Tricks to Quick Cleaning
Finding an Order to the Chaos
Everyone has that moment where they can no longer avoid cleaning their living space, which for many of us tends to be just a few hours before guests are suppose to arrive, and there is added pressure to get it done fast. When they look at the task that faces them, some just don't know where to start. After many years of cleaning, helping out at home growing up and during my time as a stay at home mom, I have finally found a better way to conquer the grime. The key I've found to all of this is to set priorities and have a to do list while following a certain order. It may feel like you are striving for the unattainable, but these tricks to quick cleaning will make the job so much easier!
Photo credit: www.clker.com
BEFORE YOU START
Decide how much time you realistically have to clean - make sure to give yourself enough time to get ready after cleaning, before your guests arrive, so you can feel at ease and on time.
Set the Mood
I find that music helps motivate me, so I put Pandora on my favorite station and make sure it is loud enough for me to hear in every room I'll be in. I like to get into the "Let's do this!" mood. This kind of reminds me of the classic Disney scenes where music magically makes the room clean itself. If you need to have it totally quiet, or play a movie, or open all the windows, as long as it helps you get the work done, then do it! In fact, opening a window and/or lighting some candles can aid in your mission, as they can ventilate and freshen the air while you clean. The mood you set can help you push through and remain calm.
Mood Music - Songs That Help Motivate Me
Here is a sample of the music that helps get me motivated...
Laundry and Dishes
These pretty much can clean themselves while you get everything else done that you need to, so go ahead and fill the machines prior to beginning any cleaning. You can also use this as your timer by setting a goal to be done cleaning before the laundry or the dishes are done washing. If there is any laundry that still needs to be folded put it aside in a room where it will not be disturbed or seen by visitors until you are ready to fold them. If there are clean dishes in the dish washer you will need to put them away before filling a new load, which is a minor set back, but a quick fix. Leave any dishes that you need to wash by hand in the sink, as they take a longer time to work on and will be taken care of in a later phase.
Most Visible and/or Used Rooms
Select which rooms your guests tend to use the most, then start working only on those rooms; these take first priority. You will not do a deep clean yet, this is just a "tidy up" phase. It seems daunting at first, but if you stick with and follow these steps for each room it will make things go a lot quicker:
- Pick up any garbage, laundry, food, etc.
- Clear the clutter by putting things in their place.
- Quick clean any spills or sticky spots with a wet rag.
DON'T GET DISTRACTED!
One of the worst problems that I know a lot of people have while they are trying to clean is that they get side tracked. When you clean you start noticing unfinished projects, paint that could be touched up, photo albums, but this in not the time to take a detour into another to do list. It is also important to pick a time where you will also not be hungry and tempted to take a snack break, which can take away from time and add to the mess. For this reason, I usually clean between breakfast and lunch. In addition, keep something with you to drink, so you are not running to the kitchen for one. Don't answer phone calls, emails, or texts unless you must. If you have children or pets, something inevitably will take you away from cleaning, but if you can try not to lose focus after attending to them. If possible, having the pets and/or kids stay in a room that is not usually used by guests might help your efforts. Another option to speed up the process and stay focused is to inlist the help of others, who are able, that live with you. As long as you stick with the task at hand, the cleaning will be done before you know it!
Time for Some Elbow Grease
After tidying up, it is time for the "deep clean" phase. Remember, you are only currently working on the rooms that are seen and most used by guests. Now, you will want to clean the rooms based on the type of room; greeting and gathering rooms first, the kitchen, then the bathroom your guests will be using. The bathroom and kitchen are interchangeable depending on which one you feel needs more attention.
As you read through the deep clean section, you will notice that one of the first steps is always to dust in each room. I find that a lot of people skip dusting, but there are few things to consider before doing that. Dust can seriously aggravate allergies and accumulates on almost everything. It is made up of hair, skin particles, bits of bugs, and even little food particles - basically a residue of everything that has been where you live. Thus, it is an essential cleaning step.
You may be thinking, why is it important for me to clean the kitchen? First, a lot of odors tend to permeate from the kitchen. Most kitchen areas are visible to guests when they enter your living area. In addition, I personally feel that a kitchen can give an impression; a dirty kitchen can make it seem like the host(ess) is in disarray or if your guests will be eating food that you have cooked they may lose their appetite at the sight of a dingy kitchen.
I know most of us dread cleaning the bathroom, but try to get past the phobias, knowing all that occurs there, and keep moving forward. If you want to save even more time while cleaning the bathroom there are plenty of products out there that can help. For example, we have the Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner that you push the button after every time you take a shower and the tub stays clean. Only one deep clean is needed a month with this helpful gadget. Scrubbing bubbles also has a one step toilet cleaner that works similarly, only you step on the button, then you don't have to brush the toilet.
SOME OF MY FAVORITE CLEANING PRODUCTS
These make cleaning so much easier!
Deep Clean - Getting into the Nooks and Crannies
You will find that there is a top to bottom kind of order to all of this, so you are not doubling your cleaning efforts as a result of stuff falling from the higher areas to the lower ones.
(Which could include the living room, den, dinning room, etc.)
- Clean glass/windows
- Wipe down furniture, ledges, and the wall where there are visible marks or spots
- Wipe down the stove, microwave, counters, cabinets, handles, etc.
- Hand-wash the dishes that were left in the sink earlier, which can include the warming plate from the microwave.
- Clean the sink area.
- Put cleaning solution in the toilet bowl and let it settle.
- Spray the tub with cleaning solution.
- Clean glass/mirrors
- Wipe down walls, counters, tub, and toilet.
- Brush inside of toilet bowl.
- Make sure toilet paper is on the roll.
Find Other Cleaning Products and Tools
Which room do you usually clean first?
Taking Out the Trash
Take out all the trash from throughout your living area. I feel this is important to do at this point in case anything should fall on the ground before cleaning the floor. Instead of looking at this as a daunting task, think of it as your break. While you are out stretch, take in some fresh air, and maybe even alleviate some stress by beating it into the garbage bin. Completing this task will remove any lingering foul odors and unsightly items.
You can clean the floors by sweeping, vacuuming, and moping, but that can be a very lengthy and tedious process. I prefer to use my Swivel Sweeper instead of sweep, which can vacuum multiple surfaces, and my Shark Steamer rather than a mop. These tools have made cleaning my floors a time saving and practically effortless process.
I actually found the Swivel Sweeper on an infomercial and immediately fell in love. This floor vacuum is a quick picker upper and is especially great for hard floors. It bends to get under furniture and has a swiveling head, hence the name, to get into those spots that are difficult to reach. It easy to empty and when you notice it is running a little slower you can just unplug the battery to charge it, which I usually do at night as it takes a few hours, and it is back to 100% afterwards. It isn't meant for thick carpet, so you still might need to use a regular vacuum for that, but if you have this product you will never have to sweep again.
I have the original Shark Steamer, but I so wish I had the Euro-Pro Shark Professional Steam Pocket Mop. I love that you don't have to add any chemicals to get your floors clean, as the steam sanitizes everything. It so much easier having the water inside rather than having a mop that you have to constantly dip in water, wring it out, which sometimes can make more mess than clean, and your water is getting dirty as you use it. The floors also dry extremely fast after cleaning them. The Shark Steamer takes 15 seconds to warm up and there is no starting and stopping, you just wipe the floors then remove the pad and toss it in the hamper. Quick, easy, and gives a great shine to the floor.
If you do not have these products, for a quick clean, use your vacuum throughout even on hard floors as long as the brushroll does not scratch you floor or you have a button to turn it off. Then, wipe away noticeable spots with a cleaning cloth as you go. It wouldn't be a bad idea to wipe the floors with a dry cloth after doing that, so no one slips. That may sound like a no brainer, but before we had the Shark Steamer I would often forget to dry the floor and it made for some not so pleasant experiences.
For some reason if at this point you find your time has run short and you begin to panic, hold your breath because you have just cleaned all the areas that your guests will use and see! Just close the doors to the other rooms and/or make sure your guests will not going into those rooms. You can always work on these rooms tomorrow. However, once you are ready, you will want to use the steps in the "tidy up" section followed by the "deep clean" phase to clean any other rooms. Make sure to also fold any clothes that you put aside earlier.
As They Say in Italian, "Rilassarsi"
No matter where you find yourself in the process, your final steps should be to quickly put the washed laundry in the dryer and then focus on making yourself looking presentable. I usually use the dryer as a timer for me to get ready before my guests come, which is approximately one hour. Take this time to get a little R&R to reward yourself for all you that you've accomplished in such a small time frame.
I hope you find that you are able to get into a rhythm of cleaning while following these steps and that they make the work go faster. I have found this process to be very efficient and therefore it allows me to relax knowing I completed everything that I needed to before my guests arrive, often with time to spare. May you have the best of luck in your cleaning endeavors!
Least Favorite Poll
Which is your least favorite chore?
What are some of your favorite cleaning products or gadgets? Did this article help you at all?