Simple Tips to Make Cleaning Your Home Faster

January 2, 2024

Now that the holidays are over, it’s a good time to do a deep clean! If you hosted like I did, I did a huge deep clean in the kitchen and family room before guests arrived (and I always do wonder why I do that because my house looks like a disaster area as soon as the party gets started!). But it does give me a good base for the next deep clean I’ll do when the holidays are over.

Here are a few of my favorite tips for what rooms to clean first, plus some tips that may also help you save time!

Which room to clean first, does matter!

Most experts agree that the kitchen and bathroom are the most important rooms to clean first because they get the most use and are considered to be “wet” areas, but I tend to recommend cleaning the kitchen first. It is one of the most-used, high-traffic rooms in the home, and it’s important to keep clean because of the amount of surfaces that come into contact with food. It’s also one of the most time-consuming rooms to clean, so starting here is a great place before wearing yourself out in another room! To do each room, I follow these basic guidelines. Not only does it help my squirrel tendencies to keep me in one room but they also help me save time by making sure I don’t have to clean a surface twice!

Tips for Quicker Cleaning

Clean One Room at a Time

Cleaning just one room at a time will save time, rather than trying to clean two or three. When cleaning the kitchen or the bathroom, stay in that room until it’s clean.

Bring a Bin

To help stay in just that one room, bring a bin! It’s so easy to start in one room, only to end up in a completely different room before you’ve finished cleaning the first! I remember one time I started doing dishes in the kitchen and about 3 hours later I was in my bedroom going through old photos. That doesn’t even make sense! No clue how I got there, but I probably ran into a couple of pictures in a drawer when I was putting something away, and then went upstairs to put them in one of my photo boxes. And then what happens of course you see some old pics of your kids or pets and pretty soon you’re looking at your childhood photos from the 80s, and the dishes never got done. And the kitchen is still a mess. But at least you know what you wore for picture day in eighth grade. Just me?? Or can you relate?

An easy way to prevent this is to bring a bin or basket with you to each room. Anything you find that doesn’t belong in this room will be put into the bin. This way, you won’t be running all over the house to put things away, finding other things to do along the way. As you clean each room, put away items in the bin that belong in that room, and add ones that don’t.

To start in the kitchen, now using this tip, I would put those photos in the bin, and I would go through each counter and take what doesn’t belong and put that into the bin. Even if it’s something that should go into the family room, which is basically an extension of my kitchen, the item goes into the bin. Because I know myself, and I know that if I’m going to try to put something away in the family room, I’ll find 5 more things to do in there and an hour or two later I’ll end up in a completely unrelated room, exhausted from “cleaning,” and the kitchen is still a mess. So use that bin! When you get to the next room to clean, look in the bin for items that belong to that room and put them away, and again, add items to the bin that don’t belong in that room.

Work Your Way from Top to Bottom

Because have you ever vacuumed the floor, and then realized you didn’t dust first? Or you dusted your shelves but realized you didn’t dust the higher ones first? It’s so frustrating! To make sure you won’t have to clean a surface twice or won’t have to vacuum again, work your way from the top to the bottom of the room, saving the vacuuming for last. This way any dust or debris can fall onto surfaces that haven’t been cleaned yet. Save vacuuming for last.

And always check your ceiling fan first, if you have one. These don’t have to be done all the time, but I know from personal experience that all-too-often I’ve cleaned a room, just to look up at the ceiling fan or air return vents high up on the wall that they should have been done, but now I didn’t want to clean them because I just dusted and vacuumed.

Next, Work from Left to Right

Work left to right (or right to left – it’s up to you!). Starting in one corner of the room and working your way around in one direction – from top to bottom, of course – helps ensure that you don’t miss an area. 

Using the kitchen again as an example, I start to the right of my sink, because it’s a little counter area that holds our coffee machine and dish soap, but it also seems to accumulate a lot of other random things. I put the items that don’t belong in the kitchen and I put them in the bin. To keep myself even more on track, I don’t always put other kitchen items away yet – I will put them all in a spot on my island or another counter that I will do last, and then I will put everything away. This also helps keep me from wandering. And I feel very productive getting to that last counter a lot more quickly. Before I get to the actual cleaning of the counters, I will put everything away in the kitchen.

Clean a Little Bit Every Day

Cleaning just a little bit every day can really cut down on cleaning time. Wiping counters and tabletops down after meals or spending a few minutes picking up each day can help cut down on the amount of time cleaning and de-cluttering. Have daily tasks such as squeegeeing/wiping down glass shower doors after each shower, wiping down countertops, tables, and stove tops after each use, and putting things away as you go. These daily tasks really help to cut down the time (and scrubbing) needed on those deeper cleaning days. I like to do what’s called a 10-Minute-Tidy in the rooms that we use the most and that are the most visible. For me, this is the kitchen and family room. I wipe down the counters, get the easy vacuum out (I have a smaller cordless one that is easy to grab for daily messes) to clean under the table and around the island, and then I clean up the family room and put anything away that needs to be put away, and then I put the items that need to go somewhere else into a basket that has a lid.

I like to call it the 10-minute-tidy because it only takes 10-15 minutes at the end of the day, but my goal is to always be one 10-minute-tidy away from a guest swinging by on short notice – I want that to be an easy clean that only takes about 10 minutes to get the house presentable. 

Notice I’m not saying perfect! My house looks pretty perfect before parties and anything I host, but it only lasts about 20 minutes, if even! When we were hosting on Christmas Eve, my husband said wow the house looks so good. And it did -it was sparkling to almost-perfection. But as much as I agreed with how good it looked, I had to burst his bubble and say it’s not sustainable. It’s so true – we are a family of 5 (although my son just recently moved out into his own house – so excited for him but it gives me all the mixed feelings!), and we have 3 dogs. The house is lived in, and it doesn’t always look so perfect, like we just cleaned and staged the house to sell it, like it basically did on Christmas Eve. It’s just not something that works for me or my family. Just do whatever level of clean works for you!

Set a Reminder on Your Phone

I’ve found that this really helps, especially when it comes to keeping my fridge somewhat clean. It’s so easy to cram new groceries or leftovers into the fridge without removing anything else. I now set a phone timer reminder each week the night before Garbage Day pickup to remember to clean out my fridge of any leftovers that weren’t eaten, or any expired produce. Not only will you have more fridge space and it will be easier to see what you have (also reducing the likelihood of buying doubles of items you didn’t know you had), but it makes it much easier to do those deeper fridge cleans every couple of months! The same can be done for your pantry. This can be done with so many different tasks that are easy to forget – I also have a monthly reminder to clean out my dishwasher filter. It is crazy how dirty those can get!

I hope you found these tips helpful! I thought I’d share them because they have really helped me. I don’t know if you can tell, but I do squirrel easily, especially when it comes to cleaning and putting things away in different rooms. Some days I feel like a Roomba, just kind of bouncing aimlessly from room to room, and hitting each room several times. So these tips have really helped me cut down on that!

Want more tips like these?

Find more tips like these, join my new program, Green Your Clean, which includes a resource library of room-by-room daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning checklist, non-toxic ways to clean and disinfect just about any surface in your home, my favorite non-toxic cleaning tools to make the job faster, and so much more. My non-toxic cleaning tips have been published in Architectural Digest, Apartment Therapy, Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping, and multiple times in Martha Stewart Living, The Family Handyman, and Southern Living. So while I do sometimes struggle with staying in the same room while I clean, I am a pro at cleaning just about any surface in the home, and I’m known by friends and family for knowing how to get just about any stain out of any surface, using natural ingredients! So I put all my tips in one place so you can do the same. Find out more here.