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How To Clean In Half The Time - Clean Smarter, Not Harder

I'm one of those people...I like to clean...and I'm not saying no if I can find ways and means to do it faster. So I've gathered these tips and tricks over many years as...ahem...a cleaner of my own home, and the reviews are in - they work!


If you're interested in more cleaning hacks, read how to clean your dishwasher filter, find the top cleaning products that you need, yes need, and discover easy instructions to clean your cast iron cookware.

Bucket with cleaning supplies

Disclaimer: LiveByLists accepts forms of compensation and is a participant in affiliate networks, including Amazon Associates. This means that when I provide a link to a product you can purchase from affiliate websites, I receive a small percentage at no extra cost to you. Read more.

 

How To Clean In Half The Time

 
House keys on hooks

1. Give Everything a Place

If everything has a place, you'll know where to find what you're looking for without going through the agony of pulling your hair and screaming, "Where is it?!" every hour.

  • Have a single designated spot to kick your shoes when you get home.

  • Keep a basket or a hook by the door for your keys.

  • Label your kitchen cupboards so it's easy to know where things go.

  • Have a spot for your shopping bags.

  • Keep a laundry basket in bedrooms and bathrooms so items can go in the basket right away.

  • Put a small basket on your bedside table for different odds and ends.

You get where I'm going with this. If you throw things into their place, consider getting containers with lids; that way, you'll still have a place for everything, but you'll hide the mess.

 

2. Don't Put it Down; Put it Away

My mantra? "Don't put it down; put it away." Sounds too simple? That's the beauty of it. Since everything in your home has a place:

  • Don't throw your keys on the counter when you enter your home; hang them on its hook/ place them in the bowl by the door.

  • Don't throw your dirty laundry on "the chair"; dump it in the laundry basket immediately.

  • Don't put your cup in the sink; stack it in the dishwasher.

  • Don't leave food wrappers on your counters; throw them directly in the bin.

  • Don't leave your toothpaste and toothbrush on the basin counter; plonk them in the cup by the sink.

  • Don't remove your jewelry and leave it on your bedside table; pack it in your jewelry organizer immediately.

My argument? If you're going to put it somewhere, it might as well be in its place.

 
20 minutes clock

3. Set a Clock for 20 Minutes

Do you know how much you can get done in 20 minutes?


Set your timer and power clean each room in the allotted time.

  • Dust and wipe surfaces

  • Vacuum

  • Ensure everything is packed away

  • Sort your laundry

  • Stack the dishwasher

  • Push furniture neatly back into place

When your 20 minutes are done, so are you - no guilt!


Doing a little every day goes a long way.

 

4. Break House Chores into Chunks

You don't have to vacuum your whole house every day or wash your windows every week. Make a list of chores and then break them into daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly activities.


You must chop and change your list as you go along to fit your lifestyle and then stick to it. Don't try to do everything all the time; you'll be exhausted.


It can be as simple as:

  • Monday - kitchen

  • Tuesday - bathroom

  • Wednesday - bedroom

  • Thursday - livingroom

  • Friday - entrance, hallway, laundry area

  • Saturday - outside area

  • Sunday - rest

 
Home sweet home doormat

5. Prevention is Key

If you can prevent something from becoming dirty in the first place, why not?

  • Take your shoes off before coming into the house.

  • Fit a drain cover on your shower plughole.

  • Place a doormat inside and outside the front door.

  • Put your cup/ glass on a coaster to prevent water rings.

  • Close your windows when it's windy to prevent dust from blowing in.

  • Rinse dishes immediately after use to prevent leftover food from hardening.

Simple, easy, effective.

 

6. Eliminate Clutter

I am not a fan of clutter at all. And the more you have, the more you have to clean...

Get rid of the things you don't use; it's incredibly liberating.


Start by going through each room and removing anything you no longer need or use. This could include:

  • Old clothes

  • Books

  • Toys

  • Kitchen Gadgets

Donate or sell items still in good condition, and throw away anything that is broken or no longer usable.

Once you've decluttered, you'll be able to clean more efficiently and enjoy a more organized home.


If you're too attached to your things, ask a friend to help you, or better yet, get a company to declutter your place - they'll be practical and objective.

 
Wipe kitchen sink

7. Clean as You Go

This one is easy but so often forgotten.

  • Wipe the sink after you've brushed your teeth.

  • While you're in the shower, scrub the tiles.

  • Wipe the kitchen counters while you're cooking.

  • Take your coffee cups to the kitchen when you turn in for the night.

  • Throw your fast food and snack containers in the bin when there's no more left.

  • Carry a basket with you and, room by room, throw everything in that doesn't belong in each room. Then, take the basket and, room by room, unpack everything in its place.

 

8. Dust and Polish Surfaces First

You need to be strategic in cleaning if you clean your floors first and then wipe the crumbs off your counters...so much nope.


Work from the top down - dust and wipe first, then sweep, vacuum, and wash your floors last.

 
Woman dancing with vacuum

9. The Total Method

Pick one task and do it in every room of your house.

  • When you have the vacuum out - vacuum every room.

  • When you're washing windows - do the whole house (okay, this one might be a bit much...)

  • When you're dusting - you guessed it - every room, every surface.

And before you know it, your house is clean.

 

10. Have a Cleaning Caddy

Get a cleaning caddy and put all your cleaning materials into it, then cart that from room to room.


This beats you running back and forth to get different cleaning tools or forgetting where you left the cloth you used. If it's in one easy-to-carry container, you're all set.

 
Soap in spray bottle and cloths

11. Use Multi-Purpose Cleaning Products

You don't need ten different cleaning products.

For example, using an all-purpose cleaning liquid works just as well in the kitchen as in the bathroom.


Look for all-purpose cleaners that can be used on countertops, floors, and even bathroom surfaces.

You can also use microfiber cloths, which are great for cleaning multiple surfaces and can be washed and reused numerous times.


You'll save time and money by simplifying your cleaning products.

 

12. Get the Best Tools for the Job

Invest in a good vacuum cleaner, washing machine, dishwasher, etc. You'll save yourself so much frustration when your cleaning appliances and tools do a good job the first time.


There's no point in buying a cheap vacuum cleaner, but you have to vacuum twice as long.

 

13. Clean your Cleaning Tools

Using a dirty mop or cloth is 0% effective.


Instead, take care of your cleaning tools; make sure it's clean and quality, and you'll spend less time cleaning.

 

The Bottom Line

If you dread cleaning, use these tips to see if it gets easier. Sure, you'll have good and bad weeks - sometimes this advice will be amazing, and other times you'll roll your eyes out of your head even thinking about doing any of it. The point is to take the overwhelming part of cleaning and break it down into more manageable tasks. Happy cleaning!

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