Because who wants to spend precious time cleaning their house?
Melissa Maker is a Toronto-based cleaning expert whose articles never fail to make me want to start scouring my house. (No one else has that effect on me, unfortunately.) One thing I love is that she understands that most people do not have the time to do leisurely deep-cleans in their houses, but rather need to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible. She offers great tips for doing this on her website, Clean My Space. (You should also check out her book by the same name.)
1. Use professional tools.She uses the example of glass-cleaning, which makes a huge difference at making a space feel spotless, but is time-consuming when you're doing it with a spray bottle and a microfibre cloth. Invest in a scrubber and squeegee set and use a water solution in a bucket to get the job done quickly. (My mom swears by 1-2 drops of Sunlight dish soap in a bucket of the hottest water you can get out of the tap. It works.) Maker also recommends squeegeeing your shower after each use.
This means spraying down dirty areas and letting them sit for a few minutes before attacking with a cloth. Use that waiting time to clean something else, and by the time you return to the troublesome area, it'll wipe away much more easily.
3. Remove the excess.
If you're tackling a grungy chore like the oven, refrigerator, or floor, or fighting with a stain, remove any bigger chunks before adding liquid. This means scraping out the excess food bits from the oven or crisper drawers, wiping the counter free from crumbs, and sweeping up dirt and pebbles on the floor. Your work will go more smoothly as a result.
4. Keep stuff dry.
Fight mildew growth by understanding why it forms in the first place: consistent moisture. This is an issue particularly in bathrooms. Make a point of drying out bath mats, tub liners, and shower curtains thoroughly. Leave your washing machine's door ajar. Hang damp kitchen and cleaning rags to dry if you're not laundering immediately. It helps to crack open a window in the bathroom or run a fan when showering to prevent moisture accumulating.
5. Trick yourself into getting cleaning done.
Fold and iron laundry while watching your favorite show. The time will go by much faster. Commit to cleaning as fast as you can for the duration of a favorite song. (I use this tactic for deleting emails in my inbox.) You'll be surprised at how much you accomplish. My mom used to challenge us kids to the 100-item game: the first to put away 100 things won. (Yes, there was that much random crap in our house that four kids were able to stay occupied.)
6. Stash cleaning supplies in every room.
One thing I've realized over the years is that accessibility is everything when it comes to doing small cleans. If there's a toilet brush beside the toilet and some cleaner stashed under the sink, I'll do it – but not if it means walking downstairs. Create a cleaning bucket for each floor of the house (or select items in each bathroom) and you'll be more inclined to do it.