1. Ready all your cleaning materials in one bucket. This way, come cleaning time, you can just grab it and go.
2. Plan and focus. If you're expecting guests, you can focus on rooms with high traffic, like living room, dining area, or kitchen. If you have the entire day to clean, work on the room that's most tedious to clean, like the bathroom (read: Your Bathroom Cleaning Guide). Delving into the most difficult task first will make cleaning the rest of the home a lot easier. Also, set a deadline and time yourself, so you're motivated to concentrate on the task at hand.
3. Give up the broom. Want to talk speed cleaning? Then ditch the broom and use the vacuum cleaner on all floor surfaces. Cleaning will be faster, especially when you're using a wireless one (read Buying Guide: Vacuum Cleaners). Save vacuuming for the end of your cleaning.
4. Work from top to bottom. Says Jeff Campbell, author of Speed Cleaning, "When you start at the top and work to the bottom, you won’t be constantly re-cleaning surfaces that have become sullied with dirt from above."
5. Remember: Cleaning is easier if there's no clutter. Before cleaning, gather all the clutter like books, toys, mail, and put them all in a catchall or in their proper locations. It'll be easier to clean the surfaces when they're devoid of clutter (read: 8 Decluttering Reminders from the Pros).
6. Divide your home into two zones: toxic and not-so-toxic zones. "By doing so you’ll be able to judge
whether you clean it pronto, organise it, or can leave it for another day," says Julie Edelman, author of Ultimate Accidental Housewife. "Toxic zones are the bathroom and kitchen, since they have the greatest chance of housing living organisms that multiply, smell, or attract the most clutter. Not-so toxic zones are central living spaces which may house and attract things that multiply but don't generally smell."
7. Dust what's only visible, clean what's only dirty. "For example, vertical surfaces are almost never as dirty as horizontal surfaces. Upper shelves and moulding have less dust than lower ones. Often all that’s dirty about a surface is a few fingerprints, so don’t clean the whole area," says Campbell.
8. Spritz away. Speed cleaning is about having spotless surfaces right away—spritz high-performing cleaning agent on countertops and mirrors and wipe 'til they sparkle. A reminder from Campbell: "Don't rinse or wipe a surface before it's clean."
9. Master the art of cleaning as you go. Integrate cleaning into your daily tasks and movements: clean the drain and wipe the shower after taking a bath, make the bed immediately after waking up, wipe down the sink after brushing your teeth, wash your glass after drinking, pick up clutter as soon as you see them.
10. Invest in good cleaning agents and materials. Cleaning will be a less taxing chore if you're equipped with the right tools and products.
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Cover photo courtesy of Housely