15 Things You Can Clean in 15 Minutes

You know Leslie Knope’s house in Parks and Rec when she is going to host a dinner party to impress her well-traveled boyfriend? Remember the complete mess? Okay, please refer to figure 1.a

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Figure 1.a The Official Chart of Messy Houses

Needless to say, my house is such a wreck that Ralph should live here (anyone? anyone?). I have a difficult time getting the cleaning done because I don’t care enough to clean. I only care when someone is coming over. Then I bust my butt and get mad when it’s down to the wire and everything is still too messy. I feel overwhelmed by my house right now and I need simple short tasks I can easily complete. I present to you: 15 things that you can clean in 15 minutes.

  1. Coffee table – mine has a ton of dishes and school books on it with a few other odds and ends, but I can’t see the table so it’s probably time to clean it.
  2. Bookshelf – my kids have half a bookshelf that is for all their mass of books and luckily they like to read. Unluckily, they haven’t figured out how to actually put books back nicely so it’s all pretty.

    Figure 1.b Actual footage from my dreams

  3. Entryway – shoes flood the area since I started the “take your shoes off at the door” rule. Not to mention mail and random stuff has accumulated on the little desk by the door. Time to put it all away and light a candle to get rid of the stinky shoe smell.
  4. Couch – I spend a lot of time on the couch. Like a lot. I pretty much set up camp on the couch and I do all my schoolwork, blogging, and Pinteresting here. As I look to my right I can see:
    • my blog notes
    • my daughter’s homework folder
    • a book that belongs with the kids’ books on the bookshelf
    • my planner
    • a box of Kleenex
    • an empty plate with a knife on top (I had a bagel earlier).
    • my church projection computer notes
    • a few coloring pages
    • a few blankets of various sizes (you need to be ready for anything)
  5. Folding a basket of clothes – I don’t always get the laundry done before we run out of clothes, but when I actually do the laundry, I rarely fold it or put it away. We spend way too many mornings putting our clothes back in the dryer to get the wrinkles out so we don’t look like hobos. I should probably get better at folding clothes.
  6. Putting away the basket of clothes

    Figure 1.c All of the people who have never put away a basket of clothes before

    Calm down. I know this is a ridiculous request, but if we put away our clothes, tomorrow we can get out of the shower and open our closet like some rich girl from the movies and it will make us feel good!

  7. Throw away the trash in the kitchen – I’m not sure why I don’t throw away trash as I make it, but I don’t. It stays on the counter until I or someone else cleans the kitchen. Full disclosure: no one else in my house throws their trash away either, so it’s not just me. It will take no time at all to simply walk around the kitchen throwing things away.
  8. Hallway – I have one hallway and unless someone has thrown the entire contents of their room into the hallway (for which there is a precedent), my hallway cleaning entails picking up a few things and vacuuming. Super quick.
  9. The dining room table – there is a small caveat to this one: I’m not including doing the dishes from the table. I just set them in the sink. #ihatedoingdishes
  10. The top of my dresser/my makeup table – the top of my dresser has the really large mirror on it and it is where I do my hair and makeup. I don’t clean as I go (haven’t you figured that out yet?) and it gets pretty cluttered and wrecked. Putting things back where they belong doesn’t really take that much effort from me, other than deciding to do it.
  11. Start a load of laundry – oh no, we came full circle, didn’t we? It doesn’t take too long and if you’re reading this post, I’m guessing you need clean clothes just as much as I do.
  12. Bathroom mirror(s) – I never think about cleaning the mirrors until its a sunny day and the blinds are open and I can clearly see all the splashes from the sink all over the mirrors. Maybe I need to come up with a cleaning schedule…
  13. The bed – if you have stuff all over your bed such as books, clean clothes, electronics, etc., put them away in the simplest way possible. If you don’t have time to put away the clean clothes in 15 minutes, put them back in the basket and find a place for the basket. Get it? Honestly, I always think making my bed is a waste of time. I’m going to mess it up in a few hours anyway. But when I do, it looks so warm and cozy and special. I remember once again how good the sight of my made bed makes me feel and I wonder why I don’t do it every day.
  14. The kids’ beds – my daughter is just old enough to be able to make her bed. The boys are still pretty small so I make their beds for them… occasionally. Most of the time they just stay unmade. But there is something that inspires me about a made bed (see #13).
  15. Pick up trash in your car – depending on how bad the trash situation in your car is, this whole job might take more than 15 minutes. If that’s the case, set a timer and clean until it goes off. If you are so inclined, go ahead and finish the job. If not, walk proudly back into your house knowing you worked hard today. For me, I pick up the trash while we are going through the car wash. I always grab a few complimentary trash bags as we go through the car wash line. The next time we get a wash, I have the kids unbuckle as soon as I pull into the parking lot and they take a trash bag and fill it up. By the time we get to the trash can, I grab a few more bags, the job is done and I didn’t have to do much at all. Win-win.

If you struggle with keeping a clean house like I do, #1: please let me know because I like to see that other people struggle with the same things I do and #2: know your not the only person who has a messy house. You’re not alone. We may be gross but we’re gross together! Gross power! Okay but seriously, let’s pick something to clean because it’s about time.

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