The 14 Day Challenge of 10 Minute Cleaning and Organizing Projects

 Please note: This is not our home, our home is not currently this beautiful and clean. However, yours could be if you followed the list below!

Please note: This is not our home, our home is not currently this beautiful and clean. However, yours could be if you followed the list below!

Why cleaning and organizing has to be a priority, even as a parent

Why would I write a post about cleaning and organizing as a parent? Well, no one told me that it would take a year after we had our first baby for us to get re-organized and start getting our lives in order. While it's not a pretty or a fun topic, it's something that I am assuming runs in the veins of all parents worldwide. PLEASE comment if you feel anywhere near the same as I do. My office at home has been the stacking place for things in our house for months. That has to come to an end, so I decided to share a few things we can all do to make a small difference. Fun fact, each day has 144 sets of 10 minutes. That's 2,016 sets of 10 minutes every 14 days. I want to encourage you to try this cleaning and organization challenge along with me and take 14 of those 10 minute sets to improve your life inch by inch.

Take 10 minutes to do 1 of these cleaning and organizing tasks each day over the next two weeks

Day 1 - Open the mail and...

Sort it. Duh! In our house, the mail piles up in a basket, or in the office, or in a drawer. We have three places in the house for mail. Plus sometimes it ends up on a stack on the kitchen table. This is #reallife. But the chances are that 95% of that mail can go in the trash and the other 5% can either be filed, paid, or shredded. So take 10 minutes today, gather up some mail and take action for 10 minutes. You will feel a bit better. 

Day 2 - Gather papers from around the house and...

Organize it to a new location. Here's the deal, all of the papers in your home need to have a place or already have a place. If they don't, go on Amazon and get a storage box as well as a filing cabinet and put the documents in them. With the filing cabinet you put the necessary items of life that need to be categorized, these are tax documents, certificates of ownership, insurance and more. With the general storage box, this is where you throw the keepsakes, any paper you want, but don't care about too much at the time. Then the rest of the documents you should pitch! These aren't hard and fast rules, but it's a start if you have piles of paper an nowhere for the stuff to go. Take 10 minutes and either get started by buying the boxes or get started and place the documents somewhere. 

Day 3 - Get a big trash bag and...

Grab the trash from each of your cans in your home and throw it in. Or if you don't want to waste a big bag, just grab the bags from each bathroom, the office, bedrooms, the kitchen, laundry room, nursery and anywhere else you have your cans. Then walk them straight out to the garbage can for pick-up. This one is simple, straightforward and will help relieve your house of any funky smells emanating from these cans. Bonus! If it's warm enough outside, take 10 minutes and spray out some of your cans to keep them fresher longer.

Day 4 - Grab your broom and...

Get to sweeping out areas you rarely touch. One of these that is a common area full of things to sweep up is the entryway. Both our garage entrance, the front door, and the back patio all have things that pile up that need to be swept. So the broom needs to be brought to task in these areas. 10 minutes is more than enough to tackle these three spots in our home, but if you have more or larger areas to clean, focus on just 1 for this 10-minute set. Get to sweeping up for the day!

Day 5 - Get some wipes or surface cleaner and...

Find three surfaces to empty and wipe down. These could be a kitchen island, a stairway railing, a bathroom sink, a kitchen counter or any number of areas. They just need to be cleaned, and they can be done relatively quickly. This has an incredibly positive benefit both regarding smell, sanitization, good feelings and more. Just get those surfaces clean if you want to stay sane and be the best parent out there. Honestly, if your surfaces were already cleaned off, you could probably get to about 8 or more surfaces sanitized quickly. In our house, stuff piles up relatively quickly and for some reason, spraying down doesn't work so well on piles, why I wonder? 

Day 6 - Open a drawer and...

Organize it; this one is pretty simple! You could start with your t-shirt drawer. Make sure they are all folded, put them in order, get rid of ones you don't wear anymore and make sure they all smell fresh and clean. Or you could do your junk drawer, pull it all out and either take it to where it belongs in the house or throw it away. Because who has a junk drawer that doesn't need to be cleaned out to make room for more junk?! Lastly, you could open a random kitchen drawer and put everything in the right way; everything is clean. Some of this may sound a little OCD, but it will help you rest just a wee bit more soundly. Also, remember you have 144 sets of 10 minutes each day to get at this stuff. 

Day 7 - Pick a bookshelf and....

Choose one specific shelf and go to town on it. And by saying that, I mean to organize it, dust it and just make it perfect. If it has books, categorize them, alphabetize them, or color coordinate them. If it has trinkets or other items on it, dust them, dust under them and double check to make sure you need them. This cleaning will help you clear your mind of the gunk and will also help keep the air cleanliness of your home much better. Get to it!

Day 8 - Open the trunk of your car and...

Pull everything out to vacuum it and then re-organize and sort all of the things you found. This does a few things to clean up your life if you're like us, things pile up in your car, and then you can't find them when you need them. So this will help there for sure. If you have random bulky items back there, it may help improve your gas mileage too, although I'm not sure how many heavy items you'll have. Then the vacuuming is an obvious win, so when you put things in, they don't come out dirty. One way to help smooth this process out is to try out a fit and hard surface floor mat, we have a Toyota Rav 4 and chose WeatherTech. They are a dream and have saved the carpet under them many times over! 

Day 9 - Dig through email and...

Organize 50-100 emails. Here are the few different things to can do to alleviate that inbox bloat. One would be to delete them. If you don't need it, don't care about it and don't give a hoot n' holler, get it out of there. The next option would be to archive it into a folder. Make quick and easy folders in your email to file. I suggest a few broad folders, so you don't have 99 folders to dig through every time you need something. A final option for an email is to not only delete it but to unsubscribe; this ensures that stream of crud won't be in your inbox forever. If you want to make this easier, try UnrollMe. It will enhance and simplify the unsubscribe process and will help organize that inbox!

Day 10 - Open your microwave and... 

Clean it out. This will help your health and will help you not cross-pollinate your food so much because that is GROSS. The microwave is a catch-all for food and it doesn't have to stay dirty and yucky. So for this 10 minutes, we'd suggest to open the door, look around in that cavern of food heating, get something to wipe it with and just do it! One of the products Molly and I use to save this cleaning need a bit is a food cover. It works like a charm and is really quite easy to clean. Check it out here and see if it is right for you. 

Day 11 - Open the cabinet under your kitchen sink and...

Pull it all out, clean it all off, clean the surface under it and just do a general overhaul. There is a high likelihood that you might have things that are expired, things that could be combined, and things that could be thrown away. This makes room for either nothing or new cleaning products you actually will use. 

Day 12 - Put your diaper bag in front of you and...

Dump it all out so you can start fresh. Diaper bags are like big junk drawers that you carry around with you. If you never have the time to exchange what's in there or clean it out, then it will pile up forever. So we suggest taking ten minutes on this project for sure! Take some of those stinky clothes and put them in the wash, boil the binkys, clean out the old milk bottles and change out the snacks for new and tasty ones. A little time spent will lead to a lot of reward next time to stick your hand in your diaper bag for a quick grab. Plus, you might just save your back the next time you carry it because it is sure to be much lighter.

The 14 Day Challenge of 10 Minute Cleaning and Organizing Projects

Day 13 - Stand in front of your bed and...

Make a choice, either make it (Shouldn't take you 10 minutes) or take the sheets off to wash them. If you make it, also tidy up your bedside table and your dresser surfaces at the same time. If you make the choice to take the sheets off and wash them, it might take more than 10 minutes, but there is nothing better than fresh sheets! Either way, you will feel better about life when you jump into bed that night or during the day when you see it. Or if you change the sheets you'll feel fresher than ever! So whatever you decide to do, just do one of them! After all, haven't you seen all the quotes and books and such that talk about success starting the moment you make your bed. 

Caveat: IF you do this and you have rambunctious kids, be prepared for the bed to be unmade and not clean by the end of the day. But who cares in that case you have a messy happy life, don't stress!

Day 14 - Pull out the crisper drawers in your refrigerator and...

Empty them and clean them. Chances are that 1 or 2 of the items in the bottom of these draws is mold ridden or mushy and can be chucked. Then also the bottom of these drawers are the most likely to be gunky. So take them out, empty them and clean them. Be sure to try and clean them with the organic cleaners, because who wants to put chemical ridden cleaners near your food?! This one may take a bit more than 10 minutes to do both or more drawers, but if you want to ration out the drawers every two weeks that would be good! We certainly recommend repeating this every two weeks. Consistency is key in preventing gooey food from piling up! 

So after reading through those, do you think you can do it? Take the plunge and try out our challenge the next couple weeks. It'll only take 140 minutes total and I think you'll like the incremental change. You might just want to repeat it the next 14 days too! Comment below when you complete a task so that we can help keep each other accountable!

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