Family Tidy Time ©

Photos credit: DepositPhotos

Family Tidy Time ©

One of the biggest tips I share with clients revolves around the concept of Family Tidy Time ©. It even works for couples without kids, or if you’re single and live alone (drop the family; or do it with a friend/family member virtually).

You really shouldn’t need much more than 15 minutes a day to get things tidy. A big misconception for kids and adults alike is that picking up a room will take far longer than it actually does. This is because cleaning or tidying is often associated as a negative activity – something that is a chore instead of a basic everyday occurrence like brushing your teeth.

Kids don’t necessarily like to brush or floss their teeth, but they have to do it right? Plus it’s only for a few minutes a day. We try to make it fun by using colored toothpaste, or with toothbrushes that play a song. We do our best to make it fun because it’s something we need to do daily for our health. Tidying really isn’t much different.

Honestly, 15 minutes a day is all the time you should need to keep things generally tidy. Sure, you may do a more deep edit/clean monthly or seasonally, but once systems are set in place, tidying shouldn’t take up much time at all and should be a regular part of the daily routine. And most importantly, it should be enjoyable.

Here’s how do start: the family works together as a unit to tidy common areas for 8 minutes (set a timer). Turn on some fun music that you can dance or sing to while working; something to keep it interesting and upbeat. One person can be washing the dishes while another cleans up the table and another puts food away. Or the kids can put away homework or ready their backpacks for the next day, while the adults ready their purses/briefcases and tidy the mail. Everyone can work together in the living room to fold blankets, fluff pillows, and put toys or games away. Or you can all help to break down boxes in the garage and take out the recycling/trash. Whatever it is that you need to do that day, do it together as a family and make it as fun as possible for 8 minutes. 

photo credit: DepositPhotos

Next, move onto personal spaces like bedrooms, bathrooms or offices for 7 minutes. This time family members are working alone in a space: to pick up clothes from the floor, wipe down the bathroom counter and put away toiletries, or straighten up the desk in preparation for work the next day. You may also use this time to lay out your clothes, or put away toys/clothes that you didn’t get to earlier in the day. Though you are working alone in an area, you know that your family members are also still working to tidy up. This “pack” mentality helps keep you motivated.

When everyone is tidying at the same time, it no longer feels like a chore, but instead is a fun group activity where everyone is accountable. It also reinforces to your children that tidying is a family value, and something that everyone participates in. Sharpening these skills when your kids are young will set them up for success as adults.

And if you don’t have kids, 15 minutes of daily tidying can still work for you. Put on your favorite playlist and dance around. Sing at the top of your lungs. Listen to your favorite podcast. Call your best friend and chit chat while you tidy – in fact, this is a great way to have a ‘body double’ or a buddy doing the same thing as you. Make it as fun and interesting as possible. The reward is built in: having a clean space in no time at all, so long as you keep it up daily. It’s also a great way for family to bond and spend time together.

What do you think? Could you add in 15 minutes a day to tidy? How can you make it fun for yourself and your kids? Share your stories below in the comments.

Happy tidying!

Lauren Mang
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