I’m not really a big fan of cleaning.

Don’t get me wrong.  I like it clean.

I like everything to be dust-free and put away and shiny and sparkling and in its place.

But the doing?  The dusting and vacuuming and wiping and mopping and swishing and washing?  That’s the part where cleaning and I part ways.

(total aside:  have you ever noticed that vacuum is a really hard word to spell?)

And besides—it’s summer.  Who has time for anything else besides reading books and eating corn on the cob?

So I’m giving cleaning five minutes.  That’s it.  That’s all I got.

And I put together a list for all of us—just in case you had five minutes, too.

Here are 10 things to clean if you only have five minutes.

1.  Table and chair legs

Hello, beautiful.  I’m looking at you and your cobwebs.

Set a timer.  Take five minutes and a flour sack cloth and swipe down as many chair and table legs as you can.

Sometimes I use a spare sock with a little furniture polish for this, too.

Here’s a simple way I clean my floors, too.

2.  Wipe down the refrigerator

This is mine.

Some people tell me they’ve never seen it on the blog.

Set your five-minute timer and wipe down as much of the fridge as you can.  Open the doors.  Wipe down the sides.  Pull out the little tray where the ice maker is and discover an entire dirt colony you never knew even existed.

3.  Wipe down mirrors and faucets

Don’t overthink this.

Just five-minute it.

I use a flour sack towel for this, too.  My secret?  I spray the cleaner onto the towel and then wipe.  It makes everything go a little faster.

4.  Wash extra serving platters and dishes

I eat off my dishes and I use them to decorate.

The regular dishes get washed, but all the other ones?  The ones that sit under a pear on a nest?  They just collect dust.

Take five minutes, gather them up and run a dishwasher load of decorating dishes.

5.  Door knobs

Grab a flour sack cloth spritzed with a little cleaner and set your five-minute timer.

Then walk through your house and swipe all around the knob.

Not just the handle—that gets used.

Swipe around the edges and in the grooves and polish up all the sides where dirt can hide.

6.  Clean out your silverware drawer

Have you ever opened your silverware drawer and averted your eyes?

Spoons and forks and bits of Cheerios all mixed up together.

Take five minutes and sort that mess out.

Take out the utensil holder.  Place the silverware where it goes and wipe underneath the organizer.

Now it’s ready for company.

7.  Wash out a trash can

(total aside:  please note that this is a picture of my kitchen because I don’t think I’ve actually ever taken a picture of my trash can before)

Take the can outside.  Spray the bottom of the trash can.

Let it soak for a couple of minutes (you only have five to work with).

Then take a hose and rinse it out.

8.  Clean the ceiling fan

I found the best tool for this in the cleaning aisle at WalMart.

It’s round with bristles and it fits right over the blade of the fan.

Make sure your fan is off.  Set your timer and slide the brush over each of the blades.

You may want to put a drop cloth below the fan to catch the dust.

9.  Deep clean your sink

Set your timer for five minutes and give every minute to your sink.

Wipe down the handles.

Clean the grooves on the outside.

Take your sponge holder and clean every bit of it off.

Then give it one final wipe down with a dry towel to make it shine.

10.  Change your sheets

You are probably on a regular sheet changing schedule.

I forget.

Set aside a day of the week and five minutes and then switch everything out.

Here’s one of my best tips for fresh-smelling sheets.

That’s it.

Wasn’t it easy?

It only took five minutes.

And now you can smile when you open your silverware drawer or look up at your ceiling fan or walk by your refrigerator or reach for a door knob.

Now go forth and enjoy summer.

PS  Here’s one more for the road.

This is my best tip to fix those sagging couch cushions.

PPS  If you have any other ideas for five-minute cleaning—-let’s start a list in the comments. 🙂


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  1. Image for Gwen Gwen

    Kari Anne these are all great but #8 is outstanding! Turn off the fan and put drop cloth beneath! Haha!!! Love it and you! Excellent post as always. Have a beautiful clean day. You're my favorite! Gwen

  2. Image for Cindy Richter Cindy Richter

    Great tips and I did not know that about the sheets! I wonder if my HOA will frown upon that?! Guess I'll have to take that chance. I love me some fresh smelling sheets!

  3. Image for Shelley Shelley

    My vanity is always "a-jumble". I'd love to grab some zip lock sandwich bags, set a 5-minute timer, and organize a drawer at a time! Then maybe I could corral all my fingernail polishes, spare lipsticks, and extra earring backs, once a for all! Thanks for your blog- you are always a breath of fresh air while I drink my coffee!

  4. Image for Terri Terri

    WOW... great tips!!! What did I love most about this post??? .... Ummmmm ... that you use an old sock and spray the cleaner on it and then have at it!!! SO DO I!!! I am laughing ...... does everyone use an old sock ??? It makes cleaning nooks and crannies so much easier !!!

  5. Image for Virginia Abernathy Virginia Abernathy

    I got this tip from a you tuber, clean ceiling fan blades with an old pillow case. Slide it over each blade.... no dust to deal with floating thru the air or on the floor or furniture! Who knew!!!

  6. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    Now to find the 5 minutes :)!!!! My ceiling fans are so high you need a super duper long ladder to reach. I do have one of those fan cleaners (from my former house) -it works great!

  7. Image for Kari Cox Kari Cox

    Awesome tips! I also use a timer a LOT to get things accomplished around the house. It is amazing how much you can actually get done in 15 minutes. I will set the timer, work like mad, and tell myself I can have 15 minutes of reading time when the timer dings. Makes those yukky chores a bit more tolerable and that is always a good thing. Thanks for always being a bright spot in my inbox! ( total aside---I love the links to previous stories--doesn't matter how many times I read them, they still make me smile! ) Keep doing what you're doing!

  8. Image for carrie carrie

    Awarded most "Popular Comment of the day": Turn off the fan....ha ha ha....it's a rainy day here in Pittsburgh and that little sentence brightened my day!!!

  9. Image for Michelle Michelle

    What great tips! A cleaning sprint that almost sounds like fun! I can't believe I'm going to admit this on (yikes!) the Internet (where everyone knows everything lives forever) but here goes... At one time in my life I was marathon running a daycare, a nursing home, a ranch and an animal shelter all on the same property. And I thought I was doing pretty well. Until my three year-old granddaughter said with great concern one day, "Grandma, you really need to clean." Yes, she spoke in complete sentences at three years-old - my tiny, adorable anomaly, I put on my cheater 'reading' glasses and looked at where she was pointing, then another spot, then another... I was appalled. That wasn't just a 'sprint' cleaning day. That was a cleaning marathon. Then I made an appointment for myself for real glasses. To wear all the time.

  10. Image for wilma wilma

    Great post! I first thought that you meant, what to clean if you only have five minutes and company is coming! My mother always said, wipe down the big, flat surfaces, shine the bathroom mirror, sink and taps, empty the visible garbage cans (especially the one in the bathroom your guest might use), and get the dishes into the dishwasher. It actually makes a big difference!

  11. Image for Lisa Jordan Lisa Jordan

    A great tip I think of while in the shower is from my favorite Aunt Kay. She never waited for the shower to get grimy before cleaning, she cleaned while showering! Ha! So now with a mild natural detergent spray and a face cloth I do the same. Oh, and liquid body soap is much easier on the shower walls or tub than a bar of soap's residue is. And don't forget to squeegee all the water off the stall before stepping out, too!

  12. Image for Julie Briones Julie Briones

    "Make sure your fan is off." Okay... that made me giggle, quite hard! If you have horizontal blinds (the faux wood kind, like I have in My Wee Abode, which is a rental), use the round dusters (disposable or not) on a regular basis to dust them. One window can take you five minutes. And, let's face it, if we dusted our blinds on a regular basis, we would all be SO much happier in the long run. You know what I mean, right? ;-)

  13. Image for Barbara Barbara

    I find that a few minutes in each room every day keeps dirt and most clutter at bay. Thanks for your tips!! You are a bright spot in my day!!!

  14. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    Good tips! I wish I would have read all the way down. The problem is I didn't read as far as to turn off the ceiling fan and Hubby had to catch me and the mop on the 4th revolution. That was quite a ride, let me tell you!! I didn't think cleaning could give me such a lift! Have a great day -- sending hugs!!

    1. Image for Jean McGee Jean McGee

      Another BIG laugh actually even more laugh as my mind pictured all of this - still laughing. Thanks! Jean McGee

  15. Image for Cindy in Oklahoma Cindy in Oklahoma

    Here's my dad's best "cleaning" tip on those days when the sun is shining brightly through the windows exposing dust on everything - Close the blinds! And here's my uncle's solution to not being able to see the TV very well anymore. Don't buy a bigger TV. Move the furniture closer. Ahhh... the wisdom of age....

  16. Image for Shirley Shirley

    Some great tips there Karianne! Now I know what to do with all the odd socksI seem to accumulate.I love all the tips about putting washing out. My neighbour brings her washing line in every night. In case a passing burglar takes it to strangle her with! Yes, she does know she is being irrational! Xx

  17. Image for Lynne - Australia Lynne - Australia

    Thanks for the great 5 minute tips. Would you have time to do a printable sheet for this? I'm a hopeless cleaner. Get everything spotless (almost) then leave it and only see the dust when the front doorbell rings and I quickly swish things on the way to answer it. I love sheets on the line in summer but usually do the towels in the dryer because they go too stiff on the line. (In a valley and don't have many windy days) Lynne xx

  18. Image for Sherry Sherry

    Kari, I loved this post it reminded me of a time when I was a young woman ( that was a long time ago trust me) someone at Church gave me a book titled "Happy Home Handbook" by Jo Berry. It was and still is the best book I have read on the subject of keeping an orderly home. She breaks every housekeeping project down into how many minutes it takes to do. Example: It only takes 2 minutes to make your bed each morning. Or wipe down your cabinets doors each time you do dishes...it takes less than 5 minutes and then never needs a deep clean. So for the past 48 years I have followed this example and my house is always clean and orderly and I have lots of time to read and play and minister to others.

  19. Image for Eileen Eileen

    I like the sheets hanging out idea. I've always loved the memories of childhood, but don't have a clothesline. I'll have to do something about that.

  20. Image for Monica Monica

    I LOVE the blue and white curtains......do you remember where you got them? I am doing my bedroom colors in blue and white and these curtains are gorgeous!!!!

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