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Quick cleaning is about all I do throughout the year. Really, is there any other way? Add the parties, concerts, shopping, cooking and general mayhem of the holidays, and time for cleaning is about thirty minutes from midnight to midnight-thirty. How do we maintain a general order of things at home during the craziest time of the year? Here are a few tricks from yours truly, a self-proclaimed minimalist when it comes to house cleaning:

Decorate accordingly

Minimizing clutter from the beginning will make maintaining it much easier in weeks to come. Resist the temptation to bring out every holiday clearance knick-knack you’ve ever purchased. Put some of your year-round decorations away. The empty holiday decoration boxes are excellent places to store things you’ll bring back out in January.

Designate hiding spots

There’s nothing wrong with sweeping a little dust under the rug or stuffing a few thousand toys into the hall closet. Cute baskets or bins for storing toys and homework allow you to quickly pick up entire piles and set them aside for later. Have a room you can designate as the “dump room” where you close the door when company comes over. What they don’t see won’t hurt them.

Involve your kids

We want to make the holidays special for our kids. However, that doesn’t mean we become their personal assistants. Make picking up a contest against you or the clock to add some fun to the routine. Take advantage of Santa or the Elf on the Shelf watching. A little motivation never hurt anyone.

Clean as you go

Every time you walk from one room in the house to another, pick something up and carry it with you. Wipe down the sink or toilet when you’re in the bathroom. Put the breakfast dishes directly in the dishwasher. At the end of the day or right before dinner, walk through the house with a laundry basket, simultaneously picking things up as you’re putting them away. A little bit at a time goes a long way.


Determine which areas in the house guests will see or will make you feel most sane if they’re clean. Kitchen and bathroom countertops make a big impression. Stack dishes in the sink, do a quick wipe down of counters to keep surfaces clean and de-cluttered.

Set a timer

You don’t have much time to clean anyway, so diving in for an “hour of power” can motivate you and make what little time you have more efficient. Limit your cleaning to a set length like fifteen minutes or an hour. You will force yourself to walk away and be satisfied with what you accomplished.

Adjust expectations

Tis’ the season to let the Martha Stewart standards go. The holidays are meant to be a time when memories are made with your loved ones, happy memories that is. Don’t let the stress of how your home looks override the fun you are having with those who are in it with you.