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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Real Simple: 19-minute daily cleanup

Real Simple | Cleaning | The Keep-It-Clean Plan

As the far less tidy half of the two vertebrates on our lease, I shouldn’t have been surprised to find this article printed out and gently wedged into the single clear spot on my office desk. It outlines a straightforward daily cleaning regimen that beats back the squalor on an economical 19 minutes a day.

Here’s the Family Room/Living Room/Foyer daily routine (clocking in at a manageable 6 minutes)

Start with the sofa — as long as it’s in disarray, your living room will never look tidy. Once you’ve fluffed the pillows and folded the throws, you’re halfway home. If you pop in a CD while you dust, you should be able cover the whole room by the end of the third track.

  • Pick up crumbs and dust bunnies with a handheld vacuum (one minute).
  • Fluff the cushions and fold throws after use (two minutes).
  • Wipe tabletops and spot-clean cabinets when you see fingerprints (one minute).
  • Straighten coffee-table books and magazines. Throw out newspapers. Put away CDs and videos. (Two minutes.)

I’ll also use this as the opportunity to reluctantly confess that I love (and currently subscribe to) Real Simple. It really appeals to the productivity pr0n nerd in me (plus I enjoy the Martha-riffic pastels and airy layouts). There. I’ve said it. You happy now?

[Link via the very subtle (and tidy) Ms. Madeline Stiness]

Merlin's picture

I guess I haven’t paid...

I guess I haven’t paid much attention to the high-end stuff in Real Simple. I’m more attracted to the “what to buy and not to buy at the Costco”-type stories. The costly “simple” stuff reminds me of the folks who flock to buy expensive knockoffs of Shaker furniture. Something ironic in there someplace.

I’m actually not kidding though when I call this stuff “porn.” It presents a fantastic, stylized, and often improbable version of life that gives us a buzz and often has little to do with Real anything. It’s still kind of fun, though. (FWIW, our household does agree that, like Jane and Lucky, RS isn’t quite as strong as it used to be.)

As for Swiffers and wipes—I know what you mean, Ella. I sometimes feel like my role in American society is to earn enough money so that I can subsidize the manufacture and trucking of thousands of pounds of waste. Bottled water, CDs, and Swiffers are just three examples of items that are either made to be thrown away or have little value to the actual “content” that makes you buy them in the first place. (OT: I encourage my clients in the music industry to stop thinking of themselves as “Plastic Disc Manufacturers.” :) )

And don’t even get me started on “blister” packaging! Man, what an unpleasant and wasteful way to begin your relationship with a product.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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