Everybody can use a few shortcuts, especially when it comes to housework. These fast cleaning fixes can help you get your house in presentable order super fast.
Take care of basics
Here's one big secret of fast cleaning: Take care of the important (and fast) things first. "My mother taught me that if you do three things, your house will look clean: 1) do the dishes; 2) sweep the floor; and 3) make the beds," says Jacqueline Freeman of Washington, who owns Friendly Haven Rise Farm. When these are done, your house automatically seems more picked up.
Keep dusting cloths handy
Dust on surfaces and clumping to your picture frames is noticeable and can showcase your (real or perceived) lack of housekeeping skills. So, dusting should be high on your list of five-minute-or-less tasks to do. "Microfiber is a great tool for speed cleaning. The special scientific weave of polymer fibers does a better job of 'grabbing' and removing dust, dirt, grease, germs, etc. than traditional cloths, and best of all, works so well that it requires very little, if any, cleaning solution," says Cloud Q. Conrad, Vice President of Brand Strategies for Maid Brigade.
If you prefer something disposable, the dusters from Pledge and Swiffer are great at grabbing dust in a hurry.
Do 10 things
Tackling a whole room can be overwhelming. Instead, head into a room and do just 10 things. Whether it's tossing 10 pieces of garbage or picking 10 items up and putting them away, this will give a big cleanliness makeover to your room in no time. "Allow yourself to do only 10 things to clean up a space, like your room (for example, make the bed, hang up your pants, fold and put away a sweater, etc.). Deal with the 10 worst clutter-makers first. If you have time to do more, great. If not, you've made a big dent," says Sarah Welch, co-founder of Buttoned Up, inc, an organizing company.
Bathroom wipe down
Bathrooms matter. Although they may be your least favorite area to clean, they are tops for needing it. Cleaning the bathroom doesn't have to be an hours-long ordeal, though. "For bathrooms, the quickest way to do minimize your work is to first put cleaner in the toilet, then spray down all surfaces, including the shower. Then, starting with the toilet, clean and do a quick wipe-down of everything. By spraying everything first, you give the cleaner an opportunity to work on its own for a couple minutes to minimize scrubbing," says Heidi Danos of Illinois, who writes Mora Junction. Danos, pregnant with twins, has some serious experience backing her up: She says she learned lots while helping her parents at the hotel they own.
Grab and hide
Finally, when you have guests coming, focus on the areas that they will see. Those deserve and need the most attention. For other areas, close doors and do a fast grab-and-hide effort. "Grab a big laundry basket, and dart through the house. Toss in it everything that doesn't belong: Shoes, dishes, books, toys, mail, clothes -- and ditch the basket somewhere to sort through later," says Marni Jameson, syndicated columnist, speaker and author of The House Always Wins.