High-Speed Cleaning

Got a life? Then you probably don't want to spend any more time on housework than you have to. Here's how to clean your house better and faster.

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Monday, laundry.
Tuesday, baking.
Wednesday, windows and floors.

Although that may have been your mother's or your grandmother's weekly schedule, let's face it ? we don't have the time or perhaps even the inclination to spend day in and day out making everything spick-and-span as Mom or Nana did.

"The era when women took care of the house full time and men earned the living is long gone," says Jeff Campbell, founder of the San Francisco housecleaning service called the Clean Team and author of several books on cleaning, including Speed Cleaning.

Jeff, a former Pacific Bell marketing manager, is the guru of fast, efficient cleaning. Get in, get out ? and then go to the movies. Or, for Jeff's teams of housecleaners, it's get in, get out and move on to the next customer. It was, in fact, the need to create a training manual for his employees that led him to develop his breathless speed-cleaning method. Since the company's founding in 1979, Jeff and his housecleaners have met monthly to compare notes, test and revise cleaning sequences, and hone them to a virtual art form.

So How Does It Work?

Basically it's a step-saving system that allows you to move around the house once (except for the floors, which are washed or vacuumed last). With tools in hand ? or around your waist in a multi-pocket apron ? work from top to bottom, tracking, which Jeff considers the most common cleaning mistake people make.

"If you follow the method," he says, "it's incredible how much more quickly cleaning goes. It takes less energy. You cut out unnecessary trips."

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