20 Minutes a Day

I fall off the wagon of my cleaning routine far too often. How did my home get so messy if I didn’t do that? Anyway, I try to make the return to tidiness as easy on me as possible, while also making an impact on my home.
I participate in Apartment Therapy’s January Cure every year. It always makes a significant impact on my home, and the spots that require the least work now are the ones I tackled while doing the Cure. It has also taught me important lasting lessons, like buying fresh flowers for my home and setting a timer while I clean.
I set a timer for 20 minutes, and even have playlists on my computer for that length to mark the time. It’s enough time to make an impact, but not so long that I drag or get bored.
There are still nights when 20 minutes are impractical, so I give myself some leeway. It’s hard to make myself clean when I don’t get home until 11 p.m. (I go to bed pretty early), so I have an arrangement with myself. I have to put 5 things away before bed, and they can be as small as taking a dirty dish to the kitchen or throwing out old receipts. It doesn’t have to be much, but it’s nice to go to bed feeling like I’ve done something.

The bookshelf closest to the front door is a gathering spot for junk
The bookshelf after a 20 minute tidy session

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