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Would you love to have a house that was clean most of the time with little effort? I certainly did but that seemed so unattainable. How could I fit hours and hours of cleaning into my already jam-packed day and do that on a regular basis? The answer is that I quite simply didn’t have to clean nonstop in order to have a clean house. A realistic cleaning schedule and the right cleaning products were all that I needed to achieve my dream of a tidy and clean home with very little time spent cleaning.
There is enough chaos in the world and I don’t need my home to be chaotic as well. Having a clean house makes me feel good, calm and peaceful. If your home is driving you crazy, making you feel anxious and overwhelmed, then it’s time for a change.
What is a Cleaning Schedule and Why Do I Need One?
A cleaning schedule is quite simply a reoccurring plan to get and keep your home clean. You may be full of determination to get your home sparkingly clean so you set aside the entire weekend to clean your house from top to bottom. But then you putter out halfway through or you do it once and hated it so much that you never want to do it again. I’ve been there, done that.
Waiting for random bursts of motivation or rushing in to do a marathon cleaning session will only lead to a home that is rarely clean and you will burn out quickly. Instead, using a cleaning schedule will lead to a tidy and clean home. Not just a neat and clean home for one weekend but a home that is tidy most of the time.
Coming up with a plan that works for you means fewer feelings of overwhelm and resentment about tackling everything at once. A good cleaning routine becomes second nature to you. It’s your guide so you don’t even need to think about what needs to get done or when it needs to get done. It’s all laid out for you.
Master Cleaning Task List
There are a lot of little tasks that go into having a clean home. Having a list of tasks without a plan is overwhelming. That is why marathon cleaning sessions typically don’t work. Having a list of tasks that aren’t done on a regular basis typically equals a house that’s never really clean. That’s why randomly cleaning when you feel motivated doesn’t work.
That’s where a cleaning schedule comes in. A realistic cleaning schedule breaks all these tasks down into manageable time periods – daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly.
Don’t freak out yet. There’s more to a cleaning schedule than just a list of chores. Stick with me until we get to the full plan so I can show you how to make a cleaning schedule work for your life.
Make a Cleaning Schedule
Here is a daily and weekly cleaning schedule to follow. Does that mean you have to follow this schedule to a T? Nope. It’s just the framework, a template for you to customize if you want to. Don’t want to customize? No problem, just follow it as is.
There are a few rules set up for a reason:
- Dusting always comes before vacuuming so you can vacuum up the dust
- Mopping always comes after vacuuming so you’re not just spreading crumbs and hair around
- Clean out your fridge the night before garbage day so you don’t have a bunch of old leftovers and expired food stinking up your house or garage.
Your daily tasks should take you about 20-30 minutes.
Your weekly task should take about 15 minutes each day.
Worried it’s going to take you longer? Everyone moves at a different pace and has different size homes. Keep reading for tips to help you along.
What is a Monthly Task?
As you look at the cleaning routine above, you may be wondering what the heck is a monthly task. It’s all the other chores not included in the weekly or daily schedule. It’s a task that is completed on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis (pretty much any timing that’s not daily or weekly). So it’s chores like changing the filters, cleaning the ceiling fans or wiping down cabinets.
I provide direction for how often and in which months those tasks should be completed in the printable cleaning schedule.
Adjust to fit your schedule
There isn’t just one right schedule. Each of us has the same 24 hours to work with but how we spend those hours greatly varies. We have different home lives – kids, no kids, pets, working non-traditional hours, a stay-at-home mom, etc.
I provided you with a guide and then you can adjust it to fit your life.
Now you may be thinking, “But I don’t have any available time.” If this is you, pause here and read Creating a Schedule and Mastering Your To-do List and The Biggest Time Wasters. Most of us have items on our to-do lists that aren’t urgent and important or we are spending too much time with time-wasting activities instead of on things that are important to us.
Get the Family Involved
Divide the tasks between other household members. Even small children can get involved. It’s good for your kids’ independence to learn how to perform these tasks and how to follow a schedule. Don’t think you’re family will get on board? Check out tips to teach your family to clean up and ways to help your family declutter.
Don’t Go for Perfection
Your cleaning schedule is meant to be a plan for getting and keeping your home clean. It’s a guide to follow and I absolutely encourage you to follow it every day, especially when you are just beginning with your cleaning schedule.
But sometimes life gets in the way of the best-laid plans. Does this mean your cleaning schedule is a failure? Nope! Does this mean that your cleaning schedule needs to be reworked? Maybe. Does this mean it’s your excuse to give up? No way!
I’ll get into how to handle hiccups in your schedule a little bit further down.
How to Implement Your Cleaning Schedule
Now that you have a cleaning schedule, how do you incorporate it into your life? Follow these guidelines to get started.
- You don’t need to spend hours or days cleaning your home before you start a cleaning schedule. Your home doesn’t need to be clean from top to bottom. Your home will get clean as you go through your cleaning schedule.
- You’ll probably move through the tasks slowly at first. The key is to get each task done as best as you can within the allotted time. You’ll get faster and better at each task as you go, which means your house will get cleaner each time. Then, the next time you won’t have to scrub quite as hard or empty the vacuum dirt cup quite as often because you’re starting from a cleaner point.
- Print your schedule, laminate it or put it in a protector sheet so you can check off each task as you complete them. Hang it where you will constantly see it. You could also put it on your digital calendar or set up reminders on your phone. I personally need a physical reminder that’s in my face all the time when I’m working on new routines. I prefer the old fashioned paper method until the new routine becomes a habit.
Start small. Add in one new task, such as wiping down the kitchen counters. Then slowly add in tasks. The gradual build-up won’t be such a shock, reducing overwhelm. Plus small wins will boost your confidence and make you more likely to keep going.
Another way to reduce overwhelm is by simplifying your home. You don’t have to be a minimalist but having less stuff and reducing the fussiness of your stuff will make it soooo much easier to clean. For example:
- Simplify your bedding – is the top sheet always twisted? Ditch it! Tired of wrestling your duvet every time you wash it? Go with a quilt or comforter. Too much time to place all the decorative pillows and blankets? Reduce the decorative items. You may like the look of what you have but what’s the point of all the fussy items if they rarely are used?
- Cut back on all the knick-knacks. Too many knick-knacks and decorative items make your home look cluttered and make it harder for you to clean your home. Your house will be so much easier to clean if you don’t have a bunch of stuff to dust or move when you are cleaning. Keep your favorites and get rid of the others.
- Reduce the number of toys or use a toy rotation to cut back on your kid’s clutter. Kids today typically have too many toys. Reduce the number of toys in your house and make plans to reduce how many come into your house in the future. Using a toy rotation is also a good way to reduce the number of toys available to play with at a given time. This is also great at preventing boredom with toys.
What To Do When You Suffer a Setback
Plans are meant to be followed but that doesn’t mean everything always runs according to plan. If things aren’t going exactly as planned, don’t use it as an excuse to ditch your cleaning schedule.
Instead, determine if it’s just a temporary glitch or a need for a rework.
For example, temporary glitches are when you or someone in your household gets sick or needs to temporarily work overtime.
Think of an easy back-up plan for the times when you or someone in your family isn’t able to do their tasks. Or you may have to accept that there will be a short period of time when your house isn’t quite as clean. When the temporary situation is over, know that your cleaning routine is still there to help get you back on track.
Consider reworking your schedule when you have a permanent schedule change, such as a life event (married/divorced, have a baby, etc.) or long term illness or disability. Some changes you may need to make are:
- Ask for or accept help from friends or family
- Hire out for certain chores
- Rearrange responsibility of tasks
- Cut back on the frequency of chores
What to Do if You Want to Give Up
Starting new routines is hard! Change isn’t always easy, especially when it’s starting something you don’t love to do. Here are some resources to help get you started or keep going.
- Check out these cleaning motivation tips.
- Make sure it’s not an issue with time management.
- Baby steps. Start small and then build from there.
- Set up accountability. Have a friend start a cleaning routine at the same time and check-in with each other and encourage each other.
- Reward yourself. We often don’t think of small steps as worthy of rewards but it can be so important to your continued success. Don’t downplay what you’ve done so far.
Print the cleaning schedule. Customize it to fit your life if you need to. Then get started cleaning.
Looking to upgrade your cleaning supplies? Check out the Best Cleaning Products to Make Cleaning Easy.
Remember, you don’t need to do a marathon cleaning schedule before you start. Your house will get clean as you do each step of the schedule.
Start small if you’re feeling overwhelmed and then gradually add in more tasks.