Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

Whip Your House Into Shape in 2 Hours (plus a free downloadable checklist!)

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, so today it’s time to get our homes in shape for company or so that we can enjoy our family and not have to worry about stepping over dirty laundry piles or tripping on spilled milk. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all you have to do, I’m here to help!

I’ve got a two-hour step-by-step plan to help you get all the major cleaning done so that your home looks presentable for your guests tomorrow:

Two-Hour House-Cleaning Plan

1. Start a load of laundry (3 minutes).

2. Set the timer for 15 minutes and take a laundry basket and a trash bag and go through each room in your home. Quickly straighten, pick up, and put away everything that’s out of place. Put all trash in the trash bag and put everything that doesn’t go in that room in the laundry basket (15 minutes).

3. Put away all contents in the laundry basket and throw out the trash (5 minutes).

4. Head to the kitchen and load the dishwasher or hand wash the dishes (15 minutes).

5. Switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer and start another load in the washer (2 minutes).

6. Sweep or vacuum your kitchen floor and wipe down your countertops (10 minutes).

7. Take some toilet cleaner and go squirt it in all your toilets (2 minutes).

8. Take some window cleaner and spot clean the main glass windows/doors/mirrors (3 minutes).

9. Take a dust rag and quickly dust in the main rooms of your home (10 minutes).

10. Vacuum all the major traffic areas in your home (20 minutes).

11. Head back to the bathrooms wipe down the toilet, sinks, floor, and bathtub/shower. Change the towels (20 minutes).

12. Switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer and fold the clean laundry (15 minutes).

13. Light a candle or simmer some potpourri on the stove and enjoy your freshly-cleaned home!


Free Downloadable Checklist

Like to cross off lists? Download the free 2-Hour House-Cleaning Checklist to keep you on track and remind you of what you’re supposed to be doing next. Now you have no excuse for getting distracted. 🙂

3 Tips for House-Cleaning Success

1. Set the Timer

A timer works wonders in helping me stay focused and work quickly. Plus, it makes it seem more like a game to see if I can finish my project before the timer goes off!

2. Turn on Some Music

It’s much more fun to work when you’re accompanied by cheerful, upbeat music.

3. Stay Focused

Don’t worry about the next thing on the list or your overwhelming to-do list. Just focus on the project at hand until the timer goes off. Then, move on to the next project.

If your house is a complete disaster, it might need more than two hours. However, remember not to get too hung up on making it perfect.

Just work quickly and efficiently and do the best you can do in the time you have. Even if your house isn’t pristine after two hours of work, I’m sure it will at least look quite a bit better than it did when you started. 🙂

Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!


  • Laura says:

    Did this today and loved it! Thanks MSM!

  • Amy Lauren says:

    I love this! I’m going to print it out for all the time, not just Christmas Eve :). Let’s just say this might be my new Sunday ritual for streamlining cleaning for the week, hehe.

  • Lyn says:

    It’s amazing what can be accomplished in a short amount of time. I have a smaller home, but have several health challenges, so things take me much longer than someone who is healthy or young or both. 🙂 I need to rest as I work, but I am still able to get things done as I can. My home won’t be perfectly clean for Christmas but it will be “reasonably enough clean” and that is good enough. If I worried about every thing I cannot do or accomplish, I’d be a wreck 24/7. 🙂

    The whole point of Flylady is to do what you can when you can – don’t get your panties in a bunch about trying to get it all right, and get off that perfection wagon. Every little bit helps, no matter what you do in your home. I think a lot of women spend more time thinking about “cleaning” than actually just doing it. When you get overwhelmed, start with one little thing, and go from there. Even an hour or half hour can make a difference (don’t forget to take a break or two), and if you have a family and children, they should be helping out too!

    With crisis cleaning, it’s about doing the basics and maintaining the things that are most important. It’s not worth jeopardizing one’s mental or physical health by being stressed out for the holidays!

    I would also agree that getting off the computer is something a lot of folks need to do. You can’t accomplish things in your home and with family, etc. if you spend too much time online. But you don’t have to be a slave to your home either. I find a timer to be a real help too.

    Thanks for the list, Crystal.

  • Maria says:

    And then repeat 1x/per kid that trails along behind you… smearing their faces on the windows, rubbing their slimy hands on the mirrors, flushing other things down the toilet, unfolding the laundry, pottying on the clean floors… :p Or maybe that’s just my kids.

      • stephanie says:

        I’ve got four year old twins. Sooooo, not just you. Merry Christmas! And they’re really hurting my feelings right now. To the point of, I just want to cancel everything. Although I know I won’t. Just feeling upset I guess. But everything is ready. Take care all.

        • Mary says:

          Stephanie – My twins are 7. They are boys. (I also have two older girls – 13 & 10). I feel for you. My boys are still a handful, but they are somewhat easier to deal with than a few years ago. Please hang in there, and know that at least someone understands that twins are a different animal altogether. 😉

          • stephanie says:

            Thanks. Yes, no one really gets how resourceful they are when there’s too of them. I guess it’s more that I’m worried that they feel entitled and ungrateful for what they have, which is an abundance. Again, thanks.

        • Amy says:

          This is in response to your comment that your twins feel entitled and ungrateful. I think that personality plays a huge part in this. I have a son that I call the never enough kid. Whatever he has it is just never enough. It doesn’t matter what I do or say. My 2 daughters don’t really feel the same way. I just throw my hands up and just consider it part of his personality and try not let it bother me. We still do try to show him he should be happy with what he has or what he gets but most times it doesn’t make much difference. Just keep trying but don’t beat yourself up over it.

          • stephanie says:

            LOL. I will try. It’s hard for me because I’d rather do for others. I call my son the gimme kid. Actually, the Caillou Christmas movie has helped a little with this. I will try to remember some folks are just like that, although I don’t understand it.

  • Patty says:

    Merry Christmas! Grandma is watching baby boy while I’m cleaning and packing :).

  • jen says:

    I do something similar to this daily. Im a 5am waker and I work, prepare homeschool materials and have quiet time while my family sleeps. I think the morning is the best for getting things done!

  • Karen says:

    I find that it helps me to feel more ambitious if I put on tennis shoes before I tackle the cleaning. Sounds kind of silly, but it works for me!

  • Angela says:

    So awesome – thanks!

  • Kristen says:

    This is perfect! It fit my needs perfectly and I was able to get it all done while my kids (7,5,2, & 3 mos) had rest time. THANK YOU!!

  • margaret says:

    This will be so helpful. My house is in the disaster category. I’ve been sick with morning sickness and cleaning has fallen to the bottom of my priorities. God has been good to make me feel good enough to take some time to clean tonight and I will take full advantage.

  • Lauren says:

    I love this!!! This is perfect for me b/c I have a hard time staying focused and I try to do too many things at once. Also my husband folds the laundry for me and my children and I put it up so that gives me extra time. During the laundry time, I can wipe down the walls in the places that company will see like living room, hallway and dining room. We have 3 children that are 3 and under so wiping down the walls is a must!! And I like the finishing touch: I light all the scented candles all over my house and turn all the fans on. I also use the Air Wick plug ins and they keep the house smelling great!!

  • Becky says:

    Thank you for posting this! This was the motivation I needed to get the house cleaned up for tomorrow rather than take a nap with my twins!

  • Daisha says:

    Great tips and plan. With 5 little kids I’m thinking I better add on another 20 mins for the times they intercept and help me as they are a bit slower in the cleaning department 🙂

  • Marlana says:

    This list totally works as long as I’m the one whose doing the chores. But with the kids helping me, it slows me down tremendously.

    Oh, and I just realized that I don’t have windows to clean. I never thought about before now as I’ve lived oversees for two years and forgotten. We have windows with bars on them, and screens, but no glass.

  • Sara Newman-Frick says:

    Since my husband’s passing, I’ve let everything (including myself) slide. I’ve done a little cleaning here and there, but have not kept up with it. I work nights now from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. and come home and crash … stay worn out and tired. This list is a lifesaver. Even though I couldn’t get everything done in two hours (maybe two days!), it has given me a guideline that has alrady begun to show results … I feel like I can actually get on a schedule and get everything under control. Thanks so much!

    • Lyn says:

      So sorry for your husband’s passing, Sara. It’s easy to let go of everything when you have such a difficult loss in life. I bet your husband would want for you to be kind to yourself and to give yourself the care you need. Take gentle care of yourself and may God be with you.

  • WilliamB says:

    Sounds like a good plan but I wonder about the schedule. Most people I know it would take twice as long.

  • Cindy says:

    This is awesome, Crystal!! Thanks so much for the printable!! I love that you included the number of minutes on there dso I have a goal and can set my timer!! I’m going to try using this as a guide for my weekly home blessing! Thanks!!

  • Jennifer says:

    I think I finally found a cleaning plan that will work for me! I’ve tried fly lady, but it was just too intense for my world right now although I did like the timer part. I love that this is a set plan that can get a bunch done in just a couple (okay, a few including kid distractions and “helpers”) hours. Thanks, Crystal! I can’t tell you how much we appreciate your website.

  • Kelly says:

    Thank you SO much for posting this! I just used it to tackle my house- it looks a TON better now, and I actually got it all done! I printed out the list and put it in a plastic sleeve so that I can use a dry erase marker to check things off. Most of the times were pretty close- I even had extra time in a few areas.

    This cleaning plan may just change my life- I get so easily distracted when trying to clean bit by bit. Setting the timer and knowing that it would only take me 2 hours to be done for the week was so helpful! Thank you again!

  • Boni says:

    I use the timer when doing dishes. While they are soaking I go do other things. When the timer goes off I go back to the dishes. If I don’t do that I get distracted and the dishes pile up.

  • Sarah says:

    Great list! I did it today. Now I’m going to print and laminate so I can use it on the regular. 🙂

  • Angela F says:

    I have a question. Am I just the strange one or does anyone else like to clean alone? I hate to be cleaning when other people are home. I’m not sure why. I just like to work alone. Also, if family etc are home when you are cleaning and you really don’t want them to help because it’s faster if you do it, any suggestions on to how to work around them?

Money Saving Mom® Comment Policy

We love comments from readers, so chime in with your thoughts below! We do our best to keep this blog upbeat and encouraging, so please keep your comments cordial and kind. Read more information on our comment policy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *