5 house-cleaning tips for the time-poor.

You can always tell how busy I’ve been over the past week by looking at the state of my house.  When I’ve got a lot on my plate, house-keeping activities are usually the first thing to get booted off my schedule to make room for more important things.  Thus the cleanliness of my house has a direct, negative correlation with how busy I am.


But over the years, I’ve picked up a few handy house-cleaning cheats, such as:

1. Music makes cleaning infinitely more bearable.

Let’s face it, cleaning your house is probably high on your list of Least Enjoyable Activities.  But if your favourite tunes are pumping on the stereo?  So much better, right?  So use music to make your cleaning time go faster.  When it’s time to clean, throw on your favourite album or make yourself a playlist that’s about 10-12 songs long.  Resolve to clean until the music stops.  Once the tunes die out, you can put your feet up and call it a job well done.

2. Make the most of ‘dead time’

There are pockets of what I call “dead time” in every day.  You’ll find them in the three minutes you spend microwaving your lunch, in the two minutes it takes to boil the kettle and in the fifteen minutes you spend flicking channels while you wait for your show to start.  Make the most of these little bits of free time.  In those few extra minutes, do a quick clean-up.  Round up all your recycling, stack a few things in the dishwasher, run a damp cloth over your bench tops.  You’d be surprised how much you can get done in a really short period of time.

3. Perfect the ’emu patrol’ system

A room will look so much tidier when it’s free of all the debris that gathers with daily living.  Empty glasses, discarded socks, stacks of paperwork and the like really clutter up a room and make it look much dirtier than it is.  To remedy it, employ this technique:  when you’re in one room of the house, and you have to go to another room, take a glimpse around the room to see if there’s anything in there that belongs in the room you’re heading to.  If there is, pick it up and take it there.  You’re bending down and picking things up like an emu, see?  Do this whenever you go from room to room, and your house will look much better in no time.

4. Focus on the areas you see most often.

If I get a call to inform me that guests are coming over, I usually fly into a panic.  I will go nuts trying to clean up the whole house before they arrive.  In reality, cleaning the whole place is pointless.  Most guests will only see your lounge room, your kitchen and possibly your bathroom.  Only tidy the areas that the guests are most likely to see.

5. Schedule big cleaning tasks.

I always remember to do the everyday cleaning tasks like dishes and wiping the counters.  But when it comes to jobs that don’t need to be done as frequently, I usually forget about them until they’re out of control.  I will forget to sweep for cobwebs until there’s a gigantic web that takes up half my lounge room.  My windows don’t get washed until I can barely see out of them.  To avoid this, make a list of all the bigger household chores, and then schedule them in your diary.  Try to set aside an hour or so on the weekend to tackle these often-neglected chores.

Do you have any tips for making cleaning more efficient?


  1. this sounds like my life! i feel like im constantly picking up and getting nowhere sometimes. implementing number 3 is HUGE in my house because it saves me literally miles a day in trips from room to room. i usually end up picking something up with intention of putting it in another room and then stop along the way due to distractions and leave it. haha but i definitely agree with this. xo
    sincerely, whitney

    • I find that I’m easily distracted when I’m cleaning. That’s why I’ll pick up something that belongs in a room I’m already going to, so I’m less likely to get distracted along the way.

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