Clean Faster With These Cleaning Shortcuts

No one enjoys spending more time than absolutely necessary on cleaning. These cleaning shortcuts will show you how to get the satisfaction of a clean house without spending all day achieving it.

Map a cleaning route

For a one-story house or an apartment, start with a corner room and work inward. If you have a two-story house, start with a room at the top corner of your home and work your way in and down. Clean each room completely before moving on to save energy and time wasted from walking back and forth.

Break up chores

Instead of spending an entire day or weekend cleaning, clean half the house, or one story of a two-story, on one day or afternoon. Clean the other half or other story on another afternoon. Reserve a block of time for the attic, basement or garage.

When to hire a professional

Consider hiring a professional window cleaner once a year, especially if you have a two-story house or storm windows. Hire a gutter- or roof-cleaning service in late fall. Choose services that are bonded and insured, and get at least three references. Depending on your time and house size, rent the necessary carpet-cleaning equipment, or hire a service. If you are renting equipment, steam-clean all carpets at the same time to save money. When hiring a service, some companies offer discounts to clean three or more rooms.

In the kitchen

Keep your kitchen in order by creating a place for everything. Store cookware and utensils near the range or cooktop so they are within reach when cooking. Keep a spray bottle with a solution of one-part bleach to four-parts water or an all-purpose spray cleaner in the kitchen for cleaning after meals.

In the bathroom

Stash a spray bottle with all-in-one window and surface cleaner and an extra roll of paper towels under each sink for surface cleanups.

Create a cleaning center

To make your cleaning center efficient, use baskets, bins and caddies to store products and supplies, and keep all cleaning supplies in one place for easy retrieval. Consider integrating your cleaning center into an existing laundry area or room. Create customized cleaning and supply checklists. Post daily, weekly and monthly chores on a small bulletin board in the cleaning center. When a product is running low, note it on the list before the next shopping trip.

Use a basket

Train all family members to put dirty clothing in hampers. Place a basket or hamper in each bedroom closet, and in each bath if space allows. Place three additional hampers in the laundry area—for dark clothes, light clothes and towels. In households with teens, delegate a laundry responsibility to each family member. Assign simple laundry chores, such as folding socks, to younger children.

Two-person household

Doing the laundry once a week is generally sufficient for two-person households, but plan for additional loads if you wash uniforms, work clothes or gym clothes. If dress shirts and suits are part of your attire, add a weekly trip to the dry cleaners.

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