5-Minute Cheat: Toss out-of-place items—magazines, sneakers and video games—into a laundry basket and stash in the closet for the time being. Run a microfiber duster across coffee and side tables. Straighten and fluff sofa cushions and pillows.
15-Minute Spiff-Up: Give floor and rugs a once-over with a vacuum. Dust the shelves and the flatscreen. A damp eraser pad takes care of any noticeable scuffs or fingerprints on walls. Quickly put DVDs and video games back where they belong.
30-Minute Power Clean: 15-minute spiff-up plus
—Roll back rugs. A dry cloth sweeper picks up dirt missed by the vacuum.
—Swipe the top of tall furniture and cobwebs in ceiling corners with a long-armed duster.
—Vacuum sofa and chair cushions with an upholstery attachment.
—A microfiber cloth and a no-drip cleaner take care of smeared windows, says Donna Smallin, author of The One-Minute Cleaner.
Timely Tip: Always attack a room from top to bottom and right to left, until you've gone full circle, says Debra Johnson, training manager of Merry Maids.