As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Ten Minute Tidy

Over at the Nesting Place, The Nester has been taking us through a series of 31 Days to a Less Messy Nest. I have been following closely, because I love tips for neatness!

When my house is tidy, I can pretend that it is spotless. But even when my house is clean(ish), if it is also messy, then I cannot convince myself that it is clean(ish) no matter how hard I try! (We all have our issues.)

Yesterday The Nester invited us to share our our own tips for a Less Messy Nest, so I decided to let you all in on one of our best secrets: the Ten Minute Tidy. Here's how it works.

We come to the end of a productive homeschool day. We set a timer for ten minutes. Bekah pushes start, yells Go!, and we all spring into action and tidy up everything in sight!  

We begin in the kitchen/school room/sitting room. We gather our coffee and tea mugs from the table or our reading area, clear the counters, load the dirty dishes into the dishwasher, and pick up the stacks of books we've been reading and return them to their rightful places. We tidy loose papers and mail and stray shoes, plop the pillows back on the loveseat, and put away the craft supplies. All the time we are moving as quickly as possible.

No cleaning is taking place. We're just making things presentable.

If time remains, we all migrate into the living room. (This is usually a quicker clean up, as we have usually not spent the day in this room.) We put away DVDs and magazines and the newspaper, making sure that all surfaces are clear of Stuff That Shouldn't Be There. Then, we'll do a pass through the dining room, but since that is our least used room, it generally is tidied lickety split.

Unless the house is extremely messy, a Ten Minute Tidy can put it to rights. (In the case that it is extremely messy, we may decide to set the timer for another ten minutes and have at it again.) And keep in mind that, for us, ten minutes is really thirty minutes since there are three of us working.

We might call for a Ten Minute Tidy...
~ before Dad arrives home from a day at work
~ when a friend calls and says she'll be over to drop something off
~ when my brain is not at peace because of the visual distractions
~ before an actual cleaning session (because who wants to clean around clutter?)
My sense of order is restored and then I feel free to move on to another task or another part of our day or greet my friend or welcome my husband home. It is amazing what a difference ten minutes can make!


  1. That is a wonderful idea, I will share that with my family.

    I use to tell the kids to pick up 50 things and put away, but they moaned and groaned. I think a race against the clock would have made it more enjoyable.

  2. great idea love it! thanks

  3. Cheryl, you're just such an inspiration. I love your family .... and it's fun to visualize your ten-minute tidy, which is really thirty.

  4. Great idea and isn't it amazing how much you can get done with 10 minutes of focused tidying?


  5. We try to do this in our home as well but without the timer. I think I need to get one to motivate us all to move as quickly as possible. Thanks for the very helpful yet doable tip!

  6. What a great way to get the whole family to pitch in, lets face it, usually us mums get stuck with these jobs. Thank you for a wonderful idea.

  7. We do this all the time, too. Another twist on it for little kids: make someone the boss. They get to stand in one spot and point out things for the others to put away. Owen especially never sees what needs to be tidy when we are all rushing around, but if he is the boss, he can see it all! Or if someone is pointing things out, he has a specific purpose.

  8. wonderful idea---and very entertaining when you describe it!

  9. Love this idea... have used it myself... especially those times when, as you refer to them, my brain is not at peace because of the visual distractions. It's true also that when my sense of order is restored then I feel free to move on to other tasks with a sense of peace and focus.

    So thanks for the reminder. I'll be keeping it in mind for the week ahead!


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