The First 3 Things to Clean If You Want a Big Difference Just in a Short Amount of Time

updated Nov 9, 2020
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The thing about a clean house is that if you want it to stay that way, you’re going to have to hustle for it. And that’s where the natural friction comes in: You need a clean space to relax and unwind from working hard. But you also need to work hard to achieve that clean space.

In other words, you’re rarely going to find the energy and motivation that you need to clean up at the same time that your messes are edging you towards feeling frazzled and overwhelmed.

The key to breaking free of this cycle is knowing how to direct your efforts, and where to spend your limited time for the biggest impact. Here are the CliffsNotes to a clean house: the three things that deliver the biggest visual impact at home.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Stylist: Stephanie Yeh

1. Pick things up

Clutter is what makes your house look messy, and picking it all up has one of the most immediate effects on the look and feel of your home. Even if you don’t have time to put everything back where it belongs right away, make it a priority to clear surfaces and the floor of everything that’s out of place. Try the laundry basket method, which involves tossing all the clutter into a basket while you whirlwind around the house grabbing everything that’s out of place. Concentrating your effort by going clockwise around a room also helps you focus and create one totally cleared-out space after another.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

2. Vacuum

Vacuuming packs a punch. It gets rid of dust, crumbs, and pet fur and fluffs up carpets for that subtle but nevertheless noticeable clean-house look. The bonus is that vacuuming is usually among people’s least hated chores. While it’s a quick fix and a lot of payoff for relatively little work, try not to vacuum too fast. Moving your unit just a bit more slowly over your floors and carpets allows the vacuum cleaner to pick up more and gives you a deeper clean with no extra effort.

Read more: Your Vacuum Works Fine—You’re Just Not Vacuuming Correctly

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

3. Clean your kitchen

A dirty kitchen has an outsized impact on the overall feeling in your home. But the reverse is also true: a clean kitchen makes your whole house feel cleaner than it actually might be. When the heart of the home is clean, the repercussions permeate throughout the entire house. If you’re overwhelmed with a house that feels chaotic, go straight to the kitchen. Wash the dishes, clear and wipe down counters, vacuum the floors, and mop them if time allows. Then start the dishwasher cycle and let its getting-things-done hum be the soundtrack to the rest of your quick-cleaning spree.

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: The First 3 Things to Clean If You Want a Big Impact in a Short Time