The following rules are from Jeff Campbell’s best-selling book, Speed Cleaning. They’ve been honed over many years and, if you follow them, you WILL get through your cleaning tasks faster, giving you more time to enjoy life – guaranteed.
Rule One: Make Every Move Count
That means work around the room once. Don’t backtrack. It also means you must carry your equipment and supplies with you, so you don’t make dozens of aggravating trips back and forth across the room. Walk around the room once and you’re done, except for the floor.
Rule Two: Use the Right Tools
Ah! Here’s probably the major time-saver of this list: give your specialized gadgets to your enemies. You need real tools that cut time to shreds. Most of all, you need a Cleaning Apron to hang tools on and store cleaning supplies in as you move around the room. The speed cleaning method depends on it, and soon you’ll feel lost without yours.
Rule Three: Work from Top to Bottom
Dirt follows the laws of gravity just like everything else. When you start at the top and work to the bottom, you won’t be constantly re-cleaning surfaces that have become sullied with dirt from above.
Rule Four: If it isn’t Dirty, Don’t Clean It
For example, vertical surfaces are almost never as dirty as horizontal surfaces. Upper shelves and molding have less dust than lower ones. Often all that’s dirty about a surface is a few fingerprints, so don’t clean the whole area.
Rule Five: Don’t Rinse or Wipe a Surface Before It’s Clean
You’ll just have to start over. In other words, when you’re cleaning a surface, don’t rinse or wipe just to see if you’re done. If you were wrong, you’ll have to start all over again. Learn to check as you’re cleaning by seeing through the gunk to the surface below, then you can tell when it’s dislodged and ready to be wiped or rinsed – once!
Rule Six: Don’t Keep Working After It’s Clean
Once you’ve reached the clean surface below, STOP! You’re cutting into your VLT (that’s Valuable Leisure Time). Rinse or wipe and move on.
Rule Seven: If what You’re Doing isn’t Going to Work, then Shift to a Heavier-Duty Cleaner or Tool
You’re going to get very good at knowing what tool or product to use without having to throw everything in the book at it. You’ll be learning to anticipate what to reach for before you start a task, so you won’t have to shift.
Rule Eight: Keep Your Tools in Impeccable Shape
Dull razors scratch – they don’t clean. Clogged spray bottles puff up and make funny noises – they don’t spray.
Rule Nine: Repetition Makes for Smoother Moves
Always put your tools back in the same spot in your apron. You can’t spare the time to fumble around for them. And you can’t afford to leave them lying around in alien places for the dog to carry away. You’ll quickly get so expert that you’ll become aggravated if the tool you expected isn’t in the right spot when you reach for it. Progress, progress.
Rule Ten: Pay Attention
Almost everything else will fall into place if you do. Don’t think about the revisions in the tax code. Or anything else. In Latin: Age quod aegis: Do what you are doing.
Rule Eleven: Keep Track of Your Time
Get a little faster every time.
Rule Twelve: Use Both Hands
Your work force is half idle if one hand is doing all the work. Finish one step with one hand and start the next step with the other. Or, wipe with one hand while the other steadies the object.
Rule Thirteen: If There Are More than One of You, Work as a Team
You’re what the biologists call a ‘super organism’. If your partner gets done ten minutes faster, the team gets done ten minutes faster. And that is a wonderful thing. You can’t stop being vigilant for one moment about what will speed up or slow down your partner’s progress.
If you’ve found these rules helpful, you might want to purchase Speed Cleaning, which is full of additional insights and strategies for tackling day-in and day-out cleaning tasks.
You’ll also want to check-out Jeff’s other cleaning rules and the books they’re from:
Spring Cleaning Rules: Rules for tackling spring cleaning, from Jeff’s Spring Cleaning book.
Clutter Control Rules: Rules for control clutter, from Jeff’s Clutter Control book.
Talking Dirt Rules: Cleaning questions and answers from Jeff’s book Talking Dirt.
Cleaning Maintenance Rules: Rules to maintain your belongings, from Jeff’s book Good As New.