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One of the things I shared in my productivity post was that devising a cleaning schedule really helped me. I thought I’d share with you today a little more about what my schedule looks like and why it works for me. The basic idea behind the concept of a cleaning schedule is that it allows you to break down the little jobs into manageable pieces. Instead of spending an entire day (or two or three…) cleaning from top to bottom you can spend 20 or 30 minutes each day.
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The first thing I did was write down every single task that I did or wanted to start doing. I did it room by room and then listed each task for that room, like “wipe walls” or “wash bedding”.
I let it sit for a day or two and as I went through my daily routine I’d think of a couple more. When I thought I had everything, I decided what the frequency of each should be. It was either daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly. After I had all that it was just a matter of scheduling it all out. In addition to a printable, I use Todoist for organizing and tracking everything. Later this week I’m going to share a post on how I use Todoist to keep track of my life. It’s amazing how easy it is once you have it set up. (Update – you can find the Todoist post here)
Start with the yearly or quarterly tasks first. This might seem counterintuitive, right? But I’ve found that if I work backward from less frequent to more it’s a lot easier to schedule.
Some of the things on my list aren’t things I’m going to do personally but still need to be done. Scheduling an annual furnace/AC maintenance inspection with my HVAC company is an example of this. Cleaning closets and starting a donate pile, cleaning the washing machine and dryer, or buying refills for your litter disposal system are things you could do quarterly. And don’t forget to take your trash cans outside and hose them off every few months.
Put things on your monthly list that you might not regularly do. It surprised me how many things I normally wouldn’t think of made it onto my list. Especially the monthly list.
Things like clean the shower curtains, wash ceiling fixtures, wipe down the bathroom scales and clean my office chair. These antimicrobial wipes are perfect to keep around for any wiping you need to do. It’s not like these never got done, they just didn’t get done with much regularity. And then I was grossed out and a little ashamed when I realized how long it had been since they were done. You are more accountable if it’s on a list. I put things on the monthly list of my cleaning schedule that don’t need to be done every week. I don’t necessarily want to go for months without doing it either.
Your daily list should be really easy tasks that only take a few minutes. Load the dishwasher, make the beds and pick up clutter.
These are also the kinds of things that cut down on the time you spend on weekly or monthly tasks. Do a quick walk through each night and return items that have wandered out of place. Load the dishwasher every night and run it when it’s full. I like to run it in the evening and then put away in the morning. Nothing irritates me more than having dirty dishes in the sink because the dishwasher is full of clean dishes.
Pro Tip: Keep a basket in a central location to corral lost and wandering items. At the end of the day, grab it and spend a few minutes returning everything to its home. Think functional and stylish like this basket!
Try to only spend 20-30 minutes each day on cleaning tasks. It defeats the purpose of breaking it down to manageable tasks if you leave everything until the weekend. Just because it’s a weekly task doesn’t mean you have to do it on Saturday. Pick an evening and spend a few minutes knocking it out. Save the weekends for the quarterly tasks that might take a little more time. A typical day could look something like this:
- Make bed (Daily) (5 minutes)
- Load dishwasher (Daily) (5 minutes)
- Pick up clutter and put away (Daily) (5-10 minutes)
- Vacuum one room (Weekly) (5 minutes)
- Wipe down light switches and outlets in one room (Monthly) (5-10 minutes)
Keep it organized
Use a printable, dry erase board or chalkboard. I need a visual reminder of what needs to be done. I hang a printable on the fridge or jot down everything for a week on my dry erase board/calendar that hangs on my fridge. Todoist is a list app that I also use to keep me on task. Every morning the first thing I check is my task list for that day. I’ve included cleaning tasks, personal tasks like appointments and blog to-dos. I can see at a glance what the day holds for me. Some days are better than others…?
That’s how I keep the homestead tidy, clean and organized. This kind of system works really well for busy moms, Type-A list-makers or anyone who needs a little help keeping things straight. I work full-time and I’m a part-time blogger so I need all the help I can get! Having a cleaning schedule is right up there with keeping my calendar up-to-date at work and having an editorial calendar for the blog. I couldn’t exist without them! The beauty of it is that you can design a schedule that fits your lifestyle. This is completely adaptable to any situation.
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