Oh, house cleaning. It is either the bane of your existence or the happiest joy of your life. Unless you're a freako like me, house cleaning probably doesn't fill your heart with happiness, but no matter how much we like or despise cleaning, the one thing we all have in common is a desire to do it faster.
For moms, most things are about speed. How fast can I clean this up? How fast can I get dinner on the table? How fast can I suck down this glass of wine before anyone notices? Ya know, the important things. Time is of the essence and becoming more efficient AND effective at what we do is the key to gaining more minutes in the day.
As a former professional house cleaner, I've spent years perfecting the art of speed cleaning. As a mom, I'm constantly trying to perfect them. There are tutorials galore on the methodology, but I much prefer these quick tips and strategies from my time in the trenches. House cleaner tested, mom approved.
1. Declutter first. The only thing worse than a dirty home is a clean home with a bunch of clutter in it. When you really think about it, what is the point of hemming and hawing over cleaning when you’re just going to throw junk back on top of that clean countertop? Decluttering your spaces is always numero uno when it comes to speed cleaning. Set a timer and declutter everything in 5-10 minutes. Put it back where it belongs and if you’re on the fence about keeping it or needing it, there is a good chance it can be chucked in the garbage.
2. Start in one area and work your way out. When I had my cleaning business, I was a big fan of starting in the top corner of the house and working my way out. This works in a lot of ways, but mostly it just meant I could do it faster. It made no sense to clean the downstairs floor, then walk on it to go upstairs, then have to come back downstairs and reclean that floor. See what I mean? Make you life easier (and the whole process faster) by “working your way out.”
3. Always clean top to bottom. Along the same lines as above, always start from the top and work your way to the bottom. Seriously. No exceptions, unless you are a fan of cleaning things twice. Ain’t nobody got time for that. What does this mean? It means dust and wash the areas highest up and work your way down. Ceiling fans, cobwebs and the tops of furniture should be done first, then work your way down to the floor.
Ready to makeover your cleaning routine? Grab your free copy of the Everything and the Kitchen Sink house cleaning list.
4. Have your supplies handy and accessible. I talk about this all the time, but it is basically professional/speed cleaning 101. When you don’t have your cleaning supplies right at your fingertips, it just takes up more time. Imagine having everything you need in a bag or a caddy, rather than having to search around the house of the spray bottles, clothes and sponges you need. Huge. Time. Saver.
5. Stick to a routine. I LOVE a good cleaning routine. In fact, I developed a course on that. You can take a look at it here. Having a solid cleaning routine allows you to not only get more done in the house, but do it far more quickly. Once you develop a routine, you’ll notice how quickly things become. Think about how easy it is for you to brush your teeth or tie your shoes. You don’t even think about the steps, you just do it. That’s because it is a habit, created by a routine. Routines create speed.
6. Clean as you go. This may seem like it goes against the tip above about routines, but hear me out. If you have your kitchen scheduled to be cleaned on Tuesday, but you cooked a baked a lot on Sunday, don’t wait until Tuesday to clean. Clean as you go. Wash the dishes while the food cooks, wipe down the stove immediately after it gets dirty, run the self-clean oven setting when you’re done. Cleaning as you go is a speed cleaning tip not many people take advantage of. If you want your house to stay clean, clean it as you go.
7. Leave the floors and glass until the very end. Cleaning can put dust and dirt into the air that will eventually fall onto the floor and usually stick to glass. Leave it for last. Doing it first will just mean you have to do it again, and that is a speed cleaning no-no.
8. Clean the shower in the shower. I can’t believe how few people take advantage of this super useful tip. When are you closest to the shower and all it’s soap scum glory than when you are in it. No stretching over the sides of the tub or worrying about getting wet, because you’re already there. Keep your cleaning supplies right in the bathroom (or even in the shower itself) and go to town while you’re in there. You’ll be amazed how clean your shower stays.
9. Stop worrying about it getting dirty again. The one thing I hear over and over again is, “It just seems futile. It’ll just get dirty again.” Well so will your hair, but that doesn’t stop you from washing it. Dirt is inevitable. Dust is inevitable. Kids are messy. People are messy. Stop focusing on the negative aspects of not keeping a spotless home and instead, focus on how it feels to have it clean, even if that’s for 20 minutes. Your mindset plays more of a roll in how you view cleaning than you think.
10. Set a timer. If you really want to get motivated to clean your fast like Speedy Gonzolaz, set a timer. Do as much as you can before the timer goes off. Boom. Speed cleaning at it’s finest.
11. Be like Nike. Just do it. Don’t worry about not being “good” at cleaning. Stop focusing on what you should do, and how, and when. If you see some dust, grab a rag and go to it. Clutter piling up on the end table? Take care of it now. I can give you tips, tricks and tools for days, but the most important one of all is to just do it. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be done.
Now that you know you've got a better handle on how to clean the house faster, what about the nagging question, "But WHAT should I be cleaning and when?" Sign up to receive your free house cleaning list, broken down by room. Print it out, keep it in a binder, hang it on the wall (it's colorful and pretty) and use it to create your cleaning schedule or just as a useful guide for #allthethings that need to be cleaned in our homes.