With a plan of attack, you can maintain a sparkling house in just 19 minutes a day
Photographer: Mikkel VangKitchen, 4 1/2 minutes daily
Always start with the sink. A sparkling sink becomes your kitchen's benchmark for hygiene and tidiness, inspiring you to load the dishwasher immediately and keep counters, refrigerator doors, and the stove top spick-and-span, too.
- Wipe down the sink after doing the dishes or loading the dishwasher (30 seconds).
- Wipe down the stove top (one minute).
- Wipe down the counters (one minute).
- Sweep, Swiffer, or vacuum the floor (two minutes).
Photographer: Mikkel VangBathroom, 2 minutes daily
Make cleaning the basin as routine as washing your hands. But don't stop there. Get the most out of your premoistened wipe by using it to clean around the edges of the tub and then the toilet before tossing it.
- Wipe out the sink (30 seconds). Wipe the toilet seat and rim (15 seconds).
- Swoosh the toilet bowl with a brush (15 seconds).
- Wipe the mirror and faucet (15 seconds).
- Squeegee the shower door (30 seconds).
- Spray the entire shower and the curtain liner with shower mist after every use (15 seconds).
Photographer: Mikkel VangBedroom, 6 1/2 minutes daily
Make your bed right before or after your morning shower. A neat bed will inspire you to deal with other messes immediately. Although smoothing sheets and plumping pillows might not seen like a high priority as you're rushing to work, the payoff comes at the end of the day, when you slip back under the unruffled covers.
- Make the bed (two minutes).
- Fold or hang clothing and put away jewelry (four minutes).
- Straighten out the night-table surface (30 seconds).
Photographer: Mikkel VangFamily Room, Living Room, Foyer, 6 minutes daily
Start with the sofa -- as long as it's in disarray, your living room will never look tidy. Once you've fluffed the pillows and folded the throws, you're halfway home. If you pop in a CD while you dust, you should be able cover the whole room by the end of the third track.
- Pick up crumbs and dust bunnies with a handheld vacuum (one minute).
- Fluff the cushions and fold throws after use (two minutes).
- Wipe tabletops and spot-clean cabinets when you see fingerprints (one minute).
- Straighten coffee-table books and magazines. Throw out newspapers. Put away CDs and videos. (Two minutes.)
For weekly and seasonal to-do lists, see
How to Speed-Clean Your Kitchen
Clean Your Bathroom, Fast
A Guide to Cleaning the Bedroom
A Guide to Cleaning Your Living Room