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5 Genius Cleaning Tips That Are More Effective Than What You’re Doing Right Now

updated Nov 21, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Armando Rafael; Stylist: Margaret Ward

We’re convinced that the first person to say “Work smarter, not harder,” was talking about cleaning. Of course, there’s a time and place for a roll-up-your-sleeves, crank-up-the-tunes deep clean. But keeping your home tidy day-to-day is all about efficiency: shortcuts and multitasking tricks to help your home feel clean even when it’s not, per se, spotless.

This goes double around the holidays, when our already-busy schedules get an extra helping of cooking, hosting, and general low-level chaos. This is not a time for wiping down all your baseboards. It’s a time for doing targeted, supercharged cleaning tasks, then enjoying the refreshed results with family, friends, and festive snacks. Here’s how.

1. Clean What You Can See

We’ve all done that thing where we’re just putting away the dishes, then we catch a cleaning wave and ride it until we’re scrubbing out the fridge. Not today. Prioritize the surfaces you can see — the countertops, the kitchen table, the floors in your high-traffic rooms — and ignore the ones you can’t. Cleaning these spots will make your whole space look spiffier, and we promise that no one will notice the dust behind your stove.

Credit: Photo: Armando Rafael; Stylist: Margaret Ward

2. Use Cleaning Supplies That Multitask

Part of cleaning smarter is choosing smarter tools, and the Shark Hydrovac™ XL 3-in-1 Vacuum, Mop & Self-Cleaning System is basically a genius. It’s a multi-surface cleaner that sweeps, mops, and self-cleans — simultaneously. So you can get hardwood floors, tile, laminate, and area rugs twice as clean in half the time. While you’re cleaning, the Shark Hydrovac™ brushroll is constantly clearing itself of debris, routing it into the dirty water tank (and away from your clean floors). When you’re finished, just remove, empty, and reattach the dirty water tank. Then press the button and let it clean itself! It’ll be sparkling for your next cleaning session.

Credit: Photo: Armando Rafael; Stylist: Margaret Ward

3. Set a Timer

Pick a target — the toys on the floor, the mail on the kitchen counter, the mirrors and windows — and give yourself five minutes to tackle it. Now here’s the important part: Let yourself be finished when the timer runs out. Will there be more left to do? Maybe. But giving yourself a short, dedicated window of time will help you feel like you made progress, and we promise your space will feel cleaner than it did five minutes ago. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish in so little time!

Credit: Photo: Armando Rafael; Stylist: Margaret Ward

4. Create an Action Box

Call it your “I’ll Deal with It Later” box. What goes in it? Everything you don’t need to deal with today: the dry cleaning, your kid’s soccer gear, that stack of holiday catalogs. Fill your box, then stick it somewhere out of sight, but not so out of sight that you forget it exists — your bedroom closet is a good spot. It’ll help reduce clutter and temporarily organize things you don’t have the bandwidth to sort immediately. And when you see less clutter, you feel less cluttered too, which makes those tasks easier to return to later.

5. Ask for Help

Maybe you’re new parents (congrats!), you haven’t been feeling well, or you just have a lot going on. We all need a hand sometimes. And in case you forgot, people love to help. So don’t be shy! When your dinner guest asks what they can do, have them unload the dishwasher. Friends stop by to see your new baby? Trust us, they would be happy to put a load of laundry on for you. Just ask! Now doesn’t that feel better?