Exhaustion · Friday Favorites · Organization

The 20 Minute Challenge

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I recently wrote about the constant war I seem to have with all the “stuff” around here, i.e. my messy home! I was challenged by some of you readers to take it small, finding little bits of time to tackle little bits of work.

You inspired me, and I have beenΒ doing small challenges with myself each day this week.

Yesterday was my favorite so far. I set the kitchen timer for 20 minutes, cranked up the music, and told the kids we had to clean “super duper fast!”

They did need to take a short milk break. :-)
They did need to take a short milk break. πŸ™‚

Knowing I only had 20 minutes felt very similar to receiving the phone call that your friend is spontaneously on her way over. I moved fast, so fast I was sweating by the end.

The buzzer rang and I stopped and looked around. Wow! I actually managed to have a place which looked fairly decent. Heck, I would not mind a bit if an impromptu guest suddenly arrived. I could not help but laugh though, when no less than five minutes later a trail was already starting to re-form. It’s a mom’s world! πŸ™‚

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Now let me hear from you!!! What type of “challenges” help you keep things a little less chaotic around the house? I would LOVE some more inspiration!

Oh, and if you are feeling up to the 20 minute challenge yourself, let me know how it goes!!!!

Need a little extra incentive?? See how many calories you can burn by simply doing housework.Β Bring on the snickers bars!!

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60 thoughts on “The 20 Minute Challenge

  1. The only excuse I have at the moment is gluten. lol I have 3 hours every morning now while both boys are in school, and yet, it’s a struggle to keep the house clean. Once my symptoms finally subside, I look forward to (well, anticipate anyway πŸ˜‰ ) getting some deep cleaning done.

    A friend of mine who had 4 kids had a picture in her kitchen that read, “Cleaning the house while the kids are still growing, is like shoveling the walk while it’s still snowing.” πŸ˜€

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      1. Thanks Sasha πŸ™‚ This is the longest I’ve ever had the symptoms since I gave up gluten 3 years ago. If my body reset from the last known exposure, I should only have about 2 weeks left. I’m so ready to be done with it! πŸ™‚

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  2. I love this 20 minute challenge! I like that you did it with your kids- what a great way to teach them to help in the cleaning! I do something similar! I love doing a real quick clean right when my son naps and then again right after he goes to bed for the night. My husband and I do it together after he goes to bed. We clean for 5-10 minutes. (Sometimes longer is there was a HUGE mess), but then we settle down and have time for us. We love it, because it really doesn’t usually take very long if we do it every day. Consistency is the key to my success lately. Each day if I do these clean ups, I start the next day fresh and then the mess is just on the surface. Honestly, Sasha I am cracking up! I feel like we are on the same wave length, because the other day I was just thinking about writing a post about my tips for cleaning the house! haha πŸ™‚ I love it! Great post!!

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    1. How awesome your husband pitches in in the evening. . . how I would love for him to give a few pointers to mine. πŸ˜‰ Consistency really is the only way, if not things quickly escalate to the point of tears–literal tears! πŸ™‚

      Kindred souls, it’s what we are! I hope you write your piece!!!

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  3. Thank you for sharing this! 20 minutes is totally reasonable – why does it sometimes take someone else to suggest something that becomes obvious once they say it?
    Your description of what happened five minutes later made me laugh… oh, the many Sisyphean tasks of motherhood!

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    1. Haha, I know exactly what you mean about the obvious! It took me over three years of being a momma to try this out! πŸ™‚ How I wish we could freeze things though. By the time evening came you would have never ever known the 20 minute challenge had been tried. πŸ™‚

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  4. My mom used to do this all the time! Funny thing is, I thought it was the best game in the whole world! that is, until I became a teenager and she couldn’t fool me–cleaning was cleaning no matter how she tried to hide it. πŸ˜‰ I’d forgotten all about that, but reading this reminded me of those fun days, and you made it sound so exciting! I’m going to give it a try this afternoon. πŸ™‚

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    1. My daughter as well thought it was so much fun, running as fast as she could, picking up all her toys. My son just ran around laughing and throwing things around. πŸ™‚

      Hopefully your older boys are still at the age where it can be turned into a game, before teenage years comes creeping in. πŸ™‚ Let me know how it goes!!

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      1. I’m amazed at how much we got done in 20 minutes of frantic cleaning! My boys did great…until we got to the Legos and they needed to build cranes to pick up the remaining ones. πŸ™‚ Ah, well, those first fifteen minutes were golden! I wonder how close my youngest and your youngest are in age…that sounds about like what mine did too. Mine turns two in November. Thanks for the despirately-needed motivation!

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        1. Hahaha, I LOVE the Lego break!! AND I am so glad it went good for you guys!!! I have been doing every day for about four days now and I am hooked.

          My son turns two in March so they are only 4 months apart! It is a fun/busy age. πŸ™‚ Question though: my son is COMPLETELY opposite of my daughter, so aggressive, so rough and tumble, so loud. Did your older ones mellow down some as they grew older? Just wondering. πŸ™‚

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  5. Funny. The past few weeks I’ve been having near panic attacks every time I walk into a room, the floor of which I can no longer see. So I’ve been setting little goals for myself so I don’t pass out. I start with the easy things (like the thousands of matchbox cars in my son’s room), then stop, look around, and try and see how much better the room looks. Then I move on to the next step. I don’t know how long I can keep this up. Seriously, I feel like I live on a construction site. Nothing looks the way it’s supposed to.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean! I have been donating and throwing out like crazy here lately and still the mess lingers on! Did you read Shea’s quote in the comments: β€œCleaning the house while the kids are still growing, is like shoveling the walk while it’s still snowing.” I think I am going to make this the saying of my life. πŸ™‚

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  6. Creative thought Sasha. It is so relaxing to hear that other moms too face this challenge of keeping the home clean. Earlier I used to actually clean the house round the clock but now I do it only twice a day – once in the morning after my son goes to school and then later in the evening before we settle for dinner. I plan to take up the 20 minutes challenge for cleaning the house tomorrow. I think it will be a great way to inculcate the habit in kids also, they anyways love challenges πŸ™‚ I am all excited!!!!

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  7. I have to stick to a chore chart. Monday is market, Tuesday bathrooms, Wednesdays dust & water plants & wipe down walls, etc., Thurs. I tackle the kitchen & vaccum. Friday is a catch all–whatever I miss. Everyday is laundry, and every night after Easton goes to sleep I run around tidying up. But if you came mid-day, you might never know it! Still, I know things have been done so that helps πŸ™‚

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    1. Way to go sticking to the chart!! I have definitely tried this before but somehow always fail. I think the worst thing about actually cleaning/cleaning is it involves cleaning products. To keep them out of site from the kids I have to do it during nap time. Cleaning is the very last thing I want to do during my one break of the day. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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  8. Ha, I love this idea Sasha. There’s a few techniques I use, and a time limit is one of them, mostly because I like a cleanish house, but I hate spending too much of my day cleaning. Yesterday I felt messy in my heart, so I cleaned my dirtiest cupboard. At the end, both the cupboard and I felt clean! And lastly, with windows, I clean one room of windows a day. That way, by the end of the week, all the windows are clean πŸ™‚

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    1. Way to go Sara!!! I don’t think I clean my windows more than twice a year–at the very most. . . What I would give to have you come to my place a few times each month! πŸ™‚

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      1. Lol don’t misunderstand me πŸ™‚ that’s how I go about cleaning the windows when I find myself looking at them rather than through them. No way do I clean windows every day!

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        1. Oooh, hahaha!! I am relieved. Here I was feeling pretty proud and then I run into superwoman who cleans her windows every day of the year! LOL!

          Great idea when it does come time for window cleaning! πŸ™‚

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  9. That’s a great workout! Lately I have been timing my correspondence time to 20 minutes for the day. I will text people only while I am working out in the morning. Except for emergencies of course. This has cut my phone time down and help me get more done during the day. πŸ™‚ not that I was that popular, but my mom could text me all day long! πŸ™‚

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    1. Aw, I love it!! How I hope to have such a relationship with my daughter when she is grown, texting all throughout the day! πŸ™‚

      Seriously though, I really applaud you for this. It seems that when we put the phone down is when life really shows us its beauty. πŸ™‚

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  10. I just got a vacuum robot. I have four animals and couldn’t keep up with the hair. Now I have more time to clean the bathrooms and kitchen. I often get in cleaning modes where I will clean for an hour straight. Giving myself a set time is a great idea. It’s amazing what you can get done in 20 minutes.

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    1. Oh I have always wondered about those vacuum robots. Do you think it works good? Does it work its way around the furniture somehow? I cannot imagine how wonderful it would be to not have to vacuum!

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    1. I have only done it for 4 days now so I am sure it will grow old, but so far my daughter loves it. I turn up her kid’s music really loud and go crazy, chanting “Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!” She runs around as fast as she can throwing toys into her bins and “dusting” everything in sight, including her play food, books, dolls–a little dusting never hurt anyone, right? πŸ™‚ She never makes it the entire 20 minutes but doesn’t mind that I am finishing up.

      If you try it out definitely let me know how it goes!!

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    1. Louise, I am finding this small bursts thing to be my lifesaver. I don’t know why I often always felt like I needed to get it all done at one time. Now, if I have a few minutes to spare, I will do what I can in those few minutes. Keeps things from becoming completely chaotic. It is forever a little chaotic though. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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  11. Doing a short rush around can work well. But every so often I have to clean things “permanently” so I have less stuff to form the trail after we go through.

    I’m so glad the kids are a bit bigger now. Just the other day I was marvelling at how much less messy the toys get after a play session now they tend to stick at one task a bit more. And lo and behold, P actually got out a sheet to tip his lego onto – he’s finally learnt that it’s a real pain to pick up a whole box of tiny lego pieces and started to think ahead about how to make it easier from the outset! Maybe they’ll get there after all. πŸ™‚

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    1. Oh I know what you mean. There is always a time when the actual grunt work needs to be done. :-/

      Wow, hearing about your kids gives me strong hope! I love how P even thought to use a sheet. That is one clever boy you are raising there!

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        1. Eventually sounds good to me! I cannot imagine the day they may actually pick up their stuff, rather than make a much larger mess than the one I am currently trying to pick up. πŸ™‚

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  12. When I was a kid, my mother had a cartoon strip that showed a family relaxing in front of the TV when a phone began ringing or maybe it was the doorbell. Then “mom” gave the SOS–help me clean up this mess before company walks in the door! It was 0 to 60 and sure enough in comes the company! Everyone welcomes the company looking relaxed; the floor is spotless; the dirty cups and glasses gone and nobody was any wiser. That happened to us fairly often except we were never relaxed in front of a TV. We called them our “0-60” moments.

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    1. Haha, I cannot tell you the number or 0-60 moments I have had in my three short years of having kids! What a perfect description! Never any lounging TV moments on this side either, perhaps in a few years though. πŸ™‚

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  13. I love that idea! I’ve got 3 itty bitty kids. I could totally stick the newborn in a carrier, and the 2 toddlers could help… or undo what I’ve done… whatever. and we would definitely be cranking some tunes! This is now on my to-do list .

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    1. I do hope you do it! I have been hooked on it for over a week now and my kids still find it entertaining! πŸ™‚ Let me know how things work out if you give it a go! πŸ™‚

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  14. I love this idea… I just did this on Saturday afternoon and then somehow managed to gather everyone in the living room for a movie… Felt good to kick back in a fairly clean environment lol

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  15. I have 3 little tornadoes … oh and let’s not forget the two male teenagers as well … (hmmm probably should throw my husband in there too) In the beginning I was just crazy and constantly trying to clean like a mad woman…the OCD would just take over and I would run around in circles (hence why I am on zoloft now) helps keep the bad OCD at bay and I have adjusted to my “new” enviroment

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