This 10 Minute Trick is Saving My Life Right Now


Spring is finally in the air. Granted, I live in Kansas, so it could be snowing tomorrow, let's be honest. But last weekend there were hints of beautiful spring time. Saturday, Joseph left our windows open all day and I didn't need a coat until late Sunday night.  

But April showers bring May spring cleaning (that's how that rhyme goes, right?). 

Cleaning the house anytime, spring or not, can be a daunting task. But it doesn't have to be. I was blessed with a chance to sit down with Mary Elizabeth Sperry, author of Making Room for God: Decluttering and the Spiritual LifeDuring our conversation, she shared a tip with me that's been making a huge difference in the way I approach cleaning - or any other task on my to-do list that I'm not looking forward to!

"When I cleaned my office, I set a timer for 10 minutes everyday. I had to clean for that 10 minutes. I couldn't end early - until the last day when I was actually finished there were 6 minutes left on the timer but there was nothing left to clean. That was okay. But I had to use that 10 minutes and I could only use that 10 minutes. When the timer went off, I had to finish what I was working on, then move on. In two weeks, my office was spectacular." 

Let me tell you something - if you read that and thought "10 minutes is not even enough time to find my vacuum cleaner, let alone tackle a task that I'm not looking forward to." But 10 minutes adds up. 

I tried this trick out with our bathroom. Besides laundry, cleaning the tub and toilet are my least favorite chores around the house. So I set a ten minute timer - and put my phone in the other room. I was shocked that by the time the timer went off, I had cleaned everything in the bathroom - including the floor. 

"Use small bits of time well. There are a lot of things you can do that just take small bits of time," Mary Elizabeth shared. "It's amazing the things you can do in the little bits of time. And a piece of that is putting your devices away. If I don't open my phone when I wake up in the morning, I buy myself 25 to 30 minutes every morning." 

Mary Elizabeth's timer trick is how I'm going to tackle Spring cleaning this year. Yes, there will be a little bit more than 10 minutes on the timer. Because of my work schedule, I don't really have a full day that I can just block off for cleaning. But I'll set that timer for a certain amount of time every day and when the timer goes off, I'll be done with it. 

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Mary Elizabeth joins me on Letters to Women for A Letter to the Woman With a Messy Closet. You can listen to her episode this Thursday! Find it on iTunes, Google Play, or right here on Old Fashioned Girl. Can't wait to dig into Mary Elizabeth's thoughts on de-cluttering and our interior life? Pick up a copy of her book, Making Room for God, today!