Speed Cleaning for the Holidays


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Holiday Speed Cleaning | Holiday Cleaning Guide | Quick Clean Holidays | Holiday Speed Cleaning Routine | Holiday Speed Cleaning Checklist

There is no time of year when I love my house–or enjoy being at home–more than during the month of December.  There is just something magical about those twinkling Christmas tree lights and festive decorations.  I love turning on some mellow Christmas music (the James Taylor Christmas album is my all time fav!) and cuddling up on the couch with a cup of spiked cocoa and a good book, or watching one of my favorite holiday classics.  In fact, it might the only time during the whole year when I truly just chill.

But you know what totally ruins my Christmas spirit?

A messy house.

And while during the rest of the year, my regular speed cleaning routine usually works just fine, this time of year I just don’t have an extra hour a day to devote to cleaning.  Thus, in the interest of maintaing my sanity, I have found a way to cheat & get it done in half the time.  Granted, come January I will probably be due for some deep cleaning & reorganization, but if it gets me through the season with my sanity in tact, I am okay with that.  Life is all about balance and giving yourself grace when needed!

What you will need:

Most of the year I prefer using these homemade green & thrifty cleaning products.  Not only are they cheaper, but they smell better, and require me to keep far fewer bottles of stuff lying around!  Even so, there is something to be said for convenience, and during the holidays my cheater go-to cleaning supplies include “green” disposable disinfectant wipes, Windex wipes, a Swiffer Wet Jet, and Swiffer Disposable Dusters.

General Guidelines:

  • Cleaning is much easier when you have less clutter, so the key to the plan is finding a quick and easy place to stash all the stuff.  If you don’t have time to do a major de-cluttering session right now, find a big box or basket that you can store in an out-of-the-way place such as the garage, basement, or spare bedroom.  Use this to collect the random clutter you’ve got around the house, then set a date in January to go through it all.
  • Start at the same end of the house each time you clean.  (I start in our Master Bedroom and work my way through the living room and kitchen to the girls’ room and bathroom.)
  • Use a large laundry basket to collect items such as toys or clothing as you clean, then dump contents of basket into your garage box. It won’t be pretty but at least you’ll know where to find it (or where to tell the kids to look.)
  • On the days you need to sweep, mop, or vacuum, save it until the end, then do it all at once.
  • Keep daily shower cleaner in the bath/shower and spray down after each use.

The LWSL Holiday Speed Cleaning Routine:

Bedroom(s) 5 minutes each, depending on how much to pick up:
  • Always make the bed.  Even if there are other things laying around, the room will look much, much cleaner.
  • Quickly pick up any clothes, toys, or dishes that are lying around.
  • Use a duster quickly dust the surfaces that really need it.
Bathroom(s) (5 minutes each):
  • Squirt toilet bowl cleaner around the rim; let sit.
  • Use disinfectant wipes to quickly wipe down the sinks & countertop.
  • Use toilet brush to quickly scrub toilet.
  • Use disinfectant wipes to wipe down toilet seat & lid.
  • Use Windex wipes to wipe any spots off mirrors & to shine faucets.
Living Room/Dining/Home Office Areas (5-10 minutes):
  • Quickly pick up any shoes, dishes, toys, or other items & place in basket.
  • Use duster to quickly dust surfaces.
  • Tidy desk area, throw out junk mail, and place other mail in inbox.
Kitchen (5-10 minutes, depending on how many dishes):
  • Quickly pick up any items that don’t belong in kitchen and place them in basket(s).  Gather any dirty dishes and put them next to sink.
  • Quickly unload (if necessary) then load diswasher.
  • Hand wash dishes/pots/pans as needed
  • Wipe down counters & stovetop.
  • Dry and put away any hand-washed dishes, then drain and rinse sink–the secret to a truly clean-looking kitchen is clutter-free counters and a nice clean sink.
Finishing Up:
  • Use a dry mop to clean hard floors.  Spot clean with a sponge if necessary.
  • Vacuum rugs/carpet, especially around Christmas tree (if using live tree)
  • Clean glass surfaces & mirrors as needed with Windex wipes.
  • Dump collected items in your secret garage box until further notice.
  • Turn the lights down, light a holiday-scented candle & play some soft Christmas music!

And, just ’cause I’m nice like that, I thought it would be fun to put together a cute printable checklist that you can hang on your fridge or bulletin board as a reminder.  Consider it an early Christmas gift! 😉

Holiday Speed Cleaning | Holiday Cleaning Guide | Quick Clean Holidays | Holiday Speed Cleaning Routine | Holiday Speed Cleaning Checklist

{Get your FREE Holiday Speed Cleaning Checklist here}

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How do you keep your home neat and tidy during the holidays?  Do you have any tips or tricks to share?

Holiday Speed Cleaning | Holiday Cleaning Guide | Quick Clean Holidays | Holiday Speed Cleaning Routine | Holiday Speed Cleaning Checklist


  1. December 6 at 09:26AM

    I majorly appreciate this blog, but can we rewind to spiked cocoa? How do you make this? It would blow my husband mind if I whipped up a cup of spiked cocoa tonight so we could snuggle up by the tree!

    • Ruth Soukup
      December 6 at 04:13PM

      LOL it is super easy….regular hot chocolate + Bailey’s or any other sweet liqueur. 🙂

      • Anonymous
        December 9 at 10:39PM

        Another good one is hot chocolate with Rumple Minze. It is a peppermint flavored liqueur.

        • Gretchen
          December 16 at 05:10PM

          Hot Chocolate with Rumchatta is magical!
          Happy Holidays!

      • Mich Muc
        November 24 at 11:28AM

        Can I recommend hot chocolate + coconut rum = YUM

  2. December 6 at 11:40AM

    pinning this for later. great ideas!!!!

  3. December 6 at 11:47AM

    I’m with Sara! I’d love to hear more about the spiked cocoa!

    • Ruth Soukup
      December 6 at 04:14PM

      All you need is Bailey’s or another sweet liqueur added to your regular hot chocolate! 🙂

  4. December 6 at 12:20PM

    This sounds like my normal weekly cleaning routine. I’m curious what else you would normally have on your cleaning list that you’re leaving off of this one?

    • Ruth Soukup
      December 6 at 04:18PM

      Well I normally try not to shove all my clutter into a box in the closet. 🙂 Also, I normally use “real” cleaning supplies and clean a little more thoroughly, rather than just using the convenient wipes to do a quick surface clean. This is more of a “just get it to look good” clean, not really a “eat off the floor” kind of clean. 🙂

  5. December 6 at 02:41PM

    I totally agree that Christmas time just makes your house that much more cozy and enjoyable!

  6. December 6 at 04:04PM

    I will totally have to give the windex wipes a try on my faucets, I didn’t even know that those existed! I really like swiffer products but also found that O’Cedar has a similar mop with a built in canister that you can fill with any cleaning solution you like. So if you are super green, you can fill it with vinegar and water or another green cleaning solution and you don’t have to pay for re-fills. Also, the checklist is adorable. I just want to print it and stick on my fridge so my friends think I clean and that I’m fancy and organized about it! Great post! Now I feel like I can get this holiday cleaning stuff under control!

    • December 12 at 08:44AM

      Windex also makes a cute little bottle of glass cleaner that sits out on the counter to squish a rag onto for a quick swipe (or splurge on a paper towel!) Snagged it with a super double coupon!

  7. December 7 at 10:02AM

    a great post that made a lot of sense about cleaning around Christmas,

  8. December 7 at 05:39PM

    I’m so glad to find your website and thanks for these tips,sometimes I don’t know where to start cleaning.

  9. December 9 at 01:59AM

    Great read, just sat looking at a very messy house, one rug is in the wash after spilt drinks from a party, we’ve been cleaning up after floods for the last week and I was very demoralised! But you have inspired me to make life a little easier and not be so hard on myself this month! Looking forward to spiked hot chocolate when I’ve finished 🙂 thank you

    • Ruth Soukup
      December 9 at 11:30AM

      I’m so sorry to hear that, Amanda! Yes, give yourself some grace and enjoy that hot chocolate. 😉

  10. December 9 at 11:49AM

    I did not know that Windex had per-moistened wipes. That’s a game changer for me!

  11. December 9 at 05:32PM

    This is a great post, and it makes a very handy check-off list for cleaning. Do you have any recommendations about how to clean the oven? Mine needs a good clean– especially before all that holiday baking!

  12. December 9 at 06:41PM

    Love this, Ruth! I’ve been trying to keep things picked up more so that I can do those quick clean-ups for any company who stops by. Speaking of, I should go do the dishes sitting by my sink…

  13. Ruth
    December 11 at 12:37PM

    Thanks for the great tips.

  14. December 13 at 11:48AM

    Just came across your blog, and I have a feeling it’s going to quickly become one of my new favorites! Thanks for this list – very helpful! 🙂

  15. December 17 at 02:49AM

    Loved the post. I had just never put so much thought to cleaning faster before. I find it very well organized and with very good tips. Will definitely try it out to see how much time I can save based on your advise.

  16. December 17 at 08:34PM

    I absolutely love LOVE this! Very helpful

  17. Ann S.
    December 28 at 11:32PM

    Love your website and your Facbook page! A quick auggestion as an alternative to the disposable wipes. I keep a bottle of Multi-surface (not regular) Windex and a roll of paper towels in each bathroom. For speed-cleaning, I use the Multi-surface spray on the mirrors, countertops, sink, fixtures, and toilet exterior. Spray it all, wipe it down (toilet last) and viola! it all looks clean and smells great 🙂 And it’s a less expensive alternative to the disposable wipes, I think.

  18. Lori
    December 1 at 12:11PM

    Dear Ruth,
    I just love you website. I am missing the 1-8 of the 12 days of Christmas stress. If you could would you plzz e-mail them to me!!!

    Thank you,

  19. January 7 at 09:10AM

    Great article, Ready Maids Cleaning Services in Dubai have a Special Services for you, you can visit our site :

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