THERE are so many different cleaning tips and tricks out there, it can be overwhelming and hard to know which ones to try first.
However some are tried and tested, and require minimal effort and time – like this handy hack, known as the ‘Pomodoro’ method – which translated literally means tomato.
It sounds bizarre but it’s actually a well-known technique for efficient working, however one cleaning pro recommends also adopting it for housework too as it can get your home looking spotless in less than an hour.
Try the tomato technique
Annie Mcwilliam – co-founder of the eco-friendly cleaning product brand Colt & Willow – says: “When you really have to get the house clean quickly, I recommend the Pomodoro technique – a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s.
“It uses a timer to break work into intervals – we find setting a timer to get a job done quickly is a really good motivator.”
Set ten minutes on the timer
So how does it work exactly?
Annie explains: “Each interval is known as a ‘Pomodoro’, funnily enough coming from the Italian word for tomato, after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer Cirillo used as a university student.
“Work through your home one room at a time, roughly 10 minutes on the timer per room, clearing away clutter, wiping down surfaces, and a quick hoover.
“In the kitchen, do the dishes, spray surfaces with a natural cleaning product, and give everything a good wipe.
“Put away extra cutlery and crockery, and dust the top shelves in your cupboards.
“In the bathroom, remove used products from your shower, empty the bin, wipe down sinks and shower screens and make sure the mirror’s sparkling clean.”
Little and often
While ten minutes per room doesn’t sound like much, the key is little and often to ensure your house always looks tidy.
Annie says: “When really short on time, you can never underestimate the power of a speed hoover and a quick cushion plump.
“Other areas you might be able to squeeze in are changing the bed, folding or ironing the laundry, putting kids’ toys away and dusting the window sills.
“The idea is to break down a large intimidating task into smaller steps, making it more manageable and seeing achievement along the way.”
The Pomodoro method’s six steps to success
How the Pomodoro method works
- Decide first on the priority tasks to be completed in each room
- Set your timer (however long you think it will take to get the task done, usually from 5 – 25 minutes)
- Work on the task, and note down any jobs you might want to come back to
- End work when the timer rings and take a short break, typically five minutes
- Repeat until you complete three intervals, or ‘Pomodoros’
- After three intervals take the fourth section as a long break, also known as a tea and cake break.
The reason it works so well is because you’re racing against the clock, ensuring you don’t get distracted.
Annie says: “To effectively do the Pomodoro method you will need a pen and paper or notepad to list your jobs, and finally a timer of your choice.
“If you really want to add extra motivation to your cleaning, I find that writing a list of all the jobs to be done helps give me the satisfaction of crossing them off when finished.”
If you think your house could do with a smell refresh, Annie recommends the following quick tips so that it will smell amazing in no time too.
She adds: “Firstly, open the windows – nothing will make your home smell better than getting rid of the stale air.
“Then, boil a pan of water and add some slices of lemons and oranges, the gorgeous scent of lemon and orange will soon fill your house.
“If your bin is really bringing down the smell in your home, take a cotton wool ball and add a few drops of your favourite essential oil, and place it at the bottom of your bin.”