The ‘Two-Minute Cleaning Rule’ – How To Tackle Housework

source: Bright Light Mama

If you’ve ever dealt with depression, you don’t need me to tell you how difficult it can be to muster up some energy and motivation. Heidi Fischer, contributor at The Mighty, revealed that when she is dealing with depression, her home definitely suffers as a result. She explained that the dishes pile up, clutter becomes worse, and she struggles to find the motivation to tackle any of it.

source: Harvard Health /

“One day while staring at the microwave, counting down the seconds, I looked around and thought about how messy things were. Instead of continuing to stare at the numbers, I wondered how much I could get clean in the time I had left on the clock,” Heidi said. “I quickly filled up the dishwasher in those remaining seconds, and was amazed by how much I got done in the short window of time.”

And so, Heidi’s two-minute rule for cleaning the kitchen was born. “I decided any time I was in the kitchen waiting for something to be finished, I would use that time to speed clean. So whether I was waiting for the microwave, or my coffee to brew, I could slowly get things done, two minutes at a time,” she said. “Two minutes sounds manageable when I am dealing with depression, and since I’m already in the kitchen, I don’t have to find the motivation to get up and get going.”

Here are some of Heidi’s two-minute ideas for tackling kitchen mess that can be done while waiting for the microwave, toaster, coffee machine, water to boil, the last few minutes on the oven, etc.

1. Load or unload the dishwasher.

2. Sweep the floor.

3. Wash counters, tables, etc.

4. Put bills and other papers in their proper place.

5. Place any trash in the garbage/recycling.

6. Start soaking dishes or wash as many as possible.

7. Put dirty dishcloths and towels in the washer, replace with clean ones.

8. Organize your junk drawer. 

9. Make a list of kitchen items that are nearly out for your next shopping trip (dish soap, paper towels, plastic wrap, etc.).

10. Arrange your pantry, check for expired items, and take note of any food you either need or have too much of. 

“I have found that my rule really helps me to keep things tolerably clean, which is good enough for me when I am in the middle of a depressive episode,” said Heidi. “I offer you my method in hopes that it can help you too, especially when you have low motivation or energy.” We thank Heidi for being open about her depression, and for passing along this simple cleaning tip for people who may also be suffering from it, and the effects it can have on one’s daily life.