13 clever cleaning tips that increase efficiency

Here are 13 tips to keep your home clean while keeping work to a minimum.

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  • My mom has always told me that I'm a great cleaner, which is weird because I do not enjoy it. I love blasting music and getting a slight work out in and I like the end result, but I dread cleaning. I feel like it is the most monotonous task of my life - not to be overly dramatic or anything. So, to keep the time I spend cleaning to an absolute minimum, I use these 13 tips.

  • 1. Create a Schedule

  • Create a weekly cleaning routine to keep messes from piling up and to make cleaning the whole house seem less overwhelming. The important thing is that you get yourself into a simple rhythm of daily upkeep of your home.

  • 2. Do the Easy Stuff First

  • Start simple. Spiff up a few low-traffic rooms quickly and easily, so that you're motivated to tackle bigger cleaning tasks in high-traffic areas like the kitchen and bathrooms. "You'll be inspired to finish the rest of your home." Depending on your household, the dining room, living room, or a home office are good places to start.

  • 3. Stay Focused

  • It is so easy to get carried away when you start cleaning. I often start decluttering and organizing and realize I've only done a small section of my home when I should've completed it! I've found setting my phone to be an alarm and giving myself just enough time to complete the task before the alarm goes off keeps me focused. Your timer is your housekeeping friend, use it! Also, streamline your routine by removing as many distractions as possible: Set your phone to vibrate, shut down the computer and keep the TV off.

  • 4. Clean As You Go

  • Cleaning as I go through my day saves so much time! Even though at first it will seem like you are cleaning all the time, eventually it becomes second nature and you won't even think twice about it! Such as:

    • Clean out the shower while you are taking a shower.

    • Wipe out the sink after you brush your teeth.

    • Empty dishwasher before you cook or eat.

    • Put dirty dishes directly in the dishwasher instead of piling them in the sink first.

    • Soak pots immediately after cooking.

    • Clear the table right after dinner.

    • Start the dishwasher right after the dinner dishes are put in.

    • Before you take the trash out, pick up any additional trash you can spot on your way out the door.

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  • Simple clean-as-you-go tips, yes, but if you use them they will save hours in a day!

  • 5. Hold a Timed Decluttering Session Every Day

  • Set a timer for 12 minutes and have everyone pick up as much clutter as they can in that time. Have your kids pick up all of their toys. This not only results in a cleaner home, but it also teaches your kids to be responsible and help with household chores. I know a lot of mothers who like to do this before going to bed. They like to wake up to a cleaner house in the morning. It's amazing how quickly you can clean things up.

  • 6. Prepare

  • Pick out the comfiest clothes you own that can get dirty. You need to be able to maneuver without worrying about your clothes. Wearing an apron also helps so you can place sponges, old toothbrushes and wipes in your pocket. Turn on some fun upbeat music. Get your cleaners ready. I use vinegar and water to clean a lot of surfaces.

  • 7. Don't Allow The Clutter To Build

  • It is easy to just stack items on the counter or in a closet and forget about them. Don't allow that to happen! I don't know about you, but when I shove everything into a box, closet, or junk drawer, it sits for months! When you are done with something, be it a coupon that came in the mail, your coat - whatever - put it where it belongs or in the general location. Sometimes I don't have time to file very important paperwork in their designated folders. So I'll set the pile of papers on top of the file and come back later to file them away. The important part is that all of the paper on top of my file needs to go in there. I've already sorted through the junk mail, put the coupons in my coupon binder, etc.

  • If you do your best to put everything in its home or very near its home, clutter will not build. On this same note decluttering, is not the same as cleaning. So I recommend getting a babysitter if need be and setting aside 8 hours every spring and fall to do a 'home declutter.' This way you stay on top of the clutter and can clean during 'cleaning time.'

  • 8. Have labeled bins or use a cookie sheet/tray for each room in your house

  • Set them out in a central area in your home. Fill them with items that go in the rooms. When you are done cleaning and straightening up, take each bin/tray in the appropriate room and put objects where they go within the room. Doing this will decrease time cleaning/increase your efficiency.

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  • 9. Get things organized

  • A place for everything and everything in its place. When items have a "place to live," it is easier for you to keep your home organized. If you don't have this down pat yet, don't get discouraged. It's taken me about 3 years to get a good system down in my house, even then sometimes 'places' change. The important thing is to be working on designating places for items to go.

  • 10. Rotate items in and out of storage more frequently

  • I've found that if I go through my kids clothes every 5 months and box up what they have grown out of or that doesn't fit the season, we have more room in their closets. I rotate my holiday decor in and out, shoes/winter clothing, etc. get boxed away during the hot months. Crafts that I'm finished with but have left overs get boxed or shelved and labeled. Make use of boxes and storage and you will drastically cut down on laundry and clutter.

  • 11. Let your appliances do the work for you

  • Appliances can cut down on a lot of 'elbow grease.'

  • 12. Keep a Thrift store/Garage sale bin

  • When I realize I no longer need something, I put it in our designated bin in the garage. On occasion if the item is valuable, I'll resell it. If not, I'll wait until we have enough things to hold a garage sale. Whatever isn't sold then becomes a tax-deductible donation to a local non-profit thrift store.

  • 13. Do a load of laundry (or two) a day

  • When I first was married a load of laundry every day or two was perfectly satisfactory. Now that we have 2 kids under 3 I'm lucky if two a day meet the need. I've found that doing a load in the morning, the next when I remember in the day and the final drop into the dryer at night keeps the laundry flow going smoothly. After vacation it is not abnormal for me to do 8 loads in a day and those days are dreaded. So doing 1 or 2 a day keeps things much more manageable.

  • I hope these 13 tips shave off some serious cleaning time for you like they do for me!

  • Editor's note: This article was originally published on Live Like You Are Rich. It has been modified and republished here with permission.

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Anita is a resourceful wife, mother, author, and friend. She writes about a variety of ways to create a rich life (both materially and non-materially) on any income on her blog Live Like You Are Rich. She is also the co-author of "Living a Rich Life as a Stay-at-Home Mom."

Website: http://livelikeyouarerich.com

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