One 3-Minute Habit This Cleaning Editor Does Every Single Morning

published Jan 21, 2021
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In astrology (so I’ve learned) you have a sun sign, which commonly helps to describe your personality, but also a moon sign, which more acutely describes your inner self. If cleaning habits follow the same formula, I am an organized sun with a slob moon.

I try to keep it together when it comes to my home looking its best, but deep down I am a messy person at heart. Sometimes I feel like a fraud of a cleaning editor, teaching people how to keep house when I never make my bed and routinely leave my nightstand full of drinking glasses, but I think those messy instincts provide invaluable clarity when it comes to recommending housekeeping strategies. When I say something works, it works. Because I am a slob at heart.

One impactful habit that’s helped me repress my messiest tendencies is the three-minute daily surface sweep. Every morning, after I’ve brushed my teeth but before I make coffee and settle in for the day, I walk around my home picking up anything that’s out of place and returning every surface to homeostasis.

During my surface sweep, I might pick up glasses from the coffee table and carry them to the dishwasher, or pick up shoes and socks that were cast off in a hurry and place them in the shoe rack and hamper, respectively. Those few minutes each morning are my time to pick up whatever is sitting where it doesn’t belong. And because I do it daily, the surface sweep never takes more than three minutes.

Taryn's Tips

The very best tip for a perpetually tidy home is to spend three minutes every single day picking up. Brush by every surface to collect things that are out of place and return them to where they belong.

If you’re a naturally tidy person, this routine might seem obvious. But for the rest of us, it’s a game changer that keeps your clean home humming.

Today is the day to kick off or recommit to this powerful daily habit…

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Stylist: Stephanie Yeh

Day 14: Do a 3-minute surface sweep.

Take a few minutes from your day today to clear the everyday surfaces around your home.

Set a timer for three minutes, grab a bag or box, and start. Work around your tabletops, countertops, or shelves, scooping stuff up as you go. Gather together anything that’s out of place and either put it back where it goes or into your box if it belongs in another room (like glasses and mugs for the sink or junk mail for the recycling bin). You can pull things in and out of the box as you work your way through your rooms and spaces.

While you’re working, keep your eyes on the prize: This exercise is just a quick pick up—not a full-on room cleaning binge. Work with intention and work fast, hustling to tidy up as much as you can until the timer runs out. Then stop.

If there’s anything left in your box, place it quickly in its home. Then you’re done!

More Ways to Participate in the January Cure: