31 Things You Can Do in 1 Minute (or Less)

Photo by Tazmany

Guests were coming over, so we hurried around the house doing a last-minute pick up. I don’t really need to explain because I know you’ve done it too.

I had left a skirt on my hope chest for so long. For weeks, probably. As I picked it up to hang it back in the closet, it seemed so easy to put it away. It took less than forty seconds to get the hanger and put it back in the closet where it was supposed to go.

Why had I looked at that skirt for so long instead of putting it away sooner? I let it clutter up my bedroom instead of taking care of that one small thing.

Lots of easy things can make a real difference to your home. Short on time? Here are thirty more things you can do that take one minute or less:

2. turn on upbeat music

3. wipe crumbs off the table

4. take something to another room where it goes

5. reply to an email (one email, don’t get lost in your email inbox)

6. water a plant

7. file a paper

8. empty a trash can

9. check the toilet paper supply

10. wipe spots off a mirror

11. bring empty glasses back to the kitchen

12. put your plate in the dishwasher

13. start the dishwasher

14. cut a loose string off your clothing

15. swish a brush around the toilet bowl

16. hang the towels up off the floor

17. shake out the welcome mat

18. sweep the entryway to your home

19. check your calendar

20. toss the junk mail

21. put your bag by the door so it’s ready to go

22. toss old vegetables from the fridge

23. stack magazines and remove the old ones

24. throw dirty clothes in the laundry basket

25. rinse off the soap dish

26. add a couple things to your grocery list

27. plug in your cell phone to charge it

28. take receipts out of your wallet

29. close drawers and cabinet doors

30. put your shoes away

31. give someone a hug

Let the momentum of a burst of activity and quick results spur you on throughout the day. What will you do in one minute?

Are you ready? Go!

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. This is inspired! I must always be moaing about how I don’t have enough time to get the housework done but in reality, I just use the time I have badly!

    Kate´s last post…Toadie

  2. Thanks for reminding me of the things I can get done. The whole house is overwhelming, but if I can focus on some small things then it keeps me motivated to keep going. It was a good way to start a Monday!

    Tara´s last post…Thoughts on music

  3. In one minute, I can pick up the worst of my floor dirt with my Dustbuster. It’s not as satisfying as a thorough sweep or vacuum, but it buys some time.

    Lindsey´s last post…Lent

  4. Jessicah says:

    I was just noticing this yesterday! In 4 minutes I picked up the extra bedroom, made our bed, picked up our bedroom, and hung up/put in the hamper all the clothes I’d picked up from the 2 rooms. Then I looked at the clock and wondered why if it only took me 4 minutes I’d been putting it off for several days.

  5. Great reminder! Especially with little ones around, it’s so nice to know that so much can be done with so little time. Let’s see, I think my own favorites are picking up the living room, making our bed, and brushing my hair. I suppose those should take more than one minute, but necessity breeds invention!

    Adele´s last post…Energy in the Air

  6. I need to wash out the bottles for our baby – it’s one of those tasks that always feels overwhelming because there are several parts you have to clean out, but doesn’t take that long to do in reality.

    The other thing kind of related to this is “soaking” pots and pans. Sometimes they do need a soak, but then they can sit there longer than they need to because they look so big and full of water. I often just tell myself to either wash them right away, or if they’ve been sitting there for awhile, to just do them first, and usually that’s enough of a visual change that I feel more motivated to do the rest of the dishes.

    Jenni @ Life from the Roof´s last post…These encroaching days and fleeting years

  7. This is the kind of “duh” list that I really need to hear sometimes – thanks! :)

    Jessica @ This Blessed Life´s last post…DRUM ROLL PLEASE………..

  8. hmmmm….makes me feel like I can conquer a TON today! Thanks!

    For the Love of Naps – Sarah´s last post…Busy Boy Eli!

  9. These are cool, thanks!

    Sarah Sarniak´s last post…Cute Laptop/Notebook Sleeve

  10. This reminds me of Flylady’s method of just 15 minutes – only shorter! I like her method because I’m not committing myself to a whole evening of cleaning, just 15 minutes. No big deal. But it is surprising and enouraging to see how much gets done in 15 minutes. Probably my biggest procrastination that I want to leave my husband’s socks on the floor until he picks them up himself but those few socks breed more laundry on the floor. When I just suck it up and pick up his dirty laundry the bedroom looks SO much better. But I feel cheated because I ended up picking up something he should be doing for himself. Ah, the emotions of wives and mothers :)

    • Karen (scotland) says:

      Lol at this! There is a sock of my husband’s under the radiator at the top of the stairs. I actually picked it up this afternoon in case it was mine and I dropped it again when I knew it was his. Is that not awful of me?!
      I just can’t resign myself to clearing up after a 37 year old man. The 5,3 and 2 year olds’ mess I can handle – my husband’s? Not so much so…
      Karen (Scotland)
      PS Should also point out I’m 39 weeks pregnant and struggle to bend to lift anything right now so that sock is very much a “point” to be made. Even if it is driving me mad…

      • Oh Karen, how exciting to be so close in your pregnancy! I think I would have picked up the sock. If not for your husband, then for yourself, because believe me he really doesn’t see it!

        • Karen (scotland) says:

          Lol! I know. I felt shame all day at my petty behaviour…

          I am SO happy to be at the end of my pregnancy – I do not “bloom” during pregnancies – I feel sick, suffer from heartburn, my pelvis is all creaky, I have a hernia in my bellybutton and I am basically acting like a hormonal bear with a sore head :-(
          I keep having to repeat to myself “pregnancy is a blessing, pregnancy is a blessing…”
          My poor husband has had to put up with a lot this last nine months but, no matter how scary I am, he still isn’t trained to pick up his socks. I guess he REALLY just doesn’t see them. Sigh…

          • I can empathize too, both with the umbilical hernia and the husband who somehow doesn’t see a pair of jeans lying on the floor when the closet is only 8 ft away.

            But I also know that sometimes I do the same thing only with other objects – i.e. there might be a penguin humidifier staring at us with its beady little eyes in the bathroom long after it’s been put in there to “air out.” ;) I usually try to talk to my husband about it anyway, because sometimes it’s hard to figure out if he actually didn’t see them or if it’s a “role thing” where he’s expecting me to do something b.c. his parents lived that way too.

            Jenni @ Life from the Roof´s last post…These encroaching days and fleeting years

          • HA! I have that penguin humidifier in my guest bathroom right now waiting to be cleaned! Thanks for the reminder – do you think it’ll only take one minute? :)

      • Everyone should be responsible for themselves – except babies and the disabled…

        I usually speak up to discourage co-dependent behavior – it is somewhat disrespectful and creates unrest…

    • LOL! I do the same with my husband’s socks…especially if he leaves them all balled up… who wants to stick your hand in there?!

  11. What a motivating post! And to think … you could do ALL of those things in less than 30 minutes :)

    Nicki at Domestic Cents´s last post…Good Reads: Spring Fever

  12. This is a fantastic list! I am going to print it out OR write it on index cards for the inside of my kitchen cabinets. Too often, I think that just b/c I have young kids, I can’t get anything done. Not true!!

    I am going to link this up to my “Weekend Bloggy Reading” feature on Friday. Thanks for all the tips! :)

    Amanda @ Serenity Now´s last post…Signs of Spring: Easy Blueberry Streusel Muffins

  13. So true! I’m always amazed at the little time it actually takes to complete tasks that I put off for so long! ;)

    I love to set my egg timer if I’m feeling esp. un-motivated. I figure I can do anything for 10-15 minutes. I’m always impressed by what I can accomplish in those short blocks of time and if I’m feeling especially productive, I may just wind that timer up one more time! ;)

    Oh, and I’m SO guilty of leaving laundry out for WAY too long as well!

  14. I think I’ll take a minute to put away a few of the things cluttering my desk!

    Thanks for the idea,


  15. Last night I said, “let’s have the meeting at my place!”…knowing full well the state of the house. Now I have to go and tackle the dishes and the odd jobs around the house that I have been putting off because I thought it would take more time than I had! Sometimes you just need a bit of motivation! Thanks for this post, I’m looking forward to seeing how much I can get done!

    Meks´s last post…My 5 links for the week

  16. This post is so true! I try to make use of short cleaning bursts whenever I can. It’s like a challenge to see how much I can get done while waiting for something or someone else. Most times I am astounded at the amount I can do.

    Juice´s last post…I’d Write A Post If I Had Anything Interesting To Discuss

  17. Isn’t it funny how easy it can be to procrastinate on completing as easy a task as hanging up a skirt? I have done that more times than I can count. In fact, my husband makes jokes all the time about the clothes I will leave sitting on my dresser for over a week. I think sometimes we build those chores up in our minds as bigger mountains than they really are. This is a great list! Thanks for the motivation!

    Amy´s last post…Take-out Guilt

  18. hardest part is writing or creating list and second hard for me is motivation or lack of it. :-) good tips! I am going to a few of it today!

    Zengirl @ Happy Heart and Mind´s last post…5 ways of overcoming your fear

  19. so funny, I was doing that yesterday! our landlady is trying to sell the condo we live in and we got a 5 minute warning that the realtor was coming by with clients! The rest of the day, though, I was in the same “just wipe that counter” mood and it was nice to go to bed with the house clean!

    Kait Palmer´s last post…Wardrobe Challenge Days 38-40 & Come Together Now

  20. In one minute… I have to pick up all the books lying around and pop them back on the shelves… seriously a quick job but I am not getting round to it!!! Love this post!!!

  21. Found this post through a blog stalking. LOVE it!! Thanks for reminding me what a gift time can be and what one can accomplish.

    jolie´s last post…One minute

  22. I am printing your list, I am going to hang it on my fridge and I am going to go to work. Such a great idea and so fun!

  23. This list is so cool! I’m kind of just tempted to set the timer for 31 minutes to see if I can get it all done in half an hour. I would have to be focused, but it would be a neat thing to try!

    Mom2my9´s last post…Homemaker Monday: Is Baby-Making Homemaking?

  24. I like the idea of printing out the list, or even going around our house and making a list of our own. It would be interesting too to just take some of the daily chores/tasks we do around here and time them, and then put them into categories of “one minute/five minute/ten minute” tasks.

    Jenni @ Life from the Roof´s last post…These encroaching days and fleeting years

  25. Thank you for the great reminder that things don’t have to be overwhelming. Great tips that are so quick!

    Shannon´s last post…Restaurants + two year old = not relaxing

  26. Love this list. Especially with a 4yo and 2yo I often feel like I don’t accomplish much besides cooking, feeding, diapering and refereeing. Sometimes we need a little minute motivator!

    Mag @ funktion rambunktion´s last post…People skills

  27. Towels on the floor? Damp, not so clean towels on the floor? Not in my house:)

    Francesca´s last post…Corner View ~ miniature worlds

  28. I love this post!! Ok time to get off the computer and see how much I can get done in 60 mins………. that is how long I have before company will be here!

  29. Oh wow. All that needs to be done here at home. Thank you for telling me how easy it is! My brain seems to think its the hardest thing in the world. haha

    snuggly´s last post…The difficulty of choosing the perfect tea pot

  30. Great list! I’m hoping to make myself a Home Management Binder soon and I want to include this list in there. :-) Inspiration to do something quick when I don’t have time to do something big. :-)

  31. Brilliant and deceptively simple. I just cleaned all the clutter off my desk and put things where they belong. Took me a few minutes and wow, I feel. . . lighter!

    Cynthia´s last post…Too Much Stuff on My Desk! How’s Yours?

  32. Hehe, those are good ideas… I try to tidy up as I go, but could be way more efficient. Liking these hints… it makes me realize I could get a lot done with just a few more minutes dedicated to cleaning.

    Jules @ Lovely Las Vegas´s last post…Lovely Las Vegas: Spring Blooms

  33. I have my own “1 minute cleaning sprint” while I watch TV! I hate commercials so I decided to get up and do something in each pause. You would be surprised how much can be done while watching a movie.

    Yasmine´s last post…Beautifully Imperfect Life

  34. Wow, what a great reminder of how much we can do in a short amount of time. Makes me want to get right to work!

    Tina@RideOnToys´s last post…Spring Has Sprung And Patience Is A Virtue!

  35. You are right below me on New Friend Friday, and I’m glad I found you. I actually just printed off this list. Maybe it will help me to start moving forward on my messy house……

  36. gosh, so simple yet so amazing, this post is truly inspiring.
    i want to go home and do all that’s on the list now!

    francesca´s last post…Flat Irons – beginners guide

  37. I love the last one :)
    Maaike Quinn @ Life with FlyLady´s last post…Are you FLYing or are you being a perfectionist 15 minutes at a time

  38. Ooh such good reminders! Thank you for the inspiration. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with stuff we have to do, but every little bit helps!

    One thing I try to do is while my tea kettle is heating up or my food is microwaving, I wash as many dishes as I can in that minute or two. Even doing that little bit really does help with the mess in the kitchen!
    Jennifer M.´s last post…Date a Girl Who Reads

  39. yes! I love this list! And around here, we call those little things “chi-blockers” and once we do a tiny little job, then all our chi is unblocked and we go on to great things. ha. but yes, it is crazy how many times one dumb little thing does not get done for weeks.
    Margo´s last post…What I Cooked For My Birthday

  40. Just found your blog today from “Chatting At The Sky”. Thanks for these tips. Looking forward to following you!
    Barbie´s last post…Dark But Lovely

  41. I can’t believe how happy this made me at the end of a long and difficult day. Wish I’d spent my first thirty minutes at home doing these things! I get so bogged down in the things I didn’t get done… I’m going to print it and let my kids decorate and expand upon it.


  42. The “give someone a hug” recommendation is my favorite.

  43. I time everything by an hour – such as an hour for groceries or an hour to vaccum.

    After work, I do one hourly errand or one hourly chore.

    For large annual chores, I do them once a month on a weekend – such as clean windows on the first Saturday in September or rake leaves on the first Saturday in October.

    My family is encouraged to help out and do the same…