In my New Year’s quest to simplify everything, I’ve come up with a few nifty ways of cutting time out of my cleaning schedule.
Use a Timer – It’s funny how we all work faster when we’re under pressure. I find I can clean up a room pretty quick if I know I only have 15 minutes to do it (and I pretend that my mother is on her way over). 15 mins: pickups only, 30 minutes: pickups, dusting and sweep, 1 hour: all of the above plus mop the floors.
Clean the shower while you’re in it – After washing up, grab a spray bottle of vinegar, and spray down the walls. You can also use a bit of shampoo and one of those plastic scrunchy things to scrub the walls as well. If you want to get really high end, squeegee the walls and the shower door to keep them sparkling and soap scum at bay. I’ve also heard of people keeping those handheld dishwashing soap dispensers in the shower full of their favorite cleaner and scrubbing the walls when they’re done.
Vacuum the Shower/Bathroom – Yep. I said it. Look, I know it’s not the greenest thing to do, but I’ve got a LOT of hair and I hate having to sweep it up whenever I detangle, or have an experimental styling session. So a couple of times a week I use the hose attachment on my Shark and vacuum out the shower and in all the corners of the bathroom. It makes quick work of all the sweeping I’d normally have to do and I get at the dust at the same time.
Brush Dust and Crumbs Onto the floor – This is going to seem counter intuitive to many of you neat freaks. But why try to catch all of that stuff off the counter, when you can just sweep or vacuum it up later? I Brush everything off of the counter onto the floor with a dry cloth first. Then I spray down the counter tops and wipe them clean and them move on to the cabinets and the floor. Keep it moving!
Clean the toilet with leftover cola or beer – I don’t drink beer or soda, but I did have some leftover from a party once, and found out by accident that this actually works! Pour a half liter of cola into the toilet and swish it around. Leave it in there for an hour, and the phosporic acid will breakdown the lime stains and other nasty stuff. (I tend to follow this up with a splash of hydrogen peroxide for disinfecting purposes.)
Use lemon and baking soda – In my Simple Scrub post I talked about how to clean your bathroom with lemon and baking soda. You can also use the same method to clean your stainless steel sink. When you’re done, just dump the leftover rind, lemon and baking soda mixture down the disposal and turn it on to clean the blades and leave the kitchen smelling fresh.
Use Bags/Baskets to De-clutter – Cleaning is a two-step process. Don’t try to clean around the clutter. Put everything away first and then get to scrubbing. I keep a few reusable grocery bags in each room labeled with the names of other rooms so I can just move quickly through the room and anything that doesn’t belong in that room gets placed in the appropriate bag. Then, when I move to that room I empty the corresponding bag and repeat the process.
Use a Cleaning Caddy/Bucket – Instead of under the sink somewhere, I keep all of my cleaning products in a tool caddy I picked up from Home Depot. That way , when it’s time to clean I just grab the whole thing and move to the room in question and everything is right there.
• What are you cleaning shortcuts?