the cleaning power of thirty minutes

i'm that disorganized, dysfunctional girl. i roll my eyes at the women with their little clipboards, color-coded pens & cleaning schedules.  i mean, who follows a cleaning schedule? (don't answer that)

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and so it goes, as we prepared for our upcoming vacation, i started a check list of to do's before leaving. just as i would check off a to-do, ten new items would magically appear on the list. 

in a moment of desperation & self-pity, i decided to set my timer for thirty minutes. 

our house was a disaster. 

what could i really do in thirty minutes? perhaps those highly organized women with their fancy office supplies were on to something...

here's proof of the mess (edited to reveal pretty light & hide the dirt/smudges/fur balls caked/smeared/floating on every & all surfaces):

with a trash bag in hand & a basket at the ready, i set the timer for thirty minutes.

my results:

a made bed.

clutter picked up & in it's designated place.

groceries unpacked & put away, canning supplies organized & life in a manageable state.

i didn't have time to sweep the floors, scrub the pots or clean the counters. my house was definitely not martha stewart approved.

but that thirty minutes was well spent & put me at ease.

we don't have to be that woman with her regimented cleaning schedule & highly organized life. i promise you, i'll fail at being her. 

but we can acknowledge the power of a well-spent handful of minutes focused & oriented toward cleaning up the mess of life. we don't always have to choose this path because sometimes a mindless half hour of facebook is good for the soul, but being intentional about how we spend our time can make a big difference in how we enjoy our time.

i plan to practice this thirty minute cleaning session in my daily rhythm.  i'd love to know - how do you manage the dirt, grime & chaos of home? 


Lauren Hooker said...

I love this. Thank you for your refreshing honesty and encouragement! I think I'll go set my timer now :)

Kristin Eldridge said...

Good idea!

Stephanie said...

Awesome. I usually try to get as much done while my kettle heats up and my tea steeps. Its amazing what I can do in the 4 minutes it takes for it to steep. :) I love your house, even messy. thanks for sharing

Unknown said...

Thank you for your encouragement on intentional time. I spend too much time dreading the clean up..... and not enough time just tackling it. Love your perspective!

Mrs. Hoadley said...

Great post! Thank you for posting real photos of a real house, I swear my house looks like a team of frat boys lives here. I'm trying the 30 min timer!

Madelyn said...

I love how real this post is! Thanks for sharing!

Alicia A. said...

I am an avid believer in the 30 minute power tidy. I try to do it before bed every night, so that I can start the next morning on the right foot.

Sara said...

I usually pick up at night before bed - but I've gotten better about my own expectations for our home. I need the sign that says "Excuse the mess. We live here" that is floating all over Pinterest :)

Anonymous said...

The power of 30 minutes eh. With a little one to take care of now I often find these 'sprint' type times my most productive! Today in 30 minutes I decluttered and reorganised our junk drawer - we all have one, at least I hope we do and it isn't just me. Haha!

I love your realness in this post!
Bits & Bobs

Amanda - Small Home Big Start said...

I did the same thing the other night - our place was a mess and I couldn't think straight. I decided to spent the last 20 or so minutes before bed just tidying up as much as I could. I'm so glad I did because the next day after work we had unexpected company. Phew!

I love your idea of using a timer! I need to get in a regular habit of doing this, or using the time when I have the oven timer on waiting for dinner to get something accomplished! Thanks Natalie!

Karen said...

Hi Natalie, I have just discovered your wonderful blog! I will be a frequent visitor I'm sure, your farm and home and photos are just lovely.
The results of you 30 minute clean- up post are great - enjoy that you are authentic enough to share the "before" photos! I am not a neat freak by any means BUT I have established this habit of keeping the kitchen and main rooms nice and tidy - with 5 people and 2 cats there is plenty of stuff flying around & unexpected visitors are often! Why decorate and have a cute house when everything is a mess!?! A quick 10-30 minutes makes a world of difference. Have a lovely day, xo Karen

Anonymous said...

I adore you blog! If you have time to respond I would love to ask...where did you find the wood you have there on your wall? I'm thinking of a project that calls for wood just like that and I was wondering where I might find it. I LOVE it. I love all things you do in your lovely home. would you be able to send a quick email?

vmcarnevale said...

I love the "10-minute refresh." I work from home on a computer all day, so I take ten-minute breaks and pick one area to pick up--something doable in just ten minutes. It gives my brain a break and by the end of the day my house is clean!

Kathrine said...

I do the same! If my house looks like a complete mess in every room (which it always does in summer when I'm spending all my free time outside) I break the to do-list down into 30mins cleaning frenzies. Come to think of it, I get SO much done in 5min with alarm set than I do if I have the whole day with no clear idea of the time frame. Works wonders!

Holly said...

Yep, timers are where it's at.

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