I Tried This Simple Cleaning Routine — And It Was Instantly Rewarding

published Sep 5, 2023
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

The older I get, the more I realize that the looming intimidation of any to-do list is much more of a mood killer than the act of actually completing the tasks. This is particularly true when I have chores on the docket. I convince myself that things like doing the dishes will surely take two hours, even though they have never once required that much time. I also assume that once I begin tidying, it will snowball into a day where all I do is clean, my precious leisure time lost to the ether. That’s a possibility, sure — but only if I let myself get carried away.

But I think I’ve finally stumbled upon a way to both reaffirm that regular tidying can be a quick process, and set a time limit on how much of my day I’m willing to spend doing chores. TikToker Clara Peirce (@clararpeirce) posts Sunday reset videos — a concept I am a total sucker for in general, particularly in the way she pulls them off. She attempts to clean her entire apartment in the time it takes her to wash and dry her sheets. The idea immediately appealed to me: a built-in time limit, a challenge to see what you can accomplish during that short period, and warm, clean sheets to sink into after you’re finished. 

Not only are the videos motivational to watch, but the results also feel attainable given those parameters that have been set. Trust me — I put it to the test myself.

After walking my sheets and pillowcases down to my complex’s laundry building (people with in-unit laundry, what does it feel like to live like royalty?), I got to work on my apartment. It wasn’t too messy, but my husband was out of town so I had spent the previous day reverting a bit to the feral days of living alone as a 20-year-old. Takeout bags littered the kitchen, a few more dishes than I’d like sat stacked in the sink, and the place just had the general aura of someone who’d stayed up in a pitch-black room until three in the morning playing The Sims. (I cannot confirm nor deny that this occurred). It was perfect timing to give the sheets practice a whirl. 

Lo and behold, in the 90 minutes it took the sheets to wash and dry, I cleaned my entire kitchen, took the trash out, vacuumed my living room, office, and bedroom, cleared my bathroom counter of makeup clutter, swept my patio rug, watered all my plants, and put away some odds and ends that were scattered throughout the apartment. I felt on top of the world, amazed that so much was accomplished in such a short window, the laundry timer on my phone a boost of motivation powering me through to the very end.

Were there more in-depth tasks that remained to be tackled? Sure. The windows could use a wipedown and my office desk still had a stack of papers that needed to be sorted. But the timer had gone off and set me free. I was holding myself to the idea that I was done, that the apartment’s vibe had already improved by one billion percent, and that not every worthwhile cleaning session has to check every single box. As someone who does not remember to wash her sheets and pillowcases as often as she should, that task being done added even more of a sense of accomplishment. 

I’m inclined to believe that this is one TikTok tip I’ll turn into a true Sunday routine. It was manageable, offered a built-in reward, and was — dare I say — even a little fun.