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How to Quickly Clean Your Living Room After a Long Day

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If you’re trying to clean your living room at the end of the day (or frantically before company comes over), the last thing you want to do is spend a ton of time straightening and scrubbing.

One thing I’ve learned during my frantic living room straightening marathons is that the sooner it’s done, the sooner I can relax.

How to Quickly Clean Your Living Room

If you have a timer handy, set it and see how quickly you can whip through these steps to have a clean living room (either for your own relaxation or so that your guests aren’t overwhelmed by the toy/laundry/crud pile in the middle of the room.

Let go of your perfectionism

When you have small children, one of the first things you need to do is let go of your perfectionism. I’ve always been a little neurotic when it comes to cleaning, which is probably why I hated putting away my toys as a child. I’ve always tried to put Legos with Legos, Lincoln Logs with Lincoln Logs, etc., but apparently I’m the only one in my house who thinks that way.

It takes a lot longer to clean when you’re trying to organize as you go. At the end of the night, especially when every toy in the house is piled in the middle of the living room floor, it’s time to strive for timeliness, not perfection.

While this isn’t technically a step to have a cleaner living room, it’ll certainly save your sanity. 😉

Clear the floors

As you’re picking everything up off the floor, try to create some future organization and get your family involved. It may take longer the first time you clean, but it’ll save you so much time down the road.

Create a simple organization plan

One of the things that Marie Kondo stresses in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is to have a place for everything. You’re more likely to put something away if it has a designated home. That said, creating a home for everything when you have young kids is easier said than done.

I simplified my kids’ toy organization into three categories: books, fragile, and “unbreakable.” Books get placed “neatly” on the bookshelves (I’ve had to let go of my perfectionism here, too. As long as the books are on the bookshelf, even if they aren’t arranged as nicely as I would like, I’m happy). The fragile toys, like my son’s Leap Reader, go in canvas bins. Everything else, like my son’s trucks, goes into a cupboard. Some toys, like riding toys, have their own parking space next to the couch because they’re too big to fit in the cupboards.

Enlist help

In addition to having a simplified organization strategy in place, make cleaning a family affair. Even the littlest kids can help.


I could easily vacuum my entire house daily. We don’t have animals in our house (unless you count the kids), but lint, crumbs, and “crud,” as my daughter calls it, seems to accumulate.

You’d be surprised by how a two-minute, center of the room vacuuming can improve the look of your room.

Another option is to spot clean (my kids use this handheld broom under the kitchen table after meals and I use this Bissell on the carpet) or invest in a Roomba.

Dust the eye-level furniture

I only dust weekly. However, in between weekly cleanings, especially if guests are coming, dusting the eye-level furniture can make a big difference in the cleanliness of your home. This is also a great time to wipe the fingerprints off the TV (I love these microfiber cloths) or anything else that is often missed during your weekly cleaning routine.

To save yourself time, focus on the obvious things that your guests will see. Note that I don’t regularly clean my windows (I should, but I don’t). I gave my kids window markers and let them draw on the windows. When guests come, the fingerprints and spit streaks just add to the charm of their “artwork!”

I’ll be the first to admit that I race around my house like a half-crazed woman when company’s on their way. That said, even at the end of a long day or in between cleanings, it’s possible to make your home look clean in just a few minutes. Make sure that everything’s cleared, the obvious “crud” is off the floor, and everything at eye-level looks relatively nice.

Boom! You’re ready to kick back and enjoy a glass of wine with your guests!

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