10 steps to clean your house fast

Most of us would love to have a nicely cleaned house all the time, with everything in its place. For most of us, this isn’t a reality, especially if you have little ones in your life!

And others of us who may have a little more control over our house (ie: the kids have moved out!) even then we would like a clean house, but don’t necessarily want to spend hours upon hours cleaning it. We have other things in our lives that are important to us that we want to spend time on besides cleaning.

10 steps to clean your house fast -- http://TheStressedMom.com

Just as we talked about how we shouldn’t be productive just for the sake of being productive, we also should get better and better at cleaning, but not so we can just do more and more of it. We should get better at cleaning and get it done to the level that we are each comfortable with, so that we then my have time to move on to do the more important things in our lives (hobbies, creative work, family time).

To help you with this, I am going to give you 10 steps to clean your house fast. It won’t be perfect, and it is not a substitute for an occasional deep cleaning and decluttering. It will however, help you feel like you are getting somewhere and you wouldn’t be terribly embarrassed if someone came to the door. Keep this handy for those times when someone calls and says, “I was in the area and thought I’d drop buy, see you in 15-20 minutes?”

10 steps to make your house presentable

1. Grab a trashbag. This is one of the best tools for crisis cleaning! Quickly scan each room for newspapers, school papers, food trash, receipts, packaging, etc, and stuff them in the bag. Do this for the entire area you need to clean, whether it is just the living room and kitchen because someone is dropping by, or the entire house. DO NOT GET DISTRACTED. Do not “clean” anything else at this point, just gather trash.

2. Another quick scan of each room, pick up any dishes as you work your way around the house, depositing in the kitchen sink. Do not bother washing now, unless your dishwasher is ready for them to be put directly in.

3. Grab a box or another bag. This 3rd sweep of the area to be cleaned is going to be for items that you know can be discarded or donated. This is not a deep declutter, but this is the McDonald’s toy your child got last week and has lost interest. The sweater that had a small hole you thought you might mend so it is sitting by your chair for weeks, the pair of shoes by the door that no one can even wear anymore. Don’t open cabinets or closets for this clean, just scan the things that are lying around that are no longer useful to you.

4. Now that the extraneous stuff has been removed, grab a laundry basket and start in the first room. Toss anything in the basket that belongs in another room. Do not go deliver it now. Straighten pillows, cushions, towels, rugs. Put books on shelves, stack magazines, throw toys in toybox.

Move to the next room, take anything out of the basket that belongs in the current room and put it away. Repeat the process above in this room. Continue to move from room to room filling and emptying the basket, and straightening as you go. If you feel you must, grab a dust cloth or a Swiffer and go at it. (If you really hate dust see: 2 tips to tame the dust in your house)

5. Vacuum the living areas of your house. Do not do the kitchen yet.

6. Using a bottle of windex, clean any obvious fingerprints around door handles. Enter each bathroom and do the following: spray the inside of toilet bowl and bottom and top of seat with windex. Let sit. Spray counter and sink. Let sit. Clean mirrors. Close shower curtain and straighten rug and towels. With towel, wipe sink and counter using a little water if needed. Then swish toilet bowl with a brush, hitting the lid as well. Use a towel to wipe seat dry. (This whole process should only take 5 minutes or less!)

7. Now for the kitchen. If you did not already do steps 1, 2, 3 and 4 in the kitchen, do so now. Stay focused. You are not “cleaning” yet. Step 4 will have you putting things away in the kitchen, things that should not be sitting out. Piles you may have. Now is not really the time to go through these piles. You can put them in a basket or box and go through later.

8. Load dishwasher with dirty dishes and run. If they won’t all fit, stack remainder beside sink. Fill sink with warm, soapy water. Wet a cloth and begin cleaning the appliance fronts, tabletops, the countertops and cabinet fronts, if obvious dirt shows. Depending on how big your kitchen and how dirty, you will need to rinse and wipe again until clean. Only dry anything that shows smudges like black or stainless appliances. Wash rest of dishes by hand and dry and put away.

9. Sweep or vacuum kitchen. Move large items out of the way, such as chars, highchairs, dogbowls, etc. Empty trashcan into outside can.

10. Mop floor. I personally like a string mop. I used a foam one for years, but went back to string a few years ago. I want to also give you a secret. I only mop my entire floor a few times a year. In between my moppings, I spray and ammonia based cleaner, such as windex or 409 on the floor. I get a mid-size old towel, dampen halfway and “mop” floor with towel and my feet. I clean the traffic areas and any possible spills. I have a LARGE kitchen and no kids at home so this works for me. Consider if it will work for your situation.  I recently came across this Steam Mop and thought how wonderful it would’ve been to have when I had little ones. Who am I kidding? I’d STILL like to have one!

Let me just add in here, that if you have children that are at least elementary age, have them work with you in this process. Teach them what you expect and then they can take over some parts for you. Again, it won’t be perfect, but YOU won’t be doing all the work, and they will be learning important skills, including teamwork!

28 comments to 10 steps to clean your house fast

  • This is exactly the way I clean my house, with the exception that I ALWAYS get distracted. I’m going to purpose to follow your steps and not be distracted and see if I can get it done faster. Thanks!

  • I clean much the same way. very focused and purposeful. great list!!

  • StephanieB (KickAssWife)

    I don’t have kids yet, but I do have a dog! I have adopted some daily habits similar to this list that always leave me 15 minutes away from being ready for company. It also helps my husband and I relax when we have a home clear of clutter! Thanks for the list!

  • Bravo! I am a SAHM and have 2 kids younger than 5, a teenager, and a husband who works outdoors and has nothing left by the time he comes home. My ankle’s busted and this outlines a very good way for me to get my housework done and have time for my family and my business. Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

  • I totally clean like this all the time. I am going to use the towel idea for a few rooms, it would save me a lot of time, especially on tile floors.

  • I am the worst housekeeper. I am going to try these steps to see if it helps me. It sure cant help.

  • Michelle

    Hi, this reminds me of the Flylady, who has been helping me for a while now, but your ideas seem to be packaged a little differently, doing all 10 steps one after another until mission accomplished. I am going to try this tomorrow!

  • I love this 10 step idea. I’m going to try it out and going to get my house cleaned up for Christmas Eve!

  • Barb Mann

    My sister in law taught me to clean up my kitchen first then do a main bathroom. When those two rooms are clean , then do what you can in the rest of the house. I always find if I leave my kitchen for last I’m either too worn out to finish it , or , someone inevididably comes over while its a big mess. This way my kitchen is always ready for “company” . We never sit in the living room anyway….

    • Bernice

      I love this concept, although I would have to clean the LR too, it’s the room that you walk into the house! But it makes so much sense!

  • MoonShineArtSpot

    The steam mop that is around $80 is hotrrible… It leaves a kind of fog on the floor even after drying & if you step on it with a sock or bare foot it leaves a mark, so there is a mark for every step taken which looks awful. I use mine to kill germs, but then have to go back over the floor with a shin type cleaner afterwards…

  • Connie

    This sounds easy and I can skip numbers 1 and 2 because we never leave dishes or garbage laying around. However… our house is the dustiest house EVER so I’d never be able to get by without wiping furniture down. I love, love, love your bathroom cleaning tips because it seems that my bathroom never really gets as much of a clean as it should (gross, I know). The toilet is always clean (for the dog to drink from) and the countertop but it ends there. Thanks for the tips!

  • Awesome advice! I always need more housecleaning tips. We have guests coming over next week. This breaks it down for people like me who hate cleaning! Thanks so much!

  • Amy

    Totally what i do and u have a few i haven’t tried but i am sure they will help thanks a bunch 🙂

  • Brittany

    These steps would actually take me at least an hour to accomplish. If someone told me they were coming over in 20 minutes,I would pick up and surface clean with simple green or windex multi-surface.

  • Marci

    I am a professional house cleaner. I’ve also worked at resorts and condos. This is the procedures we use to clean homes. I can clean a 3 bedroom/2 bath home in around 2-3 hours. Not just tidying up but actually cleaning. If these steps are followed on a daily basis it only takes minutes per room. If your home needs a quick dusting grab a dry microfiber cloth and do a quick sweep of the noticeable areas and items. Pick one room a day to do a “deep clean” on per week if you need it (homes with children, pets etc) and you will save so much time and your home stays spotless. Now if I can just apply these tips to my own home!

  • Patrice

    I have a newborn & 4 year old. Im a single parent & im working. Im going to use this technique!

  • My only question here: What in the world are food and dishes doing in any part of your house? My whole family knows that we never eat anywhere except the dining area. It creates extra work and draws bugs.

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  • Connie

    This is some great info…especially the Windex ideas around the house. That will help eliminate the need for other cleaners. I also loved the idea of using medium sized towels. This is gonna go a long way with me. Especially when the inlaws are coming over. Thank you! Best info I have ever found on cleaning quickly!

  • I shared this on facebook on my page ‘Making Home Better’ Thanks so much for this. I was dreadiing cleaning my house today. This gave me the hope that I would not spend the entire day doing it. Love this. It works. Its about hour 2 and i am almost done.

  • Julie

    You are amazing! Thank you so much for these tips!! This is exactly what I needed. I get distracted very easily.

  • I am a SAHM with 6 kids and 3 dogs, plus the hubby. I have always struggled with a clean house, I have the problem of staying on task, go from laundry to dishes, to vacuuming. Then I’ll be like “wait, I was working on laundry” My little ones (18 and 7 months) are napping and I am going to try your list. If it helps stay on task, I should be able to get the work done before they wake. This is the simplest thing I have found and I am always looking for tips to help me out! Thank you!,

  • I know this sounds annoying but it does help when you have older children to help with picking up laundry dishes and trash. After dinner I like to get my dishes done it makes me a happy morning person 🙂