One of the main reasons we put off cleaning is because it feels like an overwhelming amount of work. So we avoid and ignore it only to have it become more and more daunting until we eventually break down and end up scrubbing the floors Cinderella-style vowing we will never again let it get to that point. Yet the cycle continues—until now, that is. It's the beginning of a new year, and with a few quick steps and cheats, your home will always seem spotless without you having to do too much at one time. Keep reading for easy tips for how to clean fast, and the order in which to do these life-changing home hacks!
Basket Speed Clean (Clear Surfaces)
Corral any random loose items and tabletop clutter into baskets for each room. Go through rooms one at a time and make snap judgments about what is contributing to untidiness. Don't think too much about it: If something isn't décor in its intended place (a candle on a nightstand, etc.), then toss it into the basket (programs, tech equipment, notes, papers, misplaced cosmetics). It can take five minutes total just to clear surfaces off and create a clutter-free effect.
At the end of the night before bed, or at any other interval throughout the day, quickly sort through each basket and put things back where they actually belong. Unless you're a hoarder with a serious accumulation problem, your baskets should never get too full or out of hand if you're clearing off surface clutter on a daily basis. Easy!
Next, Wipe Down Surfaces
It's counterproductive to try to wipe down surfaces when they still have items on them. You think you can slack and just wipe down the paths around each object, except you end up with outlines of dust and particles surrounding the books, jars, or whatever other items you're avoiding.
Instead, after you've cleared the kitchen counter, dining room table, any hallway tables, dresser tops, nightstands, and coffee table surfaces, wipe them down with a wet towel. Wiping down surfaces daily takes mere seconds, but it goes such a long way toward creating the effect of a sparkling home and prevents the buildup of beverage rings, dust, hair, and food crumbs.
Sweep and/or Vacuum
Vacuuming is like a magic Band-Aid fix. Have you ever noticed how even if you've done nothing else, your house looks spotless after vacuuming just one rug? Never vacuum before you've wiped down surfaces, as particles and crumbs invariably fall to the floor while you're cleaning them.
Empty All Trash Cans
You can never take out the trash too often, and it's a lightning-quick cheat to a cleaner-looking home. Especially in the bathroom and anywhere trash cans don't have lids, a visibly empty trashcan devoid of trash psychologically makes things seem cleaner.
Fluff All Pillows
Fluffing all the throw pillows in your living room breathes new life into the place. It's the easiest, laziest trick in the book. Just fluff your pillows up, and you give the room a fresh hotel room effect.
Make Your Bed Every Morning
Your entire house will seem cleaner with a made bed. It's not just something your mother nagged you about. Plus, making your bed in the morning sets the tone and mode for the rest of your day—which means you'll be less inclined to let the house decline into messy status.
Hide the Hamper
Rooms look less clean when piles of dirty clothes are in sight. If you only do laundry once a week and your hamper isn't already hidden in a closet, put it somewhere where you and others can't see your dirty clothes.
Clear Your Fridge Door
The kitchen looks fresher and more streamlined without clutter on the fridge door, and yet it tends to be a go-to catchall for random menus we're not even using, coupons, and miscellaneous papers we mindlessly slap on with magnets. Clear it off for a cleaner-looking kitchen in seconds.
Buy Fresh Flowers
Sure, it's not exactly a cleaning tip, but after you've cleared surfaces, wiped them down, vacuumed, fluffed the pillows, emptied the trash, hidden the hamper, and made the bed, treat yourself and your home to a bouquet of fresh flowers. Even if you do just one of these quick, near-effortless steps, your home will look a bit tidier.
What are your go-to tricks for cleaning quickly? Share with us below!
This story was originally published on January 1, 2015, and has since been updated.