3 Ways to Clean Smarter, Not Harder

Crush your chores without breaking a sweat! Pinpoint your preferred approach, then use these tips to tidy up your entire home in record time.  Video: How to Remove a Red Wine Stain from Clothing »

Clean Smarter Not Harder

Everyone has a basic tidy-up "personality" that affects the way they get things done (or don't!). After you identify your style, learn how to turbocharge your cleaning tasks, maximizing your strengths and using some easy work-arounds to rectify your weaknesses. 

If you are a multitasker...
You're a sprinter, blitzing your way through the house, picking up clutter with one hand, steering the vacuum with the other, while that foaming cleanser is loosening soap scum in the shower. Meanshile, you're using your MP3 player to learn Spanish. In your zeal to do it all, you often run out of time--meaning that some chores are left unfinished, and you have to start them over again. To clean smarter:

  • Divide and conquer. Make two lists: hands-on tasks (clear clutter, dust, vacuum, mop) and hands-off tasks (do laundry, run the dishwasher, spray the shower with a scrub-free cleanser). Then pair up one assignment from each column. Choose jobs that mesh well together based on the amount of time they take and their location in the house. Doing that can help you further expedite your cleaning methods and ensure that each chore gets the attention it needs.
  • Set a timer. Most hands-off tasks require wrap-up action at their tail end. Plan ahead for that hands-on period so you don't run out of time. Set the alarm on your smartphone to remind you when to switch gears from vacuuming, say, to folding laundry.
  • Mark the spot. Leave a visual cue (such as your cleaning caddy) when you turn away from one task to check on the progress of the other one. That way, you'll know to pick up where you left off.