It’s an old cliché, and it’s one you’ve probably said to yourself a million times, but it’s still true – there are just never enough hours in the day.

Blame your busy lifestyle, blame your family responsibilities, maybe blame the fact that managing time is really hard and nobody is very good at it (us included - we’re not judging!), but there’s never enough time to get the things done you want to get done, and you’re always left needing to prioritize how you spend your time.

One of the things that tends to suffer most when making these decisions about your time is the chance to get some cleaning done. We’ve all been there - things pile up through the day and it all falls by the wayside until it becomes a huge, weekend-long project.

What if instead of waiting until you have to spend all Saturday tidying up the living room, we told you we had a way to spend 5 minutes per day organizing and avoiding the usual pile-up? Submitted for your approval are a few tips we’ve gathered to help you get in the habit of taking 5 minutes to clean up every night and prevent it from becoming a massive project later on. Take a look to see which of them can best fit your life, and who knows - you just might like it after you try it!

Use Your Kitchen Time Better: The kitchen is probably the place we do the most waiting out of any other room in the house. There’s boiling pasta on the stove top, there’s pizzas in the oven, there’s inevitably something snacky in the microwave, and all of this translates to a lot of time spent leaning against the counter. While you’re waiting for the coffee to stop gurgling, why not take a second and try:

  • Decluttering the Tupperware drawer - if something’s missing a lid, out it goes! Anything still usable that still has some of that funky old spaghetti sauce smell can be soaked with dish soap or stuffed with newspapers to absorb the old scent.
  • Toss out everything in the fridge that looks like it’s going to come to life, or doesn’t smell too edible anymore (or both).
  • Do the same for your cabinets: throw away anything that isn’t going to (or can’t) be eaten, and set up some kitchen cabinet organizers to prevent the mess from getting worse later. 

Look Around Your Bedroom: Bedrooms have a bad habit of getting pretty unorganized pretty much right when we wake up, and it just gets worse from there. Wake up just a little earlier to take five minutes for one (or more) of the following little projects to get in the habit:

  • Make your bed. We know, we know, but if you take a second to put your sheets and pillows back where they belong you’ll start your day off feeling way more productive than you would have otherwise.
  • Organize just one drawer in your bedroom dressers. As you get ready for the day, look at whatever drawer needs the most help - underwear, t-shirts, whatever it may be - and take some time to tidy it back up before you leave. Do this for one drawer every morning and soon you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!
  • Leave some hangers out for your work clothes. Whatever suits or fancy office clothes you need for work, you’ll probably want them to stay wrinkle-free, so when you get changed in the morning leave the hangers on your closet doorknob to put them away later.

Break Up The Bigger Tasks: Some stuff is just too big to get done in one 5-minute sitting, and these can end up being the tasks we put off more than others. Instead of waiting until they pile up and become overly daunting, here’s a few things you can spend 5 minutes per day doing until they’re eventually all done:

  • Set a timer for ten minutes and find one thing in a room to de-clutter and reorganize: the shelves, the TV stands, the desks, whatever needs the most help. Repeat this every night for a week or so and see how fast everything gets cleaned up.
  • Remember to focus on one strategy: instead of trying to both get rid of stuff you don’t want and organize what you’re keeping, spend one day purging the stuff you don’t need and then go back the next day to move everything around. Keep a concrete list of everything that needs to happen in a given room and work through it slowly, getting everything checked off along the way.
  • Get the kids to help when possible. By getting them their own timer, if they can spend a few minutes a night getting one big project done, they’ll feel less pressured to do chores than they might be otherwise and it will save a lot of hassle in the long run. (You will probably have to reward them with some ice cream or a toy or something, but you can think of it as a long-term investment in good cleaning habits.

After a few weeks of these tips, you just might find yourself doing it out of habit instead of forcing yourself to - and think about how much cleaner your house will be! (No need to thank us, it’s what we’re here for.)