Thursday 6 October 2011

10 minute tasks

For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook and Twitter will have seen me mentioning my days of 'ten minute tasks' over the past week.

In a nutshell my house was becoming a bit of a mess, but with a tiny baby who is a little unpredictable in her sleep/eat routine I simply couldn't dedicate the time to having one of my super dooper clear out and de-clutter sessions which usually end up me getting into a bigger mess than when I started before anything starts to get better.

So I came up with a 10 minute task day which if done correctly means you should never get to the point where you don't know where to turn or are in such a state you cant stop to do something else like feed the baby or pick the kids up from school.

So here's what you do:

Take a notebook and pen and visit each room in your house. Look at any area you can see a particular mess and write a list of jobs. For instance here is what I did in my lounge:

  • Tidy the desk shelves
  • Sort out the filing rack
  • Clear out the side of the armchair
  • Sort out the display cabinet shelf

Start on the first job on your list, but be careful of the pitfall of moving on before you finish. i.e.
I am clearing up the bookshelf and open a file which is full of old paperwork. The temptation is to start dealing with that paperwork and the next thing you know you have a pile of rubbish all over the place. This in itself is another 10 minute task, so instead of doing it. Add it to your list and come back to it as a separate task when you have finished your current one.

(if you look at my tidy shelves you can see the pile of paperwork I pulled out that I no longer needed placed on the desk. Instead of dealing with it as part of the process, I put it to one side to sort out once I had finished the shelves).

You don't have to do your jobs in the order that you wrote them down. For instance as your working on the shelf area, it could well be sensible to start on that filing next up, but if you have already tidied your bookshelf and something else in your life stops you from starting on it you will be in a good position to stop what your doing.

I actually found that I often end up working non stop for 2 or 3 hours, but by working in this way, if at any point the doorbell rings and you receive and unexpected visitor or your son gets sent home from school poorly, you are in a position to stop what your doing and come back to it later.

I am by no means finished on my house mission, even after 2 days I still have lots more jobs that need doing. But by constantly doing 10 minute tasks my house remains clean and tidy at all times and it is so much more enjoyable.

10 minute tasks don't have to be de-cluttering and sorting out. It can be any job you like that needs doing. You could even break your day to day housework down into 10 minute chunks.

I use a handy chart to help me with my housework that breaks the rooms down into individual jobs, some are weekly, some fortnightly and some even monthly, but by leaving it up on my cupboard door and ticking jobs off each time I have completed one if ever I have a spare 10 minutes I can look at the list and see what needs doing.

Here are a few ideas for 10 minute tasks that are not general housework:

  • Sort out your make-up bag
  • empty your handbag/change bag of rubbish
  • Clear out your clothes (1 draw at a time)
  • De-scale the steriliser
  • Clean the buggy wheels
  • Weed the garden (1 flowerbed or pot at a time)
  • Sort out the toy box
  • Sort out the kitchen cupboards (1 at a time)
  • Plump the sofa cushions
  • turn the mattress on your bed
  • Soak off any stamps you have saved that are not franked
Good luck with your ten minutes tasks, I'd love to know how you get on, please share your blogs and facebook pictures if you have a good idea or clearing out session.

I still have lots more to do and will be sharing some more tips for clearing out with you over the next month including my4 box clearance system of 'chuck, charity, free & sell'.


  1. Brilliant! I so need to do this x

  2. Lovely post, it is amazing what you can get done in ten minutes! This is the post that caught my eye after your challenge to comment on an older post :)