Some of you are going to read this and think I’m absolutely nuts. That’s okay. Rachel asked me for my cleaning schedule, so here it is.
I like my house to be clean because I am unable to relax in a messy home. I also wholeheartedly believe that the key to a productive day is a mopped floor. A clean house makes me happy.
But let’s be honest. If I don’t specifically schedule a day for me to spend time cleaning out the fridge, all the grossness that accumulates at the bottom of the produce drawer is just going to sit there and pile up. If I don’t schedule a day to clean the oven, I might as well just set a timer counting down to the next grease fire because I’m certainly not going to spontaneously decide to spend my afternoon degreasing it.
So being the hyper-scheduled person I am, I have a cleaning schedule. I’ve created variations of this schedule over the years, but this is the most current one (which I’ve been using for about a month). I think it does a good job of covering everything that needs to be done to keep this household at least mostly clean.
A FEW NOTES:
First off, this differs from a to-do list in that tasks don’t accumulate if they aren’t done that day – they just reappear a week later and you do them then. For example, if one Thursday I am not able to clean the toilets, I don’t add it to my to-do list for Friday, I just wait until next Thursday and clean the toilets then.
Second, in addition to this list, there are things I do every day like make the bed, wipe down the kitchen and bathroom counters, do the dishes, etc. My schedule does not include those items because I don’t have to remind myself to do them.
Third, I have multiple places throughout the month for “small organizational projects.” These are areas of the house that are not necessarily dirty, but are cluttered, disorganized, or downright messy. Today, for example, I cleaned out one of my desk drawers. Next I think I will tackle the bookshelf in our bedroom. I have a list of about 30 places that could use some organizing in my house, including but certainly not limited to my medicine cabinet, the cabinet under the sink, the bookshelves, the toy baskets, Eddie’s night stand, under the bed “storage”, the hall closet, and every cabinet in the entire kitchen. Once I get through all of those and more, I assume some of the areas (like the junk drawer) will be messy once again and I will need to re-cycle through. If I ever reach a point where there is no organizing, decluttering, or straightening up to be done, I can assume all my kids are out of the house and my husband is dead. I just can’t think of any other way this house could possibly stay put together permanently.
Fourth, a note about time commitment. I probably spend somewhere between 60 minutes and 90 minutes each day completing the tasks on this schedule. Less on some days (like the weekends) and more on Monday, when I do the laundry and ironing. This seems consistent with the amount of time it would take someone else if you paid them to do it. My sister, for example, has housecleaners come over every other week in addition to a paid helper who does the laundry and organizes things for her. We calculated their monthly labor hours to be 28 hours per month. Of course there is some cleaning required in between the bi-weekly visits (like sweeping, vacuuming, and cleaning counter tops), which we estimated at 3 hours per week. That makes a total of around 40 hours per week spent on cleaning, organizing, and laundering – almost exactly the amount of time I suggested.
Last, I try to involve my kids in the cleaning tasks as much as I can without going completely insane. Mostly I try to find things they can do to help without getting in my way. For example, on floor day, I give them both a broom and have them sweep crumbs into piles before I vacuum them up. This is not actually helpful because I’m going to vacuum the whole floor either way, but it gives them practice in sweeping. Some day they will be able to sweep well enough to do the job themselves. On laundry day they help me sort the clothes, fold the clothes, and put them away (yes, a 3 year old can put away her own clothes INCLUDING things that get hung up). For more ideas of what chores young kids can do, click here.
I made my chart in power point because I think it’s easiest to use. You can make yours in excel, word, or even just handwritten. Modify it over time as you see which tasks need to be completed more or less often and as your weekly activities change.