Tired Of Spring Cleanings? How The 2-Minute Rule Can Change Your House (& Your Life)

Cleaning is not usually something that most of us look forward to, which can lead us to put off tasks. Then, once the warmer weather rolls around and the concept of spring cleaning comes to mind, completing all those procrastinated tasks can feel overwhelming. Luckily, a well-known productivity hack can transform your home and your life: the two-minute rule. This tip can help you avoid putting off tasks until your to-do list is extra long, thereby reducing your stress around cleaning. In fact, implementing this routine throughout the year could help you avoid having to partake in spring cleaning at all.

The two-minute rule was coined by productivity expert David Allen. His book, which is aptly named "Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity", has become a way of life for people looking to simplify their lives. His method asks people to consider whether a task can be completed in two minutes or less, and if it can, do it immediately. When you apply this mantra to cleaning, all you have to do is clean as you go instead of waiting until tomorrow to complete something. Further, if you need to get bigger projects done, break them down into bite-sized chunks. While huge tasks like spring cleaning an entire home can feel impossible, a two-minute task feels doable. This trick helps stamp out the mental block that keeps you from getting started while also leading to a tidy home year-round.

Break down cleaning into small tasks

When you think about how to spring clean your home, many of the tasks you need to complete are ones that can be done quickly without feeling like you're embarking on a marathon cleaning session. You can start by simply observing your living space and identifying small, manageable jobs that you think can be done in two minutes. These could include dusting shelves, cleaning around the baseboards in one room, putting away the dishes, or sweeping one room.

You can also break down other tasks that normally take longer, such as deep cleaning your fridge, a popular and necessary spring cleaning task. Instead of devoting hours to getting it done, do one shelf at a time. Likewise, organize your basement and garage shelves one shelf at a time, too. If clutter has invaded your living room, start by just cleaning off the coffee table rather than feeling like you need to tidy up the whole room. In your bedroom, declutter the nightstand. Another idea is to sort through any mail that has piled up. Dust blinds, wipe the inside of your windows, or scrub the kitchen sink. By routinely keeping these areas of your home clean by completing the tasks frequently and in small steps, you'll avoid being faced with a long to-do list once the time for spring cleaning rolls around every year.

How to time manage while implementing the 2-minute rule

If you're still dreading a certain task, it helps to set a timer on your clock or phone. A countdown will create a sense of urgency and can also help you focus on completing the job within the two-minute timeframe. This will also show you actually how long something takes to complete, as chances are it will take less time than you'd think. When you do finish a task in two minutes, you may notice that it can be pretty motivating. It might make you want to do another job or fully finish the project you just began. For instance, once you clean off one refrigerator shelf, you may feel motivated to do another. 

To remember to do your two-minute tasks in the first place, schedule quick cleaning sessions with your phone alarm. Of course, it also helps to get your partner, roommates, or children involved, which can also become a fun cleaning ritual. You can also create an effective cleaning schedule for each day by employing the two-minute rule to prevent clutter and mess from building up. Make your bed every morning, load the dishwasher right after each meal, wipe off counters once a day, and fold clean laundry immediately after it comes out of the dryer. Each of these tasks typically takes two minutes or less but can go a long way in reducing the time and effort you typically spend on seasonal cleaning sessions.