Quick Clean Up For When Life Gets Busy – The 12 Minute Solution

Quick Clean Up For When Life Gets Busy – The 12 Minute Solution

The Super-Quick Solution to Get Your Home Manageable When You’re Busy


I’m really dreading back-to-school. Aside from missing the fun I’ve been having with my eight year old this summer, I’m not ready for the extra busy-ness that comes with school. I suppose I am partly at fault because I want to be involved with his school but I also work full time. That being said, it doesn’t make the busy that goes with the school year any better.


Between regular parenting, work and general life maintenance, we’re already pretty busy. Once you add in volunteer projects and meetings, homework help, school project help and just staying on top of school paperwork and deadlines, life can get out of control pretty quickly. My intention was to spend some time this summer setting up systems and getting organized but I took on a really large unexpected project that has taken away all of my anticipated free time.


I’ve gone through busy seasons before, so luckily, I know how to handle it. I don’t enjoy being super busy and stressed, but I have developed some shortcuts and when I get my act together and focus on my Sunday planning session, busy can be manageable.


One thing that doesn’t get fixed with my Sunday planning, and quite frankly falls to the bottom of my to do list, is the state of my house. I don’t enjoy cleaning. On top of that, I have an autoimmune disease and some cleaning tasks are really difficult for me so I have to wait for a “good” day or wait for my husband to do it. I usually wait on my husband because I hate wasting a “good” day cleaning when I can do something super fun and active with the kids. That means my house can get out of control really quickly when we are busy.


Clean Up When Your Super Busy

If you are in a busy season and are having a tough time staying on top of your house, try this super simple clean up solution. These three minute clean ups have made a huge difference in my house.


Just set your timer for three minutes at a time and go. Don’t stop and think, just do.


Three Minute Paper Clutter Buster:

Get three bags, boxes or file folders and set them down next to your mail drop area. The first bag is “trash/recycle,” the second bag is “to file,” the third bag is “to act.” Set your timer and touch each paper once, dropping it into whichever bag applies. The surface will be clear and you can take care of the “to file” and “to act” bags when you have more time.


Hopefully, your paper dumping ground is all in one place so that you only have to do this once!


Three Minute Trash Pick Up:

Two years ago, I bought a straightening iron. I kept the box since I bought it at a discount store and wasn’t sure it would work. The box sat in my room for two years because I never got around to taking it to the trash chute. Ridiculous. I now do a three minute trash pickup every few weeks. It’s simple. Grab a trash bag, set your timer and see how many items you can get in your bag in those three minutes.


With such a limited amount of time, you’ll want to just stick to high-visibility areas. If your house is like mine, you’ll have no trouble filling a trash bag. I have friends who do this with all the little free toys from happy meals and broken toys that accumulate. No thinking, just put the trash in the bag and throw the bag out. You won’t miss anything in the bag, I promise.


Three Minute Transport:

This clean up uses the same principle as the trash pick but in travelling mode, set your timer for three minutes and do a sweep through your main living area, dropping things into a “move to another room” bag and “trash” bag. You’ll quickly get the clutter out of your main living area and can either put the “move to another room” items away now or when you have more time. If you live in a multi-level house, you may want to keep a basket at the top and bottom of the stairs to place items that need to go to the other level in so that you do one drop, rather than going up and down the stairs.


These strategies are life savers for me when we are really busy. I seem to be the only person in my house who notices (or cares about) the mess but I’m also the busiest.


Since I don’t have a ton of time, I’ve stopped waiting for a free day to do a clean up and now do my three minute clean ups whenever I’m too busy to dedicate a lot of time. The bonus is, it is much easier to clean up a home that doesn’t have clutter everywhere since you don’t spend time putting away the clutter first.


Do you have quick tips to tackle the day-to-day tasks? I get a lot more done now that I set a timer and just do it, rather than setting aside big chunks of time when I am already too busy.


Too busy to deal with cleaning? My super quick clean up solution for busy times.

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13 thoughts on “Quick Clean Up For When Life Gets Busy – The 12 Minute Solution”

  • 1
    Polly on August 28, 2017 Reply

    Great ideas… thank you so much for sharing! Sometimes I get overwhelmed by all the mess and clutter that builds up in our home, but breaking it down into small chunks of time makes everything seem so much more manageable 🙂

  • 2

    I love these ideas! I have heard about using boxes or bags for clean up, but I really like the idea of doing a quick clean up! Great ideas! Hoping you put out an Ebook with more ideas 🙂

    • 3
      Kathy Macaraeg on August 28, 2017 Reply

      Thanks, Ashley! Sometimes quick clean up is the only way things get done in my house:-)

  • 4
    Cameron - Lucky Orange Pants on August 28, 2017 Reply

    Great ideas to avoid getting overwhelmed! I repinned so I’ll remember 🙂

    • 5
      Kathy Macaraeg on August 28, 2017 Reply

      Thanks, Cameron! I’m glad you found them useful. I swear by my trash pick up.

  • 6
    Tina W. on August 28, 2017 Reply

    These are great ideas and techniques to use on a daily. It makes me think of the book 5 Second Rule I think its called, when you said just set the timer and do it. This most definitely will get me moving and may make you move on to the next task quicker. Thanks for sharing.

    • 7
      Kathy Macaraeg on August 28, 2017 Reply

      Thanks, Tina. I’ll have to check out that book. I find that I’m much more productive when I only give myself a set amount of time. Maybe it just feels less painful since there is a definite end time.

  • 8
    debra on August 28, 2017 Reply

    Love it. Quick. Simple….and it makes an immediate difference.

    • 9
      Kathy Macaraeg on August 28, 2017 Reply

      Thanks! It really does make a big difference really quickly. I have filled an embarrassing amount of trash bags in my 3 minutes (I do 3 minutes per room sometimes.

  • 10
    Ashley Idle on August 28, 2017 Reply

    These are great ideas. I will be implementing these in my day-to-day.

    Ash – http://www.caviartastebolognabudget.com

    • 11
      Kathy Macaraeg on August 28, 2017 Reply

      Thanks, Ashley! I try to work them into my routine so things don’t get too out of control:-)

  • 12
    Chasi Jernigan on August 28, 2017 Reply

    I need these tips. I’m always overwhelmed with housework.

    • 13
      Kathy Macaraeg on August 28, 2017 Reply

      I hear you Chasi. I find that if I try to do this every so often, things don’t get as out of control. Hope it helps at your house too!

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