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The 10 Minute Tidy

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Do you know the 10 minute tidy?

This cute little phrase is actually a little spin off from a show that my older kids used to watch when they were little, but the 10 minute tidy is something that helps keep me sane.

While there is a time and a place for cleaning the house, the 10 minute tidy is a much different concept, and the only thing you need is a timer. Music, helpers, and an incentive for a job well done are all optional.

Actually, there is one more thing I must tell you, and that is one thing you absolutely don’t need. There is one thing that I don’t want you to bring to the ten minute tidy…and that is a plan.

Are you ready to get started?

Let me make you familiar with the ten minute tidy.


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First, divide your home or wherever you live into two or three different zones

For me this is easy because I have three separate floors in my home. Therefore, these floors comprise my zones.

The next step is to be ready to attack each zone

Let me explain how to do this….

  • Bring your timer to zone one
  • Set your timer for 10 minutes
  • Start

By start I mean work like a crazy person on whatever is in your way. If you are looking at towels thrown all over the bathroom, hand those up. If you are stepping all over toys in the hallway, quickly stash them where they go, however, if they go somewhere that will take you out of your zone, simply make a pile of those things that go elsewhere and keep going in the zone you are working in.

Do not leave your zone until the timer goes off! 

  • If while attacking something in your zone you come upon something that needs to be solved that will take more than a minute, save that for later.
  • The idea here is to work and clean like a tornado, but in the opposite way. Your objective is to have a path of clean and organization in your wake.
  • When the timer goes off, quickly put the things away that have accumulated in your pile, spending no more than a couple of minutes doing this. If this task will take more than a couple of minutes, schedule a time to deal with that pile of clutter later. You are in the middle of a two or three step 10 minute tidy, and this must remain your focus.
  • When you have completed that brief task (or set it aside for later), you are ready to move on.

Move to zone two

  • Repeat the exact same steps that you followed in zone one from setting your timer to working like a crazy person without leaving zone two.

If you have a zone three, repeat again.

When your zones are completed, pause and take a moment to enjoy the beauty of all that you got done.

Isn’t it truly amazing what you can get done in only 10 minutes when you are working without a plan and only on what is most urgent, working quickly without getting sidetracked, and working against a timer?

I may even go so far as to say that a 10 minute tidy can even be fun, wouldn’t you agree?

So, now that I have explained how to do the 10 minute tidy, let me challenge you to schedule not one, but two, 10 minute tidy times into your day.

If you do, you will feel so productive at the end of the day, and you will truly accomplish so many of those little things that often fall victim to the bigger tasks that need to be done.

I find it helpful to do my 10 minute tidies at the same time every day – once in the morning and once at night.

Generally I find myself picking up the same sorts of things with a slight variation here and there. Interestingly, they often end up being the things that drive me crazy if they are not done.

I have found the 10 minute tidy twice a day to be such a huge asset in my life and an important way that I can stay on top of things, feel productive, and have something tangible to look at that I accomplished on any given day.

Try it. I think you will love the 10 minute tidy!

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    1. Ah yes! A favorite around here. We have called our clean up time “The 10 Minute Tidy” for years because of this show! Thanks for commenting!

  1. I am trying to make sure I understand. Is is ten minutes in each zone, or ten minutes for the whole house (so only 2-3 mins per zone?)

    Thanks for sharing. Whichever it is, I feel like I can do this!

    1. 10 minutes per zone, so if you have 3 zones it would be 30 minutes! It is totally doable and life changing!

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