The 10-Minute Rule

10 min rule Eric had a brilliant idea the other day.

He proposed that the first 10 minutes after we get home from work be dedicated to uncluttering and picking up our living space. In the past, we would come home and immediately open the mail that appealed to us and leave the bills piled on the kitchen counter. After a week of that behavior, our house looks like a paper factory and Eric is about ready to pull his hair out.

This 10-minute idea might sound silly to you, but you need to know that I am not a cleaner. I can stand things a lot dirtier than Eric, and, as a result, he's more thorough in his cleaning than I am. I'm not a complete mess, but I don't love to clean so I usually just live with it a bit longer.

Growing up, my parents had a cleaning lady. And even though I loved Eleanor and Deana, it didn't do me any favors.

So when Eric tells me it's time to clean, I do anything to avoid it. I envision a two-hour cleaning session where I'm down on my knees with a toothbrush cleaning the bathroom floor. Now, I have no idea where this image comes from because I have never done this or seen anyone else do it.

When we Eric makes a list of things that needed to be cleaned and we get started, I tend to get distracted easily. I'll spend the first 30 minutes making the "cleaning playlist," and then dillydally or find a different project that needs my attention. But it turns out that when we set a timer, I am hard-core cleaning for 10 minutes. Because 10 minutes seems so easy and I want to get it over with so I can do other things with my day.

And when the timer goes off, I stop. (Eric usually finishes up a couple more things, but I don't feel guilty for stopping.)

What I've learned is that 10 minutes of cleaning can drastically improve our house's appearance. (And especially with our house on the market, we need to keep it shipshape!)

It also makes for a very happy husband and, in turn, a happy wife. And, as Eric says, happy wife = happy life.

Do you have ideas of how we can make cleaning a fun event or silly game? If you have kids, is the 10-minute rule something that would work, or is there more maintenance required?

Our routines: