Speed cleaning - housework in a jiffy
Housework can be daunting, especially with limited time and small children following you around "helping"! Check out our top tips for speedy cleaning and tick some jobs off your list in record time!
Schedule your regular cleaning tasks
There is a time and a place for a major deep clean (there is also a very good case for paying someone to do this!!) - but speed-cleaning refers to the maintenance stuff that keeps your home "clean enough".
It helps to establish some routines in your day and week that get the maintenance jobs ticked off before you've had a chance to procrastinate your way out of them. For example, make beds, sort dirty clothes and put a load of washing on while the kids are getting dressed (or playing in their rooms waiting for you to dress them.) Look at your week and see where there are timeframes suitable for cleaning - perhaps there is a spare 10 - 20 minutes most mornings over a child's nap, quiet time or favourite TV show. Allocate the basic tasks to a day, e.g. Monday could be dusting, Tuesday vacuming bedrooms, Wednesday changing sheets etc
OK, so this may take a larger chunk of time initially, but it is well worth investing a few hours in decluttering and sorting your home. Once you have eliminated unnecessary clutter and found a home for all the essential bits and pieces, cleaning will be quicker in future. Dusting, wiping, vacuuming and mopping are all much quicker if you don't have to navigate your way around piles of stuff.
Pack a cleaning kit
Organise your cleaning products, cloths and dusters into a cleaning tote - a bucket, bag or basket with a handle so that everything you need for cleaning is quickly located and easily carried around with you as you clean. Precious time is wasted going room to room and upstairs and down looking for glass cleaner and dry cloth.
Keep extra cleaning supplies in the bathroom
A shiny basin and a clean loo can make you feel better, even if the rest of the house is in chaos. It actually only takes a minute to clean the loo and wipe the vanity, especially if the supplies you need are stored (safely - make sure your bathroom cupboards have child-proof locks) on hand. Keep your basic cleaning supplies in your cleaning kit (as above) but have extras in the bathroom cupboard so you can give it a quick spruce up whenever you see the need. Multi-task - basic bathroom maintenance can be attended to while your children are in the bath!
Set a time limit and stay focused
You'll be surprised how quickly cleaning jobs actually take when you stay focused. It's Monday and time to dust - set the microwave timer to 5 minutes and see if you can get all the surfaces in the lounge, dining and family areas dusted. Put on some music and give the kids a cloth too - the thrill of finishing the job before the timer beeps is highly motivating!
Ten-minute team tidy up
Establish the routine of a "ten-minute team tidy up" before dinner each evening. It is especially helpful to encourage older children in the habit of packing up their activities and keeping their belongings organised and tidy. Again, the microwave timer is a handy motivating tool here, or perhaps some music - a couple of songs to all rush around and tidy up to. Think Mary Poppins and make it a game!
Keep a basket at the top and bottom of the stairs (hanging on the banister out of little hand's reach is handy) in which to throw items that need to be returned to their home on the other floor.
Sticky microwave solution
Place a microwave-proof bowl or glass half-filled with water inside the microwave. Turn on microwave for 4-5 minutes, during which time it will fill with steam. Carefully remove glass or bowl and wipe out your microwave - the steam will have loosened the grime and grease leaving it much easier to clean. Remove the microwave tray or turntable and wash in the sink.
Happy sinks and benches
A sink full of dishes and benches cluttered with food-prep carnage can be really demoralising. Endeavour to load the dishwasher throughout the day, to avoid facing a massive job in the evening. Have some hot soapy water in the sink while you are cooking so you can quickly wash dishes as you go, before the gunk gets well and truly glued on. Put away dishes and wipe down surfaces in the evening so you can start the next day with a clean slate.
Published 16 August, 2013