One day, while searching for a cleaning hack for my stained shower, I stumbled across the term “speed cleaning”. Ever heard of it? I hadn’t, but having done cleaning as a profession for years, I was intrigued. This new found term could not have come into my brain at a better time. Yes, you read that right, I have done professional cleaning for years, but when it came to my own home I found it close to impossible (especially at times of transition) to clean my own home to the same level that was commonly expected of me in the professional environment.
I have been looking around for the one article that really helped me to be able to tackle this idea in a productive way. Upon reading it, I was skeptical. She claimed that she was able to clean her four bedroom, two bath (or so) home in under an hour every day. I decided to give it a try for one week, but was not holding my breath. So far, I’ve been unable to find that particular article that helped me out so much. If I do, I will definitely share it with you.
However, this is what we’ve adapted for our own home. My hope is that you can take some of these tricks and ideas and adapt them to your individual needs and skills.
I will cover different techniques and ideas to get you started, then I will share what exactly we do in our speed cleaning routine as an example.
1.The Power of The “Clutter Bucket”
I’ve found that I eventually get things routinely clean and organized to my liking once things settle down in our day-to-day. The problem for me most often comes when we move, reset our school stations, or need to set up new spaces. In other words: the clutter. It begins to take a priority because I can’t even see or get to the dirt and grime until things are in their proper place.
I do one room at a time, always starting with the “clutter bucket”. You can use any handy container for this, but we usually use our large rectangular laundry basket. The concept is simple. I go through the room counter-clockwise, and top to bottom with one goal in mind: to remove everything that does not belong IN THAT ROOM. For instance, if I am trying to remove clutter from the kitchen, I place any paperwork, mail, keys, loose change, etc. into the “clutter bucket”. Then, I ignore it until the very end. This is probably the number one time saver that I’ve found throughout years of housekeeping. This way, I’m not stuck walking back and forth, to and fro putting each tiny thing where it belongs. Instead, when the house is entirely clean and clutter-free, I make one stop to each room to put things back into their proper place. I can’t stress this one tip enough. It is such a time saver!
2. When Possible, Get the Entire Family Involved
Everyone made the mess, everyone can help clean it up. Right down to the youngest child, they can all do their part. I’ve found that for my four year old and six year old, it’s best to start them in their own space. They know where their own toys and clothes belong and are required to do that first. I break it up for them so that it isn’t too overwhelming. “First, put your toys away”. Their bins are all labeled with pictures and words so that they can easily find where their things belong and act accordingly. “Next, put your laundry away. Clean items go in your dresser/ closet, and dirty items go in your hamper”. “Finally, Refold any of your drawers that are getting out of sorts”. My youngest still has trouble with this one, so she usually just starts on their next task: emptying the clutter bucket. I’ve had times where they have everything put away as fast as I can put it in the bucket. I’ve also had times where there are still a few items remaining when we are done. Either way, its yet another time saver. It usually keeps them busy while I’m doing something like the bathrooms that they can’t help with much at all.
3. The Cleaning Caddy
This is one I learned and applied immediately when cleaning on the professional level. It helps immensely to have the supplies you need on hand and ready to go and to be able to carry them all with you at the same time when you go to the next room. I think I may even make myself a cleaning apron eventually. Make sure you try to keep your supplies to a limited amount and go for multipurpose cleaners when possible. The whole idea is to make it convenient to carry from place to place. Items to place in it may include:
- rubber gloves
- rags/paper towels/duster
- all purpose cleaner
- disinfecting wipes
- glass cleaner
- small trash bags/ grocery sacks
- furniture and wood polish
- toothbrush (for those hard to reach crevices)
Replace these items as needed at the end of each speed cleaning round so that you are not searching for anything as you are cleaning.
4. The Checklist
This tip is not for everyone. It usually helps me to have one as a reference for each room when I’m getting into the groove of a new place, but I don’t seem to ever use them long before it ends up taking more time than it’s worth to go back and forth to check it. I will recommend you at least write out your daily plans for each room. It’s up to you on whether you feel you need it for a constant reference or not. If you are the type of person who could benefit from this, I recommend writing or printing it out on 3″x 5″ note cards. Laminate them (or place them into plastic baggies like we did for our homemade dry erase book) and put them on a ring so you can easily flip through them and place them in your caddy/ apron when not in use.
5. Clean Top-to-Bottom and Counter-Clockwise
You’ve probably at least heard the top-to-bottom rule. This one makes sense because you don’t want the dust from your ceiling fan landing on the floor you just vacuumed, right? Cleaning counter-clockwise (right to left) allows your brain to see what needs to be cleaned as you go. We are naturally inclined to go the opposite direction. For instance, we read from left to right. If you force yourself to do the opposite, you’ll be surprised how effective you can be.
6. Save the Floors For Last
This is the only thing I typically save to do for all the rooms at the same time. It doesn’t make sense to lug the vacuum or mop and broom around with your cleaning caddy and clutter bucket. Once every room is completely clean, you can go through and knock the floors out all at once.
7. Set Your Alarm
In order to make this a priority that absolutely gets done every day, you need to set a specified time each day for it. I ended up setting my alarm for around four every day. The kids were done with their schoolwork and nap this way, and it was before dinner needed to begin. (Now I just need to find a space in our new schedule for it…)
An example of Our Cleaning Routine:
- Go top to bottom and right to left through the room and pick up anything that does not belong in the space. Put these items either where they belong in the bedroom, or into the clutter bucket.
- Dust. Top to bottom, and right to left, dust every horizontal surface you come across. Ceiling fans, Bookshelves, headboards, dressers, desks, window sills, baseboards, t.v.s, remotes, door frames, everything.
- Make the bed (if it isn’t already)
- Clean windows, mirrors, and other glass
Again, I was skeptical at first that these tips would help out so much that I could only spend an hour a day and keep the whole house clean. I dare you to try it for a week though.Play some music, have fun with it. Tell the kids they’re trying to beat the clock! We ran overtime the first three days or so, because we were doing details that were being neglected more than they should, but once we get in the groove and stay in the groove, it really takes no time at all to have a truly clean home.