Keeping up with an ever-expanding list of cleaning chores can get overwhelming. So, what is the secret to making it more manageable? Breaking your routine down to small chunks of time, setting a timer, and staying focused until you hear the “ding!” can help. Below are your go-to plans when the time is tight. When an out-of-town friend stops by at the last minute or you only have 30 minutes before your favorite show starts, these are the routines that will get your space tidy quickly. Depending on how much time you have, choose from the 10-minute quick tidy up, a 30-minute whole-house pick-up, or the 2-hour cleaning plan.
If You Have 10 Minutes –This is not enough time to really clean your house, but for those moments when friends drop by unexpectedly or when you get home from a long day and simply cannot stand how messy your house looks, this 10-minute plan works wonders.
#1: Divide the Room: One of the biggest time-wasters when straightening up is that we tend to go back to the same spot multiple times. We find a misplaced item on one side of the room, and cross the room to put it back where it belongs, only to end up getting distracted by another out-of-place belonging, or a spill that needs cleaning, or dust that needs wiping. To make a speed-clean more efficient, visually divide the room into a clock, with the door or sink at 12 o’clock. Move around the room clockwise, guaranteeing that each area will only be visited a single time. When you arrive at each segment of the room, return any collected items that belong there, and save items that belong in another room for later.
If You Have 30 Minutes – When your parents say they are stopping by later that afternoon, use this plan. A little more than just putting things away and wiping down surfaces, this routine involves vacuuming, cleaning mirrors, and replacing bathroom towels, too. The key to this method is that it targets the areas you (and any last-minute guests) are most likely to notice and use, such as the main living area and bathroom.
If You Have 2 Hours – You do not have to set a timer for each specific task on the checklist but use the timeline as a general guide.
5 minutes: Strip the beds and put the dirty sheets into the washing machine.
5 minutes: Grab an empty laundry basket. Go through your entire house and grab anything that doesn’t belong in each room. Do not spend time organizing—just gather the misplaced items.
15 minutes: Clean up the kitchen. Collect all the dirty dishes, load the dishwasher, hand wash any pots and pans, put away clean dishes, and wipe down the sink and countertops.
10 minutes: Quickly vacuum all the floors in your home.
10 minutes: Quickly mop your hardwood, tile, or vinyl flooring.
10 minutes: Grab your favorite all-purpose cleaner and wipe down the bathrooms. Start with mirrors, countertops, and faucets, then scrub the toilets. Close the shower curtain and add a fresh hand towel. Make sure the toilet paper is stocked and the hand soap is refilled.
5 minutes: Gather all dirty laundry and sort it into two piles: towels and clothes. Switch the sheets to the dryer and start a load of clothes.
10 minutes: Put away the items you’ve collected in the laundry basket at the beginning.
15 minutes: Grab some wood cleaning spray and, starting at one end of your home, quickly dust all the wooden surfaces in your home. Don’t be too picky. Remember, this is a quick clean-up plan.
10 minutes: Pick up some window cleaner and, starting at one end of your home, quickly clean all the glass surfaces.
10 minutes: Unload the sheets from the dryer and add the clothes. Start a load of towels in the washer. Go make all the beds with the clean sheets.
5 minutes: Light a candle, grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up, and enjoy your clean home! (Just don’t forget to switch out the laundry when it finishes!)