There is no way around it – we live busy lives. Work, school, kids and extracurricular activities all vie for our time and often leave us feeling overwhelmed. Our homes often suffer as a result; there just never seems to be time to get everything done. While it’s impossible to add more hours to the day, by establishing a cleaning and organizing routine for your home, it is often possible to find the time you need to keep your household looking great and running smoothly.
Before you get down to the nitty-gritty of planning what gets cleaned when, take some time to think about the length of your weekly or monthly schedule. Casey Slide of Money Crashers suggests a four-week schedule; “that way you are able to include tasks that you do daily as well as monthly tasks, such as checking your smoke detectors to protect your home in case of a house fire.” When making this determination, keep in mind how much time you can realistically devote to weekly cleaning and organizing, and be careful not to put too much on your plate.
List Your Tasks
Next on your to-do-list is writing down all of the cleaning and organizing tasks you need to accomplish. It’s a good idea to create separate lists for daily tasks (such as washing dishes), weekly tasks (like taking the garbage out), and extra tasks, which might include cleaning out closets. Remember, your completed schedule should include not just what needs to be done, but when it needs to be done. This is the ideal time to put some thought into bigger organizational tasks.
Berit Thorkelson of Better Homes and Gardens writes, “Leave areas that you don’t often use, such as the storage or guest room, off your regular cleaning schedule. Work them in seasonally, or as needed.” This will help ensure you don’t get overwhelmed. Consider cleaning or organizing one room or storage area every month, and don’t forget to move extra items into your storage unit as needed.
Daily Cleaning Tasks
Your daily task schedule will form the basis for your whole-house cleaning routing. Martha Stewart suggests six daily cleaning tasks that should never be left undone.
- Make the bed. Simply making your bed each day will allow your room to feel cleaner, making it easier for you to keep everything else neat and tidy.
- Clean as you cook. Don’t throw the butter wrapper in the sink for later or leave measuring cups until after dinner. Cleaning as you go will save you time.
- Manage the clutter. Never leave a room without bringing some clutter out with you. Bring a pair shoes with you when you go upstairs or take the dirty laundry to the laundry room on your trip down.
- Wipe up messes as they happen. Don’t leave coffee (or any) spills unattended. Take a few minutes to wipe them up with a damp cloth, and you won’t be dealing with set-in stains at the end of the week.
- Sort the mail. You get mail every day, and a lot of it doesn’t need to stick around. Place bills, coupons and personal correspondence in the appropriate places the moment you bring in the mail and recycle junk mail.
- Sweep the kitchen floor. The kitchen often sees more traffic than the rest of the house, meaning the floor collects a lot of dirt and debris. Spend a few minutes each day sweeping the floor, and you won’t see dirt being dragged through the house all week long.
Weekly Cleaning Tasks
No matter how good you are about picking up after yourself, you still have some cleaning to do each week. Consider creating a schedule that permits you to focus on one major task or room each day. This will allow you to completely clean that room, and then, other than picking up clutter, you can forget about it for the rest of the week. Dana White, of A Slob Comes Clean, is a big proponent of this idea, suggesting, for example, that Monday be laundry day. Laundry day means “start to finish, every last pair of dirty undies washed, folded and put away.” Here is an example of a complete week.
- Monday – Laundry day
- Tuesday – Bathrooms
- Wednesday – Living room
- Thursday – Bedrooms
- Friday – Kitchen and dining room
- Saturday – Organizational and monthly tasks
Keeping a clean house is actually about more than just cleaning. There are many other little tasks that often get overlooked. From checking the fire alarm to putting seasonal toys into your storage unit, be sure you plan time for everything else. Cynthia Ewer, writing for Organized Home, suggests creating separate lists for each season and detailing what needs to be done. For example, spring and fall are perfect for window cleaning while winter might be a good time to clean out the basement or closets.
Your extra tasks should also include maintenance and safety items. Cynthia Ewer reminds us to flip mattresses, check dryer lint lines, and replace smoke detector batteries and air filters. For instance, “change filters monthly for maximum energy savings and indoor comfort.” Performing these tasks regularly will help save money and they could save your life.
With a little time and effort spent scheduling, you can easily find time to keep up with all of your household tasks.