This Little 3-Minute Habit Will Instantly Make a Noticeable Difference in Your Home

published Jan 19, 2023
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Credit: Andrew Bui

Apartment Therapy’s January Cure is a free 20-day program that’ll help you reset your home for the year ahead. Sign up here and get all assignments delivered to your inbox.

It’s the small habits done every day that lead to big changes in our homes. My go-to cleaning motto, for instance, is “if it’s simple to do, do it now,” and it’s worked wonders in my life. 

Whenever I feel myself wanting to put things off, this simple saying gives me just the boost to get started — and it often builds momentum to get bigger things done too.

Today, we have another little habit you might want to adopt into your cleaning repertoire that could truly make a difference.

Day 14: Do a 3-minute surface sweep

All you need to do is commit three minutes to this “surface sweep” challenge. First, you’ll need to grab a box or bag. 

Then, you’re going to take these three minutes to clear the surfaces around your home, from the shelves and countertops to the tabletops. Gather out-of-place items and put them in the bag or box you’re carrying with you — think glasses, trash, anything that doesn’t belong — and work fast and decisively. 

Once the timer is up, return the items in the box to their rightful place and discard any trash that’s accumulated. In the end, you can feel so satisfied knowing that not only did you clear things up but you put things away too, and it only took you a few minutes.

PRO TIP: You can easily work this habit into a daily (or weekly) routine. You can also extend it if you feel like it’s not enough time to clear all the surfaces in your home. You can alter it to 10 minutes or even 15. Consider doing separate three-minute “surface sweep” challenges for each room, and if you have kids, get them involved by having them do it for their own spaces.

What simple habits have made a big difference in your life? Share it with us in the comments below.

More ways to participate in the January Cure:

The Cure Program is a tradition here at Apartment Therapy — it happens every January, April, and September. Click here to learn more about the year-round program and when to sign up.