Using a timer for cleaning or decluttering - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 03-21-2012, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
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I did a search  on simplifying the other day and was reading some old posts and found where one poster had said that she simply sets a timer each day for one hour and cleans one whole hour a day and that's it. I was intrigued by this tip, as schedules and routines have never worked for me. The ONLY part of flylady that I thought was a good tip that actually worked was the timer I have been trying it. It is working. So far this week, it has been a great tool to keep the house into shape, but also helping me feel as if the house does not own me. It puts me in control of the house instead of vice versa. Tonight I am going to set the timer for 30 minutes and get my family involved with after dinner cleanup. This week I have been just focusing on cleaning, but it works for decluttering too. And you can choose to do less time based on your schedule, health or energy level. It rocks! Just thought I would share in case anyone else might benefit from this tip!


Oh and also, I don't do specific chores on certain days or anything complicated like that. I just start cleaning  the room that is bothering me the most, whether it be my bedroom, the kitchen, or whatever. The important thing is getting started! If I get interrupted by the baby or the phone or whatever, I take note of how long I have been cleaning and if it's been, say, forty minutes, I finish tending to the interruption, and then clean for the remaining 20 minutes. Or you could always choose to stop at that point, forty minutes is still much better than nothing. I hope this helps someone the way it has helped me!

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#2 of 4 Old 03-21-2012, 11:08 AM
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That's great! Using the timer helps a lot with getting the kids involved. If we all go into one room and I set the timer, it becomes like a fun challenge: How clean can we get this room in five minutes? And the kids know that there's a set endpoint--when the timer goes off, we'll move on.


I have tried to start looking at housework as comparable to a commute. If I worked outside the home, I'd probably be spending 20-30 minutes driving to work each way. The driving would be tedious and boring, and not valuable work in and of itself, but it would be necessary in order to do my job. Housecleaning is not my job, but I have to do a little bit of it in order to do my job well.

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#3 of 4 Old 03-22-2012, 08:13 PM
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i've been doing this for quite awhile too, except 20 minutes for me, as i often get home late, like 8pm from work, and have no energy for more than that.  it's super helpful, and i know when the timer is done, i am done and i can feel like i accomplished something without feeling overwhelmed!

Katie, mommy to Oliver (2007) and brand new Ava Estelle (2014)! 
Decluttering Challenge:  303/2014 items are gone!
$728 made from selling my "stuff"
(I've gotten rid of 3711 items over the last four years on this forum! Last years selling total: $456)
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#4 of 4 Old 03-25-2012, 06:25 AM
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I do this with the kids sometimes. Before we do whatever fun activity they want to do, we either a) pick up x number of toys each or b) work for x amount of minutes. With four year olds, I think the former works better.


We were out of town this week for spring break an yesterday my goal was to put everything from our trip up, do laundry and clean up the house before our normal schedule starts up again. I felt like I accomplished nothing! When the job is too big it is so hard to get started and I silently grumped the whole time about not having enough time for things I wanted to do.

 Single mama to two wild and sweet toddlers 2/08
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