Quick Cleaning: Tidy Your Home 15 Minutes at a Time

The process

Each room will have three types of things that need to be dealt with:

  • ◆ Trash
  • ◆ Items out of place
  • ◆ Misplaced items

Because you’ve only got a few categories to deal not only will you save time, but you’ll be more likely to maintain this quick tidy in between more intense cleanings. 

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise; this isn’t a substitute for intense cleanings. However, doing these quick cleans several times each week will ensure that your home looks great all of the time.

Tip: Set your timer for 15 minutes before quick cleaning each room. Once your timer goes off move on to the next room.  The idea is to do something in each room so your entire home is presentable, at a minimum.

Living Room Quick Tidy

A living room 15-minute clean is not detailed cleaning. It’s just to get your living room tidy enough for guests or to prepare it for your in-depth cleaning session.


  • ◆ Dusting tools
  • ◆ Furniture polish
  • ◆ Trash bag
  • ◆ Basket
  • ◆ Vacuum

Grab your basket. This is for everything that doesn’t belong in the living room. Go around the room, picking up each item until you’ve found everything that’s in the wrong room.

Next, brush off the couch cushions. If removable, pull out the cushions and wipe any dust, crumbs, etc. that you find onto the floor. Retrieve any missing items you find (hello, there’s the remote!)

  • ◆ Fluff the pillows and replace the cushions.
  • ◆ Dust the coffee table then arrange the items such as books or magazines on it neatly.
  • ◆ You’re not shining the furniture, weeding out magazines and alphabetizing books; just dusting, stacking and moving on.
  • ◆ Next, sweep up or vacuum the floor. You’re only hitting the walking areas, not moving the couch or tables. Be sure to capture the dust, etc. that you swept off the couch.

Note: If you still have time after vacuuming, replace the misplaced items that you placed in your container before cleaning. It should only take a couple of minutes, but it’s one less thing you’ll need to do later.

Also, if there’s not a lot of clutter use the time you have remaining to vacuum out the interior of the couch.

Kitchen Quick Tidy

Since you’re in the kitchen at least 3 times per day, this is the one room that needs daily cleaning.

Make it a habit to wash your dishes by hand (or run through your dishwasher cycle) after every meal. This will greatly simplify your life.


  • ◆ Trash bag
  • ◆ Basket
  • ◆ Vacuum or broom and mop

Sweep through the room looking for out of place items. 

Put things that belong in another room into your basket and set to the side. You’ll deal with this after you’ve finished tidying the kitchen. 

Next, put out of place items where they belong in the kitchen.

Wipe down appliances, your countertop, and sink(s). Rinse out and/or replace your dishrag and/or sponges. This isn’t an in-depth cleaning, just a quick wipedown.

Finally, sweep and mop the floor or vacuum before taking out the trash.

Bathroom Quick Tidy

It’s nice to have a clean, fresh bathroom, especially when guests show up unexpectedly.

Here’s how to keep it ship-shape between your weekly cleaning sessions.


  • ◆ Basket or box for clutter
  • ◆ Broom, mop or vacuum
  • ◆ Trash can
  • ◆ Disinfectant wipes
  • ◆ Glass cleaner and rag
  • ◆ Toilet brush
  • ◆ Toilet cleaner

Keep your supplies on hand at all times to make this quick tidy fast and easy.

Pick up dirty clothes, towels, etc. and put in the dirty clothes hamper.

Throw away any trash such as empty shampoo bottles, discarded tissue paper, etc.

Toss items that don’t belong into your basket. Set it outside the bathroom door to be dealt with after cleaning.

Put misplaced bathroom items where they go.

Next, clean the mirror and wipe down the bathroom sink and countertop(s).

Then, spritz some all-purpose cleaner into the toilet bowl and let it sit while you wipe down the exterior of the toilet bowl with disinfectant wipes.

Toss the wipes, give the toilet bowl a quick brush, then sweep or vacuum the floor. If necessary, take a wet rag and spot clean the floor; you’ll do a thorough mop when you deep clean.

Next, take the bathroom trash with you. Put it with the kitchen trash or into your main trash collection bin. Then put the misplaced items away, and return your basket to where you normally keep it.

Bedroom Quick Tidy

Tidying your bedroom will keep it neat and clean between major cleanings.

While you don’t want to keep cleaning supplies in your bedroom it’s important to grab all of them at once before doing this quick clean.


  • ◆ Basket for clutter
  • ◆ Broom or vacuum cleaner
  • ◆ Trash can/bag
  • ◆ Dust cloth

If you’ve already cultivated the habit of putting your dirty clothes into the hamper you won’t have to worry about this first step.

Pick up all dirty clothing and put it into your laundry hamper.

Hang any jackets or sweaters in your closet; don’t leave them sitting on the back of a chair or at the foot of your bed.

Throw all trash into the trash can.

Make your bed; your room will instantly look less cluttered.

Put everything in the room that doesn’t belong there into your collection basket. 

Next, straighten up all surfaces; your dresser table, nightstand, etc. Toss what doesn’t belong into your basket, then neatly stack what remains; we’re not reorganizing, just straightening.

Vacuum or sweep and mop. You’re not getting under the dressers and bed; just the frequently trafficked areas.

Then, take the trash bag and collection basket with you. Put the trash where it goes, then quickly walk through the house putting misplaced items in their place.

Finally, put your cleaning supplies where they go, turn out the lights and leave the room knowing you’ll have a more relaxing sleep later that evening.