The amount of stuff to accomplish each day can be overwhelming sometimes. The laundry, the meal prep, the errands, the parenting, the planning; it can all get so exhausting. And then you still have to clean your house! Well, at least a little bit, right? I have such a hard time keeping our house orderly. With a hard-working husband, two energetic preschoolers, and a new little baby living under the same roof, the mess sometimes gets to me. And then I remember: WE LIVE HERE!
As much as I would love to live in a model home, or a self-cleaning home (please, who is going to invent this?), I don’t. So, I have devised some simple strategies for quick cleaning for my limited time and even more limited energy.
Want to get your house tidy quick? Try one of these strategies and see what works for you. These are intended to be used separately and interchangeably, so that boredom doesn’t set in and your house gets clean in a way that works for you. But you can also combine some of these strategies for ultra-cleaning success!
Start in the cleanest spot
You know you have a spot in your house that almost never sees use. The place where you find a random toy every once in a while, but doesn’t get daily family-intensive use. START HERE. It will be the kick-off for a cleaning process that is successful because you start with success. If you have only a few things to tidy up in that spot, add a little dusting, and a floor cleaning and voila, you have a win for your house that will encourage you to keep going.
I recommend you then go to the next cleanest spot in your house and clean there. The feel of a clean space will encourage you to want to move on and conquer bigger and messier spaces next.
Set a tidy-up timer
I am ALL about a timer! If I can set a timer for something, I almost always do. For me, setting a timer forces focus on a specific task for a specific amount of time. I like short timers during the day to help me focus on general cleaning and tidying – 5, 10 or 15 minutes depending on the space and what I want to accomplish. I can take 5 minutes with my girls and clean up their play area. I can take 10 minutes and straighten up the laundry room (our landing space). I can take 15 minutes and tidy up almost any room in my house.
After the kids have gone to bed, I set my timer for a longer period of time, for when I need to tackle bigger projects in my house. I can take 30 minutes to clean up the kitchen before bed. Or I can take an hour and work on that pile of papers I need to file. Setting my timer lets me know there is an end in sight, and a task to focus on for a short burst of time.
Focus only on cleaning, not decluttering
We can get bogged down in our cleaning routine because we start to declutter instead of cleaning. We get started on “cleaning” a room and we see all manner of things that either don’t belong in that room, or don’t belong in our home. To avoid the clutter trap while cleaning, designate a box or basket to throw all random items into while cleaning. Try to get to the surfaces of your room as clear as possible and give them a quick dust and/or vacuum.
Once you have tidied up in your home, you can take the basket from room to room until each of the items in the bin find their homes. Or you can let your family know that if they are looking for something that used to reside on the floor or in a random spot, it is likely in the “clutter” basket. If these items live too long in the “clutter” basket, they are good candidates for a passport out of your home.
Take it from the Top
Working in an organized fashion always helps me to see the progress in a messy room. I love to work vertically, top to bottom and clockwise in a room, taking sections at a time and straightening them. It is always a good idea to dust from top to bottom, anyway; so why not clean from top to bottom too? Visually sectioning off your room and then working your way through the room helps you to see trouble spots a little more clearly because you are taking it small sections at a time.
Need a little more motivation to keep going on your cleaning? Just take a look at what is already done in the room! Working your way around the room gives you obvious progress reports as you go along that help to keep you motivated to finish the job quickly. Once you are done cleaning the entire room, give the room a good vacuum or sweeping, and you are D-O-N-E!
Decide what is most important to you
Pick the most important room to clean for the day and work in there. Prioritizing your cleaning and then working on what is important will help you to feel more accomplished in your home. Are you able to shut the door on a mess and get to it later so you can focus on a space that is more used (and maybe more seen)? Do it! Or, can you just not take that pile of papers needing to be filed one minute longer? Get to it!
Accomplishing something that is important to you can make it easier to breathe in your home. It doesn’t matter if the project makes a big impact to others in your home. If it makes you feel more peaceful and put-together, do it. The progress you make on the things that matter to you will motivate you to keep going on the priorities further down the list.
On the subject of prioritizing your cleaning, you may want to make a list of the three spaces you want to clean today and work on those. Notice I didn’t say “rooms;” I said “spaces.” Picking three spots in your home that just have to be clean today before you lay your head on the pillow creates a manageable list for your day. You can work on them all first thing and then enjoy them for the rest of the day. Or you can leisurely work your way through your list throughout the day. Or you can furiously work your way through the tasks right before bed time.
Setting a deadline and creating a list will help you to feel accomplished when the day is done. Try this tip for cleaning your home every day for a week and see what you can accomplish!
These simple strategies for quick cleaning help keep me motivated and give me a sense of accomplishment. My house may never clean itself and it may never be completely clean, but I can work smart in my home to give me the peace I need to be a good mother to my kids and a good wife to my husband.
Are you in need of some motivation to clean your home? Which one of these strategies have you tried? Which one works for you?