For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with cleaning and organizing. As I child, I would spend nights finding new ways to store my socks or fold my sweaters. When I would get grounded, which happened quite a bit in public school, I actually looked forward to a full weekend of just going through my closet and sorting out things I didn’t want anymore.
My favourite cleaning activity was dusting – I would dust my room on a weekly basis, and then go dust my brother’s room. The ironic part about this is that I am allergic to dust and would have to hold my breath the entire time.
As I got older though, and didn’t have as much free time due to a heavier school schedule and eventually full-time work, I would find myself not making time to clean or organize. This would cause me to get so stressed out. I would miss classes to clean or post-pone sleep to organize but still make it to my work.
When Tim and I moved in together, I found it even harder to stay on top of things when half of the things in the place weren’t mine. I had no clue how to organize a closest that had some of Tim things here and some of my things there. This eventually led to me having panic attacks about the lack of organization in my drawers and the double amount of dishes in the sink. But my stress levels would be so high that I would just lie on the couch and not do anything about it – I know, terribly unproductive and counterintuitive.
It wasn’t until shortly before Charlotte’s arrival that I knew we needed to adopt some sort of rule or schedule to keep our house clean. Keeping on top of a house when you both work 9 hours a day is difficult, but keeping on top of a house with a brand new baby was a challenge I really wasn’t looking forward to.
Eventually, Tim and I adopted a habit that has changed the status of our house and help lower my stress levels.
The Five Minute Cleaning Habit
Embracing the five-minute cleaning habit has been life-changing for me. It has helped me stay on top of the house and not feel like a complete failure of a mom/wife when Tim comes home from work each evening. It is the simplest habit and yet, the most rewarding.
The premise of the rule is: if a cleaning task will take you less than five minutes, just do it. Stop putting it off.
Need to put the baby’s toys away? That’ll take less than five minutes – do it. Need to pick up towels off the bathroom floor? Do it. Need to run the dishwasher? Do it – unless you live in Ontario and pay for your own electricity, then wait for the off-peak hours.
Following this rule has made our house, and my mentality, a much better place to be.