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20. Empty the Trash and/or Recycling
Emptying the trash and recycling are often easy 2-minute chores, though it usually takes less time than even that.
It’s also an easy-to-do task that you can do while standing around and waiting on or for something else, like a meal to cook, talking on the phone, or just as a quickie to-do list checkoff when you don’t feel like doing much else.
21. Clean a Trash Can or Recycling Bin
One way to stay on top of cleaning is to clean things before they get dirty, and quickly wiping down the trash and/or recycling bins as you’re emptying them is a great way to get it done and over with.
Staying on top of it consistently can help you avoid a bigger mess later were you to wait. A good, consistent routine would be about every month or so, and all you really need to do is spray and wipe it clean or use a disposable wipe.
Even though we use microfiber cloths for most of our kitchen cleaning (unless it’s involving meat or requires sanitizing), we’ll sometimes even use whatever paper towel we’ve got going from cleaning the stove or counters, providing it’s still relatively clean.
Tips and Helpful Habits
- To avoid big messes, leaks, and stenches in your trashcan or recycling bin, make sure to properly rinse things out like bottles, cans, and plastics that may have liquid or other things that might leak or cause bad odors. Allow them to dry before putting discarding them.
- Try to get into the habit of cleaning your bins at least every monthly. When you do it more consistently, you avoid a lot of mess and hassle, which means faster, easier work. This is also a great way to avoid having to hose your trashcans out, which is usually what happens when people wait for ages to clean their trashbins.
- If you tend to forget to clean your trashcan, consider setting a reminder in your calendar, planner, or digital devices. This is also a great way to hold yourself more accountable rather than trying to motivate yourself as you see a bigger mess or relying on doing it when you next remember.
22. Tidy Up the Refrigerator Shelf
Most people hate cleaning out the fridge, but you can lessen the load and sense of it being a burden by breaking it down into smaller tasks and/or by using maintenance cleaning methods.
For instance, each week, on Trash Day or grocery shopping days, you can clean out expired and/or near-empty items from your refrigerator and move around whatever is left on the refrigerator to wipe down the shelves with a lightly damp cloth.
Look At It From a New Perspective
If that sounds like a lot, keep in mind that you’re not deep cleaning, just tidying and keeping things maintained until the next deep cleaning.
The best part is it takes on a few minutes—especially as you practice and get in the habit of it. You can even skip the door compartments and to those later or just get to what you can.
Cleaning out the fridge every week or every other week keeps big messes down, which inevitably makes deep cleaning the refrigerator a million times faster and easier later.
You’ll be less likely have to feel embarrassed by what’s in there if a visitor happens to see. And you’ll have a better feel of things you need to shop for then next time you go to the store.
Tips and Helpful Habits
- If you don’t think you can clean out expired foods and quickly wipe down shelves in 2-5 minutes, you can split it up. As an example, you might empty expired foods on trash day and wipe down shelves and straighten things up on the day or night before you grocery shop.
- If you’ve got the time or energy, it’s good to check for crumbs that might fall in the hinges, crevices, or seals of the fridge, just to make sure that it’s maintained and easier to clean up.
- You don’t have to use spray cleaners or even soapy water and sponge when maintenance cleaning a refigerator. Just try a good-quality microfiber cloth that’s been lightly damped with warm water and wring it out well before using. Microfiber is great for picking up debris and spills, and you won’t have any residue, soap, or lint to worry about, especially if you mainten them well. Thus, a quicker cleaning session.
- However, for meat or seafood spills, or anything that needs sanitizing, please use a paper towel instead of your microfiber cloth and sanitize accordingly.
Curious about how to clean your microfiber cloths, towels, and mop pads?
Then you might like our posts on Learn How to Wash Microfiber Cleaning Cloths and Towels and 14 Tips on How to Use and Maintain Microfiber Cloths, Towels, and Pads next (new tab).
23. Make the Bed
Making the bed can be pretty easy to do, particularly if you don’t kick around too much. It’s also something that can act as a motivational sense of accomplishment to rev up the rest of your productive day, as well as boost your mood while helping you to relax due to less visual stimulation and other psychological benefits.
Want tips on how to speed up making your bed or more motivation to get you started?
Check out our post on 18 Ways to Reduce the Amount of Time and Effort It Takes to Make Your Bed and Top 12 Reasons Why You Should Make Your Bed next (new tabs).
24. Speed Tidy a Room
As mentioned previously, you can get a surprising amount of cleaning, organizing, and other household tasks done in 2-minute sessions, including when it comes to tidying up a room. Even if you aren’t able to clean the entire room, every bit helps.
Two and 5-minute Tidy Ups are also awesome to incorporate in your morning and/or evening routines, or even through the rest of your day. While we cover many options in this overall list, you can find a few room-related ones directly down below.
Ideal 2-Minute or 5-minute Tidy Up Areas and Tasks
25. Tidy a Drawer
Tidying up a drawer or two a day can be great for virtually any room and for those who cringe at the idea of doing the entire thing at once. And you can do it really fast, with the exception of some drawers like the drunk or utility drawer, clothing drawers, etc. But do the best you can do.
I love to do this a few times a year, just to make sure that things are decluttered of any items I may not use, which I can donate later, and to clean up a potential mess, spills, crumbs, and so forth. This can be particularly crucial with children and if your home tends to experience ant, spider, or rodent infestations.
We also cover cabinet shelves in Step #55, which is fairly similar but you may find it easier to do drawers and shelves separately in some cases.
26. Wipe Down Your Above-the-Stove Vent, Filter, and/or Hood
I will never forget the time we cleaned underneath our old above-the-stove, built-in microwave, where the exhaust vent also happens to be and after years of forgetting and downright neglect. It took forever to get layers of grease, even though we hardly ever cooked with much oil. We had the same issue at my mother’s new place, where the previous owners did similarly and it not only showed but smelled and felt like it too.
Needless to say, we always make sure to clean our vents at least once a month, including tossing the vents in the sink with some warm, soapy water for a soak or tossing it in the dishwasher along with stove components and the rest. That way it’s never forgotten and it all gets done in one fell swoop.
27. Water Some Plants
One of these easiest tasks on our 2-minute chores list that takes just a few minutes is watering your plants.
In the habit of forgetting to water them? Try setting a recurring reminder on your phone, habit tracker, to-do list, calendar, or planner.
28. Dust Some Plant Leaves
While watering your plants is obviously important, many people tend to forget or neglect to dust the leaves ever so often.
Routinely dusting the leaves of plants won’t just make the plant look better, but it will also help the plant receive those vital sun rays it relies so heavily on in order for it to flourish.
Tips and Helpful Habits
As you dust your real plants, you can also wipe or rinse clean your artificial ones, which is a lot easier when you do it consistently and before too much buildup occurs. However, it’s good to take into consideration the type of material they’re made of since some types may not tolerate water as well as others, such as with plastic vs. silk faux plants.
29. Empty the Litterbox
It’s gross but someone’s gotta do it, right? Right.
No, seriously…clean your litterbox, folks. Every day, if not several times a day. It takes way less than two minutes, especially if you set yourself up for success.
Your cat will appreciate it, your nose will appreciate it, would-be guests will appreciate it, and your neighbors might appreciate it.
Tips and Helpful Habits
- Keep the necessary tools nearby.
- Make sure to clean said necessary tools every now and then to cut back on the gross and odorific factor.
- Consider getting a litter genie disposal systems or keep litter disposal bags nearby—especially if you have a long distance to travel to throw it away outside or in your big waste bin.
- Too “lazy”? Consider a self-cleaning litterbox. Or, if you’ve got the cash, one of those spiffy nerd robot catboxes, which I not-so-secretly wish I could get for complete and utter nerd purposes.
30. Dust or Wipe Down Some Baseboards
With the right dusting and cleaning tools, you can clean the baseboards pretty quickly in a room. More so if you consistently dust them at least once a month, if not weekly or biweekly to avoid dirt and dust from sticking to surfaces as a result of time and moisture in the air.
- Aim for a long-handled duster that actually attracts dirt rather than merely pushing it around or sending it flying through air. Our favorite pick: Swiffer 360 with the 3-foot handle or their newer retractable 6-foot option, which is so far my personal favorite and all you need.
- Separate dusting from wiping if you’re short on time and patience, such as by doing the dusting one day and wiping the baseboards down at a later time. Just don’t wait for too long or you’ll have to dust again.
- If your baseboards are really filthy, it may help to break it down if you’re lacking in motivation. Just go for 2 or more minutes at a time or until you feel like stopping. You can always work at it day-by-day if you find yourself struggling.
- We love to speed things up by using a long-handled mop or broom with a microfiber cloth attached to it to wipe clean baseboards (do at your own risk), not to mention walls. Sound crazys but it works, and it’s something only a lazy genuis could think up. You can learn more about mopping baseboards in our spring cleaning post, 21 Simple Living Room Spring Cleaning Chores You Can Do in 5 Minutes (new tab).
31. Clean Blinds or Shutters
Cleaning blinds can usually feel super tedious and boring, leading many people to procrastinate. This is where breaking it down into cute, bite-sized pieces can make a huge difference.
Regardless if you want to do one a day or several, take a few minutes or set a time and have at it.
32. Vacuum or Sweep Some Stairs
Hate vacuuming or sweeping the stairs? Remembering that it only takes a couple of short minutes to do. Set a timer. Play one of your favorite songs. Or find another way to both track your time and make it a little more entertaining. It’ll be done before you know it.
33. Tidy Your Car’s Glove Compartment
Many people have the issue where their car compartments, glove box, or center console can make for the perfect hotspot for clutter, trash, and other questionable items to be hastily dumped and forgotten.
Because of this, it’s always helpful to make the routine habit of cleaning your car compartments out for a few minutes, whether it’s once a week when you come home from work or once a month while dropping your kids off at school.
34. Tidy or Pick Up The Floor of Your Car
Just as with your car’s compartments, it’s good to make the effort to pick up the car floor, too, if you happen to have trouble keeping it clean on a regular basis. You can choose to do this daily, weekly, or biweekly, but try to keep the time in between to a minimum. This way it’ll be easier to maintain and will likely go by faster.
Tips and Helpful Habits
- Keep a car trashcan or bag in the car so that things end up inside it instead on your car floor, seats, or compartments if this happens to be an issue for you.
- Consider vacuuming your car out at least once a month or keeping a car vacuum inside the car for conveinece sake. The fewer steps involved, the less likely it is that you’ll blow it off.
35. Tidy Your Car’s Trunk
If your trunk or cargo space, or even truck bed, has a tendency to get messy, clutter, or dirty, try to get in the habit of cleaning it out at least once a month. It’s quick and easy as long as you stay on top of it.
36. Dust Your Car’s Dashboard and Controls
It’s quick, it’s easy, and yet people often skip out on it. But if you have a few minutes to spare while waiting for a family member to make it to your car, or even while waiting for that order of In & Out, Mickey D’s, or Five Guys you couldn’t seem to resist, go ahead and give dusting your dash and controls a try.
Plus, you can at least clean up the greasy fingerprints from the last fast food pit stop. Think of the calories you’ll burn! Ok, maybe not, but we’ll still count it.
Is ketchup still a vegetable?
Interested in a few 5-minute Car-related spring cleaning chores? Oh, sure you are!
Check out 26 Easy Spring Cleaning Chores for Your Car Interior—Plus Tips next (new tab).
37. “Wet” Dust Some Furniture
While there’s speedy dry dusting, which usually involves something like a Swiffer or microfiber duster, there’s also the more detailed “wet” dusting that’s good to do ever so often to get whatever the regular duster likely left behind.
While dry dusting is usually faster, it’s not always going to get every bit of dust, no matter how good your duster is, and a filmy residue of dust can still accumulate on surfaces. Because of this, it’s good to do wet dust to target the fine film that can sometimes build up as a result of dust and humidity—especially on things like furniture, wood trim, and knickknacks in a more detailed manner.
Wet dusting, as we like to call it, is basically going around with a microfiber cloth and cleaning cloth, using anything from plain water to your favorite polishing product (i.e., like Endust or Pledge).
We love to regular dry dust weekly and “wet” dust every other month or quarterly in layers or by section/room, and we most often use good-quality microfiber cloths, such as this kit by E-Cloth, due to no lint, no residue to attract dust later, and overall versatility while clean, please use whatever you feel comfortable using (not sponsored).
Just make sure that the surface you plan to use it on can handle it—particularly when using something like Pledge/Endust—and don’t use too much, even if using plain water.
38. Clean the Tub -or- Shower Wall(s)
Ever find yourself in the shower waiting for your favorite conditioner or hair mask product to do its magic on your luscious locks? Why not use that time to pause or temporarily shut off your water and wash some shower walls or tub. You can clean with some delightful-smelling body wash or shower and tub cleaner of your choice. Woohoo!
Before you know it, you and your bathroom can rejoice as you do have your 1990s Herbal Essence moment and bask in the fact that you’ve mastered productivity.
Hate the backbreaking, time-consuming act of shower cleaning and found this tip helpful?
Then you might want to check out 17 Clever Ways to Make Cleaning Your Shower Easier and learn how to take shortcuts as any self-respecting, motivationally-challenged person should. Why, you might even end up looking more productive than your overachieving counterparts, only with half the effort. Boom… That’s you dropping your shampoo bottle like a boss in front no one in particular.
Note: Keep in mind that bodywash and shampoo can help keep a shower clean while doing maintenance cleaning, but it’s not a mildew buster. You’ll want to clean your shower with the real deal ever so often. Also, avoid using bar soap to clean the shower since it will only cause more soap residue. In case you were planning to get your Irish Spring on.
39. Wash Your Microwave, Sink, Stove, Toaster Oven, Vent, and Other Appliances Parts In the Dishwasher
If you really feel like motivating yourself to clean or just are looking for a warmup, consider tossing your microwave, sink, stove, toaster oven, vent, and other appliance components (disclaimer: not the appliances themselves, of course) in the dishwasher if they’re designed to be dishwasher-safe.
Some of those items might include the following:
As the dishwasher-safe appliance parts wash, you can set about cleaning those appliances by hand, and by the time the cycle’s done your kitchen will look that much cleaner. You didn’t even have to break a sweat! That’s right…
Note: While you can likely get away with putting the stove knobs in the dishwasher, we prefer to soak them if necessary and just wash them by hand. Sometimes the paint off, otherwise. Always check with the appliance manufacturer to see if the appliance’s parts are dishwasher safe. When in doubt: handwash.