If you really want to save time on your big cleaning days, do a little cleaning every day. Just 10 or 15 minutes a day can really save you time in the long run. Spend a few minutes tidying up, and then concentrate on wiping down the surfaces. Then, a quick sweep and that's about all it takes to keep you from spending hours on a deep clean later on. And if you keep things from piling up over the course of the week, you can skip the decluttering process and dive right into the cleaning when the time comes.
You probably think that your toilet is the dirtiest place in the house, but guess again. Kitchen sinks have more than 500,000 bacteria per square inch -- and that's just in the drain. Add the sponge, the sink basin and the faucet handles, and you've got a germ colony.