Keeping on top of the housework and cleaning can be never-ending and completely overwhelming, particularly if you are out at work all day and have a young family to deal with and leads to it being a chore we all hate. The way to get about it is by putting a plan into place.
If you want to change how you organize your home cleaning and housework so that you are entirely in control rather than allowing it to control you, read on!
Frequent Thoughts About Cleaning the Home
- I’m embarrassed to have family and friends visiting because my home is never clean and tidy
- I do things as they need doing – it is far too exhausting otherwise
- I cannot seem to get ahead or find a cleaning routine that works for me
- I’m just too busy/exhausted to clean
- I always feel like I am trying to play catch up
- The housework is never wholly done
Unfortunately, no matter how much we try to avoid it, housework and cleaning is something that will always be there and need to be done. With that in mind, it is essential to take control and come up with a plan to help ourselves get on top with it and make it much more manageable. Obviously, every household and every family is different, and it is important to have a plan that works for you and uses the little time that you do have for this necessary chore wisely.
Very few houses will ever be perfect, and no one can create miracles, but this is about making sure that your home is clean enough and tidy enough for it to not have a negative impact on the life of the people living there and leave you feeling stressed out.
**Need some time for you, Mom? Check out this post on How to Create Me-Time For Moms.
Many people see a cleaning schedule as something extra to do and give us additional stress and hassle, but that isn’t the case. If appropriately implemented, it will take away! If you never know what the next job that needs doing is, or you never seem to get to the bottom of that to-do list, or whether the house is clean enough for those unexpected visitors that we dread, you end up in a bit of a state and that can be both emotionally and physically draining.
Creating your own schedule means that you can design it around what works for you and you no longer have to think about it. You just do what needs doing in that day and tick it off. You won’t feel guilty about not doing certain jobs, as you know that you will do that job on it’s scheduled day.
If you are ready to create a schedule that works for you, grab a pen and let’s get going!
Step One: Think About What Needs To Be Done
Before you can create a realistic cleaning and housework schedule, you need to know what needs cleaning and how you can clean it in the first place. This is often the hardest step, but once it has been done, it doesn’t need doing again. It sounds like a pretty obvious job, but the majority of us will never have sat down and considered all the jobs that need doing. Instead, we tend to be more reactive and just do what we can when we can. The problem with this is that things can get missed easily, leading to feelings of stress because we never seem to get it all done. There is nothing worse than thinking you have done a big clean of the lounge, sitting down to relax and realizing that you have missed the baseboards or haven’t dusted the TV stand.
To get this step done, you need to go around every room in your house and make a list for absolutely everything that needs doing, from top to bottom. Do this for each room, and think about how often you would clean it in an ideal world. At this point, just write down absolutely everything. You can go back and streamline it if necessary at a later point.
Some examples of tasks that you may want to include:
- Wipe all surfaces with antibacterial spray or wipes – daily
- Empty the trash bin – weekly
- Clean the toilet – three times a week
- Mop the floor – weekly
- Change the towels – twice a week
- Descale shower heads and faucets – monthly
Living Room/Family Room
- Clean hardwood floors – weekly
- Vacuum – daily
- Shampoo rugs – twice a year
- Dust baseboards – weekly
- General tidy up – daily
- Clean mirrors and windows – weekly
Step Two: Organize Tasks By Frequency
The next job that needs doing is to create your plan to group tasks by how often they need doing. This makes more sense because it is easier to allocate the time for them and give you a much better grasp on what you will need to each day, each week, each month, etc.
- Daily – Wipe the bathroom surfaces, vacuum the lounge carpet, empty the dishwasher, do one load of laundry, empty trash can in the kitchen
- Weekly: Change bedding, dust, clean windows and mirrors
- Monthly: Descaling, declutter, clean under furniture, clean out the fridge
These are by no means exhaustive lists, but will hopefully give you a starting point as to the sort of tasks that could fit into each category. There is no right or wrong way, and how often you do particular tasks is entirely up to you. Remember, your schedule has to work for YOU! Some people may not be able to relax unless they have dusted every day, others are happy to leave it for a week.
Step Three: Streamline Your List
You are probably looking at your list and feeling more than a little overwhelmed, which defeats the whole object of the exercise. We now need to look at the tasks and see what is realistic. We tend to overestimate what we can get done in a block of time, which leads to disappointment. When this happens, we can ‘fall off the wagon,’ and it can be tough to get motivated to start again. That is why it is crucial that you really think about every aspect of your life when you are thinking about the time you have available to dedicate to housework and cleaning.
Create or download a weekly planner – they’re readily available on the internet. Fill it in with every activity that you do. Include everything – school runs, work hours, planned grocery store visits, visits to friends and relatives, gym sessions or workouts. Include time travelling to and from activities, as this is often overlooked. Don’t forget to include some well-earned rest and relaxation time as well. Once this is done, you should have a better idea of the time that you have left and will allow you to see if you need to change anything.
Step Four: Create Your Cleaning Schedule
Now, you need to take your list of jobs and your weekly planner and begin to fill in when you will do what task. Work through each day and each room or job and decide what you can achieve in the time that you have. Start off with the daily chores, as once you have got on top of these, it will be much easier to do other jobs. Once these are scheduled in, add the weekly, fortnightly and monthly tasks. When it comes to annual tasks, see if you can allocate a month to each one of the tasks. For example, wash the curtains one month, defrost the freezer the next, and so on.
If you find that you cannot fit everything in, which is likely, you will need to decide which tasks are priorities. You may have put vacuuming down as a daily job, but you may find that you can stretch to doing it three times a week instead, leaving a block of time to do another task.
Don’t forget the importance of delegating tasks as well. The other people living in your household also have a responsibility to keep the house clean and tidy. There are plenty of lists on the internet for age-appropriate chores, but generally speaking, children should be able to help at least tidy their room, bring down their dirty laundry and help to empty the washing machine or dishwasher from a reasonably young age. Give a child a duster – they love to help!
Step Five: Put Your Schedule Into Place
The only way to see if your plan really works is to live with it for a while. Try it out for a month or so, and at the end of the trial period, consider the things that worked well, the things that didn’t, the tasks that took more or less time than you thought and whether the tasks that you have delegated are getting done.
From this insight, you can then begin to change things when and where necessary, and help you to keep on top of your housework and cleaning. Don’t forget to consider selling or donating items that tend to always be in the way or don’t have a use.