Organize & Clean

45 “One Minute Rule” Cleaning Habits You Should Always Do Right Away

published Nov 17, 2019
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Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Some giant messes happen in a matter of minutes, like the explosion that can happen when you’re packing for a trip or when you cook and eat a big breakfast in a rush. But many household messes that transpire (the ones that lead to someone shouting, “this house is a mess!”) happen insidiously, the result of many little tasks that we didn’t want to be bothered with at the moment.

One way to prevent these kinds of creep-up-on-you, whole-house disasters is keeping this rule: “If it takes less than a minute to finish, do it right away.”

Here is a mega list of such less-than-a-minute, do-it-now tasks that will keep your home cleaner, forever:

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

In the Kitchen

  • Put the dish in the dishwasher.
  • Wipe up what you spilled on the counter.
  • Scrub the kitchen sink after washing the dishes at night.
  • Wipe down the inside of the microwave if your food splatters.
  • Dry the dish you just washed and put it away.
  • Wash the cutting board.
  • Empty crumbs from the toaster oven or toaster.
  • Take out the trash.
  • Empty the recycling when it’s full.
  • Decant pantry items.
  • Empty the coffee grounds from the coffee maker.
  • Unpack the groceries.
  • Straighten up the freezer.

In the Dining Room

  • Wipe the table after you eat.
  • Push the chairs in.
  • Toss the dying flowers as soon as you notice them.
Credit: Minette Hand

In the Bedroom

  • Put the earrings back in the jewelry box rather than on the dresser.
  • Hang the jacket in the closet.
  • Put the dirty socks in the hamper rather than on the floor.
  • Make the bed, first thing.

In the Living Room

  • Bring the popcorn bowl from the living room to the sink after movie night.
  • Put the sweatshirt/cardigan/sweater away when you leave the room rather than leaving it on the couch.
  • Take the blanket back to its basket.
  • Put the remote away.
  • Put your book in its designated spot.
  • Put the charging cables back in the drawer when you’re done charging.
  • Put the DVD back in its case and the case back in its place.

In the Entryway

  • Break down the Amazon box for recycling as soon as you unbox.
  • Put your purse where it belongs.
  • Hang your keys on the hook.
  • Go through the mail before you set it on the counter.
  • Put your shoes on the shoe rack (not next to it).
  • Take the return out to the car.
  • Take the water bottle out of the car.
Credit: Photographed by Susie Lowe, Designed by The Pink House

Around Your Desk

  • Shred the sensitive paper.
  • Bring your mug from your desk to the sink.
  • Empty your purse of receipts.
Credit: Minette Hand

In the Bathroom

  • Spray a daily shower cleaner after you take a shower.
  • Put the hair dryer away.
  • Squeegee the shower door.
  • Switch out the empty toilet paper roll. (Seriously, please.)

Around the Laundry

  • Dry the front loader’s damp door after a load.
  • Separate the laundry.
  • Soak the stained shirt.
  • Toss in the load.