1. If you have a few minutes: Create a donation box/basket/bin for your room.
See if you can add one thing per day that you don’t wear or use anymore. When the bin is full, donate (or sell, if that’s what you’re into) everything you’ve collected.
2. If you have half an hour-ish: Clean your room, rather than just straighten up.
Chances are you don’t frequently dust off your bedside table or shelves or get the suspicious clumps out of errant corners; unless you live in a palace or are a disgusting swamp creature, it won’t take long to remedy this.
3. If you have hours: Rearrange your bedroom furniture.
You’ll be shocked at how much it changes your view of the space (no matter how little space that may be) and at the clutter and dirt you’ll automatically clean up along the way.
4. If you have a few minutes: Play the Kitchen Game.
Only play until your time is up; you’ll be so proud of what you can accomplish.
5. If you have half an hour-ish: Use fridge mats to make future cleaning a breeze.
You can use place mats — just cut them into the shape and size of your fridge shelves.
6. If you have hours: Clean your oven without chemicals overnight.
Get the insanely easy directions at I Dream of Clean. (Don’t do this on a gas oven, though, unless the pilot light and gas are completely turned off.)
7. If you have a few minutes: Move an overwhelming desktop into its own folder so you have a zen-like space.
This is clearly just a temporary fix, but you can clean better later if you can view everything in an orderly way.
8. If you have half an hour-ish: Clean your keyboard thoroughly.
9. If you have hours*: Sort your inbox by “From” to make deleting unwanted email so much easier. Then delete away.
And in Gmail, just search “from:[name of sender].” From there, delete what you don’t want and mark what you want to do with these kinds of messages in the future.
*Depending on whether you are like me and have a horrific backlog of email too embarrassingly large to screencap.
10. If you have a few minutes: Throw out anything in your makeup bag that’s expired.
These are just guidelines, so if something has a different expiration date listed or looks/feels/smells off, go with that. Real Simple has a handy checklist you can abide by.
11. If you have half an hour-ish: Clean your makeup brushes.
If you don’t own a dedicated brush cleanser, a lightweight, scent-free shampoo will do the job just fine. (You’ll need to wait for them to dry, so it’s best to do this before bed or when you won’t be using the brushes that day.) And if your brushes are shedding or misshapen, it may be time to get new ones.
12. If you have hours: Go out and get a new bag altogether.
Chances are yours is pretty gross. This organizer folds up small but features a bunch of compartments and a hanger for easy on-the-go access. And when you’re transferring your products to their new receptacle, think about whether you actually use them/want to lug them with you everywhere.
13. If you have a few minutes: Wipe down the surfaces in your bathroom.
Use a multipurpose bathroom cleaner or wipes. This is especially useful if you have last-minute guests and want to project at least a semblance of cleanliness.
14. If you have half an hour-ish: Demold-ify your tile without using bleach.
You can make your own natural cleaners very cheaply and easily. Spritz, let sit, and wipe off.
15. If you have hours: Wash your shower curtain and liner to prevent mold from building up.
Unless their tags say otherwise, chances are they’re both machine washable. Throw a couple of towels (and your bath mat, while you’re at it) in there with them. Hang the liner back in the shower to drip dry.
16. If you have a few minutes: MacGyver a dedicated trash can for your car.
This one is made from a cereal dispenser. Anything other than a plastic bag (which will inevitably become even more trash) or, you know, the floor will work.
17. If you have half an hour-ish: Clean the exterior of your car.
On the first day it’s nice enough out, hose that ish down. And use the toothpaste trick if you want to make your lights gleam with stuff you already have lying around the house.
18. If you have hours: Do a full-on interior cleanup job.
Popular Mechanics has an awesomely in-depth tutorial for how to clean out any crevice, be it cloth or leather. And of course, you can always spring for a professional detailing — spring cleaning is as good a reason as any.
19. If you have a few minutes: Make your bed.
It seems totally obvious but that little corner of neatness in your life will most likely inspire you to apply it elsewhere when you have more time. Bonus if you spritz your sheets with a touch of linen spray.
20. If you have half an hour-ish: Wash and whiten your pillows.
They’re probably crying out for it by now. Find out how at One Good Thing.
21. If you have hours: Air out your mattress.
It’ll make it smell so much better and help cut down on allergens. Get the full directions at WikiHow.
22. If you have a few minutes: Clean your toilet (you can do it using nothing but dish soap and vinegar).
Check out the proper proportions at Sisters Shopping on a Shoestring.
23. If you have half an hour-ish: That same combo will work wonders on your tub.
The Craft Patch explains how.
24. If you have hours: Hell, use it on everything.
My Great Challenge cleaned her entire kitchen using the solution, and it works on floors and carpets as well. Meet your new miracle product (that won’t irritate your eyes or throat).
25. If you have a few minutes: Sanitize your sponges.
26. If you have half an hour-ish: Make your trash can and recycling bin as good as new.
Clean House recommends using a cleaning spray meant for pet messes, since it’ll kill germs and reduce odor. And don’t be afraid to buy a new one if it just can’t go on; a pull-out trash can will save kitchen space and keep your garbage out of sight.
27. If you have hours: Pour yourself a drink and see how much cleaning you can get done in one go.
Sober You will be eternally grateful to Drunk You (until Drunk You accidentally drops a butter knife down the sink or whatever). Happy cleaning!
- The U.S., Japan, and 10 other Pacific Rim nations have agreed to a historic trade deal encompassing 40% of the world's economy. ›
- Three scientists who developed treatments against parasites have won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. ›
- At least three people have died in South Carolina due to severe rainfall. More than 11 inches of rain fell on the city in 48 hours. ›