Your Equinox Challenge: Spring Clean Year Round in 30 Minutes a Weekday

by Rebecca A. Watson on March 20, 2014

in change, Equinox, habits, holidays

When I was a kid, every Saturday we got up and did our chores. Now, we had other ones during the week, but these were the heavy duty ones: cleaning the bathroom, sweeping and mopping, vaccuming, scrubbing the sinks.

We were a family of five (with three girls) so we had at least two bathrooms to clean in every house we lived in. By the time we had breakfast, did the chores and got ready for the day, it was already afternoon. Most of my friends had made their plans and were out on the lake already or deep into a card or board game, making it nearly impossible to join up with them.

Because of this, when I grew up and moved out, I took a very different approach to cleaning. I did it when everything got dirty. So, I would leave the tub until I could see it needed a good scrubbing. The laundry would pile up until I didn’t have any underwear or work clothes and I knew it needed doing.

laundry dog

And this is a problem, why?

I continued this way for almost 15 years. It suited me OK. I didn’t think I was dirty or anything, but if I ever had company drop by, I’d have to clean like a mad woman just to make things presentable.

It wasn’t until last year when someone from our 30 Day Challenge group said they were going to try cleaning every day for 20 minutes, that I thought maybe I should try something new. So the following month, I started the challenge myself. And because of that, I am a changed woman.

I never do chores on the weekend (unless they’re bigger, Home-Depot type stuff) and my house is always in a state where I’m comfortable having overnight guests without even a day’s warning.

It started all willy-nilly. I’d just look around and see what needed to be cleaned and then go to town. But after about a week, everything seemed to be pretty spic-and-span. At least to me. So I took a few days off of the challenge and suddenly it was all dingy again. How did this happen?

When I posted this to the group, someone said that yes, you have to continue to clean things even if they weren’t exactly what you considered filthy.

That’s when I decided I should create a cleaning schedule, kind of like the one we had at the restaurant I worked at. Every day, something different would be cleaned, in addition to your usual work, and that way, the place stayed looking spiffy without too much time lost.

It took a few weeks of messing around with how long things took and what I really wanted to clean every week, versus say the daily stuff like running the dishwasher and taking out the compost. But now I have a schedule:

weekly cleaning list


It has me cleaning about 20 to 30 minutes a day, and every week, my house gets cleaner.

I’m not kidding you about this. Because you’re cleaning on a schedule and because you allow yourself a certain amount of time, you start to do things more efficiently. So maybe there’s a scuff on the floor that you mop over the first few weeks because you’re just getting them cleaned and on track — you’re creating a baseline.

But that third week, the floor seems to take less time to get to that baseline and you have the energy to get after the scuff. Same goes for the sinks. Suddenly the walls around them are getting wiped down more thoroughly.

I thought maybe I was just making this up in my head until we moved out of our temporary apartment. I cleaned the place on pretty much the same schedule I had in our old house. Our landlord couldn’t believe how nice it looked in there. It was cleaner than when we moved in, she said. And she’s German, which means she notices stuff like that.

Now, we don’t have kids or pets, so I know that relatively speaking, I have it pretty easy. But I think the principle can still apply — you might just have to dedicate a little more time. I’ve read that if you have a family, the easiest way to keep up with laundry is to do one load a day, and this is the same concept.

Imagine having the weekends to spend time with your kids, family and friends, with only the projects you actually want to do on your radar. Would there be more picnics, walks in the woods and lazy afternoons for you? I’d hope so. There definitely are for me, and my house feels relaxed because I’m not trying to frantically get the place in order. And it also looks great.

Since it’s the Equinox today (Happy Oestra!), and spring gives us that urge to get things all sparkly, like the new life that’s popping up around you outside, I challenge you to give this a try for a month. You never know, life might get a little easier and a little more peaceful. Can’t argue with that.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Filbert

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather March 24, 2014 at 7:37 pm

What a great idea, I’m going to try this.

I love your blog!



Rebecca A. Watson March 24, 2014 at 8:20 pm

Thanks Heather! I hope you have as much success with it as I have. I love having my weekends free and a pretty tidy house 🙂 Cheers to you!


Justin Bivens December 10, 2014 at 11:07 pm

I should really do this…..

I tend to focus a lot on cleaning (along with cooking!). With 2 kids a wife and a 3rd child on the way. Our place stays messy. It can be so…..SO hard not to clean all the time.

30 minutes a day here I come. Lets increase the productivity!


Rebecca A. Watson December 11, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Hey Justin! let me know how it works out. I think that having kids would change what you did when perhaps, but I do believe it can be done. Good luck!


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