Do This One Thing to Transform the Way You Clean When You’re Super Busy

published Aug 21, 2022
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Cute bathroom with clean glass shower door, with cleaning supplies in shower
Credit: Photo: Sarah Crowley; Location: Publishing House, Chicago

It never feels like there are enough hours in the day. From juggling work and making time for family to trying to have some semblance of a social life, you’re probably constantly wondering how anyone has enough time to get everything done. That’s why when my plate gets a little too crowded, one of the first things that get shoved off is cleaning. It’s not even a conscious choice; there just isn’t enough energy to get the bucket and mop out and start scrubbing. That’s why I change my cleaning method when my schedule gets packed.

Rather than dedicating a whole day to cleaning my home, I break up the task into rooms and clean one room daily. That means dusting the bedroom one day, the living room the next, cleaning the bathroom the day after that, and so on. It makes the task a little more manageable. So what does this look like in action? 

When I come home from work at 5 p.m., I put on a podcast or an old episode of “Friends” and take 30 or so minutes to dust and vacuum the living room. After that, I’m free to make dinner, relax with my boyfriend, or grab a quick cocktail with friends. The next day, I take an hour to clean the bathroom, and because I’m not daunted by the fact I have to clean the whole apartment in one fell swoop, I take some extra time to scrub the grout and do some detailing. Once that’s done, there are still a few hours left to either catch up on my book or binge-watch a new series. Since the bathroom was a little labor-intensive, the next day I focused on an easy room like the bedroom, which just needed some light dusting, vacuuming, and a quick change of sheets.

This goes on in a circle, and once the weekend hits, I’m done with my chores and have those two days entirely dedicated to rest. I’ll admit there is one drawback to this method: You don’t get that satisfying “everything is sparkling clean” moment at the end of tidying the entire place in one go. But this is an excellent compromise when you’re swamped with work and feel you barely have enough time to get anything done at home. 

You stay on top of the mess, chip away at what you can, and arrange a true break at the end of the week to decompress and spend time with the people you love. I might not want to do this every week, but it’s super helpful when you’re in the eye of the storm!