I “Hired” Myself as a Pro Housekeeper and It Cut My Cleaning Time in Half

published Feb 1, 2024
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Credit: Amelia Lawrence/Kitchn

Over the years, I’ve tried and implemented various methods to improve how I clean. While I actually like cleaning, I do find myself getting distracted mid-task, which can add quite a bit of wasted time. Thankfully (like with everything else), my TikTok algorithm recently came to the rescue when it introduced me to the concept of becoming my own professional cleaner

Quick Overview

What Is the “Professional Housekeeper” Method?

Simply put, it’s when you hire yourself to be a professional housekeeper in your own home. You set a timer and get to work, only cleaning and tidying what you can in that timeframe. When the timer runs out, your shift is over.

What Is the “Professional Housekeeper” Method? 

Simply put, you hire yourself to be a professional housekeeper. This means you set a timer (e.g., for 90 minutes) and you only clean and tidy whatever you can within that time frame. After that, your shift is over, and the rest remains for another day. 

The beauty of this method is it limits distractions, as you’re focused and too busy racing the clock. “I do this so that I stay on track and go quickly because I have this sense of feeling like I was employed to do this,” says TikTok user Devin Raimo in one of her videos. Another user, Sab’s Home, experienced similar results and noted that “after doing this for about a year, [their] apartment has never been cleaner.”

How I Tried It

Really putting the hack to the test, I wanted to see if I could cut my cleaning time in half and eradicate distractions. Cleaning my studio apartment typically takes me between 1.5 to two hours, so I set my timer for 60 minutes. Maybe that’s excessive, but I wanted to delve into the character — so I stepped outside, and as I reentered my space, the timer began. 

I started in the kitchen with the simple task of unloading and loading the dishwasher and cleaning out the fridge, before moving onto the countertops. What typically would take at least 25 minutes was done within 15. Next was the bathroom. Aiming for 20 to 25 minutes in there, I focused on the basin, bathtub, glass, mirrors, and toilet, and found I even had time to quickly reorganize my skincare collection and tubs that live under the sink. 

At this point, I was shocked at how much I was getting done in such little time. Only the living room remained, and I still had 25 minutes on my timer. A quick tidy and wipe-down was all the space needed, so I was done in no time. I should note that I did have a little helper — my robot vacuum, Sharon. She began her shift when I did, and by the time I’d finished with everything, so had she. I ended with a quick mop of the apartment before sitting back and soaking in the victory before the timer went off. 

This method truly felt like a little game against myself and it was so satisfying when I won. Looking back on how much time cleaning used to take me versus now, it blows my mind because I know it wasn’t really about the speed but how distracted I’d get. I also find this method great when I don’t have the time to do a full clean. Sometimes, I just focus on one area and set the timer to 15 minutes. From there, whatever gets done, gets done, and the rest can wait until I call “my housekeeper” and book her in for another shift.