My “Quantity over Quality” Quick-Cleaning Tips

posted by Andrea | 07/17/2015
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By now, most of you should know that keeping a relatively neat, clean, and organized home is pretty important to me.

This is not because I feel the need to show off my clean home to friends, family, neighbors, or blog readers. It’s not because I feel like my house NEEDS to be clean in order for me to be classified as a “good wife” or “good homemaker”. And it’s not even because I think my life will be horrible if my house isn’t clean.

It’s simply because I enjoy the act of cleaning and organizing… and I really REALLY enjoy the end results. So it’s worth it for me.

That said, I will be the first to admit that 9 times out of 10, I am most definitely a “QUANTITY over QUALITY” type of cleaner.

Yes, there are definitely times for meticulously scrubbing the grout in the showers, mopping the floors on my hands and knees, scouring the inside of my oven, paying professionals to deep clean the carpets, and using razor blades to scrape off every last bit of grime from my windows.

But for the most part, as long as things are relatively picked up, relatively clean, and relatively sanitary, I’m a happy camper.

Over the past couple of weeks, after I broke my toe, with Nora and Simon both running around like crazy (a.k.a. normal) kids, and the arrival of a new baby, I REALLY started to think about how my “quantity over quality” perspective on cleaning my home has saved my sanity and allowed me to accomplish so much more around the house.

It’s not that I’m doing a BAD job or literally sweeping dust under the rugs (I promise, I’ve never actually done that), it’s just that I’ve come up with a few quick tips and tools that have helped to tremendously simplify and streamline my home-cleaning process and allow me to do significantly more cleaning in less time.

Want to know my “quick cleaning tips”?

Keep reading! 

quantity over quality

1. I use Swiffer Sweepers

Since we have LOTS and LOTS of hardwood floors in our home, sweeping is one of the daily chores I do — especially around the table 🙂

I should just invest in a mini shop vac to keep in the kitchen because our kids are so messy, but for now, I just sweep.

I also use the hose attachment on our vacuum to suck up crumbs when it’s really bad (usually a few times a week)… but in between, I use Swiffer Sweepers to pick up smaller crumbs and dust — thus alleviating the need for me to mop the floor on my hands and knees as often!

2. I use Disinfectant Wipes

I know there is some controversy about using disinfectant wipes — but they are really a life-saver for me in the kitchen and bathrooms.

I use Seventh Generation wipes (which I do think are safer for kids) and I feel really good about the fact that I can quickly wipe down toilet seats, sink handles, appliances, grimy counters, etc. and then toss the mess in the trash.

I don’t do this every day, but for quick clean-ups mid-week, these are awesome!

3. I Run The Quick Cycles on My Appliances

I almost always run the quick-wash cycles on the dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer.

I’m not 100% sure if it saves a ton of energy, but boy does it save time! The normal cycle on our very new, high-efficiency, high-end dishwasher takes about 3 hours; the quick cycle takes about 50 minutes.

The normal cycle on our washing machine takes about 90 minutes; the quick cycle takes 30… and the drying time for the quick cycle is amazingly fast (no, it doesn’t scorch our clothes either).

All of these time savings add up over the course of the day and the week and allow me to do more in less time.

4. I Pick Up As I Go

I’m 100% convinced that the main reason our house stays relatively neat and organized almost all the time is because I am in the habit of picking up as we go all day long.

This does not mean I run around behind my kids with a waste basket and toy box… it just means that when we’re finished with one activity (and not going back to it for a while) we pick up before we move on.

It is a VERY simple concept that kids learn extremely quickly — in fact, Nora is often quick to say “let’s pick up and go do something else” because it’s just part of the process now.

Their childhood will not be any less magical or special because they learned how to pick up after themselves… and I’m sure their future roommates and spouses will thank me some day 🙂

5. I Don’t Let Laundry Win!

Laundry is probably one of the household chores I’m most relaxed about… because I truly do not care how it gets done.

We don’t buy fancy or expensive clothing, we don’t dry clean or hand wash anything, and if something shrinks or gets ruined, I just put it in the rag pile or the donation bin (for the record, this rarely ever happens).

It’s not that I’m lazy or don’t value our clothing, it’s just that neither Dave or I are big “fashion” people. We are content to wear jeans and t-shirts every single day if we could — so our laundry is VERY low maintenance.

As I’ve mentioned many times before, I do not sort my laundry nor do I spot-treat anything (for real). We don’t think it’s gross to wear something more than once before we wash it. We use our towels a handful of times before tossing them in the laundry. And I truthfully only wash my sheets every month (unless they are spilled on or soiled in some other way).

I cannot tell you how much time this saves me doing laundry every week — especially with a growing family and messy (a.k.a. normal) kids!

I’m not saying everyone should handle their laundry like I do, but I am saying it’s a huge time-saver for me to be more relaxed with how often I do laundry and how picky I am about it.

I’m sure there are other little things I could continue to add to this list — but when I was thinking about the major ways I’m able to streamline and simplify my normal, daily cleaning tasks, these 5 tips immediately came to mind.

Obviously, it’s not bad to be a “quality” cleaner, but at this point in my life, I’ll take “quantity” every single time!

What about you?

When it comes to cleaning, are you more focused on “quantity” or “quality”?

Do you have any quick cleaning tips to add to my list?

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21 comments

  1. mara

    07/21/2016

    Lots of good ideas in here! I have some “shortcuts” that include disposal disinfectant wipes, too. We also LOVE the laundry soap pods, we buy All since they are usually pretty cheap per unit and have been doing a great job!! I always see my neighbors line drying laundry this time of year and there are a few things that can be nice for, but I cannot imagine adding that step into the mix!! In fact, time to go fold a quick load now…. 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — yes. I often wish we had a clothes line to line dry things… but then birds poop on them or bugs get on them or it rains. My dryer works just great 🙂

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  2. Jessica

    09/29/2015

    i totally agree, it saves so much time and amost always looks perfectly clean.

    My favorite purchase ever was a handheld vac. I use it all day long. One of my girls chores after dinner is to vacuum up beneath the kitchen chairs. Saves a lot of hassle with pulling out the broom and dust pan or the big vacuum. And my kids love going around the house sucking things up, so it’s a win win.

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    Jessica Reply:

    I forgot to mention this tip from my grandmother that I use- “always leave a room a little better than you found it” which to me means even if it’s as simple as fluffing a pillow, it’s still better than before. That little bit of wisdom usually makes me feel better even when I don’t have time to physically clean the entire room.

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  3. Jen T

    07/21/2015

    I used to use Clorox wipes until I got invited to a Norwex Facebook party. I was skeptical until I saw this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I68K4QRWQ9g I immediately invested in some Norwex cloths and have saved SO much on paper towels and Clorox wipes. And no, I’m not a consultant but I do love their cloths. The window cleaning one is amazing for windows and mirrors too.

    I could not live without my dust buster in the kitchen. It saves me from having to get a dog, lol.

    Clean Sheet Day is my favorite day. It happens every other Saturday.

    Clean towels are on Friday. I had a friend in college who used a fresh towel every time she took a shower. I was floored by this. I’d never known anyone who did that until I was in college.

    And just a warning…Emily used to not be able to go to bed unless her room was entirely picked up and everything was back in its place. She’s almost 16 and we have agreed that as long as she doesn’t eat in her room and keeps the door closed, she can be as messy as she likes. It got to be one of those battles that wasn’t worth fighting. I also refuse to do her laundry anymore. If she ends up doing five loads of laundry b/c she has no idea what is clean and what is dirty, that’s no longer my problem!

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  4. Patricia Wolschlager

    07/19/2015

    Just a quick note to let you know that I read and truly enjoy your blog. I am not much on comments, even though I always read all the ones that do and try to follow all your suggestions and ideas. You have a lovely family and you and your husband make a beautiful couple. Congratulations on your new baby!!! Please continue sending us all these wonderful ideas on how to be the best that we can be!!!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Patricia!

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  5. Julia K

    07/17/2015

    We have a great product here in Australia called “Colour Catcher”. These are little sheets that you toss in with your wash to prevent colour runs and facilitate mixed washes. I find them great to toss in with my kids’ clothes as they really lift the colours and the washing looks very vibrant and doesn’t get that grey look. I’m sure something similar would be available in the USA.

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  6. Lee Cockrum

    07/17/2015

    I never sort laundry unless I have something that is new and dark that might bleed onto things. I do the sheets every week cause hubby sweats a bit, as well as he really likes clean sheets every week. It’s a simple thing that makes him happy! I wish I was more together on the rest of the cleaning!!

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  7. leslie

    07/17/2015

    I love your honesty and agree whole heartedly with your approach!! You always brighten my day. Congratulations to your sweet family on the birth of James. Thanks for sharing !!

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  8. JoDi

    07/17/2015

    Great tips! I do #4 too, and thst includes when I cook. I always clean up pots, pans, measuring tools, etc. as I cook. I hate having a huge pile of mess to clean up when I finish!

    The only tip I can think of is that I clean my shower when I’m showering. I keep a mesh scrubbie in there just for cleaning, and squirt a little bit of body wash on it about once a week and clean the walls and floor while I have conditioner in my hair. My hair gets a deep conditioning and my shower gets clean in a few minutes. Win! Win!

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  9. Ivy

    07/17/2015

    I love the get it done now , do as much as you can in the least amount of time ! I am the same about the laundry no sorting except whites. Our sheets get washed at least 2x a month. Even if my husband showers at night he sweats so bad they need it. Cleaning wipes are a life saver here too! I use the store brand from Aldi’s.

    James is precious , I hope he’s a good sleeper!

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  10. Ellen

    07/17/2015

    I’m really happy to read how you handle laundry. I’m Swedish, and I don’t know if this is just a difference between Sweden and the US but we don’t wash clothes as often as you do. (And I’m saying “you” as in “a lot of you people in America”.)
    I wash my sheets once every 3-4 weeks and the same with towels. I would never toss a towel in the laundry after using it once. And, really, isn’t the a towel the most clean thing in your house – I mean, you’ve just showered! How dirty can a towel get after one use?

    The only thing that can get really dirty after one use is underwear (which I never use more than once) and children’s clothing (and my brother’s shirts, he always gets food on his clothes…).
    Shirts, jeans and most clothes can be used 3-8 times before being dirty, and by not washing as often you both save the environment and the clothes’ life – you don’t destroy the color or the elastic or whatever as soon.
    Most blogs I read scare me every time the blogger talks about laundry…
    So thank you for writing a post that proves there are normal people in the world.
    Sorry for rambling. 🙂 And congratulations on your little baby!!!

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  11. JJ

    07/17/2015

    Totally agree! In another post you said that you don’t regret getting things done when you push and can wake up the next day without the burden of things to do. Okay, I know I paraphrased that–ha! But that has stuck with me, and I try to keep on top of things so that it doesn’t get more stressful. Very practical advice!

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  12. Kim

    07/17/2015

    Love this post Andrea! Like you, I actually like cleaning and organizing. I’ve come up with a weekly chore list, like Tues clean kitchen, Thurs clean bathroom, Sun do laundry, etc. Every night before bed I load and start the dishwasher, rinse out the sink, and clean the countertops with the Seventh Generation disinfecting wipes. Love those things! I really enjoy waking up and coming into a spotless kitchen.

    I do wash sheets weekly due to my husband’s severe dust mite allergy and dry the sheets in the dryer. It’s so humid where I live that it’s futile trying to line dry anything. We don’t mind wearing the same clothes for several days as long as they aren’t dirty and we’ve got plenty of underwear so I only have to wash clothes about every 2 weeks. We don’t have children or I’m sure it would be more often.

    I also put things away as I go along during the day. It really does help keep the house neater.

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  13. Liane

    07/17/2015

    Loved this!
    I read James Clear’s emails (sent you an email about him a few months back) and I have put a few of his tips into action. Similar to your short task list he recommends picking the 6 highest priority items the night before and doing them in order of importance. It turns out for me that these are all the daily tasks that keep the house presentable. And for my daily 6 I try to streamline as much as I can.

    What I learned that may help others:

    If you have 20 year old vinyl with a pebble or imprinted surface, Swiffer Sweepers only push the hair and dust into the cracks. So I bought a cheap little vacuum at Walmart that is like a DustBuster – I can get all the hair and crumbs off my vinyl bath and kitchen in a jiffy. The rest of the house is carpet. A broom works too but then you have to use a dust pan and a brush.

    Lysol brand disinfecting wipes leave every thing they wipe sticky. I used to buy a major store brand, but it was discontinued. I think a spray bottle of window cleaner plus microfiber towels work just as well with less waste.

    I’m with you on laundry – I have a sorter since I have found that our darks like jeans bleed, but I wash all the whites and pastels on the quick cycle too. I only use heavy duty for white towels and cotton dish rags. One load a day keeps it under control. I have a clothesline which I use for sheets since I love the way they smell after. Plus they take forever to dry in my dryer. So I run them thru the cycle once and then move them to the line to finish. I do not line dry towels though.

    I have a few self imposed rules like don’t leave the house in the morning till my daily jobs are done. I breeze through these since what comes next is more fun. Another rule is to never walk past something that needs to be put away. Some people with stairs have baskets at the top and bottom for things that need to be carried up or down. Just don’t trip and break something! I wish I had stairs since they make such a great place for stray items!

    Have you ever noticed spider webs are immune to gravity? It seems like they multiply like rabbits. I have a Webster and tackle them weekly. But I have no problem not vacuuming under the heavy dressers and couches. Nothing under there anyway!

    I find I do less deep cleaning and you cannot see the difference. But the little things like dishes done, trash out, clothes washed and beds made makes all the difference. Should Queen Elizabeth show up unannounced I would not be embarrassed. That is if she does not open the oven. Or the closets

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    Ivy Reply:

    Liane,

    I love your Queen comment ! When things are a bit on the bad side or the kids have let their rooms go I say “Clean like the Queen is coming” !

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  14. Amy

    07/17/2015

    Once again, Andrea, you make me feel normal and not like a filthy slob for my cleaning habits (which is just clean something when it starts to look dirty). I love that you only wash your sheets once a month and don’t sort your laundry. I do the same but my mom always washed sheets once a week, sorted EVERYTHING, and cleaned the entire house every other week (I completely hated Saturday cleaning day as a kid!) . I totally appreciate the dedication that took while working and taking care of kids, but I just cannot keep up with that lifestyle!

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  15. Melissa

    07/17/2015

    Finally a blog that tells me I don’t have to wash my sheets twice a week! . Because quite frankly, that’s just not happening. I’m not much of a cleaner, so what and how it gets done has to be enough.

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — well, I don’t think you need to do what anyone else tells you to do, but we certainly don’t wash our sheets that often 🙂

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  16. Julia K

    07/17/2015

    I’ll qualify this comment by stating up front that I live in Queensland, Australia and we get LOADS of sunshine……. having said that, I am about to make a MAJOR confession……. here in Australia it is ” the norm” to hang our clothes out in the sun to dry. It’s just what we do….. YES we have clothes driers, but most people will hang their laundry (or “washing” as we call it here) out in the sunshine to dry naturally. We even have our famous rotary clothes line – the “Hills Hoist” as a standard feature in most backyards…

    BUT …… despite the fact that I know using the clothes line will save on electricity and be better for the environment – I admit that I now use my clothes drier for 60-80% of our laundry. YES it costs me more in electricity, YES it is not the best decision for the environment …BUT – it saves me a ton of time because the things I choose to put through the drier can be folded while still warm saving be a bucket load of time in ironing and this speeds the whole laundry process up immensley – SO – using the drier is definitely a Quantity Vs Quality decision that I happily make in our home…

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