60-second tidy technique

Last month, I kicked off my 12 Months to Cleanliness challenge with a daily decluttering challenge that aimed to reduce the amount of crapola hanging out in my house. My dining room table is covered in items that are ready to be shipped off to Goodwill (I’ll offer a full analysis of how that challenge is going over on the Decluttering Challenge blog), and I’m feeling positive about this 12 Months to Cleanliness plan of action. So, for February, I’ve decided to instill a second daily objective, which I am dubbing the 60-Second Tidy Technique.

What Is a 60-Second Tidy?

So what is the 60-second tidy technique? Get excited, because this month’s challenge is even easier than last month’s challenge. The basic concept is this:

If you notice that something needs to be done in your home AND it would take 60-seconds or fewer to do it, do it immediately

That’s it. The 60-Second Tidy is so easy, in theory, that it needs very little extra exposé. I will say that I suspect that, in practice, it will be a little more difficult.

What Can You Do With the 60-Second Tidy Technique?

If you’ve read this technique and have rolled your eyes, thinking that you can’t possibly make any household progress with a 60-second tidy, then either:

  1. You’re a naturally tidy person to begin with, OR
  2. You don’t understand the power of the 60-second tidy technique

If you’re a naturally tidy person to begin with, this is not the blog series for you. I started my 12 Months to Cleanliness with the goal of helping myself, and other slobs like me, use baby steps to work towards a more organized lifestyle. Key focus on the “slobs.”

If you ARE a slob, you’d be amazed at the quick stuff you can do with a 60-second tidy. Here’s a few examples from my morning alone.

60-Second Tidy Example #1

I was chopping up some veggies to throw in the crockpot for dinner. I went to throw away the bits that you throw away (carrot heads and pepper seeds and the likes), and I realized Ginger Snaps took the trash out this morning and didn’t put a new bag in the trash.

Instinctively, I dropped my veggie scraps in an empty tin can. Then, I remembered the 60-second tidy technique. I put a new trash bag in the trash can and threw the veggies away instead.

60-Second Tidy Example #2

I finished prepping dinner and started towards the living room. On my way, I started to walk past some spices that had been left on the counter last night. Instead of ignoring them, like I normally would, I grabbed them and stuck them in the cabinet where they go.

60-Second Tidy Example #3

I went to set a fresh drink on my desk and saw that I’d left a cup there yesterday. As I picked the cup up to bring that into the kitchen, I also noticed that I’d kicked a pair of socks off under the desk. I grabbed that as well, and in addition to putting the cup in the sink, I also put the socks in the hamper.

Guys, these are not BIG things. I get that. In fact, some of you are probably horrified by the number of things I ignore on a daily basis. But if you’re the sort of person who often ignores the little things and then gets overwhelmed when the house is a BIG mess, this is going to help!

Why the 60-Second Tidy is a Great Second Step

I had a couple of different options running through my head for my second month in my 12 Months to Cleanliness program. The reason I ultimately settled on the 60-second tidy technique is that it not only helps keep the house tidier, but it also forces me to recognize how much stuff I’m noticing in our house on a day to day basis.

If you’re a slob, like me, you may have gotten in the mindset that you don’t know where to start with cleaning your house. I can’t count how many times Ginger Snaps will say “Why didn’t you XYZ?” and I’ll respond “I didn’t even notice that it needed to be done.” And at the moment, that feels like the truth. I have gotten so in the habit of ignoring gross that I don’t even consciously recognize that I’m noticing it.

And while I don’t have data to back it up (yet!) I suspect that the more that I do the 60-second tidy technique, the more stuff I’ll notice throughout the day. Just as I needed to start clearing clutter from my home before I could hope to get it organized, I need to start recognizing dirty before I can hope to clean it.

What the 60-Second Tidy Technique is NOT

I’m not the first person to suggest breaking cleaning up into its tiniest core. In fact, I got the idea by reading about a 2-minute technique to kill procrastination. My house is such a mess that even a 2-minute technique seemed overwhelming, so I broke it down into a one-minute technique. But unlike the procrastination technique, the point of this technique is not to get me to show up in the hopes that I’ll choose to do more.

The point of this technique is to establish a habit of tidying throughout the day and a habit of noticing. The point is not to abandon everything that needs to be done in a day to clean your whole house. So if I find that I’m stuck in a rut of seeing A LOT of things that I can do in under a minute, I pick 5, I do them, and then I walk away. The next time I walk into that room, I might have 5 more things to pick, but that way I’m limiting myself to reasonable chunks of time tidying throughout the day while still getting the rest of the stuff I need to get done, done.

Don’t worry–I won’t be able to avoid deep cleaning my house for all 12 months. And if you’re following along with this program, neither will you. We’ll get there!

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