How much time do you spend cleaning? If you’re like me, it seems like you’re cleaning all.the.time but it’s still never enough (or the kids immediately mess up your freshly cleaned house the second they roll out of bed).
While having a freshly cleaned home is wonderful, and some activities, like vacuuming, can almost seem theraputic, who wants to spend every second of the day cleaning?
These cleaning hacks will shorten the amount of time you spend cleaning and make sure you’re actually getting everything done.
Keep cleaning supplies close
Especially if you’re easily distracted (and who isn’t when it’s time to clean?!?), keeping cleaning supplies close on hand is so helpful.
If you choose to carry your cleaning supplies with you, get a cleaning caddy and clean like items at the same time. For example, clean all the bathrooms, then vacuum the house, then mop all the floors.
If you use the same cleaning cloth, you could even take it a step further and clean all sinks, then all showers, then all toilets.
If you want to clean one area from top to bottom, like cleaning each bathroom before moving to the next, keep a set of cleaning supplies in each room. Keep bathroom cleaners under the bathroom sink, kitchen cleaning supplies under the kitchen sink, etc.
Use multi-purpose cleaners
Try to find one product that you can use on multiple surfaces to clean your house faster.
I love using e-cloths to clean my bathrooms, kitchens, mirrors, and more. With just water, e-cloths clean and remove 99% of bacteria and they’re reusable (you can throw them in the washing machine when they’re dirty).
Another great multi-purpose cleaner is Mrs. Meyer’s Multipurpose Spray. There are so many great scents to choose from and it’s all natural.
Follow a cleaning routine
To stay focused when you’re cleaning (and make sure you don’t forget anything), it helps to have a plan.
You’ll want to be flexible and go with the flow when unexpected events arise, but it’s much easier to stay on track when you have a list.
To make your own cleaning schedule, think about all the tasks that you do on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis. You may even want to add seasonal tasks, too. Grab a copy of my cleaning to-do list here:
Once you make a list, laminate it and reuse it.
While it may seem redundant to use your cleaning schedule daily (unless you’re like me and love checking boxes 😉), you’ll find that cleaning routines are especially helpful to keep you focused (and remember what you’ve already done) for infrequent tasks, like monthly or quarterly deep cleaning.
Cleaning schedules are also great to get a little help (think of it as a joint honey-do list).
Use chore charts to get your family to help
Even the most ambitious and organized professional will tell you that it is always easier to get a job done with a little help. Delegating chores is one of the easiest ways to get things done faster, but sometimes kids (and everyone, including me) need reminders to get their chores done.
If possible, include family members by giving everyone their own personalized “to do” list or chore chart (this goes for husbands as well as kids 😉). Add names next to the items on your cleaning schedule or make a separate chore list for everyone in your family.
Using chore charts will keep kids focused on their chores.
Chore charts are also a great way to get kids to follow through with their morning or before bed routines (like remembering to brush their teeth or pack their backpack for school). Get the Organized Motherhood Chore Chart Pack here.
Another great way to reward kids and help them stay focused on their chores is to set up their chore list and rewards in an app/tracker like the Garmin Vivofit. My 8 year-old son got the VivoFit for Christmas, and we’re going to get one for my four-year-old daughter for her birthday.
Tracking chores, whether you pay your kids or expect them to “earn their keep” is a fun way to keep kids focused and get some additional help around the house.
Do a daily speed clean
Once a day, set your home to “zero.” This means quickly putting everything in its place and making sure that
Every day, spend a few minutes tidying your problem areas. Even doing little things like clearing the counter, wiping the bathrooms, and making sure the floors are clear can make a huge difference in how clean your home looks.
You speed cleaning routine doesn’t need to be long or complicated. Just make sure that you’re focusing on the most important areas, like bathrooms or the kitchen, to make your house cleaner.
Make sure that you’re getting help with your daily speed cleaning routine, too. Getting a Roomba was one of my best gifts because it makes sure the floors always look clean (and the kids pick up their toys every night so the Roomba doesn’t “eat” them).
In addition to getting help in unconventional ways (thanks, Roomba), make sure everyone does their part to keep things clean. Make your speed cleaning routine part of everyone’s bedtime routine, or designate speed cleaning chores for each person.
Get rid of problem areas
Use the “touch it once” principle to make sure things get done right away.
For example, instead of sorting mail into piles to deal with later, open mail over a garbage can and immediately toss junk mail. If you pay all bills on a designated day, sort bills into a pile and file them so you don’t have to keep moving them (or seeing your piles).
Also, remove clutter hotspots (I moved a chair away from our back door so we would stop piling mail on it) and make it a rule to put things away as soon as everyone’s done using it.
Decluttering is not fun. It’s messy, time consuming, and stressful. But it really makes a difference.
It’s so much easier to clean after you’ve decluttered. It also makes your house seem cleaner, even when it’s not. It just looks cleaner when there’s less clutter!
Spend some time decluttering.
I really like the book Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind, and Soul with its weekend plan if you can get someone to watch your kids. If you need more than a weekend, I love the Clutter: Sorted course, which is a 20-week course that holds your hand and even includes checklists and tips to get organized once and for all.
You’ll be amazed at how clean your house is after the clutter is removed. You’ll also enjoy cleaning it in half the time.
If you’re struggling to declutter or let go of your items, remember the one-year principle.
Most professionals have a similar rule, which says that if you have not used an item for at least one year, you probably shouldn’t keep it. There are exceptions to this rule, but it is a good general idea.
When deciding whether to keep or toss an item, think about when you last used it, and if it has been too long, it is likely useless and taking up valuable space. Use this chart to help you decide whether to keep, donate, or trash your clutter.
Also, when you are cleaning everything from old clothing to extra clutter, keep three laundry baskets, bins, or bags next to you.
As you clean, divide items into three piles as you sort them. Keep the items you love, donate the items that are in good condition but someone else can put to better use, and trash anything with damage.
This makes every pile easier to deal with and organize.
Clean in sections
This is a basic rule but one that I learned the hard way! When cleaning, start cleaning at the top of each room and work your way down.
For example, start by dusting ceiling fans and washing walls, then cleaning furniture and tables, and finally vacuum, mop, or scrub the floors.
Most dust and dirt falls downwards, and this secret ensures that you will not clean the floor, only to have dust and other crud fall from furniture or ceiling as you move to the next step.
Another way to clean faster is to work in sections of your home. If you attempt to tackle everything at once, you will soon be overwhelmed.
Move through your home room by room and corner by corner. In no time at all, you’ll finish your entire list.
Any professional will gladly remind you that the fewer items you have, the less you will have to clean and organize later on. As you clean, think about what you can live without.
For example, as you dust items on your bookshelf, take a second to really look at your items. Do they serve a purpose? Do they still make you happy?
Get rid of unnecessary things whenever possible.
Cleaning is not always an easy task, but if you follow a few simple principles, you will make it much easier on yourself.
With these secrets, and a little work, you will soon have your home looking beautiful once again.