**NOTE: If this method isn't working for you, try my EVEN EASIER METHOD of cleaning. Enjoy!
don't like hate cleaning...but I love having a clean house. Let's be honest; there are a million and one things I'd RATHER do than clean! I'm ok at tidying up at the end of the day, but I'm horrible at deep cleaning and staying on top of the DIRTY, harder to clean stuff - especially bathrooms and floors.
I just moved from a 2 bedroom house (where everything was messy all the time because we lived daily in every square inch of the place!) to a 7 bedroom house (where there is just way more to clean!). Either way, it's hard to keep up (especially with hobbies, jobs, kids, spouses...).
Here's my simple solution that I've been doing for the past year:
Keep your house clean with 1 chore per day
It's so simple! By doing one "deep cleaning" chore per day (in addition to the daily dishes, taking garbage out, picking up, etc.), it helps you stay on top of the mess and makes it manageable. It only takes 15-20 (maybe 30) minutes so you can squeeze it in between other tasks.
Yes, 15-20 minutes...I promise. Please continue reading ALL THE WAY to the bottom of the post to see how it's possible!
For a printable version of this list click HERE
***NOTE: To share this printable list with someone, simple copy and paste the URL or link and send it to them; no need to "share" the doc with them.
I even made a calendar in my phone at first, and set an alarm to remind me in the morning of my task for the day. I also have a printed copy on my fridge and bathroom mirror to keep me on track for the day. Ok, here are the meat and potatoes of my magical list:
(Monday is cheating because it is 3 chores...but they aren't as big as the other ones so you can squeeze more in.)
- Laundry day. Always keep your machines running. Start first thing in the morning and consciously keep loads going throughout the day. Set an alarm in your phone if you have to. Fold laundry at night watching TV with the hubby. Make sure all clothes are put away before you go to bed.
- Tidy house. Go through every room in your house and put everything away.
- Tip: Never leave a room empty-handed! As you walk throughout the house ALWAYS pick at least one thing up as you come/go. Your house will be picked up before you know it.
- Vacuum main rooms (not bedrooms or stairs). As you walk through the house picking things up, drag a vacuum behind you. **NOTE: I vacuum a lot because I have a dog that sheds. You may not need to vacuum as much as I choose to do.
- Bathrooms. Everything: toilet, tub/shower, replace towels and wash clothes, sink, floors, wipe out drawers/cabinets, mirror, re-stock toilet paper/fresh towel supply. Spray some good smelling stuff in there when you are done. The satisfaction is amazing.
- Fast and easy way to clean your showers: On "bathroom day" simply take your cleaner in with you while you shower, and give it a good scrub while you're already in there! The walls will already be wet and soapy, so it will go much faster (See tips on this HERE). If you are wary about "bathing" with cleaners, find a good homemade shower cleaner like THIS ONE. Trust me, this will make your bathroom day muuuuuuch easier.
- Surfaces. All surfaces: anything that can be dusted, mopped, swept, wiped, vacuumed, etc.
- For me this included counter tops, windows, banisters, floors, microwave, kitchen sink, wiping down kitchen chairs, dusting and wiping all mantles/shelves/dressers/night stands/etc., wiping the top of the fridge, and vacuuming my floors, couches and stairs.
- Organize/clean out something. This can be a closet, your car, your child's toy box, your makeup drawer, pick one thing and don't stop until it's clean/organized.
- Tidy the house (Go through every room in your house...and never leave a room empty-handed!)
- Vacuum (all rooms including stairs.)
It took some tweaking and adjusting at first, but over time this became a fool-proof list for me that I use weekly. I looked forward to some days more than others, but everything was covered by my doing one deep-cleaning chore per day.
TWEAK the list to make it work for you!
Just keep the same concept of having certain daily tasks that will help you stay on top of the mess. I even have to adjust it from time to time. An example of tweaking as of late:
My house now is much larger than my previous home. What I've done lately is divide up the levels of my house. So on week 1 of the month, I do my top floor (but follow the same schedule - Monday, vacuum. Tuesday, bathrooms, etc.). On week 2, I do my main floor. On week 3 I do my basement, and week 4 I try to do whatever needs it the most. It has really worked for me because my house is big. In my smaller town home, I was able to do it all in one day.
Amy, a reader friend, brought up a good concern. She said:
This is informative and I keep meaning to make a weekly calendar for myself too. But these tasks will take more than an extra 15-20 minutes a day;)
My response to that:
Amy, yes, you are right - at first they will most likely take more time (depending on how big your house is). The beauty of it, though, is that if you stay on top of your list it gets easier. The first time you do all your surfaces you might really have to scrub your floors well. The next week they might not need as thorough of a scrubbing. Same with bathrooms and vacuuming...you get to the point where you "spot clean" many times and only do a super deep clean every few weeks. It's great!
I have had lots of comments from readers who work full-time, asking for tips on how to tweak the list so it would work with their schedule. You can break up the levels of your house like I do, which lessens the amount of cleaning you have to do every day. But I'm going to be very honest...even though I stay at home, I get ZERO cleaning done throughout the day. Hey, I have two kids under two (only 18 months apart!) so let's be frank...
It just doesn't happen for me.
I usually have to wait until my hubby is home, kids are bathed and in bed, we clean up dinner, then I tackle my chore for the day. I usually don't get my cleaning done until 8 or 9pm! So, really, just because I'm at home doesn't mean I get a lot of free time during the day with a baby and toddler. Maybe give cleaning at night a try like I do and it might work well for you like it does for me. (Plus, your spouse will be home to help you, wink wink.)
Obviously there are day-to-day tasks that you shouldn't ignore for an entire week, and that's perfectly fine.
I know many of you are thinking, "Laundry only one day a week? That would never work for me!". Yes, it's true, I do laundry throughout the week too - as needed. It's just important for me to have a set day that I know I need to replace all the towels, wash sheets, and even wash bathroom rugs, etc. I found myself simply keeping up with the day-to-day chores and not getting to any of the nitty-gritty stuff, and losing track. No more "Ugh...when was the last time I changed this hand-towel?..."!
There are other set-it-and-forget-it chores (like running and emptying the dishwasher), as well as as-needed chores (like taking garbages out, sweeping, cleaning spills and messes, etc.) that should be done as-needed. This list is mostly to help you stay on top of the deep cleaning along with the day-to-day tasks.
Trust me, even I am guilty at letting things slide here and there. But let me tell you, my life is definitely easier on the weeks that I follow this list than the weeks that I don't. For me, I will have to continue tweaking it since we just moved, but so far it has kept me sane, kept my house clean (for the most part), and has kept me from feeling too overwhelmed with a huge daunting "to-do" list.
And hey...by staying on top of your cleaning you will have much more time to enjoy fun, cheap, or free things! :)
Hope it helps! For a printable version of this list click HERE.
You're welcome :)