I love a clean house. Everything put away, smelling wonderful… it just gives me a feeling of peace where if I have a project to work on, that’s the only project to work on and I’m not distracted by scattered toys or dirty floors and feeling like my project supplies are just adding to the mess. Unfortunately, this seems more like the exception than the rule in my house. Or it was anyway. I went through this weird organizing season during my last trimester of pregnancy (which I dubbed “Extreme Nesting”) where everything had to be clean. I hated clutter. I wanted simplicity. I’m pretty positive it was my mind’s last hurrah of cleanliness before kids.
Anyway, that kind of stuck with me even after the birth of my daughter, and ever since I have this thing about associating a clean house with a sense of calm. The thing is I’m a mom… of a toddler… which means stuff is always on the floor needing to be put away, counters and tabletops are always sticky… you get the point. So I’ve had to strike a healthy balance between life with kids and an attempt to keep things clean.
Did I mention that one of my spiritual gifts is hospitality? Ha! I know, right? My husband and I love having people over, love entertaining and love opening our home to hang out with friends, family, neighbors, whoever! Not all of these events are planned, though, or at least planned in advance and, let’s face it, sometimes I just don’t have time between work life, mom life, blog life and Etsy shops to spend hours cleaning. So how do I find that balance I was talking about before and keep the house in some semblance of cleanliness? Here’s what works for me.
1. Organize All The Things.
The first step to a quickly cleaned home is to have everything relatively organized in the first place. Whether you read the KonMari Method or follow our organizing tips, make sure everything has a place where it lives when you’re not using it. This designated space will save so much time when you’re picking up. If you’ve already done this, skip to step 2.
If you haven’t gotten organized yet, do it. Take a day or a weekend depending on how much stuff you have and just commit. It’s a one and done deal, and it’s totally worth it. Now, I know, I promised in 30 minutes. You can still do this and just shove baskets in the closet, but eventually you’ll have to put that stuff away, so go ahead and plan a day to get organized.
2. Assess The Damage.
This post is about cleaning your home in 30 minutes, and let’s face it. You can’t deep clean you house in that amount of time. You can, however, make it presentable for guests or pick up for your own sanity. Whatever your reason, I’m not about to walk you through the proper way to scrub your tile grout or anything. Take an assessment of your home how it is right now. Aside from the things that need to be picked up and put away, what needs to be done? Do you have dishes in the sink? Add that to your list. Does your rug have mashed up goldfish in it? Add that to the list. Look around and assess the damage.
In general, our house needs the following on a regular basis:
- Dishes done
- Kitchen swept
- Counters wiped down (kitchen and bathrooms)
- Den vacuumed
Now, hear me. I do clean the rest of my house, but not when we’re expecting guests in less than an hour. So don’t judge me too harshly here.
3. Break Out The Baskets.
You’ll need three items for this quick cleanup.
- A trash bag
- Two laundry baskets
Make your way room by room through your house and pick up everything on the floor, counters, tables, shelves, etc. that don’t belong. All trash goes in the trash bag. All dirty laundry goes in one laundry basket. All items that need to be put away elsewhere go in the third laundry basket. When you’ve picked up one room, take a look around (it should look neat and clean aside from fluffing pillows, etc.) to make sure you haven’t missed anything then move on to the next. I can get all the way through my house in less than 10 minutes with this method. Admittedly, my daughter’s room is the worst, but thankfully most of the items that need to be put away go in her toy bin.
Another thing to note, I have a toy basket in both of our main rooms as well as in my daughter’s room. This gives me an easy place to store books and toys that might be left on the floor (or anywhere else, really) without having to constantly haul all of it to her room. It’s a huge time saver.
As you move room to room, put items from your “Put Away” basket where they go. This saves you from running all over creation, and trust me on this one, do the kids’ rooms last. Most of the stuff will probably go in their rooms.
4. Tackle Your To-Do.
You’re probably 10 to 15 minutes in at this point, which is great because this is the last step! You made your to-do list in Step 2. Now is the time to go back and do those things. Wash the dishes (or put them in the dishwasher), vacuum, sweep quickly, wipe down the counters… Whatever was on your list, tackle those things now. I have dishes, sweeping and countertops on my list almost every time I do this, so I obviously start in the kitchen. It takes me somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes to do all three, then I move on to the den and the bathroom counters. And in 30 minutes, I’ve given my whole house a once over, picked everything up and put it away and tackled the most needed areas of my home!
I try to go through this process a couple of times a week to cut that 30 minutes down even more, and there are other tasks I do on a daily basis to ensure things don’t get overwhelming. Take the dishes, for example. If I let them pile up, it would take me a lot longer than 5 minutes to wash them, so they’re a daily task (sometimes twice daily… sigh). This is nothing revolutionary, I know, but these little tips end up saving so much time!
Just for fun, I’ve included a free download of my weekly cleaning checklist. This helps me manage those bigger tasks like cleaning the bathrooms without having to spend four hours of my Saturday doing it.
Here’s to cleaner homes and calmer lives!