Fall Clean Fast with Five-Minute Fixes


Forget spring cleaning. This year, I’m all about fall cleaning.

It doesn’t make much sense to deep clean in the spring, if you think about it. No one spends a lot of time at home (or at least inside) during the summer. But fall cleaning, gearing up for the winter when you’ll be inside all the time and want your space to be pretty, makes perfect sense.

It also happens that fall is the busiest time of year, the time when most of us have the least time to spare for big cleaning projects.

I’m dealing with that so far this year by getting in cleaning when I can (I did most of the playroom the other day while the girl was playing with other things) and thinking really small.

What Can You Do in Five Minutes?

In my mind, and now here, I’m calling this approach the five-minute fix. Pick an area that you can clear off, sort through or otherwise clean in five minutes or so.

You can actually set a timer if you want — that’s kind of fun because it makes it like a race — or you can just watch the clock and work as fast as you can. bedside table clearing

I used this method the other weekend to clear off the insane mess that was my nightstand. It quickly becomes a dumping ground for all sorts of stuff.

I cleared it off, piled up things that needed to go different places, dusted and put the essentials (book, notebook, iPad, iPhone) back on. And it really did only take five minutes. messy shelf redo

Emboldened, I took on the girl’s bookshelf and surrounding environs, which are always a mess. This one took a little more than five minutes and still isn’t perfect, but at least I got the books straightened up and some of the floor cleared off (admittedly some of that stuff went straight into the closet, but that’s for another five minutes).

If you can think in zones, there’s a lot you can do in five minutes. You could:

  • go through one drawer of your dresser
  • clear off the bathroom countertop
  • empty out that chair that always gets covered with stuff
  • put away a load of laundry
  • sort one shelf of the pantry
  • wipe down the bathtub
  • quick sort the junk mail or magazine pile
  • take care of that one place in your house that drives you crazy

Don’t we all deserve clean, clear, wonderful places to spend the long cold winter ahead (even if we don’t really get a long cold winter)? What could you do in five minutes?

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