Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The 10-minute tidy

This weekend we had family over for dinner on Sunday to celebrate Valentine’s Day. It was a lot of fun and I’m really glad I made the effort. Although it was hard — as it often is with our busy schedules — to get everything organized in time, we managed to pull it off. The food shopping got done and the meal came out great. Even the house was fairly presentable, thanks to the 10-minute tidy.

The 10-minute tidy is a great way to give a messy house a quick facelift when you don’t have a lot of time. The basic idea: everyone in the family drops what they’re doing and tidies up their surroundings for ten minutes, working as quickly as they can. There’s no deep cleaning going on here; just simple stuff like putting away clothes or dishes, taking newspapers out to the recycle bin, wiping down bathroom sinks and countertops, dust mopping the kitchen floor, etc.

If you’re tidying up for company, you'll want to concentrate on common spaces like the family room, kitchen, main bathroom, and front hallway. Bedrooms can wait till later. You can also dole out room assignments to each family member if you want. Set a kitchen timer to mark the time and play upbeat music to make it fun. You’ll be amazed how quickly your house can be transformed when everyone works together.

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