I had coffee with a friend, and she said that she wanted to find a cleaning routine, but every time she made one, she couldn’t stick with it.
That’s totally normal. I can’t stay with the same routine for longer than six months for two reasons:
1. Life changes. I might be more busy, pregnant, have more projects to do, or be more tired than usual, and I need to change my pace.
2. I desire a change in routine. Sometimes I just get tired of Thursday being The Day I Clean The Bathroom, and I want something fresh and new.
I shift between a few different routines, depending on what I need:
* Weekday Assigned Tasks – Do a job or two every day, plus daily tasks.
* Get it Over With Weekly – Do a burst of cleaning in three hours one morning a week, plus daily tasks.
* Survival Mode – Focus on the essential daily tasks, and ignore the rest for as long as you can until it starts to look bad. (And to add a note, this doesn’t necessarily mean you are in survival mode, it just means your house is taking a back seat to something more important.)
The key to any cleaning routine is to identify the jobs that make the most difference when you do them every day. Every other job fits around these.
My essential daily tasks:
- Make the bed.
- Wash the dishes.
- Take the trash outside.
- Pick up clothes and put things away.
- Sweep the floor.
Housekeeping is made up of tasks that are daily, weekly, monthly, or seasonal.
You need to create a cleaning routine for yourself because every home is different.
I’ve lived in seven homes in the past ten years, when I count the places I’ve lived for three months or longer. Each house had unique needs. Some had light carpet that had to be vacuumed frequently. One apartment had such hard water that the bathtub needed to be scrubbed three times a week. One apartment would become really dusty, another had a kitchen floor that always had to be mopped. I adjust my routine every time we move.
When I moved into this house, I waited to see how long I could go without cleaning something before it looked bad. I discovered I can wait a month before I need to dust, but I have to sweep the kitchen every day for my toddler. I straighten up the pantry a few minutes once a month, and I vacuum the living room rug once a week.
One of the problems I’ve experienced with a cleaning routine is that it can make you think you need to clean more often than necessary. I’d see “clean the glass” on my list, so I’d clean the windows and mirrors even if they weren’t very dirty. I try to use my routine as a guide, but now I only clean something when it needs it, not just because it’s on the list, so I don’t feel like I’m stuck or wasting my time. I want my efforts to make a real difference.
Making a plan for keeping your home clean can help your home run much more smoothly. Here is my usual routine, along with some suggestions for regular housecleaning: