Setting a cleaning schedule

Like most people, I don’t like to clean. But I do like a clean house. In fact, I love a clean house. There is nothing better than settling in for the evening knowing that my home is tidy and fresh. Of course, this requires that I clean on a regular basis since I don’t hire outside help to assist with this task.

Even though the time I spend cleaning feels like a chore, the time I spend enjoying my clean home more than makes up for it. I can’t really relax if my house is dirty. I don’t want to cook when the kitchen is grimy. If the place is a complete mess, I’d rather go out and spend a day shopping than work on projects at home.

So, even though I probably spend 2-3 hours a week cleaning, I spend well over fifty hours a week enjoying my clean home. I do clean more than the Mr., but the Mr. cooks more than me. He also walks the dog in the rain, makes breakfast for me on the weekends, runs to the grocery store when we need something on the spur-of-the-moment, and he will help with other projects if I ask him.

Before I break down the schedule that works for me, here are a few general cleaning tips:

  • Do something every day. Spend 5 – 10 minutes each day on a relatively little task such as discarding and sorting mail, throwing in a load of laundry, or de-cluttering a counter top. By spending a couple minutes each day, you save so much time when you actually set to work to clean.
  • Clean from high to low. Start upstairs and work your way down. Dust higher surfaces before low. Clean tables and shelves before tackling floors.
  • Clean without water before cleaning with water. If your books, shelves, and baseboards are very dusty, vacuum them first before wiping them down with a wet rag. Dust + water = mud.
  • Keep house on a regular schedule to minimize how often you have to deep-clean.
  • Have people over frequently to motivate you to clean on a regular basis.
  • De-clutter regularly. The less Stuff (and yes, that’s Stuff with a capital S) you have, the easier it is to keep a clean house. If you have lots of sentimental knickknacks and collections (I’m somewhat guilty of this) rotate your displays so it’s not all out at once.

The following schedule works best when you start from a clean slate. If your home is very messy and you haven’t had a chance to regularly clean, your place probably deeps a deep cleaning (a subject for another post). You could also hire a crew to come into your home and do a one-time deep cleaning, and then begin following your own cleaning schedule.

Here’s what works for me:

Daily: Do the dishes and keep the kitchen clean (my husband helps a lot with this).  Also, I try to make the bed, pick up clutter, and deal with junk mail before it piles up too much.

Weekly: Vacuum and dust. I vacuum every week, although sometimes I skip the stairs and the second bedroom. I vacuum under the rugs and try to get in all the corners of the room. I dust most easily accessed surfaces and objects weekly with a Swiffer cloth.

Clean the bathroom. I alternate between using bleach and a natural plant-based cleaner. I like the natural stuff better, but I find the bathroom does need a good bleaching a few times a month.

Laundry. I have about 3 loads a week and I try to do them all on either Saturday or Sunday.

I also try to tackle something  from the “every two weeks” and “monthly” categories so I don’t let those tasks pile up.

Every two weeks: Change the bed sheets. Mop the kitchen and bathroom floors. And by mop, I mean bust out the Swiffer wet cloths. I alternate weeks, and usually do either the kitchen or bathroom floor each week–not both at the same time.

Monthly: Vacuum the upholstered furniture, clean the inside of the windows, vacuum and wipe the car out, spot-clean the hardwood floors, wash the duvet cover and shower curtain, vacuum and wipe down all the baseboards, and straighten up the garage. I also try to give the kitchen a mini-deep-clean once a month, which includes cleaning out the fridge, wiping the cabinets, washing the microwave, and emptying the toaster crumb tray.

Once or twice a year: (Depending on how dirty stuff is.) Deep clean the hardwood floors by hand with hot water and vinegar. Deep clean the kitchen, including inside the fridge, oven, and all the cabinets.

I also try to take everything off the book shelves and vacuum and wipe everything down and rearrange the books and objects once or twice a year, usually before the holidays and again in the late spring. The shower needs a very deep cleaning at least twice a year, otherwise the weekly maintenance is enough. I also try to go through our clothes and closets and get rid of things we aren’t wearing or using.

What schedule works for you? What have I missed  in the list above?

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3 Responses to Setting a cleaning schedule

  1. carmen says:

    This post totally inspired me to do some cleaning today 🙂 Thanks for the motivation!!

  2. Lindsay says:

    Hi Carmen. Don’t do tooooo much work, now 😉

  3. Pingback: The lived-in look « Urban Domesticity

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