I taught a class once in which we learned about Taylorism. One of the major components of Taylorism is breaking down tasks into simple segments to cut down on time to complete them.

I found myself implementing Taylorism-esque lessons around the home. I would clean dishes in segments: load the sink, scrub the dishes, rinse, then dry. This was more efficient than doing each dish one at a time. When it comes to cleaning, not all tasks can be “Taylorized,” but planning ahead can make a big difference in cutting down cleaning time.

Recycle the news. Line refrigerator drawers and shelving with newspaper. The newspaper absorbs the odors in the fridge (and occasional spills). Replace the newspaper every two weeks to keep it fresh.

Work from top to bottom. Start with ceiling fans and top shelves before moving down to countertops and flooring. Anything that falls from the upper levels will get picked up by the end. In that same vein, dust before you vacuum.

Keep cleaning supplies in more than one place. While it is tempting to group all of your supplies in one area, it also makes it that much more cumbersome when you see a dirty spot and have to go down the stairs and into another room to get them. Instead, keep a small stock in several rooms. Window cleaner, paper towels and bathroom cleaner can go under the bathroom sink. Disinfecting wipes and all-purpose cleaner can go in the kitchen.

Avoid deep-cleaning the oven. Nonstick oven liners can be cut to size and used in regular ovens or toaster ovens. The liners catch drips and crumbs, and you can throw them in the dishwasher when you’re done. Follow manufacturer instructions. The liners should be placed on a low oven rack rather than on the oven element directly.

Bring to a boil. When you have finished cooking something on the stove, but before you begin eating, resist the urge to take the pan off the heat. Instead, after removing the food, return the pan to the burner and add water. Bring to a boil and scrape the food bits off the bottom with a wooden spoon. They’ll come off much easier than they would if you allow the pan to cool.

Create catch-alls. Designate a storage cube, tote or basket for each family member. Rather than asking them to pick up each item that you find as you go, place them in the catch-alls. Just remember to make a habit of emptying them regularly.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email