Speed Cleaning 101

Hosting house guests is actually one of my favorite things to do! Whether they stay for an hour or a week, I really love having friends and family visit my home. But what do you do when you get an unexpected call from a surprise visitor saying “I’m on my way!” … we all have those times, right? Instead of panicking or giving up, take what little time you have to make your house presentable!

Several years ago, I read an idea from FlyLady called “Crisis Cleaning.” I made just a few adjustments that work better for me and have been using this method ever since! Its the best way I have found to help you in your crazy dash to clean your entire house before the visitors get to your door! Here is how it works:


1. Make Your Bed. This always comes first.
2. Get Dressed. Fix your face and hair and put your shoes on.
3. Set the Mood. Put on some music and light a good-smelling candle. 

Use a timer for the next steps and spend 10 minutes on each numbered task. When the timer goes off, it is time to move on.

4. Kitchen. Start with the sink – wipe it down and clear it out. Then fill the sink up with hot soapy water and start to clear off the counters. DO NOT GET SIDETRACKED AND START TO CLEAN OUT A CABINET. WE ARE DOING ONLY SURFACE CLEANING. Empty the dishwasher. Load the dishwasher. Wipe down the counters and wipe down the outside all your appliances. (Maybe wipe the inside of your microwave if you have some extra time.) *Please note, this will take longer than 10 minutes, we know that. The goal is to work hard for 10 minutes, then move on to step 5. You will come back to this step and finish what you didn’t get done the first time around.
5. Living Room. Get a laundry basket and put the things that don’t belong in the living room in the basket. (You will take care of these items later.) Take a garbage bag and start throwing away the trash. When the timer goes off, head to the bathroom.
6. Bathroom. Clean the bathroom sink first, swish the toilet, then pick up the dirty clothes and put them in the hamper. Straighten the rugs, hang some fresh towels if you need to. Wipe the mirrors and spray some air freshener.
7. Break. Walk around and look at what you have accomplished in just 30 minutes. Set the timer for 10 minutes and have a seat. Grab a snack and grab a drink. When the timer goes off, you are back in work mode.
8. Repeat steps 4,5 & 6, picking up where you left off. Spend 10 minutes on each step, then take another 10 minute break. Do this until you are happy with your results. It may be one rotation, it may be 2 or 3.
9. Floors. Sweep, then vacuum, then mop, each for 10 minutes. When the timer goes off after moping, take a break. Repeat as necessary.
10. Take Care of it. All the items you gathered in the laundry basket can now be put away.
Every 30 minutes take a 10 minute break. We can all stay focused on one job for 10 minutes. You are going to be so surprised at how much you get done in a day’s time. You can do this. Now turn off the computer and get to work!

I made this program into a jpeg so you can print this off and grab it in a moments notice… because sometimes when preparing for house guests, a moments notice is all the time we have to prepare!


  1. 1

    Great routine. This would work for weekly cleaning also. Hugs, Marty

  2. 2

    Thanks for the kick in the butt! :) I have been procrastinating cleaning today and now I going to give this a try!

  3. 3
    Kendall Schenck says:

    I just printed off this great idea. WOW this seems fantastic! Im one to get side tracked!!! I’ll be trying this out ASAP!!! Thanks!!!

  4. 4
    Ashlee Rae says:

    I JUST printed this out, and am gna put in on the fridge!!! So awesome, especially when you have 2 little ones to run after all day. Believe me, house does not stay clean longer than 2 hrs!!!

    Thank you so much! xx

    PS: I also have to start buying some candles as well…hehe. :)

  5. 5

    Great hints! Thanks for sharing.

  6. 6

    These are great tips. Thanks! I taught my kids to be “commercial” cleaners. When they wanted to watch a favorite show on TV, I would have them do a mad dash when the commercials came on. I was happy they were doing their chores and they were happy they weren’t missing out on their show.

  7. 7

    Amazing! Thank you for posting this, it’s just what I needed. :)

  8. 8

    Thanks for the great idea and printout! I’m going to try implementing it into our evening pickup time. We already typically use the timer and I think my boys will enjoy the “race” aspect of it.

  9. 9

    What a great post with an awesome step by step guide to staying focused on the task at hand. I seem to get sidetracked every single time I attempt to do a major clean. After two hours of “cleaning off my desk,” it’s still messy because I got sidetracked and worked on cleaning the inside of my desk, the bookshelves nearby, etc. No wonder I end up frustrated at the end because my boyfriend looks at the desk I said I would clean and I’m exhausted because my desk is still messy!

  10. 10

    Great idea! :) It’s almost like with toddlers, they can enjoy little 10 min tasks. I guess the basics really do work with adults too. :)
    I tend to get side tracked with one thing after another, and then I stop and think to myself “OH right I was doing laundry” as I scrub the kitchen floor. lol :)

  11. 11

    This looks a whole lot like a Flylady routine. Have we forgotten to give the due credit?

  12. 15

    Let’s give credit to the Flylady who deveolped this dress-to-shoes, shine your sink strategy, years ago.

    • 16

      Same impulsive issue here, the photos drew my attention right away, and being a visual person I really like them. Marla, the Flylady, is a gift and she is always encouraging folks to tweak things to suit their own system. I really appreciate your one page, 10 step, system, thanks. And thanks for crediting the Flylady.

      • 17

        No problem at all! I love FlyLady- I just wish I could stick to all of her ideas! I go through phases of being really good at keeping my home clean, but then I fall off the wagon until I get a surge of motivation again. Thanks for visiting my site! :)

  13. 18

    That is such a great little way to get some cleaning done – I am going to try that!! Thanks

  14. 19

    Bless Your Heart!! You have no idea how badly I needed to find this post today, thanks! heading home to clean right now

  15. 20

    Love it! I always set timers to make myself clean for X amount of time! I like the 10 minutes each thing though. I’m going to go try it out now!

  16. 21

    Dear Steph,
    Are you related to Dean/Diane Dulgarian? Knew them back in 70′s in LA. Wondered about them. Diane was lovely blond and you look like you could be her daughter. Just wonderin’, No connection other than your name, and the fact that you are also creative and clever.

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