Cleaning your house or apartment can seem like an extremely daunting task. Whether you’re feeling less productive during the day from the clutter around your apartment or you have some last minute guests coming over, sometimes you don’t have the time or energy to do a full deep clean of your home.
If you don’t feel like doing a top-to-bottom cleaning and anticipate having guests over, Lauren Bowen, Director of Franchise Operations at Two Maids & A Mop taught us a few ways to easily trick yourself and your guests into thinking your home is clean and tidy.
When you only have 30 minutes or less to clean your house or apartment, Bowen recommends always starting your cleaning routine from the top down, as this will make everything visually appear cleaner and will eliminate any unnecessary extra steps.
“Begin by dusting the top of the ceiling fans, cabinets, etc. Then tackle the mid-areas, which include countertops, sinks and tops of dressers and side tables,” she says. “Last, you’ll vacuum and mop, which will ensure you’ve collected all of the dust particles that fell from the ceiling fan or even the countertops.”
Here’s how Bowen recommends prioritizing your space to clean your house or apartment in 30 minutes or less.
Focus on Important Spaces
If every room in your house is a mess, trick yourself, and your guests, into thinking your house is clean by focusing on the rooms that are in sight and being utilized. “Your house guests will likely gather in a few rooms in your home – not all of them,” says Bowen. “That means you should focus your cleaning efforts on where they will be, like the dining room, the kitchen and the bathrooms, and not waste time worrying about your bedroom or the laundry room if your guests won’t ever be in them,” she says.
And if you’re not having guests over, think about the rooms that you’re frequenting the most often. This might mean starting with your living space, bathroom, and kitchen, and leaving the bedroom and other rooms for when you have more time.
Declutter Your Countertops
If there’s one thing you can do to make your house or apartment look clean in 30 minutes or less, clearing your countertops will make a big difference. “Making sure your countertops and tables are clear will make the entire room feel bigger and brighter,” says Bowen. Your line of vision will be clear, even if your surfaces aren’t getting a deep clean. If you have friends coming over, guests will have a spot to put their drink down, and, since you’ve done the work beforehand, clean-up should be even quicker.
Clear The Floor
It may not be necessary to grab your mop and deep-clean your floors, but Bowen suggests clearing clutter and debris from the floors will make a huge difference. Clean up the pile of shoes by the door, make sure your clothes from the past week (or two) are either in the hamper or tucked away in your dresser. Make sure garbage is tossed away and give your floors a vacuum to clear the dust bunnies — your house or apartment will instantly look cleaner.
Focus On Scent
A fresh scent can make your home feel warm and inviting. Even if there is some clutter around, Bowen suggests lighting a candle or plugging in a diffuser to freshen up your space. “A pleasant aroma in the home can definitely create the effect of a clean space, and you can attain this by lighting a candle, using a scent spray, or freshly baking a meal or dessert.”
Clean and Put Away Dirty Dishes
Dirty dishes – whether in the sink or around the house – create both a physically unappealing atmosphere as well as a health risk. One of Bowen’s biggest musts to making your house or apartment clean in less than 30 minutes is making sure there are no dirty dishes hanging around. If the dishes are clean and put away, it will automatically make your home feel cleaner.
Where to Start
If you’ve got the urge to clean, Bowen suggests taking full advantage of that feeling before you burn out, and tackle the most difficult room first.
Bathrooms are typically some of the smallest areas in the home but can be the most time-consuming to clean, and the least desirable. “From the toilet and shower to the tile grout and sink, there’s plenty to be done, so it’s best to knock it out first,” says Bowen. Make sure to clean the toilet, from top to bottom, as this is the area that can get the grimiest. Toss in a self-cleaning toilet bowl tablet into the commode, and while it works its magic, wipe down the seat with your antibacterial wipes. Light a big candle and turn off the lights — a dimly lit bathroom looks cleaner than a regular one. Make sure to close the shower curtain before you leave the room.
Next, Bowen suggests moving to the kitchen. Besides the living room, the kitchen is one of the most frequented areas of the home and needs continuous cleaning. “Scrub out the sink, wipe down the countertops, sweep the floor, dust the tops of cabinets and put away stray items,” says Bowen. If you’re up for it, clean the oven, refrigerator, and dishwasher. These aren’t cleaned as regularly but should be completed at least once a month.
After, head to the living room. Pick everything up off the floor and stash it in a closet. Make sure to clear off the coffee table and give it a good wipe down. Light a candle (we recommend these scented candles) and if your couch has some questionable rips, stains or other unflattering marks on it, drape your nicest, cleanest blanket over it.
Next, head to the bedrooms. This typically doesn’t require too much of a lift. Put fresh sheets on your bed, put away stray clothes and wipe down any bedside tables.
Nothing expedites your last-minute cleaning efforts like the right arsenal of tools. Below is our curated list of essentials for getting the job done in a hurry.
Seventh Generation Disinfectant Wipes
For fast cleaning, these disinfecting wipes are your best friend. They’re natural, they smell nice (but not too strong), and they restore good hygiene to your place.
Windex Glass Cleaner
There’s a good chance you already own a bottle of Windex (or an off-brand alternative) and if so, congratulations, you’re already ahead of the game. If not, get yourself a bottle of the blue stuff and say goodbye to dirty, streaky windows and mirrors.
Clorox Toilet Wand Disposable Toilet Cleaning System
Any cleaning product that reduces actual physical cleaning time gets high marks in our book. Clorox toilet tabs remove stains, limescale, and hard-water build-up, and freshens while doing it.
E-Cloth Window Cleaning Pack
The E-Cloth makes cleaning a breeze — you literally just add water, the activated microfiber picks up the smallest specks of dirt, dust, and grime.
Oxo Good Grips Spray Mop
With a reusable and washable microfiber cloth pad, a spray bottle for holding your favorite floor cleaning solution (or your own home-made concoction), the Oxo Good Grips spray mop is without a doubt the easiest, handiest, and best spray mop we have ever tried. More environmentally friendly than a Swiffer and easier to use than a regular wet mop, this cleaning product will take your floor-mopping time from more than 10 minutes to less than five.
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