This photo is not staged.
Do you ever feel like your house can spiral out of control faster than you can pick it back up again? You look away for a moment and everything is suddenly a disaster? Yeah. Me too.
But many years ago we stumbled upon a trick that works like a charm to get the house cleaned up in just five minutes. Not spotless, not perfect, not free of clutter, not ready for a white glove test or a magazine photo shoot. But it does look cleaner and tidier in just five minutes. And sometimes, that is all I hope for. A cleaner looking house in five minutes. Before I have a breakdown.
When our kids were younger, we had to come up with a very simple system to get our house in order in a hurry. We were overwhelmed by cleaning days, we failed on chore charts, and it was a constant battle to keep the house tidy. While we weren’t aiming for perfection, we did want the house to feel like there was some sense of reasonable and attainable order and cleanliness.
When all of our attempts failed, my husband came up with one simple cleaning rule, our “plan of attack” — nothing could be left on the floor that didn’t belong there. Every night, he gave the “floor check” warning and everyone scurried around for five minutes picking things up off the floor.
Clean floors = cleaner house
I had NO IDEA what a difference that would make in how our house felt.
You assume that cleaning off the tables will make a difference, but if your floor is still covered in clothes, toys, backpacks, paper and junk, it didn’t really matter if our other surfaces were clear. The messy floor cluttered with stuff made the whole room look and feel out of control.
And the side benefit of this simple system? Once the floor was picked up, the idea of cleaning the rest of the room was no longer as overwhelming.
For us, the floor was the easiest and most manageable place to start.
It didn’t even matter if our girls piled everything up on a desk or chair. If that bothered us, then we could take another few minutes to do a “cleaning frenzy” and put everything away that was on the chair. Breaking the room up into those smaller zones, with the floor being the priority, is what worked for us!
Even today, if I’m ever overwhelmed by the mess, it helps me to start by picking stuff up off the floors. It really helps to have a place to start!
Do you keep your floor free of clutter?
related post: How I Keep My Home Clean Enough