How to Create a Cleaning Schedule

Because of the popularity of my last two posts on cleaning, I thought I’d take a break from more serious subjects once a week and chat a little about what I have learned and what I do in this area. This means that I’ll be posting three times a week instead of just two (if all goes well and a certain four-year-old tornado allows). Two of the posts will deal with ideas I have been tossing around in my brain, but the third will be devoted to cleaning. If you are interested, great! If not, we’d love to see you back here on Thursday for something that might be more your style.

Homemakers want to know how to keep their homes clean while living their lives. Not only do they need to fit cleaning into their schedules, but they want it to fit in a way that maximizes effect and efficiency. No one wants to spend all his or her time cleaning, and no one wants to take the whole weekend to get a clean house.

Enter the cleaning schedule.

Pinterest is full of them. You can find cleaning schedules for working moms, for stay-at-home moms, for stay-at-home wives, etc. They are usually full of great ideas, but there is one thing they generally lack–customization. That is why I want to show you how I came up with my own weekly cleaning schedule.

There are five steps that worked for me. I started out very basic, and then by trial and error, I formulated a schedule I like. Note: This does not include deep cleaning. I’ll discuss that in another post.

1. Figure out what you have to clean.

The first thing I did was walk around the house with a notebook and a pen. I made a heading for each room, and then under those headings I wrote all the cleaning tasks to be done on a weekly basis. For example, your living room section might look something like this:

  1. Dust the furniture.
  2. Wipe down the pictures.
  3. Sweep/vacuum the upholstery.
  4. Vacuum the carpet.
  5. Clean the interior of the windows.

Do this in every room, being as detailed as you want to be–if you want, you could even specify every piece of furniture to be dusted. Just write down whatever you think you need to see on a checklist each week to motivate you to get your cleaning tasks done.

2. Decide how many days you want to clean.

Do you want to clean every day? Three days a week? Only on Saturday? What you decide will affect how you portion out the tasks. I prefer a schedule which excludes the weekend, so I divide my tasks among five days of the week. In this way, the weekends are free, and yet each day has a manageable amount of work.

3. Determine if you want to use grouping.

For example, do you want to do all your dusting on one day, all your vacuuming on another, and all your mopping on a third? Or do you want to split the various tasks up among several days? Decide what you think will be easiest for you to face each day. I personally prefer grouping, but I have done it the other way too and enjoyed it.

4. Divide your tasks.

Write out the days of the week, and in columns underneath, list the chores you want to get done each day, going through the list you made earlier. Try to keep in mind your regular weekly schedule and accommodate it; if you are out of the house all day on Thursday, either assign the simplest tasks to that day or skip it altogether. I like to keep the chores evenly balanced so that I am working about the same amount of time each day.

I also like to keep in mind what things I really don’t like to clean (the toilets) and approach them in a way that will make cleaning them as painless as possible. In the past, this has meant assigning them to a single day so I get them over with, but that hasn’t really worked. I’m thinking of breaking them up over a couple of days.

5. Test and tweak your schedule.

Consider your schedule a rough draft for at least a month. As you put it into practice, you will find out what is working and what is not, what needs changing and what does not. You can make the necessary adjustments until you find a schedule that works for you.

These instructions are very general, but the beauty of them is that they are extremely customizable. Your cleaning schedule will be different from other people’s cleaning schedules–which is fitting, because your house is unlike anyone else’s house.

Making a cleaning schedule requires that you know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. You need to know what you are capable of and, instead of forming great aspirations, work with it. If you throw yourself into forming a schedule, I guarantee you’ll find one that works for you.

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