Lifting the veil on how to make your home space spick and span, without spending hours cleaning.
The three-minute rule
In a nutshell, you put aside three minutes each day to tidy one small area of your home. Surely we all have three minutes to spare, am I right? You could do this while you are waiting for your pasta to boil or the laundry to finish its spin cycle. Clutter weighs down the best of us, and this is particularly true when it comes to the space we live in. When my home is clean and organised, it feels much more inviting. I can’t help but feel a sense of calm that only simplicity can bring. A tidy home gives me a tidy mind.
Start by setting the timer on your phone for three minutes, then choose an area you would like to tackle.
A few ideas to get you started
1. Take everything out of your cutlery drawer, wipe it out, and place it all back neatly. Discard any random bits and bobs that have accumulated.
2. Clear everything off your benchtop. Find a new home for anything sitting out that you don’t use daily; the one exception to this rule is only keeping items on display if they bring you immense joy.
3. Line up your mugs and cups in an orderly row. This should only take a minute or two, so you might as well organise your plates, while you’re at it.
4. Put a few drops of lemon essential oil and a splash of vinegar in your dishwasher, then put it on to a rinse cycle. It smells so fresh and clean.
5. Tackle your junk drawer – we all have one. Get rid of anything you no longer want and place the rest back neatly. I encourage you to be ruthless with the things you no longer need. You’ll get a little thrill every time you open it.
6. Polish your stainless steel appliances using white vinegar diluted with warm water. You can add a small dash of olive oil for shine, too.
7. Scrub your sinks and bathroom areas with a paste made from baking soda, water, and fresh-smelling essential oils. This simple idea is one of the most satisfying, plus your space will smell amazing, too.
8. Oil your chopping boards and wooden surfaces with almond or linseed oil. Use an old rag or cloth to rub the oil into the wood and to soak up any excess.
9. Sort your container cupboard. There’s nothing worse than miscellaneous lids and containers tumbling out every time you open the door. Stack them neatly and recycle any pieces that no longer go with their respective partners.
10. Take inventory of what’s in your freezer. This is the space in my kitchen that I’m guilty of forgetting about. Like me, you might be surprised at what potential meals you find hiding out in there.
11. Take everything out of your fridge and wipe the shelves of any residue. Messes behind closed doors still cause a feeling of anxiety. Each time you open the fridge afterwards you’ll thank yourself for giving it some love.
12. Fridge covered in miscellaneous papers? Take stock of what you’d like to keep on display and discard anything unnecessary. You might as well de-clutter your magnets while you are at it.
13. And lastly, choose five things to donate. How many spatulas does one really need? Consider the items that you haven’t used in six months or more, thank each for their service, then let them go. Pop your items into a donation bag, and ensure you drop off the bag to your local op-shop sometime in the not-too-distant future.
Keep in mind
· While you are working on your particular area, it’s essential to work with intention. Remember, this exercise is designed for you to focus on one small area at a time, not to dive into a full cleaning expedition. Keep your eyes on the prize and do your small job with great care. Once your timer stops, you can stop too, unless you’re really enjoying the process.
· In most cases, your chosen area will be finished. It’s surprising how much you can accomplish in such a small amount of time without distractions. The magical aspect of this process is that you are only working on one small space at a time each day, making your overall cleaning time manageable and gratifying.
· Applying the three-minute rule is quite possibly the easiest way to keep on top of clutter – and once you get into the swing of things, the process becomes habitual. Before you know it, you’ll be cleaning without realising it.
Magic cleaning paste
MAKES ABOUT ½ CUP
This paste cleaner can be useful to combat mould and mildew and could also be used as a toilet and oven cleaner. It’s also fantastic for getting smudge marks off walls.
½ cup baking soda
3–5 Tbsp liquid castile soap
5 drops lemon essential oil
1. Place the baking soda in a bowl and pour in the liquid soap, a little at a time, stirring gently until creamy and smooth. Add the lemon essential oil and stir to combine. Add a little water, if you want, until it reaches the desired consistency.
2. To use, dip a sponge or cloth into the mixture, scrub the surface with the paste, and rinse with water.
Words and photography by: Eleanor Ozich.