Use the ’20/10 Method’ to Clean Without Exhausting Yourself

Use the ’20/10 Method’ to Clean Without Exhausting Yourself

If you tend to get overwhelmed by the prospect of cleaning your house, here’s some good news: One of the best cleaning methods out there is designed for people like you. It’s called the 20/10 rule. It’s been around for a few years, but has really withstood the test of time because of its simplicity and how effective it is.

What is the 20/10 method of cleaning?

The 20/10 method comes from Rachel Hoffman’s 2017 book, Unf*ck Your Habitat: You’re Better Than Your Mess. The title is at once bracing and comforting, just what you need as motivation to clean your place and keep it clean. While the book goes into a lot of detail about all the methods you can use to do that, like taking progress pictures and tidying up spaces in a certain order, its first tip—the 20/10 method—is key here.

At its most basic, the method calls for you to spend 20 minutes cleaning and 10 minutes chilling. That’s it, essentially. It’s similar to other productivity techniques, like the Pomodoro method, but gives you less work time and more break time than those do. For maximum efficiency, devote each 20-minute block to a certain surface or area, like a messy desk or a pile of laundry. Chunk by chunk, the task will get done.

What makes 20/10 one of the best cleaning methods

The importance of taking breaks in between bursts of hard work is well-documented. If you work too much, too hard, for too long, you’ll burn out and give up. When you’re using a work-and-rest technique to study or work, you have to think deeply during your “on” times; cleaning, on the other hand, can be slightly more mindless, which is a good thing. You don’t need 25 minutes, as the Pomodoro technique calls for, but you should devote 20.

The breaks are super important, so don’t skimp on them. Try to use them to enjoy the space you just cleaned. If you cleaned a desk, sit at it for your 10 minutes, relishing the experience of using it while it’s tidy. If you folded all the laundry piled on a chair, you should sit in that chair, by God. Giving yourself a full 10 minutes to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor gives you immediate gratification and time to recharge before getting back at it.

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