How to Clean Your Apartment in 30 Minutes or Less

How to Clean Your Apartment in 30 Minutes or Less

House cleaning probably isn’t the most exciting event on renters’ to-do lists. However, there’s no reason why cleaning the house should take too much time, especially in smaller apartments.

Most people have been there: You have unexpected guests coming over and the apartment looks a bit untidy. Fortunately, all you need is a game plan for cleaning up the apartment and you can get the job done in half an hour.

Focusing on rooms that pick up a lot of foot traffic and sticking to a few essential chores can get your apartment spic and span with plenty of time still left on the clock. If you have a roommate, kids, or a significant other who can help out, you can do even more house cleaning in less time.

Renters may have to pick up some housecleaning essentials first, including dish soap, sponges, trash bags, glass cleaner, an all-purpose cleaning spray, a foaming bathroom cleaner, paper towels, and a vacuum. Typically, most of these staples will already be in your apartment anyway.

The Bathroom

Now you’re ready to get started—and the bathroom should be the first place to get a good scrubbing. This makes sense, as guests are going to want to use it during their stay. Be sure to remove any clutter from the tub ledge, sink, and above the toilet tank. Then, spray all surfaces with a foaming cleanser and allow it to sit for a few minutes while you attend to other chores.

Use the glass cleaner to wipe down your bathroom mirror and clean off any chrome. After cleaning the rest of the apartment, you’ll see that the foam cleaner picked up a lot of those bathroom stains, making them easier to wipe up. However, you will want to focus on areas like the toilet seat, sink, and sink basin.

Next, straighten out toiletries, towels, makeup, or electronics so that everything looks nice and neat. Be sure to also close your shower curtain.

Just be sure that the bathroom is the first and last place you visit during your cleaning session. If you have a small handheld vacuum, you might want to use it to pick up any stray hair or dust that might have made its way to the floor. This makes the bathroom look much cleaner and it only takes about a minute or so.

The Bedroom

Making the bed should be your priority—it’s a simple chore that makes your whole house look a lot tidier in general. Next, make sure that any clothes on the floor make their way into a laundry hamper.

Clear off any kitchen items (glasses and coffee cups) and be sure that they are in the dishwasher or hand-cleaned and put away. The bedroom typically doesn’t need a deep clean like the kitchen and bathroom, so this room should only take you a few minutes.

The Kitchen

Once all of the dirty dishes in the apartment are in the kitchen, make sure that they are cleaned or at least stacked in the dishwasher and out of sight. A dirty kitchen is a tell-tale indicator of a messy renter. It’s also a good idea to toss a lemon peel in the garbage disposal and run it to eliminate any less-than-fragrant aromas that might have made their way to your sink.

Next up, grab some disinfectant wipes or paper towels and an all-purpose spray and wipe down the counters and your kitchen table. This is especially critical if you’re cleaning up before a get-together, as guests typically like to hang out in the kitchen with the host. The kitchen table is also known for picking up a lot of clutter, so make sure that everything is put in its proper place.

The Living Room

If you’re having guests over, there’s a good chance that they will be spending a lot of time in the living room, so you mustn’t overlook this area. Be sure to remove any clutter from the coffee table or end tables and remove any trash. Then, give the floors a quick vacuum or mop with a disposable cloth system.

Next, wipe down bookcases, the entertainment center, and tables, as these areas tend to pick up a lot of dust. After everything is cleared out, consider lighting a few candles to create a nice ambiance.

Keep in mind that the entryways to your apartment are a prime spot for clutter—keys, bags, shoes, and other items can typically be found here.

Lastly, make the cleaning session as fun as possible. Throw on some up-tempo music or a podcast to make this feel like less of a chore!

11 Daily Habits to Keep a House Clean and Tidy

This post is sponsored by bobsweep. As always all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Keeping up with the daily house keeping can be a drag, but it doesn’t have to take up all your time. I feel that keeping a clean home is less about the time involved, and more about creating some good habits that you start to just follow instinctively. Yes, there are still times that things get crazy and I’m not able to always follow through with the daily cleaning, but, for the most part, I do try to follow these 11 habits to keep a house clean and tidy. I promise – the more you do them, the easier it gets! If the list seems overwhelming to start with, just pick one or two to get started and then add in more as you are able.

Start by Making the Bed.
I know some people think that making the bed is a waste of time, but it really makes a big difference in how tidy the room looks and only takes a couple of minutes. Plus, I think it starts off the day well and I love climbing into a made bed at the end of the day. To make things easier, simplify your bedding as much as possible. We ended up cutting out our top sheets and just use a duvet and washable cover. If you love your top sheets though, you can look at minimizing the number of pillows on your bed or using a large enough comforter or duvet that you don’t need to tuck in your sheets.

Do One Load of Laundry Per Day.
Now, depending on how many loads you typically do per week, you may not need to do this every day, but, for us, we definitely go through at least 7 loads of laundry per week. Try to get in the habit of putting in one load of laundry first thing in the morning. If you work outside of the home and won’t have a chance to dry it before your leave, put your machine on delay so it will be ready to put in the dryer when you get home. Alternatively, put the load in the machine in the morning and just turn it on when you get home. Make sure you save some time somewhere in your day to complete the load – including putting it away.

Be Happy with “Clean Enough”.
As a perfectionist, this is probably the hardest one for me. You want your house to be relatively clean and tidy but that doesn’t mean that every little thing has to be perfect. I always to follow the 80/20 rule – meaning that I am happy with 80% of the cleaning being done. Getting caught up in all of the little details that make up the last 20% are huge time suckers and are probably details that no one would really notice. I’m not saying that they never need to be cleaned, but make them part of a deep cleaning routine rather than your regular weekly cleaning schedule.

Not all cleaning is created equal. Make a list of what you would like to get done and then prioritize what needs to be done and what can wait until the next day or two. Given the time that you have available, write down your top 2 or 3 cleaning goals and stick with these before attempting to do other things. I always used to hate writing out lists but I find that it really helps me to stay focused.

Get the Whole Family Involved.
This is one that I have really tried to work on lately. Yes, it is often actually easier to just do the job yourself, but spending the time to teach your children to do age appropriate jobs will be better in the long run for both of you. Start by just working on having your kids pick up after themselves – putting their coat and shoes away when they come in the house, putting dishes in the dishwasher, cleaning their room, etc. – and add in other chores as able. It’s amazing how much of a difference it can make in the overall tidiness of the house if just these simple things are done. For the first few weeks that you do this, you will likely need to be on your kids a lot, but over time this will start to be a habit for them as well and it should eventually be able to be done with minimal reminders.

Do a 15 Minute Nightly Clean-up.
Make it a routine to do a family 15 minute nightly clean-up. For some reason it doesn’t seem quite so bad to clean up when everyone else is doing the same thing. Put on the timer and just stick with the top cleaning priorities. Kids can clean their rooms or do other small household chores while you finish up the kitchen cleaning or fold and put away laundry. Start with the things that are making the biggest mess or creating a lot of clutter or any “must dos” that need to be done before bed. I always run my bObi robotic vacuum during this time – usually in our high traffic areas.

Keep Basic Cleaning Supplies Close to Where You Use Them.
I have all of our bathrooms stocked with basic cleaning supplies – microfiber cloths and a polishing cloth, a toilet scrub brush, and a spray bottle with water and vinegar . This makes it so much quicker and easier to give the toilet a quick swipe or wipe the gross toothpaste spit from the mirror instead of having to track down cleaning supplies. Try to do these simple tasks as you see the need – most of them take only a minute or two – and it will really reduce how often you need to do a top to bottom deep clean.

Never Leave a Room Empty Handed.
This is one habit that can make a huge difference in the general tidiness of your home. As you move from one room to another , try to do a quick scan to see if there is anything that you can take with you that belongs where you are going. Take only what you will have time to put away – moving a pile from one room to another without actually putting anything away doesn’t really help you out much. It can be a couple of dirty dishes that you put in the dishwasher or some laundry that needs to be put away upstairs. Always keep in mind the “one touch rule”, meaning that you ideally only want to touch items one time before they are put away. Every time you touch an object to move it from one place to another you are using up precious time and energy so make that extra little effort to put it directly away. Again, I think it is really more about habit than not having the time.

This one may need to be implemented over a longer period of time, but taking the time to declutter and organize your home will drastically cut down on the amount of time needed to clean. Having a spot for everything makes it so much easier to tidy up – for both you and the rest of your family. Less items out on the counters and surface tops cuts down on dusting and makes cleaning a lot quicker. If you are unsure of where to start, try my 6 Week Decluttering Challenge or read this post on how to keep the clutter out.

Know Your High Traffic Areas.
If you focus on keeping the high traffic areas clean on a daily basis, you can really help to prevent the spread of dirt and dust throughout the rest of the house. Make sure you have a dedicated spot for shoes at the entrances to your house to remind everyone to take off their shoes and to keep all of the shoe dirt contained in one spot. Small area rugs at doors can also help to trap a lot of the incoming dirt. For furry friends that come in and out, have a an old towel by the door to quickly wipe down paws as they come in . Try to sweep or vacuum these areas daily. It doesn’t need to be much – just a quick 5 minutes or so should do it.

Clean as You Go.
This one may seem obvious but I think it’s something that we often don’t do. Putting things away as you go doesn’t really take up much time but it will definitely make the difference between a tidy house and a messy house at the end of the day. Take your clothes off by your closet and either hang them back up or put them directly in the laundry. Load the dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher instead of just placing them on the counter. Put your shoes and coat away as you come in the door. Have all the family help out cleaning up the kitchen after dinner so you are not stuck with a messy kitchen when it’s really time to go to bed. All of these little things are just habits that can be created with a little intentional planning. Obviously there will be times when this is not possible, but do it when you can and you will save yourself a ton of cleaning up in the end!

One of the tools that has really helped me out with my daily cleaning is our new bObi vacuum. I’ve always been curious as to how well the robotic vacuums actually work so I was pretty excited when I was sent a bObi from bobsweep to try out. I really liked the sleek design and the start-up guide that came with it was really simple to use.

After some basic set up and initial charging time, she was all ready to go. bObi is able to sweep, vacuum, mop and also adds a UV sterilization. There are three basic touch screen buttons that you can use – “Go” for regular cleaning, “Waffle” to clean extra dirty areas that you want it to spend extra time on, and “Juice” which will tell it to go back to its charging station to refuel. I usually got at least 90 minutes of run time out of bObi before it needed recharging and it will automatically return to its charging dock when there is less than 15% of battery power remaining.

While we do have a pretty open floor plan on our main level, there are some divisions between rooms and lots of transitions between hardwood flooring, area rugs and carpeting. I did find that bObi did get stuck a few times , but for the most part, she did really well navigating around the house and cleaned well on the variety of surfaces . When she did get stuck, she would let out a little chirping noise so I could go and rescue her.

bObi makes a humming kind of noise when she runs but it is way quieter than a regular vacuum and you can easily go about your regular tasks without it bothering you. There is a remote control that you can use to direct her exactly where you want her to go, but I generally just let her run wherever she wants – she’s usually pretty good at getting all of the major problem areas. bObi has parallel bristle and rubber brushes on the underside for extra sweeping power as well as side brushes to get into corners and along baseboards. She also has sensors to detect walls, edges, and other obstacles in her path so I don’t worry about her falling off the stairs.

After a little experimenting, I now have bObi integrated into our daily cleaning routine. I use it in the mornings on our main level every second day, and alternate between our basement and the upper level on the other days. I also use it at night during our 15 minute tidy up in our high traffic areas . It works great for getting up all of that daily dirt, crumbs, and dust that seem to appear from nowhere and really helps to cut down on dirt being tracked around to other areas of the house. It should be noted, however, that it does not replace a really thorough vacuuming as there are still areas that it does not get to, BUT, it significantly cuts down on how often I need to vacuum or sweep. Here are a couple of other tips to get the best use out of bObi…

  • Use it on a regular basis. I found that the bObi does best cleaning up the daily, wear and tear messes. Since it doesn’t have a really large debris bin, it would get full really quickly if I hadn’t vacuumed for quite a few days. You can even program bObi to start at a certain time everyday so you don’t even have to think about it.
  • Do a quick scan of the rooms that you will be cleaning to remove any obstacles that may be in bObi’s way. This includes little toys that may be scattered around, area rugs that are bunched up, or other smaller obstacles on the floor. I found that this actually worked really well when it came to getting the boys to clean up their room – they were given the option of getting everything off the floor so the bObi could go in there or they had to vacuum their room themselves. Guess which option they chose.
  • Get in the habit of emptying the debris bin after every use. There isn’t an indicator to tell you when it’s full so this is the easiest way to make sure that it is always ready.
  • At the end of each week, do a quick clean of the rotary brushes to remove any hair or strings that may have gotten a bit tangled up. If these get really tangled, an error light will come on bObi to let you know. They are super easy to remove though and only take a minute or two to clean.
  • While it is possible to program bObi to run while you are not home, I preferred to be around in case it got stuck on something. It’s not a big deal if it does get stuck as it will turn itself off, but I liked to know that it was busy cleaning!

For more information on bObi, you can check out their website or head over to Amazon to purchase. Happy Cleaning!

For more cleaning tips and tricks, check out these posts…

How Do You Get Bed Bugs In The First Place? (Very weird…)

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​They bite and feed on your blood while you’re sleeping soundly in your bedroom. Hence, the name bed bugs.

They’re very annoying insects. Although bed bugs can’t fly, they’re still very hard to get rid of and a few of them can easily spawn hundreds of blood sucking pests in a matter of days.

​But the big question here is, «​How do you get bed bugs in the first place?» ​In this Pestion guide, you will learn how bed bugs have found their way into your house.​​​

​Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?

​First and foremost, you need to understand where bed bugs come from. ​Unfortunately, bed bugs can come from almost anywhere. They can be found in places where there is an abundant source of food — us.

Bed bugs can be inside hotels, office buildings, schools, hospitals, convenience stores, movie theaters, libraries, museums, apartments, and even in your car or any type of public transportation.

The bottom line here is that bed bugs love living right next to us — literally. Regardless of how clean and tidy we are at home, there’s practically no telling how impenetrable your house is from a bed bug invasion.

​How Do You Get Bed Bugs Anyway?

​Even though they are wingless insects, bed bugs are masters of hitchhiking and traversing. They have a top speed of one meter per minute and can easily hitch a ride on anything, anytime.

The following are ways bed bugs are able to invade your home:

  • As mentioned earlier, bed bugs are also able to survive in various modes of transportation. Whether you are hitchhiking on a friend’s car or transiting by land or by air, you can expect a couple of bed bugs trying to secure their own ride as well.
  • Staying in a hotel or resort is not always about enjoying your vacation or business trip. It’s also about picking up remnants of infestations from previous guests’ residences.
  • It is always nice to establish good relationship with your neighbors. Although it’s nice to be able to visit them for some backyard barbecue or a super bowl party with some beer and chicken, keep in mind that it’s also a great opportunity for bed bugs to expand their territory.
  • Simultaneously, accepting friends, neighbors, co-workers, and relatives into your house is also an open invitation for bed bugs.
  • Since we already know that bed bugs also thrive inside workplaces, going to and fro your office is also a possible bed bug transit.
  • Some people love buying all sorts of antique. But old and used furniture can be a bed bug fortress. ​Before picking up that old cabinet your wife bought from a neighbor’s garage sale, be sure to thoroughly check all possible hiding spots as well signs of the insect’s presence.
  • ​If you are living in a multi-unit apartment, a bed bug infestation taking place next door can easily find its way into your section.

​How Can You Stop Bed Bugs From Getting Into Your House?

​Bed bugs are not so stealthy at all. In fact, you can easily see a bed bug slowly creeping into your luggage if you are really up to the task. An adult bed bug is about a quarter of an inch long or equivalent to the size of an apple seed.

If you are a frequent traveler, your itinerary will serve as an open invitation for bed bugs to invade your home. It would be wise to check on your luggage from time to time especially before heading back home. Use a suitcase stand to secure your travel bags throughout the duration of your stay inside a hotel, resort, serviced apartment, or any type of travel accommodation.

The following video will give you expert tips on how to check for bed bugs:

​Secure all your clothes you have used in your travel in a sealed plastic bag and wash them immediately under at least a 60 degree temperature setting. This helps kill surviving bed bugs of all life stages as well as germs.

As mentioned earlier, conduct a thorough examination on any used furniture that you buy before moving it inside your house. As much as possible, use a powerful flashlight as you scour through the tiniest cracks and joints of the second-hand furniture.

The best defense is indeed a good offense, especially when it comes to bed bugs. Inside your house, you must be well organized and avoid any type and volume of clutter. This significantly diminishes the possible areas for bed bugs to hide and flourish.

In your bedroom, always use a special type of protective encasement for your pillows and mattress. Most of the time, these covers are moisture wicking and are equipped with fine zip-lock technology to prevent both bed bugs and dust mites to penetrate into your bedding.

Tea tree oil extract is a fine example of bed bug repellent. This essential oil has a strong scent that bed bugs really hate. However, extra precaution must be considered since using undiluted tea tree oil poses a serious threat to human health.

Read More Bed Bug Answers

Check out our other bed bug guides. Each guide is expertly crafted to help you make sure these pests never bother you again.

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