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EP 162: The Benefits of a Quick Tidy: Transforming Your Home in Minutes

Inside: Feeling like your home is always in chaos? Sharing some practical tips for a quick 5-10 minute tidy that can make a huge difference in bringing order to your busy household.

Transform Your Home in Minutes: Practical Tidying Tips for Busy Moms

One common challenge we all face from time to time is feeling like our homes are in complete chaos. With busy schedules and active households, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, but I have some encouraging news—your home probably isn’t as messy as it feels. You’d be amazed at how quickly you can change the feel of your home with a quick 5-10 minute tidy.

First, let’s define what “tidy” means: to tidy is simply to bring order or make things neat.

No deep cleaning, no vacuuming. It doesn’t take long, but it does make a big impact. Remember, the goal isn’t perfection—you’re just tidying up, not preparing for company.

Tidying means simply bringing order or making things neat. No deep cleaning, no vacuuming. It doesn’t take long, but it does make a big impact. Click to Tweet

Listen in to EP 162: Benefits of a Quick Tidy: Transforming Your Home in Minutes (Bitesize Episode) or read the post below:


My Simple Daily and Weekly Cleaning Routine

My Favorite Cleaning Products and Tools

Simple Tips for a Clutter-Free Home

List of Homemaking Encouragment Posts & Podcasts

10 Tips for Beginning Homemakers @Date Night with the Woods

Cousin Camp: Making Memories with Our Grandchildren

Summertime Free PDF Planning Guide

Jumpstart Your Mornings Free Course @thankfulhomemaker

Let me start with my favorite four Practical Tips for a Quick Tidy – these are rules I like to follow:

  1. Set a Timer: Sometimes, all you need is 5-10 minutes. Set a timer and see what you can accomplish in that short amount of time. I have a timer on my watch and I use it frequently.
  2. Focus on High-Impact Areas: Pick an area of your house that either bothers you the most or will have the biggest impact.
  3. Nighttime Tidy: A quick tidy before bed can be incredibly helpful. It’s similar to our kitchen clean-up routine—when you wake up to a clean kitchen, it sets a positive tone for the day.
  4. Involve the Whole Family: Even toddlers can help pick up toys, and it’s a great way to teach them to clean up after themselves and tidying is a great skill to teach your kiddos.

Hot Spots:

We all have those challenging areas in our homes, often known as “hot spots” (a term from Flylady that has stuck with me). These are places where clutter and disorganization seem to gather quickly. I want to share some of the hot spots in my home and offer practical tips to help keep them a bit more under control. Remember, these are areas in my home—you might have different hot spots.

1. Entryway Shoes

The entryway can quickly become cluttered without a designated place for items like shoes, coats, purses, and backpacks. Make sure you have a spot for your family members to place these items upon entering the home. This could be a shoe rack, coat hooks, or storage bins. If space is limited, consider rotating these items seasonally. For example, store away winter coats and boots during the warmer months, and swap them out for lighter jackets and sandals when the weather changes. This will help keep the area tidy and maximize your space effectively. Additionally, make it a routine to declutter this area regularly to avoid accumulation of unused or outgrown items.

2. Mail – Paperwork

Sort mail daily, recycle junk mail immediately, and place bills and important documents in a designated spot. We don’t receive as much mail as we used to, and most of it seems like junk. However, I sort it as it arrives—though it doesn’t always happen, hence the piles. When I’m ready to go through the pile, I have a system in place. Junk goes in the recycling bin, bills go on my office desk where I pay them, and invitations stay on my desk until I enter the details into the Google calendar. I usually pay bills weekly, so that pile on my office desk that’s building—I’ll get to it on Wednesdays, and things will get filed into their proper places.

3. Bedroom – Closet, Drawers, Nightstand

These areas can quickly become disorganized with clothes and personal items. Regularly declutter and organize your closet, drawers, and nightstand to keep things tidy. Put away clothes either before you go to bed or in the morning after you get ready. Take time to straighten drawers and clear off the nightstand. Some people implement a one-in-one-out rule for clothes to prevent overstuffed closets. I use the backward hanger trick for my closet—at the start of the year, or when I clean my closet out, I turn all my hangers backward. Then, when I wear an item, I put the hanger back the right way. At the end of the year, I can see all the items I didn’t wear. For me, it’s a good visual of where to begin decluttering my clothes.

4. Kitchen Counter

This area often becomes a catch-all for various items. Try to keep it clear of anything that doesn’t belong there. Clear off the counter, putting items back in their proper places. Establish a daily habit of clearing the kitchen counter. Use decorative trays or baskets to contain frequently used items, such as keys or mail, and make it a point to return non-kitchen items to their proper places promptly. Consider implementing a no-clutter policy for the kitchen counter.

5. Books, Backpacks, and Homeschool Supplies

These items can easily spread out over time. Designate specific areas for these items to keep them organized and in their place. Create a specific area for books, homeschool materials, and other school supplies, and a designated spot for backpacks. Use bins or shelves labeled for different subjects or children. Teach kids to return their items to these areas at the end of each day.

6. Toys

Children’s toys can quickly spread throughout the house. Use storage bins and teach children to put their toys away after playing. Implement a toy rotation system to manage the number of toys out at any one time. Clean out toys yearly—birthdays always serve as a good time for us to identify which toys they no longer use or have outgrown, and to decide if we can give them away or if they need to be discarded. Having a place for everything simplifies clean-up. Establish a clean-up routine where kids put away their toys before moving on to another activity or before bedtime. Make it fun by setting a timer or playing a clean-up song.

Benefits of Regularly Tidying Hot Spot Areas in Your Home

Taking care of these “hot spot” areas in your home brings several benefits that can really make a difference in your daily life. Regularly tidying these spots cuts down on clutter. When everything has its designated place, you’ll spend less time searching for things. With items put away and surfaces clear, cleaning becomes much easier. Plus, regular tidying helps build good habits, so over time, you and your family naturally put things away, reducing the need for constant tidying.

Taking care of these 'hot spot' areas in your home brings several benefits that can make a big difference in your daily life: Reduced Clutter, Increased Efficiency, Easier Cleaning, Less Overwhelm, and Better Habits. Click to Tweet

Specific Areas to Tidy:

As you tidy up, remember that this task is about bringing order, not just cleaning. Here are some areas to focus on. Keep in mind that this is meant to be a quick task.

  • Laundry: Consolidate laundry into one designated spot, or if you have a few minutes, start a load in the washer.
  • Mail: Sort your mail into neat stacks or designated trays; for example, bills to pay, letters to read, etc.
  • Dishes: Rinse dishes and and stack them in the sink for washing later or place them in the dishwasher if there’s time.
  • Shoes: Straighten them up. No shoes in front of the door to trip over.
  • Coats: Hang them up.
  • Dirty Clothes: Gather them and place them in the laundry hamper instead of leaving them scattered.
  • Family Room: Straighten the coffee table, fluff and arrange pillows on the sofa, and neatly fold and stack blankets.
  • Items in Other Rooms: Collect items that are out of place and carry them to their proper room or place. If they need to go upstairs or downstairs and you aren’t heading there yet, place them near the stairs.

Our homes can all benefit from a quick tidy. Let me walk you through what it might look like. You could incorporate a quick tidy into your morning routine by emptying the dishwasher, starting a load of laundry, or clearing off the countertops.

You could also set aside certain times of day for a quick tidy, such as in the afternoon, before or after dinner, or in the evening before getting ready for bed.

After the kids are tucked in, you might take a few minutes to pick up toys, straighten the family room, and prepare for the next day. Even a few minutes here and there can add up and make a significant impact on keeping your home in order.

Be sure to involve your children. Assign them tasks that help maintain order. They can tidy their own rooms, pick up their toys, and put their shoes, books, and backpacks away. It’s a great way to teach them responsibility.

Just tidy up and let the kids make their mess, but continue to teach them and model how to clean up before they make the next mess. Toys on the floor aren’t a mess; they’re a sweet reminder that kids live here, bringing joy and laughter to our home.

Our homes will never be perfectly clean or perfectly tidy – because they are lived in. Perfection is not the goal.

The Benefits of a Quick Tidy: Transforming Your Home in Minutes

My Key Habits that Help Me Keep a Tidy Home:

Tidying brings things under control, and sometimes it spurs me on to maybe vacuum or dust an area that I wouldn’t have before because now I can actually see the floor or the flat space and I realize it only takes a few minutes to run a vacuum or dust a table.

But keeping a tidy home doesn’t mean your cleaning constantly – it’s really the opposite – I feel like I’m cleaning less because as I’ve developed habits that help me keep a tidy home I find that it is so much eaiser to maintain order and I don’t ahve that feeling of overwhelm in my home.

I’m just going to share some items that have become habits in my day and have helped me to have a tidy home without giving it too much thought.

I have some podcasts that dig a bit deeper into some of the areas and I’ll ink to them in the show notes too.

  1. Start your morning off with specific tasks. unloading the dishwasher, starting a load of laundry, make the bed
  2. Always try to make your bed daily.
  3. Keep up with the dishes after every meal.
  4. Put things back after using them.
  5. Don’t let clothes pile up – try to put laundry away before the end of the day and try not to let it pile up in the bedroom.
  6. Figure out a simple home filing system that works for you and your paperwork.
  7. Determine how you’re going to keep kids special art projects or items and maybe start a memory box for each child so you have a place to put things. This works well for things like photos too. If you can’t get to organizing them yet put them all together in one place.
  8. Have a spot in your home where family members can easily put coats, shoes, backpacks, keys etc. There should be an easy place and teach your kiddos how to use it.
  9. And speaking of kiddos, make sure you continue to train and teach them how to tidy. Show them how to pick up their rooms and, if they’re playing with toys in the family room, how to put them away when they’re done. Teaching them responsibility simplifies your job too, Mama. I continue to teach my grandkids when they’re here how to tidy a room after we’re done in it—from putting away items we used, taking cups to the kitchen, and straightening pillows on the couch. It helps them develop an eye for what needs to be done. This is a skill that is learned and not always natural to everyone.
  10. Clean up as you go. Spill, wipe it. Don’t leave a room empty handed – take that cup into the kitchen. Crumbs on the floor vacuum them up.
  11. Continually declutter as you are cleaning and even tidying areas. If there is garbage or giveaway items take care of them as you are handling them. Don’t do it twice. Maybe giveaway items go right into your car trunk.
  12. Have some sort of cleaning system in place. Do a little bit of cleaning every day.
  13. Complete your tasks first, then reward yourself with that cup of coffee, book, or TV show.
  14. Have a place for everything. We know clutter begins when items don’t have a home. For items you’re not sure what to do with have a homeless bin and when it gets full determine to sit with it and find homes for these items.
  15. Think like with like as you do begin to organize items. (photos, books, homeschool items, etc)
  16. Work on having easy access to things you use on a regular basis. (keys, supplements, time with the Lord materials)
  17. Most jobs don’t take as long as you think – why I love a timer so if nothing else you can see how long they actually take.
  18. Use music for your tidy or listen to an audiobook or podcast.
  19. Done is better than perfect.

Closing Thoughts:

We are going to be decluttering, cleaning, and tidying for the rest of our lives, so let’s continue to simplify this area of our lives. I don’t want to spend more time than necessary cleaning my home, so I like having systems and routines that help me make good use of my time.

Tonight, before bed or right after dinner, after you’ve done the dishes together as a family, set a timer, put on some fun music, and get everyone involved in giving the home a quick five-minute tidy. As you tidy, keep a list of areas you’d like to organize in the future and maybe each month, spend 10-15 minutes a day tackling those areas.

You’ll feel better knowing you’re not waking up to a sink full of dishes or items all over your family room. Remember, you didn’t vacuum or dust—you just picked up a bit. I hope this episode encourages you to see the small things that don’t take up much of your time that you can do to simplify your day and bring more order into your home—even in just 5 minutes.

And maybe you even took a couple of minutes to make sure you had everything you needed in one place to meet and sit with the Lord the next morning. You went to bed ready for a great start the next day. That should be the top priority area to get in order and tidy if you haven’t yet.

As we go about our daily routines, let’s remember that our ultimate source of peace and order is Jesus. Amidst the busyness of life, He offers us rest and comfort. I pray our homes would be a place where we serve our families with great joy and honor the Lord in and through all things.

Truly, Jesus is enough always.

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