How to Get a (Sorta) Clean House

Cleaning house

This post is from last year, but it bears repeating. This fun system makes cleaning the house painless and fun every single time. Now I just have to remind my kids…

Let’s face it.  The house has to be cleaned – even though we are on break, even though no one feels like it.

When I need some serious housecleaning inspiration, I turn to this lady and her 15 minute rule.  I tweak things a bit though to make it equitable and fun (sorta) for my kids.  We have 5 people cleaning and 15 tasks to be done.  In the 15-minute world, the whole house will be shining clean (sorta) in 45 minutes. 

Before Cleaning the House:

  • Make a list of everything you need cleaned around the house.
  • Divide that list into tasks that can be accomplished in 15 minutes.
  • For example,
    • Vacuum the stairs
    • Scrub the powder room
    • Windex the interior downstairs windows
    • Dust all the woodwork
    • Dust the furniture
    • Empty all trash cans in the house and replace bags
    • Vacuum the downstairs
    • Mop the wood floors
    • Wash the exterior of the kitchen cabinets
    • Vacuum interior of the car and clean interior windows
  • After you have the tasks, write them on index cards with any directions you feel are needed and place in a bowl.
  • Assemble all children to what they think will be a fun breakfast and announce that the house is too messy and it is going to be cleaned now. Do not indulge groaning.
    • Reassure them that the whole thing will be finished in 45 minutes…ignore their skepticism.
  • Pass around the bowl by youngest to oldest and have each person pull 3 jobs. Each person should read the jobs they have, and then give them exactly 1 minute for trades. 2016 update – just assign them the jobs. You know who does which things the best, and it saves on whining.
  • Place all essential cleaning supplies on the counter.

Cleaning the House Time:

  • Blast Rockin’ Rudolph (amazon affiliate link) for an energy burst appropriate to the season.
    • IMPORTANT!  Do not allow your children to wear headphones and sulk around listening to their own music – that will wreck the esprit de corps of the whole thing.
  • Set the timer and GO. Give everyone a halfway there heads up and a 2-minute warning.
  • At the end of the 15 minutes, children should collapse exhausted while mom checks up on everyone’s work.
    • Repeat 2x or as needed.

After Cleaning the House:

  • Put away all cleaning supplies.
  • Enjoy the clean house.

When it is all over, I give you permission to go in your room and shut the door -because probably, that was enough family esprit de corps for a while.



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