Fifteen Minutes to Clean

Unless you’ve just had a visit from a maids service, you probably always feel like your house could be a little cleaner. Maybe you have company coming on short notice, a party you didn’t have time to clean up for, or just want the house a little tidier before you go to bed.

If you only have fifteen minutes to clean, here is the strategy to get you there:

Step 1: Pick up all the trash. Get a trash bag and walk through the main areas of your house—the places guests will likely see (ignore the places they won’t for now!). Pick up every piece of trash you see. Don’t touch anything else—just trash.

Step 2: Go room by room and sort. This is not an in-depth sorting process. In fact, you only need two categories: things that belong in the room and things that don’t.

For the things that belong in the room you are in, put them where they go. For the things that don’t, put them in a pile. When everything that belongs is put away and the room looks nice, take care of the “doesn’t belong here” pile by taking those items to their appropriate rooms. Do this in each main room.

Step 3: Focus on what makes the most difference. Once the rooms are mostly straight, go into each one. What stands out to you?

Look for little details that give the appearance of a meticulous clean. This might include propping decorative pillows up nicely, straightening a throw rug, sweeping the floor, or folding the bathroom towels.

Step 4: Freshen the air. If the air in your house smells dirty or stale, it’s going to be the first thing someone notices when they open the door. If the weather is nice, consider just opening a window or two to get fresh air in and stale air out.

If that’s not an option, use an air or fabric freshener or burn a scented candle.

Final thoughts: Get yourself some help! The more people involved in the cleaning, the faster it will get done.

Also, for this to work, your house will need to start out fairly clean to begin with. To make sure your home is always ready, thoroughly clean once a week or consider hiring a maid service to keep your surfaces clean and your air fresh all the time.

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