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15 Ways to Make Time to Clean

Easy Ways To Stretch Your Cleaning Time

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Man cleaning the countertop with a sponge Andersen Ross/Photodisc/Getty Images
Plan time to clean.

Making time for cleaning begins with planning out your days and weeks. If you schedule time for cleaning, it is much more likely to happen. To help you plan time for cleaning...

  • Use a day planner. Don't be afraid to jot down chores in your day planner. If you're like me, not adding them to your agenda, means they won't get done.
  • Do cleaning at same time/day every week. If possible, schedule your daily cleaning routine at the same time of each day. This will develop a habit for you. It also allows you to keep up with chores on a daily basis.
  • Make it a priority. Even though it may be your least favorite priority, if cleaning isn't an important part of your week, it will spill over and begin to affect other parts of your life. It takes time to develop a habit of making cleaning a priority, but the benefits are worth the work.

Cheat at cleaning.

Cleaning is one of those things, it's okay to cheat at. And anybody who catches you at it, will be really impressed. One of my favorite cleaning cheats is how to fake a clean house in 8 easy steps.

  • Use shortcuts. There are real cleaning shortcuts that can help you make the most of your time. Only wash the parts of your windows that will be seen. Only vacuum the high-traffic areas of your carpet daily. Use an old sock over your hand to dust as you declutter. Or better yet, break out your hair dryer to blow dust off of lamps, furniture and more.
  • Only clean what's dirty. Your cleaning schedule says it's time to dust the ceiling fan and clean out the refrigerator, but neither one looks dirty. Skip them. Don't clean things that don't need it. Just because it's on your list doesn't mean it needs to be done. Maybe parts of your home weren't used very much. Or maybe you did a fantastic job at maintenance. Cut yourself some slack, and only clean what needs to be cleaned.
  • Use convenient tools. Another way to shave valuable minutes off of your cleaning routine is to check out some of the gadgets and tools for cleaning and organizing. Is there a convenience product that will help you out with your most hated chores? Start there and see if some well-designed products can't help you clean up quick.
  • Hire someone. If all else fails, hire a housekeeper to come in weekly, or just for some seasonal help. For many families, hiring someone to help out has made all the difference in their schedules.

Do more in half the time.

Many of us are used to doing several things at once. Learning to multitask your cleaning time will stretch what you are actually able to accomplish.

  • Multitask. Do mindless cleaning tasks while you're doing something else. Fold laundry while you watch your favorite television show. Clean your car out while you're waiting in the pick-up lane at school. Wipe down countertops while you talk on the phone. Finding ways to get chores done while you're doing other things is an easy way to get twice as much done.
  • Use little minutes. Even if you only have a few minutes, you can get something clean. There are tons of thirty-second chores in our homes. Think about sneaking a few chores while the commercials are on. Anytime I'm waiting for something to come out of the microwave, I clean out the refrigerator or wipe down the cabinet fronts. It makes my designated kitchen cleaning time go super quickly.
  • Use a chore chart. One of the best ways to multitask is to use a chore chart to get everyone involved. There are seven people who help with chores in my home. Seven sets of hands is a cleaning crew to be reckoned with. A chore chart divides up responsibility according to ability, but lets everyone have a job.

Get motivated.

Want to shave time of your routine? Get motivated. It's easier than it sounds.

  • Make chores more fun. There are simple ways to let chore time be more fun. We have cleaning playlists of songs on the computer that liven up chore time. Allow my kids to pick the songs, and they'll really do their chores. Another way to make chores more fun is to turn it into a contest. First one done picks dessert. It's a simple way to get your children more excited about completing their chores.
  • Break chores into chunks. A huge job is really hard to get motivated about. Ask any kid whose been told to clean a room that doesn't have a square inch of floor visible. Break big chores into smaller steps. Instead of asking my young sons to clean their rooms, I ask them to make their beds. When that's done, they get all laundry out of their room. Each step continues until before you know it, the room is clean.
  • Reward yourself. If you've got something that is worth working for, it's easy to be motivated. This goes for the other members of your family. I use this technique with my kids a lot. If we get all of our chores done by dinner time, we'll order pizza. I also tie free time to completion of chores. Nothing motivates my seven-year-old to clean his room like watching his six-year-old brother play video games.

Maintain the clean.

A little bit of maintenance goes a long way. Including maintenance as part of your routine seriously cuts down on your cleaning time.

  • Do maintenance daily. All it takes is 15 minutes to maintain any room in your home. Do a little bit daily, and intense cleaning will be a thing of the past.
  • Delegate maintenance. Be sure to delegate maintenance chores to the other people in your home as well. In our house 15 minutes is enough to maintain the downstairs, if we all work together.
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