There's a reason they call cleaning up a "chore." Nobody wants housekeeping to take up their whole weekend, so we all go looking for shortcuts to clean house in half the time. But here's the truth: The secret to a speedy cleaning routine is just that – routine. You need to establish a system of rules that gets the work done not just quickly, but efficiently.
Pick One Room, and Stay in It
If your goal is to get the living room and kitchen spic and span for guests, you should focus and concentrate your efforts, wiping down counters and picking up the sort of miscellany that magnetizes to the living space. When you (inevitably) find something that belongs in another room, like the bedroom upstairs, don't put it away. It seems counter-intuitive, but if you head into the bedroom to put the thing away, you might begin to straighten up upstairs. Instead, leave the things at the bottom of the stairs (or the entrance to the hallway, or wherever), and continue on your task.
Clean from Top to Bottom
Order of operations matters for more than math class. If you tackle your housekeeping tasks in the correct order, it will save you time and effort – I mean, who among us hasn't ever had to vacuum twice because countertop crumbs got wiped off onto the floor? Start by dusting high-up surfaces, then work your way down to the countertops and tabletops before finally tackling your floor work.
Work in a Grid
The real secret to a quick, efficient house clean is building a cleaning routine. To make sure you hit every inch, imagine each room broken up into quadrants, then work your way around one quarter at a time (working from top to bottom, like the tip above). You can tackle anything in the center of the room last, then work on the whole floor as one fell swoop. The next time you clean, do the same thing, and one day you'll be as speedy as a professional housekeeper.