So, here’s the paradox of being a Virgo with a rising Pisces. I need a clean space around me at all times (aka the Virgo part) but there are exactly 10,000,000 things I’d rather do than clean (aaaaand there’s Pisces).
I’m phobic about germs and a disorganized home. And yet the mess I seem to generate within a relatively short time gets hectic - fast.
Before long, I'm almost too overwhelmed to start.
If you detest cleaning like me, and put it off until it gives you anxiety, here are my best tips for being a domestic goddess with minimal time and effort. (Or, you know … faking a clean house in a pinch.)
HAVE A CLEANING CADDY ALWAYS READY TO GO
Keep a handy little caddy with some multipurpose cleaning items ready to go. This makes it a lot faster and easier to clean.
Grab a little handheld carrier like this one and add:
three or four microfibre cloths
This is great for busting out a quick clean - no ducking back to the cleaning cupboard. Hey, I’m all for minimizing time (as noted below).
BECOME THE SPEED CLEAN QUEEN
A.K.A. How to clean your house in 30 minutes or less.
Okay, well honestly? This won’t have your house looking house inspection ready.
But it WILL give it a good spit-shine, and freshen it up from top to toe in less time than it takes to watch an episode of The Crown.
With a speed clean, there is one rule: speed over perfection.
This is about a cursory tidy, a quick wipe down and a spot clean rather than giving everything a thorough polish. Save that for a deep clean.
Step #1: Grab a load of washing and chuck it in the washing machine.
Step #2: Open all your windows and let that fresh air in. This will do more heavy lifting than you realize!
Step #3: Spritz your shower, tub, and toilet seat with a multipurpose cleaner and leave it to sit there and do its thing.
Step #4: Squirt the inside of the toilet bowl with toilet cleaner and leave it to soak.
Step #5: Set a timer for 10 minutes.
Step #6: Grab a big basket (laundry basket works well) and a trash bag. Starting at your front door, do a quick tidy. Chuck anything out of place in the laundry basket and bring said basket with you. Put items away as you pass the proper place for them. For any loose paperwork, no time to sort - just tidy it into one neat pile.
Step #7: Move through common areas and bathrooms. Go from front to back of the house, tidying mess and dealing with trash. If it’s not all done by the time the buzzer goes off, that’s totally okay. Do what you can.
Step #8: Once the time is up, deal with dishes - for dishwasher people, empty the clean dishwasher and load dirty ones. For non-dishwasher people, take care of the dishes, or rinse and neatly stack in the sink.
Step #9: Wipe down the kitchen benchtop with an all-purpose cleaner. Also, give your coffee and dining tables a speedy once over with a damp cloth.
Step #10: De-clutter and wipe down the bathroom counters. Rinse off the shower and tub, wipe down the toilet seat with toilet paper (easy to flush), and give the bowl a quick scrub. Flush and forget. Simples.
Step #11: Now it’s time to tackle floors - if you have a cordless vacuum, perfect! Quickly run it over the floors. Again, think speed, not perfection. If you have a Robo vac, lucky you, let him do his thing. If your vacuum is a complicated beast, quickly sweep your entry, kitchen, and main bathroom.
Step #12: Spot mop any splotches on your floor using a Swiffer mop or floor cleaner wipes.
Step #13: Light a candle or diffuse some oil, pour yourself a wine, sit back and revel in what a domestic goddess you are.
If you have the time and energy, keep going. If not, pat yourself on the back.
You did it. You cleaned.
You deserve a clean and fresh space to live in. What a beautiful act of self-love and self-care!
The whole routine should only take 30 minutes and will give your home an instant facelift.
P.S. Don’t forget to put your washing in the dryer. You’re welcome.
HAVE YOUR DAILY 3 HABIT
One way to feel “on top” of your home is to make three chores non-negotiable daily habits. These are the critical ones: the ones that make you feel amazing when you’ve done them.
For me, it’s making the bed each day and taking care of the dishes. Even if the rest of the house is a disaster, doing the dishes and making my bed gives me a sense of accomplishment and productivity.
CLEAN AS YOU GO
The easiest way to keep a clean house is to avoid making a mess in the first place!
By cleaning as you go, tasks don’t compound and get out of hand. Here’s how to nail it.
PUT THINGS AWAY IN THE RIGHT SPOT THE FIRST TIME
Rather than dropping your bag on the floor, or your jacket on the couch, hang them in the proper spot as soon as you remove them. This prevents things from getting lost, too!
A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING AND EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE
My nanna used to love this phrase! By having organized homes for everything, items become easier to quickly store.
MINIMIZE DINNER CLEAN UP
My husband introduced me to this one! Prepare a sink full of hot sudsy water while you’re cooking. This way you can wash dishes as you use them - yay, no more daunting mountain to tackle later. Keep a little bin or container beside your cutting board to contain any garbage, so it’s easy to tidy up quickly.
KEEP A SQUEEGEE IN YOUR SHOWER
Quickly squeegee down the shower glass and shower walls after you use it. This prevents having to scrub water spots and soap off later. It also prevents mold build-up by removing excess moisture.
TAKE OFF SHOES IN YOUR HOME: Shoes track in dirt, dust, grime, mystery stickiness, grass, germs, and God knows what. Having a “no shoes in the house” policy ensures your floors stay clean and sanitary.
ADD SOME INCIDENTAL CLEANING TO YOUR DAY
Try adding little cleaning tasks to your day that take up virtually no extra time. They may not seem like much on their own but have a huge compound effect.
MAKE THE BED WHEN YOU GET OUT OF IT
As soon as the bed’s empty, I make it. It takes less than two minutes to do, but it gives your whole bedroom a facelift. If you’re busy, you can always rock the chic Instagram “messy bed” trend. Pull up the sheets, throw the pillows over the top, and drape your comforter across the bottom corner.
KEEP A MICROFIBRE CLEANING CLOTH IN EACH ROOM
Set yourself up for success by keeping a cleaning cloth in every room. It’s easy to reach for if you feel the sudden urge to give the space a spruce. If you want to be REALLY organized, you can keep a mini bottle of multipurpose cleaner in each room too.
WIPE DOWN THE BATHROOM COUNTERS WHILE YOU CLEAN YOUR TEETH
Do you just stand at your counter, gazing with unfocused eyes at your reflection until two minutes is up? Grab a cloth and your handy dandy multipurpose spray and give the bathroom counter a quick wipe down.
EACH TIME YOU LEAVE A ROOM, DO ONE TASK TO MAKE IT CLEANER THAN WHEN YOU FOUND IT
I can’t remember where I heard this, but it’s a great way to feel on top of things without committing to a full cleaning hootenanny. Every time you leave a room, pick up an item to put away, take dishes to the sink, empty the trashcan, or wipe down a surface.
REMEMBER THE 2 MINUTE RULE
The 2-minute rule is simply this: if you notice a task needs doing, and it takes two minutes or less to do, don’t put it off. Do it there and then.
This prevents tasks from building up and getting out of control. Two minutes attending to one or two tasks prevents booking an entire weekend to spring clean.
FAKE IT 'TIL YOU MAKE IT!
Murphy’s law states that unexpected visitors only drop in when your house is messy.
No one ever shows up at the last minute when your house is spring clean fresh.
If you’re not worried about the house being clean, don’t let me or anyone else tell you that you should worry about it.
BUT if it’s something that DOES stress you out, I’ve got you. Yes, there IS a way to fake a clean house in minutes, even faster than the speed clean.
Here’s what to do.
Step #1: Open all the windows. Let as much fresh air in as you can. Sunlight is also your friend. It makes everything look brighter and cleaner.
Step #2: Grab a large laundry basket, and similar to the speed cleaning method above, do a speed tidy. Put any out of place items in it and keep moving. Only do the rooms that your guests will see. It’s helpful to have “catch-all” baskets and trays around the house that you can stash items in quickly. Stash the basket out of sight.
Step #3: Gather loose paperwork, books, or magazines, into one neat pile.
Step #4: If you have a dishwasher, stash your dirty dishes in there. If you don’t, stack them neatly in the sink.
Step #5: Declutter and wipe down your kitchen bench, the guest bathroom counter, and the toilet. Stock the toilet with fresh toilet paper. Tidy the towels and replace the hand towel.
Step #6: Fluff up your couch cushions (spritz with Febreeze).
Step #7: Take out the rubbish.
Step #8: Light candles/diffuse oils to make your house smell amazing.
Step #9: Put on ambient music, like a good jazz or lounge playlist.
If you find keeping a clean home overwhelming, trust me, I can relate. At the same time, you deserve to live in a fresh, clean, and relaxing sanctuary!
It doesn’t have to take long and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Even a task off the to-do list will have you feeling like a total domestic goddess.
Now I would love to hear your thoughts! How do you feel about cleaning? Do you love it, hate it, or just love the result of it? Share your best "secret" for a clean home in the comments below.
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If you liked this article, you’ll find these useful too: How to Make Hand Washing Dishes Easier / The Easiest Way to Look and Feel Stylish All Week Long / How to Be A Unicorn: 16 Things I Do to Feel Magical, Glowy and Fabulous / Self Care for Busy People / 9 Natural Remedies for Anxiety & Stress Relief
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