How I Clean Our House in 60 Minutes or Less

posted by Andrea | 05/31/2013

speed cleaning

I’ve talked about my lack of cleaning routine in the past, but since the warm days of summer are just around the corner (and no one wants to waste them inside cleaning) I thought it might be a good time to share my super simple speed-cleaning tips that allow me to clean our entire house in less than 60 minutes.

Yes, you read that right. I’ve timed myself and I can whip through our entire home (4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, office, living room, kitchen, dining room, etc.) in roughly 60 minutes.

However, this doesn’t mean that I literally spend one full hour cleaning. I might clean the bathrooms when Nora is taking her daily cat-nap or clean the kitchen as I’m cleaning up after dinner. The point is that I DON’T spend a whole lot of time keeping our house clean… and if for some reason I need to get things clean ASAP, I can!

TshirtRags

One of the main reasons I’m able to keep things clean with such little time and effort is because Dave and I try really hard to maintain the cleanliness and organization of our house each day and each week.

This doesn’t mean our house is perfectly clean and organized all the time. It simply means that when we get something out, we put it away. When we use something up, we throw it away. When we get something dirty, we wash it. etc. etc. All of these little tasks take 2-5 minutes (or less) to do, but they save me SO much time at the end of the week — or whenever I get around to doing my speed cleaning.

My method of speed cleaning isn’t rocket science (wink wink!), but it works for me and I love that I can quickly get my house clean enough in roughly 60 minutes!

Here’s how I do it:

1. Entryway.

I’ve never had the luxury of a formal entryway or a mudroom, so it’s essential that we keep our tenny, tiny entrway clean and clutter-free. (The picture below is at our first house… our curent house has a much smaller entryway!)

Entryway

Speed-Cleaning:

Shake out rug, sweep floor, and a quick declutter.

Time Estimate = (5 minutes)

Daily Maintenance: 

Unless we’re headed out again, we usually put away any shoes, coats, bags, keys, etc. right when we arrive home. We’re also pretty good about recycling or tossing junk mail, newspapers, and magazines before they pile up.

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2. Kitchen

Our kitchen and dining room are combined into one big room so it’s the first thing you see when walking in the back door, and one of the first things you see when walking in the front door. Because of this, I really like to keep the kitchen clean and clutter-free.

Speed-Cleaning:

Wipe down the front of all appliances and cabinet doors. Shake out rugs and vacuum floors. Scrub the sink with Soft Scrub and quickly dust any necessary surfaces.

Time Estimate = (12 minutes)

Daily Maintenance: 

I wipe down the counters and load dishes in the dishwasher as I cook so they don’t pile up. If we have dishes that need to be washed by hand, we stack them to the side of the sink (and Dave almost always does them before we go to bed that night).

I try not to let any paper pile up in the kitchen — I move it to my office desk so I can deal with it the next time I sit down to work.

I know this might sound crazy, but I also try to make sure all the chairs and stools are pushed up to the table and island — it just makes everything look so much neater

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3. Living Areas

I like the living areas of our home to feel “lived in” so I definitely don’t pick up after people all day long. However, at the end of the day, Dave and I are pretty good about picking up the living room, the office, and any other common living areas. If you do the same, I’m sure you know how wonderful it feels to wake up to a semi-clean and decluttered home.

Speed-Cleaning:

Run a microfiber cloth over the 2 end tables, the book case, our office desk, and the TV cabinet. Vacuum carpet.

Time Estimate = (8 minutes)

Daily Maintenance: 

Before we go to bed, I always fold any blankets we used, put all the pillows back on the couch and chairs, put away all Nora’s toys, neatly stack any magazines or books we’re reading, and put any dishes in the dishwasher

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4. Bathrooms

I don’t like dirty bathrooms, but at the same time, bathrooms are my least favorite place to clean. I try to remind myself that in just a few minutes, I can easily have our bathrooms sparkling again, and then force myself to get to work.

master bathroom

Speed-Cleaning:

Wipe down mirrors, counters, and sinks with vinegar spray. Clean toilet, shake out rugs, and sweep the floors. I only clean the showers about once a month so that’s not part of my speed cleaning.

Time Estimate = (15 minutes total — or 5 minutes per bathroom)

Daily Maintenance: 

Hang up towels, clear off the counter top, remove any clothing or other non-bathroom items, restock toilet paper, and wipe down the sinks.

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5. Bedrooms

We really only use 2 of our 4 bedrooms so this cuts down on the time it takes for me to clean them… but we also try to keep any excess clutter out of our bedrooms.

nursery

Speed-Cleaning:

Quickly dust the furniture, sweep/vacuum the floors.

Time Estimate = (10 minutes total for all bedrooms)

Daily Maintenance: 

We make the beds every morning and always put our clothes away (or in the laundry basket if it’s dirty). We keep our dressers clutter-free and generally don’t let anything end up in our bedrooms that doesn’t belong.

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6. Misc. 

None of these things absolutely have to be done, but I’ve found that they only take a few minutes and can make a big difference in how clean our home feels.

Speed-Cleaning:

I use the hose attachment on our vacuum to dust the baseboards, window sills, and door frames whenever I vacuum the rest of the house. I also grab a microfiber cloth and wipe down any spots on the walls, light switch plates, door frames, or smudges on windows.

Time Estimate =  (10 minutes)

Daily Maintenance: 

We open our blinds every morning, and if the weather is warm enough, we keep our windows open to let in a fresh breeze.

We keep donation bags in our closet and by the back door for anything we might want to purge. This reduces the need for time-consuming organizing projects and helps keep our spaces from filling up with items we don’t need, use, want, or love.

Whenever I leave a room, I always take a quick look around to see if there is anything I need to remove from the room, bring to another room, or put away. This takes only seconds but it’s a great habit to get into as it’s a sure-fire way to eliminate clutter.

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With a little daily maintenance and a few quick speed-cleaning blasts every now and then, our home stays clean enough so we don’t feel dirty, clean enough so we don’t feel claustrophobic with stuff all around us, and clean enough so we can be ready for company at any time — and that works for me (especially in the summer months!)

Obviously, Nora isn’t quite old enough to be helping with the cleaning chores yet, but if you have older children, you could assign each child one area of the home to clean on a specified day. They might not do it as quickly or as thoroughly as you would — but it will allow you a little extra time for something you enjoy more than cleaning :)

So are you ready to set your timer and see how quickly you can clean your home? Here are 40 of my favorite cleaning resources to help you get started!

What are your best speed-cleaning tips?

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31 comments

  1. Kim

    05/31/2013

    I love your house!!! :)

    [Reply]

  2. Stel

    05/31/2013

    Very good basic guidelines. My mom used to say “Sien ‘n ding en doen ‘n ding”, translating into “See something, do something”.

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  3. Anna

    05/31/2013

    This is so easy to do. Do you have something printed like this, it would make an awesome page to put in my homemanagement binder. Lots of good tips. Thank you.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Sorry, no printable list at this point — hat would be a good idea though.
    If you do want it in printable form, you can alway click the “clean print” button at the top of the post and then crop/move the text until you have just want you want and then print that. Not as cute as a printable document, but it would work!

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  4. Rachel @ day2day joys

    05/31/2013

    Your kitchen is beautiful!

    [Reply]

  5. Jennifer

    05/31/2013

    I, too, find that the daily maintenance goes a long way in making the whole house easier to clean and keep clean. Things like straightening the sofa cushions at the end of the day, pushing in the chairs at the table, hanging towels neatly, and wiping up messes when they happen. It’s not rocket science, for sure, but there have been plenty of times in my life when I didn’t even do these things as a habit (or lived with people who didn’t!).

    The other thing about the daily maintenance things is that, if you miss a ‘weekly’ cleaning item like vacuuming, scrubbing the kitchen sink, or dusting, it doesn’t actually matter so much because the baseline of cleanliness is already higher. If things are generally neat and the major messes are cleaned up when they happen, some dust or soap scum hanging around a little while isn’t that big a problem!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, yes, yes. I couldn’t agree more!
    People often ask if I’m a “perfectionist” and honestly, I’m the furthest thing from it. I’m just really good and keeping things relatively tidy all the time. If you look closely though, there’s a good chance you’ll see a nice layer of dust and dirt covering my de-cluttered surfaces :)

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  6. Donna

    05/31/2013

    Such a pretty house, Andrea. Love it so much.

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  7. Liza Glick

    05/31/2013

    I basically do all the same things you do and I never get overwhelmed, it’s great!

    [Reply]

  8. Barb

    05/31/2013

    This is more of a “maintenance” tip……it’s called the “Two Minute Rule” and I read it in an “organizing/productivity” book years ago (unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the book). The Two Minute Rule is: anything that takes two minutes or less, DO IT NOW, IMMEDIATELY. It’s amazing how this keeps clutter down and small tasks caught up because usually no matter how busy we are, we can spare an extra two minutes.
    I Love your blog, Andrea…..it’s one of the very few that I read daily.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Great rule Barb. I basically do the same thing — I’m always asking myself, “do you want to wake up to this?” or “do you want to come home to this?” The answer is usually “NO” so I just do whatever is it now — and you’re right, it usually just takes a minute or two!

    [Reply]

  9. Barb

    05/31/2013

    P.S. Love, love your kitchen!

    [Reply]

  10. Tragic Sandwich

    05/31/2013

    What a lovely home! And it’s great to know how you keep it that way.

    [Reply]

  11. Guisela

    05/31/2013

    Excellent post! You inspire us to get out of the couch and start to have a beautiful house, 5 minutes at the time… And about you don’t talk about “rocket science” I think that this is the main reason we all read your posts, you are a normal woman like us so you can inspire us… An we LOVE to see how Nora is growing up :)

    [Reply]

  12. Ree Klein

    05/31/2013

    Argh…I’m a pretty tidy person but it seems my house produces 500 lbs of dust within three days of dusting. I believe there are two types of people: the type that has a regular cleaning routine and so their house always looks clean (that’s you) and then there’s the type that only clean when they see the dirt (…hate to admit it, but that tends to be me!).

    Guess I’ll have to start working on that!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Haha — actually, I don’t really have any sort of cleaning “routine”. As I mentioned in this post, I simply clean when something gets dirty… sometimes that’s in 3 days, sometimes it’s not for 3 weeks. We do a pretty good job of picking up after ourselves on a daily basis, and when something DOES need cleaning, I use these speed-cleaning tips to whip through the task ASAP :)

    [Reply]

  13. Lisa

    05/31/2013

    Okay I am going to say it… I want you to come to my house and help me get it organized!! :)

    I used to have a house kept like that and then we had to move and with me working and school well let’s just say… But I will say this – I have talked to my girls and my husband and have told them that I have 2 weeks left of school and once I am done and graduate – mommy is getting house back in order. My 10- year old Kinsey – looked at me and said “Mommy does that mean rules are about to change?” LOL I said yes…

    I am going to print your tips and try to use them once I get house in order. I will let you know if it helps us keep house in order…

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Sounds like you have a lot going on Lisa! I’m sure life will slow down once you’re finished with school — and I’m sure it will feel really great to get our house back in order (and make a few more rules too!)

    [Reply]

  14. Amy

    05/31/2013

    Hi Andrea-
    Love these tips:) I have always had a really clean house…and then I had a baby and I am having a devil of a time sticking to any kind of routine:(
    I have all hardwood and no area rugs. I dustmop and mop…but still feel like a vacuum would come in handy and do a more thorough job sometimes. I have a Kenmore I used in our prior carpeted house, but the thing is so heavy and bulky I HATE lugging it out and using it. Just wondering what kind you use?
    Thanks:)
    Amy

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Amy,
    I’d say don’t worry too much about strick cleaning routines — honestly! As I mentioned in this post, I really don’t have a cleaning routine… I just clean when something is dirty. Dave helps me out a lot too, so see if maybe your hubby will pick up some of the slack. Ask him what his least-hated household chore is and start there!
    As far as the vacuum I use, here’s a post all about that :) I use the Hoover High Performance and love it. It’s pretty reasonably priced, and comes with lots of attachements. It doesn’t come with a soft brush attachement, so I purchased one of those separately and use that for all our wood floors.

    [Reply]

  15. Debby

    05/31/2013

    Thanks. I like one of the other commentors would love it in form so I could print it out for a binder. My daughter is in charge of cleaning the house this summer for her summer job. This would be a great source for her. Just a thought. It’s not like I can’t make my own. After all it’s not rocket science right? ;-)

    [Reply]

  16. Jennifer M

    06/01/2013

    Great post, Andrea. I’ve gone from being a stay-at-home mom to working full time outside the home. I’ve really struggled on how to keep the house in order. I really like your tips on keeping the house tidy on a regular basis. I’m starting to realize that helping myself and my family ( I have teenagers at home) develop the habits of cleaning up after ourselves will make all the difference. (Especially for my teenager that makes messes faster than I can blink. It’s astonishing!!)

    [Reply]

  17. Kelly

    06/02/2013

    This is great. Another tip… don’t use bar soap in your shower and you’ll be able to clean it easy peasy! I can clean mine with a paper towel and windex!

    [Reply]

  18. Donna

    06/03/2013

    A real man does dishes! Good for you, Dave! Good job.

    [Reply]

  19. Rebecca

    06/04/2013

    For a few years now I’ve been following the “one chore a day” rule (i.e. dust on Mondays, vacuum Tuesday, etc.) But I tried your one hour clean this past weekend and I really felt accomplished with a totally clean house. It took me more than an hour because my toddler son was accompanying me, but that’s okay. I have been enjoying a relatively clean house all week because of an hour of effort on Saturday. I think I’m going to try your plan for awhile.

    [Reply]

  20. Jana

    06/13/2013

    That is awesome!

    I clean super fast too.

    I LOVE getting the cleaning over and done with and usually will listen to some audio books or courses while I wizz around. It’s amazing how much you can do when you don’t faff about and just hit the ground running. If I don’t do a speed clean I’ll be pottering around cleaning and tidying up after the kids all day.

    xx

    [Reply]

  21. Kathryn

    06/13/2013

    So helpful for homemakers and ALL home dwellers Andrea!

    [Reply]

    Clarissa Reply:

    Kathryn,

    Are you a STAHM or Wife? I would love to hear your routine if you have one . Feel free to email me.

    [Reply]

  22. Cathy

    06/14/2013

    Some years back I was working 10 to 12 hour days and most of the weekend. I read a piece about house cleaning (on a long haul flight!). The bit that stuck in my head and made a HUGE difference to me was making sure that your kitchen sink was clear at night and the kettle was ready to boil for your tea in the morning. I never looked back. The psychological difference it made to me was amazing.

    Love your blog!

    [Reply]

  23. Melissa Yesh

    07/15/2013

    Ok, I have always loved the look of those shoe organizers you have in your entryway and have thought time and time again about purchasing one…but then I think of all those dirty shoes or those wet and muddy shoes and I end up not purchasing anything at all, because instead of seeing something nice and organized, I see another piece of furniture that will need to be cleaned after our shoes dirty it up! With five pairs of feet in our home we desperately need something to contain our shoe clutter, especially since our “entryway” IS our living room.

    [Reply]

  24. Pascale

    01/14/2014

    You have a beautiful home Andrea. Thank you for sharing your pictures.

    What color did you paint your walls throughout the house? It looks white in some areas and cream or light yellow in other areas?

    [Reply]