Do you have someone dropping by soon that you weren’t prepared for? Are you running out of time every day between work and family responsibilities? Whatever your reason for needing to straighten up and clean your house in a pinch, there are numerous ways to go about it. These tips will help you get tidy in less than an hour (or in just five minutes, if that’s all you have).
Grab a large garbage bag.
The first thing you’ll want to do is get rid of any garbage. Having trash lying around can make it harder to figure out exactly what you need to clean. Get rid of old newspapers, receipts, napkins, packaging and anything else that’s clogging up your rooms, and then empty your smaller trash receptacles into the bag, too. Keep it open and by the door so that you can continue throwing garbage into it as you clean.
Put items in their designated rooms.
If you’re going to whip through each room, it’ll be easiest to finish it and leave it for good if all of the out-of-place items are already in their designated rooms. Stick dishes in or next to the sink, toss clothing on the bed and stack books in the living room. When you’re ready to tackle the individual room, everything that needs to go back in its place will be close by.
If you have a big house and don’t want to keep running around to toss items in different rooms, carry a laundry basket as you go from room to room and put any items that don’t belong into the basket.
Quickly make the beds.
Nothing makes a bedroom look cleaner faster than a neat bed. You don’t have to worry about hospital corners here; just make sure everything is neat enough under the top blanket so not leave wrinkles. Instead of tucking every single part of the sheet under the mattress, just tuck up the corners – the top blanket will cover the rest.
Dust and vacuum the big areas.
It’s always nice to pull out knickknacks and furniture to clean underneath and behind them, but if you’re pulling the house together in a flash, there isn’t time for that right now. Dust the big items and anything black, which shows dust the most, and vacuum just the main areas of the house and the entrances, which collect the most dust and debris.
Use an all-purpose cleaner in the bathroom.
Sometimes simply gathering up all of the tools you need to clean can suck up precious time. When it comes to the bathroom, a simple mixture of white vinegar and water (in equal parts) can clean pretty much everything. Using a microfiber cloth or paper towels, use the solution on mirrors, faucets, the sink, shower doors and countertops.
Set a timer.
If you only have a limited amount of time, set a timer – just knowing it’s ticking down will help you move faster to see how much you can get done in the allotted time. Figure out how long you have in total and divide that by the number of rooms you have to clean. Then commit to doing super fast cleanups in each room by the time the timer goes off.
Finish a room and leave it for good.
As you move through your home, assessing what needs to quickly be done in each room in order to whip it into shape, be confident in your choices. You’re not going to be able to clean every area and aspect of every single room in a small amount of time, but you can pick the one or two things that will make the biggest difference. Once you’re finished with the room, walk out of it and leave it behind, even if you can think of ten other improvements you want to make. There’s always tomorrow!
Having a neat, clean house every day isn’t necessarily a product of cleaning marathons. You can have just as nice a home if you devote just a few minutes to it every day. The key is to always think about how to make the room neater or cleaner in the moment – this will help you avoid big messes that need major, time-sucking overhauls.