Creating a house cleaning schedule can help you keep peace and order in your home, most of the time, as long as you can stick to it. The sticking to it part is a lot easier said than done though.
That's why this week's challenge is to create and get in the habit of doing both a daily and weekly cleaning schedule for your home that is realistic, but gets the major stuff done.
In addition, we'll organize our cleaning supplies so you can access them when you need them, to get the housework done as easily as possible.
Before we begin the steps of this week's challenge though, you may be wondering why I've got this on the schedule as part of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge, since it has to do with cleaning, not organization.
The simple answer is that your home can be quite organized, but if it's not also clean enough (not necessarily immaculate) you still won't feel comfortable in it, and find it a nice, relaxing haven to spend time in. Since that is the goal of why we're working through this series, this step is therefore necessary.
Are you new here? The Create A House Cleaning Schedule Challenge is part of the 52 Weeks To An Organized Home Challenge. (Click the link to learn how to join us for free for future and past challenges if you aren't already a regular reader).
Plus, even the most organized homes need to have some daily and weekly maintenance chores performed to keep things organized and in their proper place, such as tidying and putting things away. When you take the time to work on your cleaning routine it seems these additional organinizing maintenance tasks also get done during the process.
Everything in your home runs on a cycle. There is the laundry cycle, for example, where you wear and dirty clothes, wash and dry them, and then wear and dirty them again. There is also a cleaning cycle, such as with dishes, with clean ones getting used and becoming dirty, and then getting cleaned again.
What we want to achieve is a home where this cycle doesn't get stalled at a single point -- dirty. It is when the cycle stops spinning and points only to dirty that we are uncomfortable and unhappy because we cannot do what we want or need to do as conveniently as possible.
Since most of us cannot afford servants who can "magically" make clean underwear and dishes appear we have to keep the cycle going ourselves.
A house cleaning schedule, when actually used, is the best and easiest way to make sure you live comfortably most of the time. That is because good schedules anticipate the cycle various things in our home move to, and help us keep the cycle moving, where it doesn't stop at dirty and fester there.
Of course, everything in our homes doesn't need to be cleaned with the same frequency. That is why you really need several cleaning schedules, including a daily, weekly, and seasonal house cleaning schedule. The most important of these schedules are the daily and weekly ones, and only once you have these firmly under control should you even worry about fall cleaning and spring cleaning, for instance.
The most important thing to remember when trying to stick to a cleaning schedule is to be realistic in what needs to get done on a daily and weekly basis in your home, and only trying to accomplish these tasks, and not everything else that could get done too, but can really wait.
If you limit your daily and weekly house cleaning schedule tasks to only the major stuff you can get it done and start seeing some very positive results. This is especially true if you also enlist the help of family members through chores, honey do lists, and good old fashioned team work in accomplishing the tasks on the schedule.
Each home is different in what needs to be accomplished, but although the particulars may differ from home to home there are some major similarities too. I've written an entire FREE 40 page ebook entitled House Cleaning Lists and Schedules For Your Home that can help you decide what needs to be cleaned and how often in your home.
To claim your free ebook all you have to do is subscribe to the Household Management 101 newsletter, which is a sister site to this one that I also blog at.
The ebook provides checklists for your daily, weekly, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom cleaning schedules (plus more), which you can review to make sure you're not forgetting anything when making your personal schedule.
For more instructions on claiming your free ebook, and what information it contains, click here.
After you claim your free ebook you'll be ready to create the two most important of your schedules -- your daily and weekly house cleaning schedule.
Below are some additional tips to consider when creating these schedules:
Your daily schedule is just that, a list of things that need to be done on a daily basis to clean and tidy up your home. Try to keep this list as simple as possible to keep yourself from getting overwhelmed since these are tasks you plan to do everyday.
To get an idea of what should be on this list here's my article on what I consider the top 8 essential daily chores for your home.
Obviously you do not need to stick to my list. Add to it, subtract from it, add something completely different. It needs to be tailored to you and your lifestyle for your schedule to work. But whatever you choose be realistic in how much time these tasks will take, and how much time you've got, so your list is not longer than that time frame.
You may also want to break up the daily cleaning schedule further, determining what items you'll do in the morning, versus the evening, or mid-day for example. Take your typical schedule into account when making these determinations so you're not trying to schedule things for when you're out of the house or it would be otherwise inconvenient to do some cleaning and tidying chores.
There is not as much flexibility for deciding when to do daily cleaning chores, since they have to be done daily. However, you've got lots of flexibility when it comes to designing your weekly house cleaning schedule.
To get an idea of what could be on this list check out the weekly house cleaning checklist.
Again, this checklist is meant to give you ideas for what to include on your own weekly schedule, not that you need to do every one of these things. It is important that whatever you choose for your schedule is personalized to fit your home, your life and your circumstances.
Your weekly schedule can have you do all your major cleaning tasks in one day each week, such as a couple hour cleaning session on Saturday morning for example. Or, you could break up the tasks to do just one or two things each day, tacking on a bit of weekly work onto each of your daily cleaning schedules.
Only you can decide what will work best for you and your family, since it depends on so many factors including your schedule, your family's participation in the cleaning process, when you've got the most energy for cleaning and chores, how long you can clean in one session, and how often you realistically want to be cleaning.
Finally, once you've made your daily and weekly schedules you should create cleaning checklists for some of the major rooms in your home, such as your kitchen, the bathroom(s), and bedrooms.
Think of these checklists as your way of making clear what tasks should be completed to feel like a certain job is done.
So how this might work in practice is that you've designated Tuesday as the day you'll clean bathrooms in your weekly schedule. So on Tuesday you (or the person in your home assigned to clean the bathrooms) can work down that checklist to make sure the task is completed all the way.
After a time you won't need to really check your checklist often, it becomes routine. But the nice thing about checklists is that it's an easy way to convey your expectations to someone else assigned a cleaning task, to make sure they don't miss what to you are obvious cleaning tasks.
The free ebook I've mentioned above has many of these checklists, and it's a great guide of where to start. Ideally you'd then personalize the checklists to fit your own home, to make it work best for you.
Just because I'm asking you to make the plan for how to get all the chores done in the home doesn't mean you need to personally do all of the cleaning or other household tasks yourself.
I personally believe that everyone in the family contributes to the mess, and benefits from keeping things clean, so everyone can participate in this process of keeping things clean and running smoothly.
Therefore, when making your plans for your schedule and routines make sure you have tasks that everyone can help with.
For kids a great way to assign chores, and also track when and how these chores get done, is to use a chore chart. I suggest you make one and start using it with your kids to teach them responsibility and help train them for when they are living in their own homes.
To help with this task I've gathered quite a few real life chore chart ideas from readers to show you how you might want to do it too.
Once you've created what you think is a good house cleaning schedule for your home and family life, the next step is to give it a try and get in the habit of doing it regularly.
Realize that at first your cleaning tasks will take you a bit longer if you haven't been doing them regularly, especially before you've finished decluttering your home. Give yourself a certain amount of time each day to work on your scheduled tasks, and when that time is up just quit for the day. Eventually, as long as you were realistic with your times when you created your schedule in the first place, you'll be able to finish everything on your list during the time alloted as the gradual improvements begin to take effect.
Remember that your schedule was designed to fit your typical routine, but frankly all kinds of things pop up during the day which make very few days "typical." Don't let this throw you off.
Instead, design your schedule with some flexibility in mind and just do the best you can. If you get to all the things on your schedule most of the time you'll see all the benefits of it without trying to fit your life into too tight a mold.
Finally, don't be afraid to re-work your schedule if it turns out it doesn't suit your needs. After working with the schedule for a few weeks you may realize you were unrealistic about some of your assumptions. Don't just give up, thinking you're a failure who can't stick to anything. Instead, tweak it, rework it to fit your true needs and time constraints, and try again.
Something else I've learned is that even what was once the "perfect" schedule may eventually not be so perfect anymore becase of changed circumstances. Since your house cleaning schedule is a tool that is designed to help you with your home, you don't have to be a slave to it. Instead, don't be afraid to completely rework it so it fits your needs again.
The final step in this week's House Cleaning Schedule Challenge is to organize your cleaning supplies.
First, declutter your cleaning supplies, getting rid of empty bottles, cleaners you'll never use again, and duplicates if you won't realistically use them all before they would get really old.
To the extent possible, please donate these supplies to a local charity so someone else can use them to clean their home. However, if you've got to dispose of any household cleaners follow the directions on the bottles or follow these general guidelines for how to dispose of cleaning and laundry products here.
Next, try to consolidate your cleaning supplies into one or just a few strategic locations in your home, where you can easily access them for cleaning. One area to hold all your supplies, such as a cleaning closet, may make it more difficult for you to clean your home, or it might be just the ticket for your weekly cleaning routine. Just do what works best for you.
Keep in mind, however, that you don't want to come across cleaners and cleaning equipment all over your house since keeping things stored together is typically the best way to find things in your home. This is especially true when you have children and pets in your home, since all cleaners should be stored out of their reach (even homemade cleaning products). Therefore, limit the number of areas where you can access cleaning supplies.
If your house cleaning schedule calls for one or two big cleaning sessions during the week, carrying around a cleaning caddy from room to room may work best for you.
On the other hand, if you like to clean parts of your home daily instead having supplies in several locations may work better for you, but you'll need to make sure each of those places have a child proof safety latches on it.
In addition, holding your large pieces of equipment, such as your mops and brooms, on the wall or a door, such as in the picture on the left, can free up lots of floor space, so consider a mop and broom organizer.
Finally, if you've got lots of cleaning supplies, it can be a pain trying to reach inside a cabinet to grab something from the back without knocking everything else out of the way. In such a case, consider a pull out cabinet organizer to place your supplies in to make it easier to access what you need.
I would love to know how this week's House Cleaning Schedule Challenge is going. You can tell me your progress or give me more ideas for how you've designed your schedule in the comments.
I also love before and after pictures of your scheduling system, and would love to see some of yours. Submit your pictures (up to four per submission) and blog posts and get featured in the Creative Storage Solutions Hall of Fame. You've worked hard to get organized, so now here's your chance to show off!
We're working on our homes slowly, one area at a time, so don't get too distracted from the House Cleaning Schedule Challenge this week.
However, I know some of you love to know what's coming next, so I'll tell you. Next week is another big week, since we'll tackle making our morning and evening routines.
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I would love to hear from you, sharing your thoughts, questions, or ideas about this topic, so leave me a comment below. I try to always respond back!