15 Things You Can Clean In 5 Minutes In the Kitchen

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One excuse we often use for not getting things done at home is “I don’t have time.” Many of our readers have heard me tell of the 5 minute rule I started using years ago when I first got sick.
15 Things You Can Clean in 5 Minutes In The Kitchen


I was too weak to do much but I found that, if I made myself get up during the 5 minute TV commercial, do what I could in that 5 minutes and then rest, I got an amazing amount of things done.

Here’s a list to help you start making those little 5 minute blocks of time more productive:

5 Minute Quick Clean-Up In The Kitchen

  • Clean out the silverware drawer.
  • Put the dishes in the dishwasher.
  • Dry the dishes.
  • Set the table.
  • Clean off one shelf in the fridge.
  • Clean off one shelf in the pantry.
  • Sort through one shelf in the cabinets.
  • Sweep the floor.
  • Wash a window or glass door.
  • Wipe down all the back splashes.
  • Clean under the kitchen sink.
  • Wipe down the outside of the kitchen cabinets.
  • Wash a few knick knacks.
  • Wipe down the outsides of appliances.

Using this list as an example, make a cleaning list for other rooms in your home. Keep it handy. Then, when you have a couple of minutes, pick something off of your list and do it.

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  1. Bea says

    I’ve been doing this since I first read it here and it sure does make a difference in keeping apartment picked up.

    • meg says

      my mother taught me to spend 5 minutes in each room everyday – it’s amazing how much can be done and you keep on top of everything.

  2. dru says

    i have 2 chuckle…..more often than not i see writings of “Putting the dishes in the dishwasher.” i DON’T have a dishwasher~i sure wish i did. i haven’t been feeling well n my dishes have kinda piled up so when i get a wee surge of energy i’m gonna see how many 5 minute block it will take me 2 do them. lolol. most of my time’s taken up by my dogs n cats n taking care of my partner who has congestive heart failure n kidney failure…
    thanx for this wee bit of info, tho….

    • Gayle says

      I don’t have a dishwasher either and my spouse has cancer and I am still recovering from chemo (we r still newlyweds). So I get it! I try to do too many things at once. Instead of managable lists of chores, I see hundreds of projects that appear to be UNmanagable. I wish some women relatives lived nearby – I think they could give me good household hints. Best wishes to you and your husband. Sending healing thoughts. That is a lot to go through.

      • says

        Gayle just a hint to hopeful make you feel a little better. I had for years always made my bed, cleaned the kitchen each morning, kept up the laundry and meals regular on the table but then I got sick with CFS. For the first 1-2 years most days I couldn’t get out of bed to use the bathroom or feed myself let alone do anything else. My kids were sick too at that time. It was hard. I remember looking around at the piles of everything in the house that needed to be done and would literally cry because I had no one to help.I had to keep reminding myself this is not normal and it was out of my control. I had to face the fact that sometimes I had to wear the same nightgown or not take a shower for 2 weeks because I was to weak to do either of those things and had no one to help me. I once got into the shower and got so weak I couldn’t turn the shower off or get out of the tub. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I couldn’t move and I was all by myself.It was bad.

        Anyway I’m not telling you all this because I want a pity party but just so you know I do understand how hard it can be but one thing I finally did is accept the fact this was the way it was going to have to be for this time in my life. It felt so good when I released the pressure I put on myself to try and get things done. The odd thing was when I allowed myself to not worry about the mess around me I started feeling slightly better and that is when I developed my 5 min. cleaning plan and started getting more done.

        You have got your hands full major time just do only what you need to and let the rest go. Oh it was at that time too I didn’t give saving the environment or planet a second thought and started using paper plates, paper bowls and things like that. I had more important things on my plate at the moment like saving myself and my family. Make things as easy for yourself as you can.
        I so hope you and your husband start doing better.

  3. says

    Yes! I do this too. I find that if I break tasks down into itty bitty parts, I am more likely to begin on a cleaning/organizing, and I get a whole lot done.
    Right now, it’s my kitchen desk. I’ve been tackling it one small bit at a time. This not only makes the work more palatable, but I’m taking the time to set up some organization, so that it will stay tidy in the future.
    Good reminder to do this in other rooms!

  4. Maggie says

    Last night I was watching a movie and didn’t want to miss anything but it was so hot I didn’t dare leave the leftovers out of the fridge for very long. At every commercial, I was running to the kitchen to put things away and load the dishwasher (first I had to unload from the morning wash). It didn’t take too many commercials for the kitchen to be cleaned up. Plus it’s good for the figure to be running back and forth. :)
    Five minutes is really a lot of time. I am surprised how much I can get done in 5 minutes. Set the timer and don’t stop until the 5 minutes is done and see what you can accomplish.

    • Jeanne says

      Maggie, I do this as well, except that I have to run up and down stairs, unless I’m working upstairs. LOL! On Saturdays I love watching America’s Test Kitchen in our bedroom, and I usually have laundry to fold or iron and the bed to make and the floor to swiffer while I’m watching TV. But it’s so true that if you use even a few minutes here and there to pick things up you can actually keep your home pretty tidy.

      • says

        You are so right it doesn’t take that long to keep up with things. I think we often spend more time telling ourselves “I really need to get this done” then spend 5-10 listing excuses why we can’t or don’t feel like doing it now when we could have had the thing done in the amount of time it took talking ourselves out of doing it.

      • Mo Rossi says

        I don’t spend hours cleaning house every week. I make it a rule that every time that I get up from my desk or chair in the living room, that I put away what I took out. If I see something that is out of place, I put it away right then. I make it a rule to pick up after myself (& my husband. :D), as I go along. It is important to make up a schedule regarding the bigger housecleaning jobs that need to be done. I set up a daily list of must-dos, like dishes, etc. And then in a weekly outline of chores, I do one chore a day, i.e. vacuum, dust, clean the bathroom, mop, etc. And consider how to fit in infrequent jobs like cleaning the refrigerator, cleaning glass, etc. An especially useful habit, is that as I cook or fix something to eat, I put things away & wipe up messes as I work on my meal. I also, replenish the butter dish, the water or drink pitcher & do urgent maintenance tasks, instead of standing around waiting for something to cook. Never leave a room without it being orderly, the same way that you found it. One easy way, to get it to this point, is to be mindful, when you see something or pick something up, is to decide if you will really ever use this (especially if you can find it, in the organized place that you will have eventually placed it) or if you really want it. Place unwanted things, that you will give to someone who you think can use it, in a set area, until you can give them away. Don’t let indecision keep you from starting to declutter. Even if you can’t decide on a particular thing, wait til later for that pocession in order to decide, & just keep moving on throughout your day, deciding on what to get rid of, that you can decide on. Getting rid of some of the unnecessary clutter is better than getting rid of none of it. Otherwise, clutter take take up your whole house, & steal your joy. I cleared out 2 large rooms that were stacked up to the ceiling in this way– a little bit at a time. I have a dish tub with soapy water all drawn up before I start a meal & wash dishes as I go along. The kitchen habits prevent a huge, disgusting mess, that takes a very long time to clean up later from happening. If for some reason, regarding housework, I can’t do a real good job, I make sure that I, at least, keep picking up & putting away stuff & doing the daily essentials, until I can get back on track. Otherwise, without certain habits in action, a home can soon turn into a chaotic & very dirty mess. Been there, also. Done that! :(

  5. donna pierce says

    I have learned long ago if I do a little & rest & repeat. At the end of the day I have a lot more done. While resting I can think. I’m not running in circles wearing myself out.

  6. Starla says

    Well I DVR most of my shows so I usually just skip past the commercials. Guess I’ll have to make an effort to do both! Leave the commercial going and just run and start cleaning. Right now my kitchen island needs some major cleaning. Great idea!

  7. Jan Rains says

    I was doing this for a while, and then we got a new T.V. service, and we have set it up to tape our favorite shows.
    My husband fast-forwards through the commercials, so my
    “five minutes-es” are gone! So I do the five minute thing at any other time of the day that I possibly can.
    Thank you for all of your suggestions!!!

  8. Gayle says

    This is a terrific idea. I especially like how tasks were broken down into small chunks.

    I tend to have gazillions of projects going at once and get sidetracked in the middle of a small cleaning project with something that turns into a big deal (such as cleaning out all the cabinets, re-washing dishes, polishing flatware – no it isn’t silver – or washing all the shelves, or cleaning the oven) when in the midst of smaller tasks such as washing the dishes. Then there are three or four BIG cleaning projects half way done among smaller ones.

    don’t laugh! it’s just a different way of thinking.

    Having a list of specific items to tackle in a short time period is VERY HELPFUL. I am posting this on my fridge!

    Thank you. Gayle.

    • says

      I’m not laughing at all Gayle. I really wasn’t born organized or even have that gene in me like some do. I had to learn it the hard way like you starting a million and one big projects – getting overwhelmed or side tracked and then not getting anything done. I spent years studying and trying different methods to finally get something that worked for me.

  9. Maggie says

    Jill, You are so right about thinking about/dreading doing something takes more time than actually doing it. I took your advice and timed myself emptying the dishwasher when it was totally filled. No more than 10 minutes. Yet I will put off emptying it for hours because “it takes so long”. I was telling a friend earlier today that I hate dusting, then I was going to tell you I hate emptying the dishwasher. Well, I think I just don’t like cleaning at all but since it has to be done, I just time myself for 5 to 10 minutes and am amazed that I can finish the task and still have minutes left on the timer. Procrastinating only makes us feel worse and wish we had done it immediately. We would have had those extra minutes for something fun. I’m trying to Just Do It but it is hard. I do like your 5 minutes at a time suggestion.

    • says

      It is like other habits Maggie, the more you do them the easier it is to do. I don’t like cleaning that much myself but I like a clean house so until I make my first million or marry a millionaire I have to do it. :) I don’t even have my kids to help out now. : ) Anyway I have to still force myself to do things. I was standing just yesterday waiting for something to cook looking at a handful of dishes in the sink thinking – I could get these done while I am waiting or maybe I’ll just wait until later when I have more – I’m too tired now- and on went the debate.

      One thing I do that helps is I will pick a day – usually Sunday- and I don’t worry about anything and allow myself to put any and everything off that I can with out feeling guilty about doing it. It is like having a mini vacation at home.

  10. Maggie says

    Sunday is my decompression day, too. I try not to do much – maybe a load of laundry or cook something that we can have later in the week – green beans or squash – that takes longer to cook than an evening. I read the paper, perhaps read a book and just relax. Monday is trash day so I do get the papers and trash together, too.
    My best relaxing time in the evening is while dinner is cooking, I set the timer for 5 or 10 minutes, sit in the kitchen or on the porch and read and drink a glass of iced tea. It’s amazing how much better I feel. Dinner is nearly ready and I have gotten into the “home” mentality in place of work. Washes away the stresses of the day.

  11. Jennifer says

    I like to take 5 mins to gather the dishes, 5 mins to run water and rinse out any yucky stuff, 10-15 mins to soak, 10 mins to wash, and abotu 5 mins to rinse. (No dishwasher here either!)

  12. grizzly bear mom says

    For those of you with churches, are there people that could help you out a morning a month or so? I used to help my arthritic aunt do her chores because she lived next door and I knew of her situation.

    • says

      What happens now a day is that most people don’t know each other that well in churches and to make matters worse is those who need the most help aren’t always able to make it to church or the extra church activities to meet people. This makes it hard for the people of the church to know many of the needs and because of isolation the people can’t get help. Many, especially the elderly, try to make it on their own and don’t ask for help. Then in cases like in mine I have been sick for years. There are very few people even family members who after the first few months just get tired of helping or have things in their own lives so they don’t have time. There isn’t an easy answer.

      • Alice says

        The people in my church, when I was overwhelmed with a hyperactive toddler, a very high need newborn, and a c-section following near-fatal birth complications, told me I needed to grow up and DISCIPLINE MY CHILDREN. Hubby wonders why, 20 years later, I still won’t set foot in a church.

  13. Sandra says

    You are so right. When I had let my house slide over a period of years into a total cluttered mess, a couple of years ago I started forcing myself to do 15 min/day by the timer, decluttering. Within a few months I had gone through and decluttered the entire house, finished numerous started but 1/2 finished remodeling projects( laying laminate flooring, tiling the breakfast bar, some minor painting projects etc) and was no longer ashamed for anyone to unexpectedly arrive at my front door. Plus I established a late evening pick up routine that left the house looking at least acceptable every morning.
    Once again I found myself backsliding. Not so much with the cluttering but with the simple, everyday cleaning tasks. Only now I have developed CHF and some other problems that have made even 15 min. a stretch so today I tried just your 5 min. on my kitchen. I set my timer for 5 min. work then 15 min to play on the computer, etc. then back to the kitchen for 5 min. Just finished my 3rd 5 min session. 1st session Drain rack emptied of dishes while sink full of dirty ones put in sink to soak in hot water. 2nd session dishes washed and in drain rack and pots put in to soak, 3rd session pots washed and sink, counter top, and stove top wiped off. Getting ready to start 4th and final run to put dishes away and sweep floor of my little galley type kitchen. Voila!!! Kitchen finished and this message typed! Plus read all of your latest postings, checked my email and looked at the latest grand’s pictures on Facebook. Total work time 20 min, total rest/play time 45 min. Not short of breath or feeling like going to drop.
    Hmmm! time to unleash Roomba on the living room, and do the bathroom! Got some Pinterest pages I want to look at. LOL

    • says

      Loved reading your post Sandra. It really is amazing how this 5 min. thing works so well. Don’t you just love your Roomba? I don’t know what I would do if I ever had to go back to using a regular vacuum all the time. I was telling my grand daughter is would be like using a washing machine for years then to be told I had to start washing my clothes on a rock in the river again. I always joke when someone calls and I say I am having to vacuum. They think I am really working hard. HA!HA!

  14. Victoria from Auckland, New Zealand says

    Hi there,

    Thought I was the only one who hated housework… but liked a nice clean house! hehe.

    Love the five minute buzz. Will implement this more often – studying and note taking sometimes hideous texts… lol.

    good luck to all you lovely ladies (and gents!) out there.

  15. Victoria from Auckland, New Zealand says

    ooops! was meant to read ‘in between studying and note taking of hideous texts’… looks like another break is needed… lol.

  16. Martha says

    I notice you don’t have dates on your posts, so I don’t know whether this is new or old. I have fibromyalgia, and have developed a household routine of alternating standing/ moving chores with sitting chores, such as folding clothes, sorting mail, or balancing my checkbook. I can get a lot done this way. I sometimes set a timer to see how much I can get done in 10 minutes in each room. If I did that every day, I’d have a clean house! ­čśë I also prioritize – What is the most important thing I can get done today? Sometimes everything else has to slip. But you know what? Life goes on and it works just fine this way. Blessings to all.

  17. Lee says

    I have health issues and I am my own dishwasher. We don’t have a garbage disposal either. I have children so I cook and eat at home.

    I try to come up with simple sandwich meals that don’t require much dishwashing. When I am feeling up to it, I cook several meal in the same skillet then freeze. Example: cook chili in electric skillet, wipe out with paper towel, cook spaghetti sauce, wipe, cook stir fry. Wipe, rinse and soak.

    KEY to dishwashing: soak dishes in blazing hot water with a little soap. Watch TV, read or nap while water cools. Then wash dishes and air dry. Cuts down quite a bit of work.

    • says

      This is true Lee. One main secrets of cleaning easily and quickly whether you are mopping a floor, cleaning your bathroom, stove top, dishes or anything is to let the cleaner (soap in this case) and water do all the work. That is why I wet down my stove and counters before I start washing my dishes because then by the time I am done with the dishes it is very easy to wipe down the stove and counter. In the bathroom I spray my cleaner on the first thing (usually the sink) that I am going to clean so that by the time I get everything sprayed the sink has soaked enough for me to easily wipe.
      Never scrub anything – always soak.

  18. HJ says

    I love these suggestions. When I worked I kept a list on my fridge of 5 minute, 15 minute, 30 minute and 2 hour tasks. When I had spare time I’d check the list to see what I could accomplish in the amount of time I had available. On the spur of the moment it was hard for me to think of something that needed doing when the extra time arose, but with the list I could find an appropriat task for the time I had and get it done. I like the idea of setting my timer to see how much I can get done. When I’m at my computer, I set my timer for 30 minutes so I don’t get too engrossed in what I’m doing and it reminds me I need to get up and stretch so I don’t get stiff in my hips and knees. It also gives my eyes a rest. Sometimes I think it’s the little things we do to keep us moving toward our goal of a clean house with as little stress as possible.

  19. Carys says

    I used to watch my mother do a few small chores in the kitchen whenever she was waiting for the kettle to boil to make a cup of tea. Now I do the same. Not quite 5 minutes maybe, but better than nothing


  1. […] Time yourself. Stop putting off doing things because you think it will take you too long. If your house is an average uncluttered house in reasonable condition, it really doesn’t take that long to do most cleaning and organizing tasks. […]

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