Clean Smarter (Not Harder)

Try these tips for getting in, getting clean, and getting on.

When it comes to cleaning, it's smart to take the easy way out. Especially when the easy way works better! Follow our expert tips for cleaning the easy way: smarter, not harder.

Multitask at every chance. Clean the shower while you're in it. Declutter as you talk on the phone. Make the grocery list as you clean out the fridge. Let cleaning products soak into the countertop, toilet bowl, microwave or [insert your grime-magnet here] as you tackle the rest of the room. Get creative.

Clean from top to bottom. You will never win a fight against gravity. Instead, work with it. Dust starting at the top of the room, moving to the bottom of the room. Finish with a good floor cleaning.

Invest in the right tools. "There's nothing more frustrating than trying to do a job with the wrong tools, and cleaning is no exception," says Donna Smallin Kuper of and author of Cleaning Plain and Simple. Take inventory of your cleaning supplies, including vacuum, mop, broom, duster, rags, brushes, and cleaning products. Fill and upgrade where necessary. Buy the best you can afford, sticking with reliable brands, Smallin advises.

Use both hands. It's a style former pro cleaner Mary Findley, founder of Go Clean natural cleaning supplies ( and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Cleaning, swears by. Spray two cloths with cleaner, then use your hands to wipe in circular motions toward one another, moving from up to down, or from left to right. "You'll dust, wipe off counters, clean the fridge, and more, twice as fast," she says.

Use double-duty cleaning products. Multipurpose cleaning wipes, for example, make handy quick-cleans easy almost anywhere in the home. And green cleaners, such as vinegar, can tackle many different jobs, including windows, showers, and the inside of your fridge.

Stick to a schedule. When you have a dedicated day (or days) to do your cleaning, you don't have to stress over when you'll find the next time to clean. Plus, you'll build speed as the schedule becomes familiar and the duties become habit.

1 Comment

  1. I used to clean on day a week and get it all done and then did other jobs(fridge, oven, etc.) during the week as needed. However, I became a TEACHER and all my time was consumed by this occupation. Teaching is a lifestyle for sure. If it not been for my husband helping with weekly cleaning chores, I would have drowned in the mess. He vacuumed and dusted and ran errands, changed and washed linens once a week (I still get to it every other week), plus did all the yard work. He was retired, of course, and when he died, I was simply overwhelmed by the magnitude of housekeeping chores. Hired outside help and just stopped that after 7 years. Now am overwhelmed again. Housekeeping is NOT for sissies if you do it right!

    1. I am a 74 yr old widow (20 yrs ago) and I still work, but from home 40 hours a week. I rescue pets and they take up almost all my extra time. What do I do? I am also a crafter and quilter that I have very little time for, but continue to buy things for "the future" when I don't work. I am not a horder but if you looked at my home you would think I was. I collect several things, make a lot of things, so things are my problem. I wont ever give something away that was a gift. Helppppp.

    2. So true!

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