I think I’ve found it: The answer to a clean house.

As I was flicking through one of my fave magazines, “Family Fun,” I read a fabulous idea about how to keep the home front nice and tidy. This mother of four would set the timer between one and two minutes, depending on the mess, gather all of the family members into one room and shout, “Ready, set, clean!!”

And for the set time, everyone would dash about like mad cleaning and organizing the room. When the timer buzzed, the room was declared, “done,” and they moved onto the next room.

To make optimal use of the precious minutes, this wise mom came prepared. Before “go” she would make assignments, arm the children with the appropriate weapons (dust rags, broom, vacuum, etc…) spray the showers, sprinkle cleaner in the toilets, and have some sort of reward system for good attitudes. (i.e., brownies that night.)

So we tried it. Saturday morning the six of us had a little pow-wow about how we were going to clean up that morning. We all scrunched into the kids’ room, (which was heavily littered with Legos and books,) made the assignments and hollered, “GO!”

The one amendment we made was to clean up along to a song. The room was very messy, so we said we would be done at the end of two songs. My husband chose some heart pumping tunes…I can’t remember the titles, but I’m sure I recognized them from some Sports Center montage.

And sure enough, the room was spic, span, and vacuumed at the end of the two songs! Beds were made! Not a Lego out of place! (Okay, so I might have sucked up a few with the vacuum hose…) But when we were done, the finely combed direction of the carpet fibers reminded me of Wrigley Field…it never looked so good.

We were so pleased with ourselves, we moved onto the next room. Same results! Then the next, then the next…And in under an hour, the entire house was clean!! Clean, I tell you! Clean!

Of course, 24 hours later you wouldn’t have known it. But that’s the beauty of the quick, timed clean up. It can be conquered within minutes if we all just work together!

We’re already due for another quick and dirty tidy-up. But before I round up the troops again, I’d better first check that we have enough brownie mix.

Margaret Anderson is a BYU graduate, returned missionary, freelance writer and mother of four small children. Read more at  www.jamsandpickles.wordpress.com