We all strive for a clean, organized home, but sometimes life inevitably gets in the way. Whether you live solo or have a full house, it’s always a challenge for busy people to keep things clean and organized for long. To help, we’ve rounded up some super speedy tips for getting every room in your home looking clean and organized in a snap.
Published April 1, 2020, Updated Mar 27, 2022
Have a Plan
As with many things in life, the key to keeping your home looking clean is to start with a strategy. Schedule cleaning and maintenance into your daily routine — from a 10-minute daily declutter to a weekly deeper clean.
Once you know when you’re going to tackle cleaning, make a list of regular tasks — whether hand-written, on your smartphone or framed and posted on the wall —to keep you on track and make the process move faster. Even better? Create a few options for different scenarios. For example, your 10-minute clean list could include things like clearing clutter, wiping down counters and taking out the trash, while your 45-minute clean list might add on mopping the floors, cleaning the oven and putting away laundry.
Whether you have a caddy with different compartment or prefer a tool belt or apron, keeping your cleaning products, brushes and other supplies together and portable saves time and makes quick clean-ups less of an ordeal.
Clear the Clutter
Clutter is the bane of a clean, organized home, but it’s totally natural. While a daily five-minute decluttering lap (where you pick up anything that’s not in the right place and move it to the right room) can help, you can also make things easier on yourself — and save time in the future — by setting yourself up with storage solutions in spaces that tend to accumulate clutter. You can go big with wall-to-wall living room storage, as the Save My Reno team did here, or you can look to inexpensive accessories for assistance.
In the kitchen, cluttered counters tend to be the source of mess — which is why cleaning and sanitizing them every time you use them makes such a big difference (and is so important to kitchen health and safety). Luckily, counter maintenance isn’t time consuming. Start by clearing the counters of dishes, small appliances and crumbs. Next, wipe counters down with a mixture of hot water and a couple drops of soap. To disinfect, go over surfaces again with a disinfecting spray that works for your counter type — and don’t forget to use a clean cloth or wipe, as sponges can hold on to bacteria.
Wash as You Go
Dishes piling up? You’re not alone. However, while it may seem counter-intuitive, it’s smart to prioritize washing dishes right away if you want your home to look clean (because dealing with a pile of caked-on dishes most definitely cause you more grief — and take a lot more of your precious time than dealing with freshly-dirtied ). If you can, wash dishes as you’re cooking. And, if you have one, use the dishwasher. Not only will the dishwasher likely do a better, more sanitary job of washing the dishes, it can also save you time with other cleaning tasks. Find yourself with more time to scrub up in the kitchen? Here are a few ways to give your kitchen a deep clean.
Do a Daily Sweep
A daily sweep only takes a few minutes, but it can make a big difference in your overall cleaning time. By regularly sweeping, you can dramatically cut down on the buildup of debris, which would otherwise force you to wash and deep-clean floors more often. Simplify the process by storing the broom and dustpan near busy areas and make it a habit to give them a once over at the same time each day, like in the morning while you’re waiting for your coffee to brew. In fact, keeping your tools altogether and easily accessible in general is a great tip for any type of cleaning.
Shelve Your Books
While most homes have a dedicated spot for reading materials, books and magazines have a tendency to accumulate on side tables, nightstands and counters. This can make your home look a lot more cluttered than it actually is. Regularly do a two-minute pass of your home to gather up all the books that aren’t currently in use and put them back where they belong.
Dust, unfortunately, is one of those things that only gets worse with time, leaving a layer of potentially allergy-inducing particles (like dirt, skin and dander) around your home. If you only have a minute, run a microfiber cloth over surfaces like books, furniture and walls to de-dust a room. Bonus tip: always dust from top to bottom so you don’t accidentally add dust to an already-cleaned area.
If your home’s been blessed with lots of natural light, that means you’re also cursed with plenty of windows to clean. While window washing may seem time consuming, it can be quick (and satisfying) with the right tools — like a window squeegee. Just spray your windows and mirrors with glass cleaner and then run the squeegee from top to bottom (line the bottom of windows with a rag to catch liquid dripping to the bottom). It’s fast, it’s simple and it will leave your windows streak-free in a flash.
Shower Your Plants
Houseplants keep your home looking fresh — adding green to a room, promoting a sense of calm and even improving the air quality. But they can also accumulate dust, debris and even insects. Consider keeping your plants happy (and leaves free of dust) the quick way by giving them an occasional shower once every few months. Place all your indoor plants (minus succulents or any plants that need minimal water) in the tub, and use the shower head to give the leaves – top and bottom – a nice sprinkle.
Make the Bed
Looking for the fastest route from disaster to dreamy when it comes to your bedroom? It’s just like your parents always told you: Make the bed. Do it as soon as your feet hit the floor — the minute it takes to pull up the sheets and fluff the pillows will set your day off in a neat, organized mindset and will help your bedroom look instantly put together. Need extra encouragement? New bedding could help you look forward to making the bed.
Take out the Trash
If seems obvious, but one of the quickest ways to refresh your home is to take out the trash. While food smells make it hard to ignore the kitchen garbage, overflowing bathroom and office trash adds up. Do a lap of your home and empty all garbage and recycling cans for a two-minute declutter.
Your daily shower routine is simple: ou wash your hair, your body, your face — but do you wash the shower, too? Wiping down the shower after you use it only takes a minute, but it helps keep grime, mildew and mould from building up — meaning the bathroom always looks and smells cleaner (and saving you from tough, time-consuming scrubbing when you clean the bathroom). Want to take it to the next level? You can give your shower head a good clean, too.
Back to Basics
There’s no shame in a complex beauty routine, but a counter full of bottles and potions can leave your bathroom looking seriously disorganized. While it’s not always realistic to put each product back on the shelf, consider dedicating a few baskets or under-sink containers to stow rarely-used and occasionally-used products. At the end of the night, you can quickly stow away items that you won’t be using again the next day, making your counters home to essentials only.
From wet towels on the floor or a pile of clothes on a chair, there’s almost nothing messier-looking than laundry out in the open. Having a laundry hamper near the places where stacks of clothes or towels tend to accumulate — like your bedroom closet or bathroom — saves time on laundry day and keeps these high-traffic areas looking neat and organized.
Flyers, old coupons, receipts and other papers have a habit of piling up and can be a nightmare to organize. Take the time and hassle out of paperwork by creating a system — like an expanding file folder — with categories for things like receipts, bills, ID and other common papers you need to keep. While your best bet is to file things away right away, you can also keep new documents in a paper tray or magazine rack on your desk and then take a few minutes once a week to quickly sort papers into the appropriate slots.