Speed Cleaning 101

kitchen-counter.jpgToday, Judy (also of Talking Thirty) shares her handy speed cleaning 101:

Before I became a mom, I cleaned every square inch of my house weekly -- I was always prepared for unexpected guests. These days, not so much. So when a friend recently texted that she was flying to Boston for a last minute business trip and wanted to visit, my initial reaction was panic, not delight. With less than 24 hours before her arrival, a full day of meetings ahead, and a very active toddler to care for, I just didn't have time to do a deep clean of the whole house. Instead, I faked it. Here are my favorite tips for making your house look spotless when you're short on time:
1. Zone clean. Divide your house into two zones: the guest zone and the private zone. Focus your cleaning efforts only on those zones that your guests will enter.

2. Declutter. Walk around the guest zones with an empty laundry basket and collect clutter. Temporarily hide the basket in a private zone and deal with sorting through and organizing its contents later.

3. Address the floors. If you do nothing else, vacuum and sweep. If I enter a house and see those little vacuum lines in the carpet, it's automatically a clean house in my book! And take 5 minutes to sweep hardwood floors in high traffic zones. No doubt if you've got little ones at home there are lots of crumbs!

4. Clear counters. My kitchen counters are a magnet for junk mail, food prep items, and toys. Toss junk mail in the recycling, dishes into the dishwasher, and toys into a bin or basket. Clearing counters does wonders to make your kitchen look neat and orderly.

5. Freshen up the bathroom. In 5 minutes, you can quickly scrub the unsightly ring out of the toilet bowl, wipe down the sink, and put out fresh hand towels.

6. Clean it when you see it. Obviously, your guests are not going to inspect every square inch of your house, but chances are, whatever catches your eye on first pass may catch theirs, too. Address little problem spots when you see them, which will lessen the burden when you get around to a deeper cleaning.

7. Open blinds/curtains. Let in as much natural light as possible; everything will look brighter and cleaner!

Do you have other favorite speed cleaning tips? We'd love to hear them in the comments below!

Image credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net