Can 3 Minutes Change Your Home? The Power of the Surface Sweep

Can 3 Minutes Change Your Home? The Power of the Surface Sweep

Janel Laban
Jan 13, 2015
(Image credit: Elissa Crowe)

No matter how clean and well organized a room actually is, it can look and feel like the opposite when the surfaces are cluttered with everyday stuff. Getting into the mindset of regularly doing a speedy, frantic-yet-focused surface sweep is one of the best habits to try and pick up during the Cure this month. It doesn't need to take long (3 minutes is good, really!) but the change in your room is major. Let me prove it to you today with a fast, super-effective exercise.

Today's Assignment:

Do a Surface Sweep

Choose one room in your home where the surfaces could use some attention. Set the timer on your phone (or stove, for you nostalgia lovers) for 3 minutes and GO. Dive in and straighten as if your life depends on it, flat out FAST for the duration of the timer. Scoop stuff up, gather it together and put it where it goes. Glasses and mugs to the sink, magazines in the rack, junk mail in the get the idea. This isn't about going on a full room cleaning binge. It's just a quick reset to get things under control in the speediest way possible and then move right on to whatever it is you want or need to be doing at the moment; getting back to making dinner, replying to emails, watching your show or playing with the kids.

It's a surprisingly effective tool against creeping clutter, it really works for staying ahead of the tide before things get to the "I give up!" point. It's most effective when done regularly. Consider doing a 3 minute "surface sweep" once a day for the rest of the Cure - I think that once you see the returns on your (very small!) time investment, you'll be hooked.

(Note: Everyone's household is so different - you may want a slightly longer regular daily "sweep" time if you have kids, for example. Feel free to up it by a minute each time until you hit the sweet spot, but no matter what, definitely keep it to under 10 minutes. This is a quick daily habit to slip into your life to make it easier, not another dreaded task for the already too long to-do list.)

Please tell us where and what you "swept" for today's exercise in the comments and how much you got done in the very limited timeframe. And, I know there must be some regular "surface sweepers" out there already. If so, please share your wisdom on the process below.

The January Cure Calendar:

Download our PDF to see the full upcoming schedule (and print it out if having a hard copy is helpful to you)

For all the assignments (so far) click over to the → January Cure Main Page

Hashtag for Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, etc (please show us what you are up to!): #thejanuarycure

It's Not Too Late to Join The January Cure:

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