This 30-Minute Friday Cleaning Formula Makes for a More Calming Weekend at Home

published Jul 8, 2021
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Credit: Minette Hand

Envision this: It’s Sunday afternoon. The Sunday scaries are distracting you, you’ve started to make a mental list of all the things you need to do to prepare for the week ahead, and you’re stressed about all the chores you didn’t do around the house because you had plans, or prioritized relaxing instead of doing, or simply didn’t have the time on a two-day weekend. 

Does that ring true for you? It feels like an inescapable cycle: too busy during the week to tidy up, and then too checked out on the weekends to clean. Worse still, the clutter of your neglected home starts stressing you out.

I’ve found a solution to this torturous cycle, and all it requires is a bit of time and some dedication. 

The Friday Afternoon Cleaning Tip That Will Make Your Weekends So Much Better

Here’s the formula: First, pick the one area of your home that gets the messiest after a few days. I call this the “trouble spot” of the home. (If you don’t have just one, or are faced with a generally untidy home that drives you mad on the weekend, consider which single area raises your blood pressure the most when it’s been overlooked.) Then, tackle that trouble spot in under 30 minutes on Friday afternoon.

And that’s it: Identify the mess, clean it quickly on Friday, and enjoy a better and more relaxing weekend.

The key is to be mindful about what you’re cleaning and why. The goal of this Friday exercise is to make your home livable for you on the weekend — wipe down the bathtub so you can enjoy a warm soak Sunday evening, or hang up all the clothes that are strewn across your room so you have a more pleasant time sleeping in there. You’ll clean the rest of your home eventually. But on a Friday afternoon following a busy week and preceding an even busier weekend, stick to just one cleaning task. And if the prospect of spending your energy cleaning on a Friday afternoon sounds revolting, keep in mind that you should spend no more than 30 minutes doing it. The small investment of time one afternoon has a big payoff for the following two days. 

Credit: Kristan Lieb

Here’s how I put this plan into action in my own home. The apartment I currently rent has wall-to-wall carpeting and, since I live with a long-haired cat, it collects a lot of fur and dust. Too many days without vacuuming and I start to feel like I’m living in a dingy dust bin. That’s why I started my Friday afternoon cleaning routine, and I feel loads better to have a freshly vacuumed home when I wake up on Saturday morning.

Make this Friday Cleaning Task Work for You and Your Home 

You might have immediately drawn to mind the trouble spot in your home and know exactly how you’ll spend the rest of your Fridays. But if you’re in need of some inspiration, here are a few ideas for small areas of the home that are the typical trouble spots you may want to work on:

  • Vacuum carpets or dust floors: Bothered by trapped dust on your floors like me? Breathe easier all weekend long in a freshly-cleaned home.
  • Empty trash and recycle bins: Recyclables and trash can pile up fast. Sorting and emptying your collections on Fridays reduces a lot of the clutter that distracts from a relaxing atmosphere.
  • Sort through mail: Toss the junk mail that’s accumulated near your entryway into the recycling bin and open the important bills on Friday; it’ll be one less thing to do on the weekend.
  • Scrub the bath and shower: The reward for spending 20 minutes scrubbing on a Friday afternoon is the sparkling clean tub that makes for a relaxing bath the next day.

Maximize the benefits of this cleaning exercise by making it routine. Set a repeating appointment on your calendar to try it every Friday for a month until it becomes second nature. Your weekends will thank you.

Got any ideas for which area of your home you’d clean on a Friday afternoon? Do you think this ritual would help ease your Sunday scaries?