worse, I am leaving at 5:30 in the morning to accompany my husband on a business trip, so time is short.  I have not quite finished packing, there is laundry in the dryer and some ironing to do, and I still have a sample to make up for a product we are thinking about.  And I have to ask: “Why do I find myself in this mess again?”  My thoughts drift back to my first mother in law.  She was amazing and probably the best house keeper and home manager I have ever met.  I am sure she was often dismayed by my haphazard (at best) approach to keeping house.  My mother never had the knack and so my excuse is that I was never taught how to run a house.  That excuse sounds a little thin as I am 58 years old and bright enough to figure out a plan.  At least in theory, anyway.  But there is a nagging question those of us with a free spirit always ask.  Won’t a strict schedule cramp my style?  Just how organized is too organized?

I posed this question to some women in my church small group a couple of years ago, and one them told me to about FLY Lady.  The folks at FLY Lady have made a business out of saving people like me.  They began by expanding on a program from the 70s called the Sidetracked Home Executive – SHE for short.  FLY (which stands for finally loving yourself) Lady organizes all of us SHEs with a very practical approach.  The program has you set up routines, do a weekly quick pass over (called a Home Blessing Hour) and concentrate most of your energy on one “zone” or area of your home each week.  It works great and I encourage you to visit fly lady and see what you think.  Their website is a little too cluttered and chaotic for my taste – which I find really ironic.

So here is a quick overview of what I consider Fly Lady’s most useful habits.  The most important is that IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT!  Then she encourages you to set the timer for 10 minutes and do a chore.  I find it is amazing how much I can get done if I just concentrate on one chore for 10 little minutes.  Also, it helps to have routines around my chores - little things like run the dishwasher each night, and throw in a load of laundry each morning before you head to the kitchen to start breakfast.  So here is a 10 minute challenge.  Spend 10 minutes picking up your kitchen tonight before you go to bed.  FLY Lady encourages you to start by shining your sink each night (even if you have to take dirty dishes out of it to do so).  But I think if you spend 10 minutes tonight after the kids are in bed and putting away all the last minutes dishes, sweeping the floor and starting the dishwasher you will have a much brighter morning.  The important thing is to stop after 10 minutes.  Set your timer and stop when it goes off.  Let us know how this works for you and what challenges you face in keeping up with your home.

caio . jane . pres + gamma


thanks mom!

i decided to give the 10 minute rule a try.  
since i'm in a pretty good habit of cleaning the kitchen before i head to bed, 
i decided to set the timer

and clean up

this mess that exists every morning after 

we've had breakfast and made a packed lunch or two.

it really bothers me for some reason...  probably because my mind is racing with everything else going on the rest of the day.  so, i'm interrupted by my own thoughts and my children's {most likely} urgent needs which makes the task take a stinkin long time.  but, not this time.  
i sent the kids to play and i left my email and phone alone.

when my time was up...

with the exception of my pile of papers, and the dirty window that i just noticed {ha!}, i had a clean kitchen.  not sure why i didn't take a picture of the entire kitchen, but i promise, it was lookin good.  oh, and i would be misleading you if i didn't mention that i was sweating {just a little} when i was done.

you should try it.  the 10 minute clean up that is.

let us know if you have any magnificent cleaning tips.

loves . rae


  1. I started on the Flylady program about 10 years ago it really has changed the way I keep my house. My house is almost always company ready. Her gimmicks are a little silly but I never go to bed with a dirty kitchen.

  2. hey there. love this idea...my kids and i do a clean "sweep" where i count to see how long it takes us to get everything put in place and cleared out. it's always fun to see how fast we can go. anything with a "race" and my kids are in. ;) oh, and something fun...my little girl saw your pics of your house, and goes, "Can we move there?" lol.

    also wanted to let you know i linked to your blog from mine today. come by and visit!!

  3. this is great. I love it & use it for both myself....and my kids! 10 minutes before heading out the door, 10 minute clean up makes it even better to come home :)
    ~Ada in Coastal Cali

  4. I do this too! I call it Power Cleaning. Is there any other way?! I noticed your coffee level is lower in your coffee pot after clean up.....hmmmm. I know mine would be!

  5. What a cute blog! Just found you today! And I wanted to mention....I LOVE FlyLady and although sometimes Im still living in C.H.A.O.S, Its getting better =)

  6. Anonymous22.11.10

    I have to try this 10 minute clean up. Your kitchen looks great!! I am really enjoying your blog.