Organize & Clean

The Editors’ Tips & Techniques: Our No-Fail Cleaning Shortcuts

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

Maybe if we all had an unlimited amount of time (not to mention energy and the desire), we probably could manage to keep a home of any size good and properly cleaned. But, some of us don’t have that time. Or don’t want to put that much effort into it. Or you know, live with kids, pets or unruly roommates. That’s where vital cleaning shortcuts can come into play to help make your home a little nicer without as much time or effort expended. Apartment Therapy editors share their favorite cleaning shortcuts.

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Tara: Get boxes out immediately

If you have an Amazon Prime & Sephora problem like I do, you probably have a constant stream of cardboard and packing materials cycling through your place. If I don’t break it down and get it out to the recycling immediately, it can quickly pile up and make me feel like I live in a mailroom. Be me on my better days—the days when I take my own advice, skip the outbox, and take it directly outside.

(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)
(Image credit: John Ulman)

Nora: Attach a small chore to something you like to do

I clean my bathroom sink every Wednesday. Why Wednesday? Because that’s the night I put on a ridiculous clay face mask. After I wash it off I decide it’s time to ride the wave of adulting and leave the bathroom in better shape than I found it. Cleaning the kitchen while making cookies is another go-to. It helps pass the torturous 12 minutes of bake time and then you can reward yourself with copious amounts of cookies.

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Carrie: Clean the shower while you’re in it

I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who cleans in the shower. For years I’ve kept an old toothbrush in the shower which I use to scrub down the grout while I’m showering. I just do a small section each time I shower and it feels more like “enjoying the hot shower time” than “cleaning time”.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Adrienne: Tackle all the tasks for one tool per day

Now granted, my apartment is small (500 square feet), but I’ve found that the best way for me to keep my momentum going when it comes to cleaning tasks (let’s just say I have a very distracted, short attention span for cleaning) is to do all the tasks that involve the same tool at once. A sort of “Supermarket Sweep” of dusting, vacuuming or whatever tool I happen to be holding that day. It doesn’t seem like a shortcut, but it’s how I’ve been able to keep my home cleaner more regularly, which is a shortcut because it means I’m not having to spend all day scrubbing things when I have a gathering planned.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Dabney: Don’t Do It At All

This saves me a lot of time.