Use the 20/10 Method to Organize Your Home

Do you clean on weekends and sacrifice your days off in order to tidy up? if so, it's time to try the 20/10 method to organize your home.
Use the 20/10 Method to Organize Your Home

Last update: 27 May, 2022

If you’re someone who doesn’t like to clean or puts off cleaning until the weekend, then this article’s for you. We’re going to tell you all about a new cleaning technique that’s become popular around the world. It’s time to try the 20/10 method to organize your home.

Rachel Hoffman devised this cleaning system for all people who want their environment to look neat and tidy. It applies to students, single people, couples, and families because we all deserve a clean place to live without it the task becoming exhausting.

This trend differs from other more traditional disciplines that only include typical families where one person (traditionally a woman) is in charge of maintaining order. Hoffman says such old-fashioned, perfectionist methods don’t take into account our modern world, people with disabilities, physical or mental illnesses, or people who work away from home all day.

Many are unable to get organized with cleaning due to different circumstances. But this method suits them very well, as they can apply it without any inconvenience.

What’s the 20/10 method?

Hoffman’s proposal is simple: Get rid of the endless cleaning days and exchange them for short periods of work alternated with breaks. She suggests that we clean for 20 minutes and rest for 10.

To do this, we have to use a timer. That way, we make sure we stick to the minutes allotted for work and rest.

During the well-deserved 10 minutes of break time, we can check our e-mail, social networks, have a cup of tea, or take a walk with the dog. These minutes belong to us and we should use them as we please. Of course, when the alarm goes off, let’s get back to work.

At the same time, the creator of this system invites us to focus on the little things and not on the overall mess we have at home. For example, instead of focusing on the mess in the kitchen, let’s just look at the dirty dishes and wash them.

If we handle one thing at a time instead of thinking about the big picture, the results will be more rewarding.

You may be interested in: How to Organize Your Kitchen According to Marie Kondo

How to use the 20/10 method to organize your home

Hoffman published a book called “Unf*CK Your Habitat: You’re better than your mess”. There, she gives us some tips that we’ll look at below.

A very messy home.
Sometimes we see clutter as overwhelming chaos and that discourages us. We need to focus on small actions in order to move forward.

1. Take a before and after picture

When you’re done, you’ll be able to clearly see that your effort has been worth it and it’ll motivate you to continue with this cleaning system. Also, you’ll be able to identify the most problematic parts of your home and know if you’ve forgotten to tidy anything.

2. Make your bed daily

It’ll take less than a minute and the benefits are numerous. The overall image of your room will change completely just by having your bed made. It’s much more comforting to go back to sleep in a tidy one than in one that’s not.

3. Open the windows

Ventilate your house to purify the air and eliminate mold, bacteria, and odors. Do this especially in the winter, when we’re used to not opening them because of the low temperatures.

4. Wash the dishes

When we finish eating, it’s normal for laziness to take over and we want to leave the dishes for later or for the next day. Wrong!

No matter what else you do, the thought that you’ll have to do it at some point will haunt you. Also, the grime on the dishes will be harder to remove and will gather odor in your kitchen. So, if you want to organize your home, wash the dishes.

5. Clean out the refrigerator

Start by throwing out everything old, outdated, or smells bad. Go through all the containers, even those hidden at the back that you’ve forgotten.

Then, clean the shelves and compartments thoroughly. Finally, put things back in storage by placing the things you use the most in easy to reach places.

6. Start with the largest space

If you start with the smallest rooms, you run the risk of getting tired quickly and not finishing the largest and most-used spaces. On the other hand, if you finish with the largest room first, you’ll feel accomplished and motivated to keep going.

7. Start from the top down

This rule applies to everything from tall closets with shelves to houses with more than one floor. Always start cleaning from the highest compartments in the case of furniture and the upper floors of homes.

8. Pick up everything on the floor

There should be nothing left on the floor that doesn’t go there. When you start cleaning, try to keep the items you pick up in their place and don’t just leave them lying around.

9. Complete the laundry circuit

Hoffman emphasizes a common mistake many of us make. We wash our clothes, dry them, and then leave them in the hamper instead of putting them away.

When we do this, the circuit’s unfinished, and the clothes pile up to form a mountain that seems impossible to sort. Remember to wash, dry, fold, and put away your laundry right away.

10. Clean the floor

Finally, we’re ready to clean the floor, either with a damp mop or cloth or a vacuum cleaner.

It’s done! Your house looks the way you wanted it to and you still have energy left to enjoy the day.

A woman scrubbing the floor.
Floor cleaning is the final task in the 20/10 method, as things are done from top to bottom.

What are the benefits of the 20/10 method?

There are other ways to organize your house, such as the so-called cleaning marathon. It consists of starting and not stopping until everything’s tidy. It can take a whole day.

The worst thing is that it’s usually done on weekends because from Monday to Friday, we have other obligations. So we spend our days off cleaning and when the beginning of the week arrives, we’re exhausted.

The tiredness that we’re left with after a cleaning marathon produces negative feelings towards the task. No matter how much we plan to maintain order from now on, as the days go by, history repeats itself.

Among the advantages of the 20/10 method we can mention the following:

  • We can keep the house clean by doing just a little bit each day instead of letting dirt and clutter accumulate and then having to clean it all together.
  • It’s an inclusive cleaning system, so, it’s suitable for people who suffer from physical pain or disability.
  • We’ll create good cleaning habits if we do it for a little while every day. Remember that we need 21 days to build a habit that we can then maintain daily.

Why you should try the 20/10 method

The approach of cleaning according to timed intervals is very tempting and we think it’s worth giving it a try. As you may have seen, it’s not about being cleaning experts and even less about loving tidiness.

With small daily actions, your home can be kept clean and tidy and you’ll still have time to enjoy it. Now that you know what the 20/10 method is, get your camera ready to take your first before picture and get started!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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  • Kondo, M. (2016). Spark joy: An illustrated master class on the art of organizing and tidying up. Ten Speed Press.
  • Kondo, M. (2017). The life-changing manga of tidying up: A magical story. Ten Speed Press.
  • Castellano, M. I. S. (2014). MF1330_1 Limpieza doméstica: Procedimientos y operaciones de limpieza en domicilios particulares. Ideaspropias Editorial.
  • Rubio, N. S. (2019). Limpieza, tratamiento y mantenimiento de suelos, paredes y techos en edificios y locales. MF0972. Tutor Formación.
  • Carrilero, E. L. G. (2010). Casa con pasillo. HipoTesis Serie Alfabética, (5), 14.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.