One-Day Warriors: Tips for Cleaning Your Whole Home in a Day

published Oct 22, 2016
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(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

Even if you happen to be a Monica Gellar type—someone who spends their free time dusting and sweeping—spending an entire afternoon indoors cleaning is still way less fun than, well, just about anything. It’s really no wonder that so many people make a habit of putting off cleaning until it’s absolutely necessary, i.e. until you’re suffering from either out-of-town visitors or out-of-control allergies.

But what to do when you only have a day to make your whole place look shiny and new? If a last-minute clean out is your only chance for redemption, we’re right there with you. Here are seven practical strategies for marathon-style housekeeping, in hopes that your procrastination might actually pay off (or at least keep you from cleaning until you truly have to).

1. Forge a system for every room (and a finish line)

The smartest and most effective way to tackle all of your housecleaning in one go is to put a plan of action in place before you even start moving. That means choosing a starting and finishing spot for every room (so you don’t run back and forth or forget where you’ve already cleaned) and setting firm finish times for each of your spaces. This will keep you on task as you speed-clean and create a light at the end of your tunnel of housework.

2. Have all your tools ready at hand

Another key to attacking all of your housekeeping in a pinch is to have all of your cleaning supplies ready-to-go. Whether this means filling a caddy with all your sprays and cloths ahead of time or simply wearing an apron or belt with deep pockets is your preference, as long as you keep all your tools at-hand you’ll avoid wasting time walking back and forth looking for them.

(Image credit: Lucky Business)

Read more:

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3. Clean top to bottom, left to right

Unless you’re new to one-day cleaning marathons, you probably already know that the trick to a fast but efficient turnover is working your way down. This means starting at the top of a room—think: dusting ceiling fans and light fixtures—and cleaning your way down to the floor—since most of that icky dust is just going to fall on the ground anyway. Additionally, cleaning from left to right will help keep you focused and ensure you don’t miss a single spot as you beeline for space to space.

4. Clean as you go

You can jumpstart your one-day cleanout by multi-tasking as soon as you wake up. For example, you do the dishes or wipe down the kitchen while you’re making your morning coffee or start dusting your bathroom, as you’re getting ready. You’ll shave time off your cleaning spree and start your day on a productive note.

5. Dust without spraying

Unless you’re dealing with a major case of dust build-up, save yourself some time—and allergies—by dusting your place with a dry microfiber cloth instead of spraying it down with polish. Not only will it save you an extra hand and let you move from furnishing to furnishing with ease, you’ll avoid attracting more dust and airborne pollutants because of the filmy residue most spray polishes leave behind.

6. Save the floors for last

If possible, wait until your entire place is clean from the baseboards-up before taking on your now even dirtier floors. Start in the far corner of a room and sweep your way out and into the next, while simultaneously giving your place a final once-over. For hardwood floors, invest in a good spray or steam mop (since they work much faster than traditional ones) so you can knock out all of your flooring in one full swoop.

7. Make it fun

You’re certainly not going to get through something as arduous as a one-day cleaning session without having a little fun while you’re doing it. Throw on a pair of rubber gloves and play your favorite album on full-blast (or at least as loud as you can get away with) and wipe your place down like no one’s watching!