Mastering The 10-Minute Tidy

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall
Credit: Shutterstock / ar14

Do you freeze in horror when your doorbell rings unexpectedly? Does the thought of friends dropping by unannounced or family suggesting dinner at your place send you into a panic? If clutter and cleaning aversions keep your home from being guest-ready, you’re not out of luck. It’s time to learn how to embrace the ten-minute tidy and how it can ease your fears and stress surrounding your home.

Set a timer and only tidy for ten minutes at a time. Do not respond to distractions, and don’t worry about deep cleaning or organizing. Focus on clearing floors and other large surfaces, and toss questionable items into a designated bin. Shut the doors to private spaces and concentrate on tidying shared living areas and bathrooms. Make it a habit to do the ten-minute tidy every day.

Keeping your house in tip-top shape may seem like you’re fighting a never-ending battle. However, mastering the ten-minute tidy is the key to making your home presentable without needing to break into a cold sweat.

The Goal Isn’t To Deep Clean Your Home

For many people, the thought of straightening up their house sends shivers down their spine. They try everything they can to put it off, from diverting to Netflix binges to watching TikTok cat videos. But then, things pile up, making the idea of tidying up even more unbearable.

Therefore, before beginning a ten-minute tidy, remind yourself that the goal is to make your home neat and presentable, not to clean it meticulously. Although cleaning your home is important, there’s no reason to clean it from top to bottom every time you’re expecting guests.

When you approach tidying with the attitude that it isn’t about making your home perfect, it becomes much easier to handle. You don’t have such overwhelming expectations.

7 Tips To Master The Ten-Minute Tidy

Do you deep clean your home a few times a year and regularly clean the main spaces, like your kitchen and bathrooms? If so, a daily tidy-up is all you need to make your home inviting and ready for visitors.

It’s time to breathe easier when you hear the doorbell and invite guests inside your home with a smile. Here are seven tips to make the most of the ten-minute tidy and embrace the idea that it’s easy to maintain a neat house.

1. Don’t Get Distracted

Choose a time for your speedy tidying session when others won't interrupt you. For example, if you have children, you might wait until after the kids go to bed or after they go to school. If you're a morning person, you may choose to wake up earlier than others in the household to complete your mission.

It's also important to avoid other distractions, like social media, unexpected phone calls, or television. Turn off your phone and tablet, switch off the TV, and close your laptop. Remember, it's only for ten minutes, so you can do it!

2. Always Set A Timer

Don't start tidying before you set a timer. It's too easy to over or underestimate how long ten minutes is. Therefore, you either don't work the whole time, or you go too long, burn out, and lose the whole purpose of the ten-minute tidy.

A timer keeps you on track without worrying about checking a clock every few minutes. Ideally, you keep your phone off, or at least tuck it away in another room (see tip number one), to avoid tempting distractions. Therefore, use a kitchen timer or the one on your oven or microwave. If you have a voice assistant like Alexa, tell her to set a timer for ten minutes.

3. Make It A Habit

Commit to performing a ten-minute tidy consistently so that it becomes a habit. Studies suggest it can take approximately three to eight weeks to create a habit. Therefore, it might take more effort and commitment in the beginning, but as time passes, if you stick with it, it gets easier.

For the best results, aim to make it a habit to do a ten-minute tidy every day. Daily tidying makes it much more manageable to maintain a tidy household long-term and clean up in a pinch when you hear the unexpected ding dong. If you decide against a daily ten-minute tidy-up, at least plan to do it a few times a week to prevent clutter from building up too much.

4. Add In A Two-Minute Tidy Each Night

If you choose to do a ten-minute tidy only a few days a week, add a mini two-minute tidy to your nightly routine. This quick clean-up helps things from getting out of hand between longer tidying sessions and also ensures you wake up to a clean slate each day.

After all, keeping a tidy house isn’t just about the people that visit. It’s also about feeling peaceful and calm in your own home. Therefore, set up a routine that works with your schedule and allows you to enjoy a tidy home every day, not just when guests arrive.

5. Concentrate On Main Living Areas

Once again, mastering the ten-minute tidy means you focus on the big picture. Concentrate on making your home presentable for guests and simply creating a calm living space. It’s not about cleaning your entire house. Therefore, don’t worry about rooms that guests wouldn’t see, like your primary bedroom, kid’s room, home office, or garage.

Instead, turn your attention to the main, shared living areas like the guest bathroom, kitchen, living room, and dining room. If your visitors are staying overnight, you might add a guest bedroom to this list. Pick up items in these areas, make a quick pass with a duster, vacuum, or Swiffer, and straighten the decor.

6. Focus On Floors And Large Surfaces

When the floors and large surfaces like countertops, sofas, beds, and tables are clear, it tricks the eye into thinking your home is as neat as a pin and clean. So, when you start your ten-minute session, begin with these areas.

Pick up items on the floor, put away things cluttering flat surfaces, and wipe down counters and tabletops. Fluff pillows and fold throw blankets. If your tidy-up includes a guest room, make the bed and smooth the covers.

7. Keep A Clutter Box

Inevitably, as you tidy your home in a short amount of time, you’ll come across items that belong elsewhere. However, when you’re working against the clock, you don’t always have time to return everything to its rightful place. The time for organizing your home is another day — right now, you just want to straighten things up a bit.

Get a decorative basket or bin (if it needs to stay out in the open), or a basic plastic storage bin that quickly tucks into a closet. When you’re tidying up and don’t have time to put certain things away, toss them into your clutter box to deal with later, either after guests leave or when you have more time.

When it's time to address the items in the box, it’s also a good time to assess if there are any items you can get rid of — having fewer things makes tidying even easier. Once the box is full, stick to the rule that you must put things away or get rid of them.

A Tidy House In Ten Minutes? Yes, Please!

Consistency and sticking to a manageable amount of time help make tidying up less overwhelming. Performing a ten-minute tidy regularly keeps the process from getting out of hand and enables you to accomplish much more in a short amount of time.

Set a timer, stay focused, and concentrate on large surfaces and main living areas. Make tidying a daily habit, so it becomes second nature, and you won’t have to fret about unexpected visitors or feel stressed out by your stuff.

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Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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