As a homeowner preparing for a sale—or simply trying to stay on top of keeping your home clean—housekeeping can be a real chore. To help maintain a clutter-free and spic-and-span house, check out our tips guaranteed to satisfy your need for cleaning speed.
Create a Tool Tote
Keep everything you use to clean your home ready to go in one cleaning tote, caddy or bucket. If you’re suddenly confronted with preparing for unexpected guests, you won’t waste time gathering your necessities to start or continue—just bring it with you from room to room. If your home is large, consider creating two or more: one for each level.
Ditch the Broom
You don’t have to switch from a broom to a vacuum when you clean, says Jackie Harmon, owner of Healthy Clean green cleaning company. “Use a vacuum on all floor surfaces.” It’s quicker to use, plus you’ll remove one lanky, awkward tool from the mix.
Buy an Extension Cord
Invest in a 50-foot extension cord for your home’s vacuum, says Matthew Ricketts, president of Better Life Maids. “Plug in once, in the center of the floor, and you’ll be able to vacuum even a large home without wasting time un- and re-plugging,” he says.
Dust as Needed
That thimble collection or brass animal display needn’t get a complete wipe-down every single week. Save time by giving yourself the OK to skip the little stuff and instead focus on the big picture. Treating wee things to a good dusting once a month is just fine.
Develop a Routine
Establish a cleaning pattern to consistently shave time off your cleaning routine. Experts recommend starting each room to the left of the doorway, at the top, and moving clockwise and down. Once you get the hang of your system, you’ll clean speedily on autopilot—and never waste time backtracking.
Cleaning goes much more quickly if you don’t have to de-clutter along the way. Make sure each family member has a catchall spot for personal things in your home. Cubbies, tote bags and small laundry baskets all work. They should be emptied regularly. Make a rule: If it’s full, its owner needs to trash, donate or find a permanent home for all contents.
Clean as You Go
To save time on cleaning day, clean as you go whenever possible. To that end, stash a few key cleaning supplies in each room or on each level of your home, says Teresa Ward, owner of Teresa’s Family Cleaning. When messes happen, it’s a cinch to swoop in, swipe and move on.
Spot-Clean the Shower After Use
Use a squeegee on the shower walls and door after every use, says Molly Maid president Meg Roberts. This quick, immediate act saves time battling soap scum and water spots later. Bonus tip: Keep the shower door slightly open after use to promote airflow and hamper mildew buildup.
Do One Thing at a Time
If you truly want to speed-clean your house, put the phone down. Better yet, tuck it out of sight. And keep the TV off. Focus solely on the task at hand. Multitasking while you clean adds time. Better to get your cleaning done quickly and then move on.
“Cleaning should not be one person’s responsibility,” assures Molly Maid’s Roberts. Permanently shorten your own housecleaning time by assigning tasks to family members. Even young kids can pick up, make the bed and change out hand towels. Make your expectations crystal clear, and trust them.
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens. Used with permission. © Meredith Corporation. http://www.meredith.com. All rights reserved.