14 tips to make housecleaning fast & easy

Everyone likes a clean house but no-one wants to spend hours on housework. Here are some handy tips to help minimize the amount of time you spend cleaning your home.

14 tips to make housecleaning fast & easy

1. Clean left to right, top to bottom

A systematic, clockwise approach to a room eliminates a lot of extra steps. And a top to bottom system lets gravity work for you. You don't want the dust from your window ledges falling on a freshly polished table.

2. Keep cleaning supplies together

Make every movement count by keeping the close at hand. Interrupting the bathroom cleaning to track down a spray bottle of window cleaner will slow your momentum.

3. Deal with clutter first

De-cluttering can be very time consuming, and if you combine it with cleaning, you'll be seriously slowed down. This approach assumes you'll lay down the law with other family members: no clothes strewn about the bedroom, for example; no dishes left in the sink; and no newspapers covering the family room floor.

4. Push everything together

Move furniture towards the centre of the room when it's time to dust. This way, the dust from door mouldings, sills and such will settle to the floor, where it's easy to vacuum. Once the perimeter of the room is vacuumed, you can push furniture back into place and vacuum the rest of the room.

5. Set a deadline

Knowing up front how much time you'll spend cleaning can make the list of chores less daunting and keep you on the move.

6. Learn to multi-task

  • If you absolutely must answer the telephone while cleaning, at least use this chat time to do some low-concentration tasks, such as cleaning windows, polishing a table or loading the dishwasher.
  • Use a headset (important for your neck) or put your phone on speaker and work while you talk.

7. Don't turn on the TV

You'll end up getting distracted and waste time. Instead, put on some up-beat music to keep yourself energised to get the cleaning done more quickly. This will also make cleaning seem like less of a chore.

8. Use both hands

Dust or wipe furniture surfaces with one hand while lifting objects with the other. Scrub countertops with a cloth in each hand. Squirt spray cleaner with one hand and wipe the surface with the other.

9. Put a sock on it

Pull an old, clean cotton sock over your dusting hand and lift objects with the other hand as you clean. If you have arthritis or problems with hand dexterity wear a rubber glove on the hand you use for lifting objects to increase your grip.

10. Use lint-free cloth

Spray a lint-free towel with window cleaner and keep it handy for cupboards or tables with glass inlays.

11. Special care for pet hair

Collect pet hair from chairs and sofas using rubber gloves and a circular motion — assuming you have pets that shed. Throw the rolled-up hair on the floor and vacuum it up later when you do the floor.

12. Save up- and down-stair trips

Place any items from another level in a plastic bin near the stairs and take them with you the next time you have to make a trip to that level. If you live in a multi-story house, you'll save yourself time and energy in frequent trips if you do this whenever you spot something that is on the wrong level.

13. Get a long cord

Invest in a 7.5-metre (25-foot) extension cord for your vacuum. This will save time as you won't have to plug it in again in every room.

14. If it's not dirty, don't clean it

There's no point in wasting time on a guest room or living room that's rarely used. Give it a light dusting and forget it.

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