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Christmas cleaning: how to clean your home in record time

It is the time of year to sit back, relax, and forget about the state of the house – except it doesn’t always work like that, does it? Just when you’ve nosedived into a good book or a box of chocolates, you spot unexpected guests headed up the path, or maybe the kids’ chaos has just tipped you over the edge.

Whatever the reason for an emergency Christmas cleaning session, here is a high speed, high efficiency routine so you can clean your home and be back on the sofa in minutes.

Set a timer

It’s all too easy to get stuck into cleaning, remember three or four other tasks that you’ve been meaning to get around to, and before you know it, your relaxing time has gone out the window. You should be able to surface-blitz the house in under half an hour, so get a timer ticking to remind you to prioritise and keep moving.

The declutter system

This isn’t the time for a deep clean – you just want to get clutter out of the way so you can relax again. That said, stuffing things where they don’t belong is just a recipe for driving you crazy the next time you look for any of it!

So sort: grab everything that shouldn’t be where it is and create piles according to where it should be. A pile for each kid’s room, a pile for the kitchen, for the hallway cupboard and so on. That way you haven’t wasted time running back and forth from each room.

When everything is sorted, it’s time to —

Delegate – specifically

The problem with shouting at other people to “help” is that often they don’t know where to start, so end up standing around awkwardly while you get more frustrated. Delegate with specific instructions, starting with assigning each person a pile of things to return to their homes.

Next steps

Repeat the declutter system for each room, though don’t forget to prioritise. Does the spare room or dining room need to be sparkling right now? Focus on the high traffic areas: living room, kitchen, hallway.

Work downwards

A microfibre mitt is a great way to dust at speed, and with a rubbish bag in your other hand you can clean surfaces in seconds. Let dust and debris fall to the floor, as the last thing you’ll do (which can also be delegated!) is zip around with the hoover.

Apply the same system to the kitchen – sweep breadcrumbs to the floor as you are wiping the surfaces then follow with the hoover or brush. Unless there is a serious spill situation, skip the mop for now.

All that glitters

Gleaming mirrors or metallic surfaces can make everything seem sparkly clean – even if it isn’t! – so take a moment to wipe away streaks or marks on those.