Monday, June 18, 2012

Keeping House in 5-Minute Slots

Before kids, I had long stretches of time for projects. (What did I do with all of it?  What?). 

Now my time is broken into fragments with family life.  What works for me is to use the little time slots for little jobs, such as:
1.  Fill the Brita water filter in the fridge.
2.  Put away dishes that have air-dried in the drainer.
3.  Fold laundry.  I sort the clean clothes and put them in a basket in the appropriate bedroom, so this is a task that can be done piecemeal.
4.  Open mail, tossing unneeded stuff in the recycling bin in the hall.
5.  Fold and straighten the quilt and blanket on the sofas.
6.  Empty the kitchen compost bucket into the backyard composter.
7.  Remove receipts from my wallet, recording or recycling as needed.
8.  Shake the sand out of the rug by the back door and tidy up the shoe rack there.

Sometimes I have a hard time switching off the 5-minute-slot mentality, and I find myself frittering away a long stretch of time that could be used for a project.

What do you do with your 5-minute slots?


Lisa said...

Funny you should bring this up - I just started trying a five minute thing after work, if dinner is leftovers and I'm not too tired. But even if I am tired - what's five minutes? Or, that's what I've been asking myself. You can easily grab a feather duster and improve a room in a short time. Then you feel like you're going forward, at least.

(and, as I'm typing this, your link to a previous post about strawberry freezer jam caught my eye - I just posted about that myself, so excuse me while I check out your recipe!)

Dianna said...

I've started loading and/or unloading the dishwasher when I have a few spare minutes, and it's been working very well. Once I timed myself, and it only took 2 minutes to unload the dishwasher.

Lisa said...

That's it - I'm just realizing that when you time yourself, you discover that things don't really take that long. That is a big help to me, mentally, for some reason.

loves2spin said...

You are right! It's amazing how much can be accomplished when instead of wringing my hands for 5 minutes, I just look for something I CAN do. I used to think, oh no! I can't get the dishes done before I leave, but even a huge mess can be cleaned up in 15 minutes, I've found! And by the way.... PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me where I can purchase a stainless dish drainer and tray like you have!!! :-0

Unknown said...

I think my whole day IS 5-minute jobs! That's not really true...but I feel like I'm always jumping from one thing to another and everything in between ; ) Your list sounds a lot like mine. Wiping down the counters would be another on my list - I hate crummy counters ; ) And I often just rinse down the sinks in the bathroom - they get a good scrub once a week or so, but I like to wash down any soap/toothpaste/etc that looks unsightly!

simplicityinthemaking said...

I think I multi-task all day long. If the list gets even half done, its a great day! I think I tend to give 15 minutes per job. Should set the timer one of these days! I know with homeschooling out mega 'time to clean up' is 15 minutes and whatever doesn't get done, gets done in the evening, or the next day, or the next. I guess I have learned to be forgiving ;)

Margo said...

loves2spin, the dishdrainer would not be hard to find - probably at a good housewares or kitchen supply store. The tray, however, was made locally by an Amishman. Check at Lehman's Store online because they can ship items (

Beth said...

Margo - thanks so much for checking in on me and means a lot! :-)

I'm still checking in on you, just haven't been commenting.

Let's see...what do I do with my 5 minute slots? Ummm....nothing. At least not for the time being, haha.

But I do love the concept of short chunks of work done in limited spaces of time - that strategy has helped me so much at home to get many small things improved around the house as opposed to maybe one larger task done or half done. It helps so much.

Even just the job of purging...if I tell myself I'm going to purge and tidy the pantry for 10 minutes only, then when I leave, it's better than before, even if it wasn't an overhaul.

Nicole said...

What did I do with all that time before the kids?? Anyway now my 5 min slots are filled with picking up dishes, picking up laundry, picking up shoes, picking up the living room cushions off the floor, picking up kids (not literally so much anymore but in the van :)

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

Thanks for sharing the 5 minute slot jobs..YOu are so right, It doesn't take long to do the tiny jobs and makes for a more tidy home, with less work..
I have to remind myself to use the 5 minutes instead of wasting them, by sitting around saying I am tired.ha
Things I do in 5 minute slots:
1- empty the dishwasher
2- sweep the kitchen floor
3-shake floor rugs [ones at the door]
4- Put on laundry
5-Run vaccumn over one room [usually living room].
6- Tie up kitchen garbage sack and take out to big garbage can outside.