Some days are busier than others, and on those days, although I have every intention to clean my home as planned, I tend to push the cleaning task aside. This is when all those “quick cleaning tips” I have learned along the way come in handy.
For instance, multitasking, doing two things at once, makes tidying time go quicker. When watching TV, I am either folding laundry, going through school papers, sorting mail, updating my calendar, or cutting out coupons. When I am on the phone, I am sweeping or picking up “stray” items around the kitchen and dining room and putting them away. In a half hour show or a ten minute phone call, I can accomplish quick de-cluttering chores that help make my home look tidy.
Every home also has their “hot spots,” you know, those spots in the home that seem to attract piles of all sorts of things. The hot spots in my home are the dining room table and the kitchen counter. Everything from backpacks, snacks and school memos, to newspapers, mail, and magazines, seem to pile up daily and quickly. For me, tackling the hot spots in my home first eases a lot of stress throughout the evening.
Organizing these areas first cuts down on my clutter and gives me some much needed room to prepare and serve dinner. Stopping clutter at the front door is a major step in keeping my home clean. Shoes, jackets, lunch boxes, gym bags, donated bags of “hand-me-downs,” headsets, cell phones, you name it, wind up near the front door. To tackle this mess and keep it at bay, I placed a coat rack in the entry way directly by the front door for back packs, hoodies and jackets that are used each day. I also mounted a plastic shoe rack inside the front entry closet door for shoes, sneakers, hats and gloves. These two items alone help keep my entryway neat and all the items needed daily are easy accessible.
Every night I do a “five-minute sweep” through each room before I go to bed. I take a laundry basket and go through each room of the house, placing anything in the basket that doesn’t belong in that room and putting away the items that do belong in that room. The five-minute sweep doesn’t take long to do at all. When my laundry basket is empty, I go to bed with the house looking tidy.
Sometimes lack of cleaning time means taking shortcuts which help make the most of your time. For example, if you see fingerprints on the front window, just grab a damp microfiber cloth and wipe off the fingerprints instead of cleaning the entire window. Grab a dry microfiber cloth and just dust the furniture that is readily seen, like the accent pieces in the entryway and the living room. Vacuum only the high traffic areas when cleaning time is limited. Grab your paint brush or your lint roller to get the dust off lampshades and blinds quickly. Only clean the things that are dirty. If you are following a cleaning schedule and today’s task is to clean the refrigerator, inspect the refrigerator first. If it doesn’t need cleaning, then skip it. Cut yourself some slack. Maybe you did such a great job cleaning the fridge last time that it doesn’t need to be cleaned yet. When cleaning time is short, only clean what needs to be cleaned.
Using the proper cleaning tools can definitely cut a few minutes off of your cleaning time. Microfiber cloths and mops work wonders, wet or dry. A combination of vinegar and warm water can clean windows, mirrors, and countertops. Baking soda can absorb odors in the fridge, and, combined with water, baking soda can also be used to clean the inside of the fridge. When it comes to cleaning, teach yourself short cuts and learn to do more in half the time.