New Habit: Clean for 20 Minutes a Day

You know the sinking feeling when the bathrooms desperately need attention, the kitchen floor has fancy mud tracks all over it, you can draw pictures in the dust on the bookshelves, and you wonder where to even start? Well, hopefully you don’t know the feeling. It’s not very fun.

Every time I let the cleaning pile up till it gets overwhelming, I think why oh why didn’t I just spend 20 minutes a day staying on top of this? And then life gets busy and I slip right back to letting the cleaning pile up.

Lately I've not been very great at keeping my home clean. Actually, I've been pretty terrible. So I'm working on developing a new habit: to spend 20 minutes of devoted time cleaning every single day.

New Habit: Clean for 20 Minutes a Day

The last two months I have focused on developing a very simple, but incredibly helpful, habit: get dressed before breakfast. As I have thought about what new habit would make the most difference in my life and home, cleaning kept popping into my mind.

I’m not positive, but I have this grand hope that if I spend just 20 minutes of entirely-devoted time cleaning my home every day except Sunday, that my home just might stay (mostly) clean. That I’ll never again be overwhelmed by a long list of cleaning desperately clamoring for attention. (At one point in time—back before four little children and homeschooling, I was able to tackle it all on one day without feeling totally exhausted. Now, it’s just not working!)

So for the next two months I plan to focus on developing the habit of spending 20 minutes of focused time cleaning my home daily.

This doesn’t include everyday jobs like cleaning up after meals, general tidying, or taming the laundry monster. It also doesn’t include deep cleaning projects. These 20 minutes are just for things that ought to get done every week, but often don’t. Things like:

My plan is to make a list of the most pressing projects for each day, set a timer for 20 minutes, and attack the cleaning with a vengeance. Whatever I can’t finish, I’ll tackle the next day.

As Ann Voskamp so beautifully pointed out, “Cleanliness isn’t next to godliness, love is.” The dirt will always be waiting for me, my children won’t. I want my children’s memories to be full of laughter and happy times together, even if the house isn’t always immaculate. (Hah!)

But I also want them to see me being faithful in my responsibilities, including my responsibility to keep our home reasonably clean. I want to encourage them, by example, to be more faithful with their afternoon chores too. So during this 20 minutes, while I tackle my cleaning, they will be working alongside me with their own chores.

Every time I let the cleaning pile up till I'm faced with an overwhelmingly dirty home, I think "Why didn't I just work on this a little each day?!" So, that's my new habit challenge: clean for just 20 minutes every day.

My hunt for a (mostly) clean home

If your housekeeping would make Mary Poppins shudder too, would you like to join me on this experiment to devote just twenty minutes of focused time each day cleaning? If cleaning isn’t your struggle, I’d still love to have you join me in working on developing a new habit the next two months!

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