Speed Cleaning (Just a Little Bit Every Day)

Many of us think cleaning, the right way, is a detailed labor that takes a dedicated chunk of several hours to accomplish.


speed-cleaning-tipsCleaning in the modern era is about stealing a few minutes here and a few minutes there – which, over time, adds up to something beautiful. (It’s the same way that tiny drips and drops of water can eventually come together to fill a large bucket.)

Part of this approach is having the right tools handy. For example, keeping your spray bottle, sponge and cleaning cloth at the ready helps you clean your bathroom in 3½ minutes. No joke.

The other trick is to clean while you’re doing something else. “Some people fit life in around housework,” says Don Aslett, author of No Time to Clean (one of my favorite books). “Others like me fit all housework around life. I never use prime time to clean and maintain. I do it all in bits and snatches: one-, two- and ten-minute time segments that might otherwise be wasted.”

That means clean the kitchen when things are cooking… tidy up the car when the gas is pumping… clean the bathroom while waiting for the tub to fill… dejunk the fridge while waiting for water to boil… hit the light fixture when you’re up there anyway to change the bulb. You get the point.

If you’re a TV aficionado (like me!), Don also recommends taking advantage of commercials. “If they just cleaned during commercials, the average TV watcher would have 48 minutes of extra time a day,” he says. So during the next commercial break, Don suggests challenging yourself to:

• Load or unload the dishwasher
• Clean out a drawer
• Wipe out the microwave
• Sponge down the high chair
• Hang up some flung clothes
• Shake out a rug or doormat
• Change the cat litter
• Take out the trash

What else can you do in mere minutes – or seconds, for that matter?

• Make a bed – 2 minutes (or less)
• Wipe off a kitchen counter – 25 seconds
• Clean a TV screen – 8 seconds
• Sweep a floor – 3 minutes
• Put in a load of laundry – 2 minutes
• Straighten out a piece of furniture – 10 seconds
• Vacuum an average room – 4 minutes
• Squeegee down a shower after use – 35 seconds
• Dust a picture – 3 seconds

Thanks for these tips, Don. Happy speed cleaning, everyone!

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