Home & Garden – Time Saving Tip

A friend mentioned that someone dropped by in the middle of what she describes as her humdrum house work.  She was glad to see her friend but was just as glad to postpone the drudgery (as she calls it.)

I’ve known so many people over the years who felt that way —— and certainly I would have to include myself.

I guess I should not admit this to the entire world but the truth is– in the all the decades Bill and I have been married, it has only been in recent years that I have done – I feel – and excellent job of keeping our home “always presentable”.

If I had to clean — say for an entire day — or even a half a day  —  even for 2 hours — I would immediately start dreading it. As with most things, the mental dread is worse than doing the work.

Ok – I know – if you don’t have this problem — you are probably shaking your head in disgust.

The good news is I have – I think – found the secret and it’s so simple that its easily overlooked. And I apply it to my garden and yard tasks as well.

When I make my “to do list” for the next day before going to bed, I include exactly what I want my 5 to 10 minutes of house cleaning to be. (Believe it or not – this makes your chore much easier to do – so be sure to do this part even though it may seem insignificant.)

Next morning after showering and dressing I immediately do my 5 to 10 minutes of house cleaning.

For example – I might use a dry dust mop (like the one below) on my kitchen floor to get up loose dirt and then continue to mop all my hardwood floors downstairs.  This takes me 7 minutes total. Just the amount of time for cleaning that I can handle!

Another day I will dust one room down stairs – (5 minutes) – or if I feel I want to I will finish up the other 2 rooms downstairs as well. (Another 10 minutes.)

And by the way, a feather duster is part of the secret and I think, one of the greatest things ever invented.  You don’t have to move things like in normal dusting and it still gets clean.  What a time saver!

(Picture below shows new feather duster on the left and two old ones that I have worn down.  The long handled duster is perfect for hard to reach places. The worn ones are especially good for baseboards, windowsill, blinds, etc.)

The process (of planning a specific task the night before and then spending a few minutes on it the next day) can be used in the garden. It is especially helpful on cold days during the winter or hot days during the summer when it is not very appealing to go outside.

To take most of the effort and dread out of almost any task in the home or in the garden use my “secret”:
#1 – Plan the night before exactly what you want to get done.
#2 – Plan to spend an amount of time that won’t freak you out – no matter how small – even 5 minutes. (You can always do more once you’re into it.)

Be consistent and you’ll be amazed at what you can get done in such a small amount of time. I’ll be cheering you on!


  • Have you ever heard of FLYlady? She has created a web-based community based on doing small amounts of housework (gardening works just as well) in 15 minute segments. I too have only in recent years been able to keep our home “company ready” most of the time, using these methods.

    When I make my morning foray into the garden, my timer is clipped to my apron. I work at whatever seems most needed for 15 minutes, then sit down and enjoy all that surrounds me for a nice 15 minute break. I have a glass of lemon water to sip on.

    If I have the time and feel up to it, I go back for as many 15 minute segments as I can. Usually I stop after 2, but this time of year it can be as many as 4.

    Although lots gets done, and it never gets out of hand, I don’t feel at all stressed or overwhelmed.

    Your site is lovely, your writing is very well done, and your photos are beautiful.

    We live in Central VA on a 6.5 acre property in the heart of a small city. Each year (since we moved here in 2006) we try to produce more of our own food, and preserve much of it as well.



  • Hi Gail,
    Reading your comment was a wonderful way to start my work day!

    I have not heard of FLYlady, but will google her and check it out today. (And here I was thinking I had invented the 15 minutes at a time strategy. ;^)

    I’m so glad you like the site. I sure appreciate your telling me so. I owe all the photographs to my husband. He’s an artist and thus he has a great eye for design. I love the chance to acknowledge his help.

    Your comment will be encouraging to others. I think if people realize how easy it can be to keep stress away by working a little at a time ———they can accomplish much more.

    How did you find my site Gail?

    I hope you will visit me often. Have a great day!


  • I don’t usually plan the night before,and this is what happens…

    When I go outside, particularly at this time of year, I feel overwhelmed by all the things crying out to be done – and done NOW!! Sometimes, the overwhelm (as you put it so well) just sets in, and especially if there are only 15 minutes or so out there, it just doesn’t seem possible to tackle ANYTHING. I often find myself thinking, “I need a whole day to myself in the garden – to get caught up!” That is NOT going to happen anytime soon, so I definitely need to take a moment tonight to prioritize and choose one task on which to focus. It’s even more valuable advice when the hazy, hot and humid weather comes, and it’s unpleasant to stay outside for long.

  • I think most everyone can relate to exactly what you describe, Sandra. I know I can. I think if you apply my suggestions in the post you will be amazed at the difference in what you will accomplish. Just keep in mind — if you’re like me — you’ll have to fight overwhelm continually. But I must say — planning the night before and then focusing on what you know you’ve planned — is the best way to fight it. Good luck!

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