Cleaning. Tidying. Organizing. It's a love-hate relationship we have with these tasks. We love the outcome - sparkly sinks, neat counter tops, toys all housed in their proper place. Ahh, it sounds so beautiful.
But you know what isn't always beautiful? The process of getting to that 'ahh' moment. This is where the 'hate' comes in. Very few of us look forward to vacuuming, unloading the dishwasher, scrubbing the toilets, or picking up the Mega Blocks for the third time that day.
Well, I'd like to show you how I have been combating the 'hate' part of this relationship and am basking in the 'love' part on an (almost) daily basis. If you've struggled to find a system that gets your house clean but that also doesn't drive you crazy, I may be able to help!
I've used many different cleaning schedule methods throughout the past few years. Up until now, I couldn't find one that I felt was sustainable in the long run.
For example, when we were first married and living in an apartment, I cleaned every weekend, which meant I lost half a day (or more) to laundry, dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing, etc. This was not ideal.
Once we moved to a house, I devised a system (complete with a printed Excel spreadsheet that was color-coded) that divided up the tasks I thought needed to be done and assigned each one to a day of the week. This was great at first, but I was way too ambitious with what I thought I could get done in a day, so I abandoned it after a few months.
Next, I switched to a system where I only had one big cleaning day once a month. This made the day-to-day easier, but when you put off some stuff for that long, it makes for a messier house that takes twice as long to clean. Plus you live in filth for a month. Gross.
This recycling of cleaning routines went on until, well, we moved into our current residence and I was tired of feeling like I was either a slave to housework or being lazy and allowing my family to live in disarray.
So I sat down one day and came up with a system that I have been using for 5 months now, and I am happy to report that our home feels clean and I don't spend more than 20 minutes a day doing all of the chores I need to get done.
So are you ready to tackle this cleaning business once and for all? Follow these steps to create a cleaning schedule that allows you to get all the cleaning tasks you feel necessary for your home to function completed while maintaining your sanity!
Step 1: Make a List
Jot down every cleaning task that you feel needs to be done within your household. Think about every room in your house, all your family's specific needs, etc. I created my list by walking from room to room listing everything that would need to be cleaned/tidied in there. Here's what I came up with:
step 2: assign a frequency to each task
Make a second list with several different categories that will represent how often you plan to do each of these tasks. Examples of different frequencies are: daily, every other day, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-annually, annually.
Now thinking about each individual task from your first list, ask yourself how often it really needs to be done in order for your home to feel clean and well-maintained. Write the task under that frequency category. Here are my categories and a few of the tasks I assigned to them:
step 3: assign SPECIFIC days for each task
Let me break this down for each category.
Not really much to assign here; obviously you'll be tackling these every day. As a word of caution, though, if you have more than 5 in this category, you may need to re-evaluate just how imperative it is to do these that often. I say this because these are going to be done every single day on top of the other tasks we will delegate in the next categories, so don't overwhelm this category!
Every Other Day:
The tasks in this category will be done about 3 times a week. I use a M-W-F and T-Th-S schedule to assign when they will be done.
So, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I sweep the kitchen. And on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, I wipe down the kitchen table.
These will only get done once a week, so you simply need to divide them up amongst the 7 days of the week. My personal schedule looks something like this:
The frequency of these (every 2 weeks) allows for you to plan them around your schedule. My plan is that every 1st and 3rd week of the month, I wash our bed sheets. Every 2nd and 4th week, I vacuum our stairs. Whichever day I pick to do those tasks during those weeks is up to me, so that gives me a little freedom.
The way I broke down when I do these tasks was planning to complete one every 5 days. Here's what my personal monthly schedule looks like:
step 4: establish a system for tracking what needs to be done each day
Now that you have determined when each task will be done, it helps to look at the big picture and come up with a system for how you will track completing these tasks each day.
You will need your frequency lists in a handy place to refer to when you are planning out what needs to be done on any given day. I personally have mine in my Bullet Journal. Every day I flip to that page and determine what needs to be done, then I write that on a white board I have in our kitchen:
I like the white board method because it can be changed as often as I need it to. It also doesn't waste paper (which my list-crazy self is very bad about). I simply write what I need to do each day, put a little check mark when I've completed it, then erase it all at the end of the day. I found my plain white board at Target along with some inexpensive dry-erase markers in a few different colors.
If a calendar-like system sounds more appealing to you, a planner, calendar, or even dry-erase board with the week/month already on it could work for you.
The main goal for this step is to have a way to see what your cleaning tasks are for just that day. Once you look at what you'll actually have to do in a day based on your frequency lists, I think you'll see this system gets a lot done, but not all at once.
An example week from my own cleaning schedule would look something like this:
So within one week, all of these things will get done, but I will never have to clean the entire house (or even half of it) on the same day.
Now, a side note that is very important: I am a stay-at-home Mom, so I do have more time on my hands (but not much) to get these things done than say a working mom or dad. The whole point of this is to find a schedule that works for you, so if there is a day of the week where you typically get off work earlier or the kids will be out later or whatever the case, plan to do more of the big chores on those days. Or if weekends are when you have the most energy, save stuff like vacuuming or mopping for then.
Another side note of importance: I do all of this (mostly) by myself. My husband works really, really hard and often 15 hours or more a day, so I take care of this stuff for our family. But your family dynamics may be different, so you could potentially divide this work up amongst others and it would make it even less overwhelming!
This quote speaks volumes to what we are trying to accomplish with this sanity-saving cleaning schedule. You want to have the peace of mind that your home is truly clean and tidy, but not feel like you slaved away at it all day like Cinderella. You want to have time to enjoy your space instead of constantly drowning in the messiness of it. Well, I can say from experience that if you carve out a little time each day and follow this schedule, your home will feel clean without you feeling exhausted by it.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes! And if you have some other cleaning tips that help keep you from feeling overwhelmed, leave them below!