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How-to Series - Speed Cleaning your Home

Everyone likes a clean house, but taking (and finding) the time to actually do it is something that is really hard to do. With everything you have on your plate; work, school, dinner parties, soccer practices, family cookouts--who has time to break out the Mr. Clean and Lysol and tackle every room? If you're like most people, cleaning tends to get placed on the back burner until company comes over--then the mad dash to clean up and pick up begins! Below are some tips and tricks we found from Real Simple to help keep your house clean, without the time demands.

The Kitchen

  • Clean the countertops, appliances, and cabinets. The biggest combatant of the kitchen is grease. It can be super messy, leaving countertops and appliances covered in gross splatters and streaks. Make a solution of one part bleach to 4 parts water and keep it in a spray bottle under your sink for an easy and cost-effective clean up. Spray down all your countertops, cabinet fronts and appliances and then wipe it up with a microfiber cloth. Remember to get your refrigerator door handle. It's an easily missed spot that harbors germs and bacteria.
  • Sweep or dry mop the floor. Take a quick trip around your kitchen floor with a broom or mop (like those from Swiffer). It will pick up any dust, hairs, or stray Cheerios that have fallen underneath the table.

The Living Room

  • Pick up clutter. As the most lived-in area of the house, it's no wonder that the living room is the most cluttered of any room in the house. Take a quick sweep of the room, picking up books, paperwork, dishes, and any other clutter around the room. Put it in a closet or bedroom so that you can quickly redistribute them at a later date.
  • Quick dust. Do a quick wipe down of any thing eye-level to pick up dust and debris. Use a dryer sheet to wipe across shelves or tables, giving the room a fresh scent as you go.
  • Run the vacuum. Doing a quick sweep around most used areas of the living room will cut down on dirt tracks through the whole house. Concentrate on doorways and in front of furniture.

The Bathroom

  • Start with the sink. The sink is the focal point of the bathroom, so grab a disposable wipe and your antibacterial spray you made earlier and go to town. Remove any unnecessary items from the countertop. Wipe down the faucet and the sink bowl. Remember to pay close attention to the seams of the countertop, faucet, and the walls. That's where hair, makeup, and other dirt like to hide!
  • Speed Sweep. Take another disposable cloth and wipe down the surfaces of the other appliances. Wipe down the edge of the tub, the toilet seat and the outside of the toilet, and the mirrors.

The Bedroom

  • Freshen the bed. Fluffing and changing the sheets kick up lots of dust and hair, so do this task first. Change the sheets on the bed and fluff up the pillows. Spray a room freshening agent (like Febreeze) on the drapes and bedding to give the room a fresh scent.
  • Dust. Use a microfiber cloth to dust items at eye-level, like the headboard, dresser tops, and shelves. Start at the perimeter of the room and work your way in, that way you'll know exactly what items you've done and what you've missed.

Remember, cleaning can be a chore, but it doesn't mean that it has to take all day. Spending just 15 minutes a week on each room of your home will help keep your house--and your sanity--in order.

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