11 Actionable Tips To Save Time Cleaning Your Home
Do you scroll through your social media feed and see those picture-perfect homes? Do you think “How does anyone have the time to keep their home looking that good?” And now maybe you’re looking for tips to save time cleaning so you can actually enjoy your home instead of just maintaining it.
Too commonly, we hear about how people (especially parents) see these Instagram influencers show off their Pinterest-worthy homes, and suddenly they feel less than. Their home isn’t perfect, and they feel like neither are they. They can’t keep up with the house or anything else. The anxiety rushes in, and they think, “Why bother?”
That’s how Courtney Smith-Broadhead, founder of Keep it Simple Sparkles felt, too. She had PTSD and PPA (postpartum anxiety), making it difficult to keep up with her home.
“I started Keep it Simple Sparkles when I was pregnant with my youngest. For backstory, I was pregnant with a daughter who had a host of medical issues, which we learned about at our twenty-week appointment. We lost her by twenty-two weeks, and I had to give birth to her stillborn.” Courtney explained. “I quickly got pregnant with my oldest son, and I didn’t realize it, but I had PTSD. I just wanted to get him out alive, and then I just wanted to keep him safe.”
Once her oldest was born, the anxiety became worse. Now, she had to keep him alive. Her anxiety coupled with noise sensitivity and a baby with colic made the first six months of his life difficult. She was barely surviving.
“When we got pregnant with our youngest, I knew I needed my mind distracted so I didn’t develop issues again, and I thought I needed to do something creative.” She started Keep It Simple Sparkles to help people create efficient systems to keep their homes and lives in order.
“I’m a closeted lazy person! I want to sit down, and take naps, but I also want to keep my life together, so I learned really efficient ways to do things. So, I thought I should share that. Maybe I can help another mom who went through what I went through. It’s a lonely feeling. I’ve been there.”
Now, with nearly 400K followers on social media, Courtney helps people create time-saving routines to make it easy to keep their lives organized and clean while still having plenty of free time.
The lazy guide to house cleaning with Keep it Simple Sparkles
Courtney cares about three things: her children, keeping her anxiety at bay, and ensuring she has free time. Courtney found that when her home was clean and organized, it helped her mind feel clean and organized, too – reducing her anxiety. But, she didn’t want to lose out on precious time with her kids or an even more precious commodity as a mother, her free time. So, she developed her efficient cleaning style that she teaches to hundreds of thousands of her social media followers, so they can feel more at peace in their homes.
Courtney said, “Being able to keep up with your home, making it feel like a peaceful environment, makes you feel confident. When your house is kept up, it feels like you can take on anything.”
Now, she has her eyes set on teaching others how to create confidence and inner peace through tidiness. Here are her top eleven tips on keeping your home clean and organized, no matter how busy you are!
1. Set yourself up for success with a block of time each night
Courtney is not a morning person by choice, so she sets herself up for success the night before.
“At night, I look at my schedule and say, ‘What can I do to make my life easier tomorrow?’ If we’re going to the park, I’ll put the stroller in the car, get sippy cups in the refrigerator, get the diaper bag ready, and do anything else I need. What can I do for the next day? What can I check off my list?”
For Courtney, her nighttime routine might look like this. “I take time every evening to set out bottles for milk in the morning right by the refrigerator, so it’s there. I’m the kind of person that if a job isn’t easy, I lose motivation for it quickly, so I make everything easy.”
This can translate to work as well. At the end of the day, look at your meetings, phone calls, podcast interviews, and important tasks for the next day. Ask yourself, do I need to prepare for this ahead of time? What can be delegated to a virtual assistant?
Use a time-tracking app to better understand how long each task will take. In the future, you will know the amount of time it will take to complete tasks, and you can time block accurately so you know exactly how to plan your day.
Do you need more than just a virtual assistant?
Consider implementing whole home automation.
2. Create a morning routine
Courtney has two full-time jobs: creating content for Keep It Simple Sparkles, and momming. To make it work, she sets up a morning routine – even though she hates mornings – waking up at 5:30 A.M. to start her workday before the kids get up. It’s valuable time she can spend in her workspace focused. Once the kiddos get up, she’s running to the park, reading, and playing all day. As much as we love our children, they don’t make the best co-workers. So, creating a working routine makes it simpler to check off her daily tasks each day (mostly) uninterrupted.
Setting a morning routine makes it easy to check all of the items off your list for the day nice and early.
Use the “Eat the Frog” method and choose your most dreaded task for the day to do first. Another option is to group similar tasks that you can do in a batch to save time. At work, take these similar tasks and create templates so you can do them even faster.
3. Have stations around the house for the kiddo (This applies for babies or furbabies)
Your time management skills get tested when you have babies. What used to take minutes to do can now take an hour! Successful people prepare ahead of time.
“I was an event planner for twelve years,” Courtney explained. “So my biggest mom hack comes from that. You must anticipate anything that could go wrong and be prepared for that. It translates to being a mom, too. Whether it be a kit of diapers in the car, a travel potty, stash of snacks in the car, you’ll be prepared.”
She keeps diaper stations stashed around the house so she doesn’t have to run to the changing table upstairs. Courtney keeps vacuums on every floor so she doesn’t have to carry around heavy cleaning tools. Last, she keeps cleaning kits in every room, so it’s easy to succeed.
Running around looking for cleaning supplies is a time-waster.
4. Set cleaning time limits
Courtney has a fifteen-minute rule for cleaning. She says, when you start working out, you are excited, so you work out for ninety minutes. You keep trying, but you can’t sustain it, and then you burnout. You stop working out. But, if you commit to working out for twenty minutes a day, it’s only twenty minutes! It’s easy to keep it up. Working out becomes a routine you learn to enjoy.
The same goes for cleaning and keeping up with your house. She sets up zones throughout her house and commits to spending fifteen minutes a day in each zone throughout a two-week period. That is easy to keep up with.
“When I first started cleaning, I did manic cleaning where I cleaned until I shut down, and it did not work for me. I tried the fly lady method with checklists; that didn’t work for me either.”
Courtney said, “So, I figured out the fifteen-minute method. I learned over time how to clean. I learned products that make cleaning easy are a must, like the Roomba Combo™. It’s a vacuum and mop in one. If you stick to a plan, it’s easy to keep up.”
The time limit method translates to your work life as well. Set a time limit for the number of meetings you will take in a week, that will cut unnecessary meetings and help you prioritize your time. Do you have a task you hate, like email management? Set a time limit. For fifteen minutes each morning and each afternoon, go through as many emails as possible.
“I only clean for fifteen minutes a day! My kids are up for nine hours a day, so I have eight hours and forty-five minutes to spend with them every day.”
Make cleaning zones even easier with cleaning hacks.
Check out some of our favorites.
5. Build cleaning kits to avoid procrastination
Courtney explained that a study was done on college students who procrastinated on writing papers because they didn’t want to turn their computers on. She said the same thing goes for cleaning. You will most likely procrastinate if you need to find supplies or tools to start the work. So, build cleaning kits to avoid the wasted time finding everything you need to do the job.
“I have a cleaning kit in every bathroom, so it’s easy. Having your cleaning kit there and ready makes it easy to succeed. I keep cleaning kits in the kitchen, bathrooms, and everywhere else, so it’s easy to clean. I take paper towel roll holders that stick to the inside of a cabinet door for every room, so I have everything I need to clean.”
6. Use products that give you extra time
Choosing products that do double (or triple or quadruple) duty is like a fairy godmother just bippity-boppity-booped and gave you extra time.
Courtney warns you to simplify your cleaning kit as much as possible. “Minimizing the cleaning kit is a must. If you can find a product that does double duty, that’s perfect. Streamline your cleaning products. Vinegar and water can clean most anything. Alcohol is a great cleaner. I stick to that. It’s cheaper and more efficient.”
Why carry around a bucket full of different sprays when you don’t have to? “I use one spray for everything. I can go from one thing to the next without changing cleaners.”
7. Choose time saver tools
Courtney’s general cleaning workflow was vacuuming and then mopping, which annoyed her. She said it felt like a time-waster because she was cleaning the same spot multiple ways. But, with multitasking tools like iRobot’s Roomba Combo™ j7+ Robot Vacuum and Mop, she can take back valuable time and automate cleaning her floors. This little friend automatically senses new surfaces. Courtney can now have her floors mopped, and carpet vacuumed without switching tools. This new machine is a game changer, and there’s been nothing like it in the world until now.
“Vacuuming and then mopping really annoyed me. If I don’t mop, what is the point of vacuuming? But, simultaneously, it felt like a waste of time cleaning the same spot twice. Having a vacuum and mop in one saves a lot of time.”
She also likes spin mops for cleaning baseboards, walls, doors, backsplash, and cabinets. She has a separate mop head for each item and puts it in a labeled bag, so she doesn’t accidentally use a dirty baseboard mop head for her backsplash.
8. Create cleaning zones
“I make zones in the house and clean each zone for fifteen minutes a day,” Courtney said. With cleaning zones, you separate your house into small areas, create cleaning kits, and set a timer for fifteen minutes.
Examples of cleaning zones include the kitchen, bathrooms, living room, bedrooms, playroom, laundry room, office, and garage. Looking at this list, it seems overwhelming, but don’t forget, you’re only spending a quarter of an hour in each of these zones. That is completely doable!
Clean that zone for fifteen minutes and you’re done for the day. By the end of two weeks, all of your zones have been cleaned.
(Speaking of small areas, if you’re in need of a small bedroom feng shui bedroom layout, we have a blog to help.)
The best vacuum-mop combo is here.
The Roomba Combo™ j7+ Robot Vacuum and Mop.
9. Make your own cleaning products that can clean anything
Courtney prefers homemade products over manufactured ones because they are less expensive, multi-purpose, and easy to make. Because she likes cleaning kits in every zone, she can make her cleaning products, distribute them in several bottles, and keep them where she needs them.
She uses vinegar and water, hydrogen peroxide, or alcohol as multi-purpose cleaners. “I use thieves and water for my walls and baseboards. You can use vinegar and water, but a lot of vinegar, like a lot of vinegar, will strip your paint.”
10. Make a charging station
Products you use to automate cleaning like a robot vacuum, robot mop, or iRobot’s Roomba Combo™ j7+ robot vacuum and mop need to be charged, so create a charging station.
Bonus points – you can use your charging station for your cell phone and other devices.
“Create dedicated charging stations for your tools. Make an area where you charge your vacuum and anything else that needs to be charged.”
11. Have a home for everything
When you have a home for everything, you avoid clutter. Courtney explained that when you don’t have a home base, things just sit on the counter or the stairs and build up over time.
“I have a place for everything so I don’t have clutter build up.” She laughed and continued, “I even have a hangar for my extensions. Everything has a home.”
(And don’t worry – your Roomba can leave and return from home with just a voice command. Call your little robots by their vacuum names, and your Google Home or Amazon Echo will send them on their way.)
Save time in your daily life
Keeping your home clean is a surefire way to improve your mood. A messy home tends to make your mind feel muddled, and if you’re already suffering from anxiety, it only worsens when your home is messy.
Her goal is to help people avoid the anxiety that she suffered by helping them simplify their lives. “I just want to help people regain their lives and feel like they can take care of their homes.”