I used get very OCD with my cleaning. I grew up in a home that cleaned mainly on the weekends. The home was let go for the most part during the week because everyone was working or in school. As I grew into adulthood, I found that this method didn’t really work for me anymore. I would clean for hours and hours in 1 room on Saturdays while the rest of the house just got worse and worse. The master bedroom and bath were always hopelessly neglected because I could never find the time to get to them. I came up with a few simple ways to eliminate the hours and hours of cleaning and maximize the evening with my family.
My home is 2400 square feet. When I am sticking to this schedule, I literally only have the dishes to do when someone calls or makes an unannounced visit. Simply space out your cleaning over the 7 days of the week. Think about the order of things. Which day does the trash come? Does it make sense to mow on Tuesday? What days are the busiest? Does everyone work outside the home? Plan your cleaning according to the family’s needs. Our schedule goes like this:
Sunday: This is a busy day for many families including ours, so I simply assigned this day to cleaning out the cars.
Monday: Everyone is responsible for cleaning their rooms. All laundry is washed and everyone is responsible for folding and putting away their own clothes. In all honesty, my husband usually does the folding and putting away, while I wash and dry. But we try to get the kids on board.
Tuesday: Trash pick up is on Wednesday so we prepare on Tuesday. Litter is sifted. The refrigerator is cleaned out and all trash cans are emptied.
Wednesday: I have 2 children (ages 4 and 7) and 2.5 bathrooms. Each child cleans a bathroom, including washing the toilets. My 4 year old gets the half bath. I clean my own bathroom. This includes washing down the bathtub, which is a relatively painless task if done weekly. You can invest in one of those automatic bath cleaners as well. I use a product by Melaleuca called “No Work” which I spray after each shower and bath. I water indoor and outdoor plants and pull weeds while the kids play outside.
Thursday: I do a sweep of the living areas for stray books, mail, toys, etc. I dust/polish the furniture in the living areas and clean the windows (if they need it). It only needs it about every other week, but I always check.
Friday: I go through the same routine except in my office and craft room. The hallways are cleared, as well as the stairs. My children are in charge of the hallways and stairs, but I stand by and make sure it’s done. I don’t mind if they throw all their stuff in their room because it’s almost Monday.
Saturday: I usually have company over Sunday evenings, so I vacuum or sweep the floors. I mop the kitchen with a spray bottle filled with mopping solution so I don’t have to deal with a sink or bucket full of nasty water. I also sweep the front porch. My husband mows as well.
Certain things are done each day. The kitchen has to be done daily. But simply rinsing your dishes and putting them directly into the washer keeps the kitchen clean. Mail goes in a certain spot so that it’s not strewn about the entire home.
House rules keep the home in order. My children are not aloud to bring their toys out of their rooms unless it is to take it into the other child’s room to play. Toys are absolutely not allowed downstairs. This keeps the down stairs looking pretty put together at all times. If you have a 1 story home, keeping toys out of the living areas will go a long way. We also have a “shoes by the door” rule so that we aren’t tripping over shoes all day. This also keeps the carpet clean and sends a message to guest to take their shoes off as well.
Following these simple guidelines should keep your home much less cluttered in a lot less time. Paying attention to certain areas of the home each day will ensure that you don’t have to do everything in one day and can spend more time with your precious family (who you can train to help you keep the home in order and prepare for a life of cleaning their own homes).