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With 5 kids (and lots of pets) my house will not be spotless anytime soon. For the foreseeable future there will be be dress-up clothes, art projects, and Legos adorning my halls, but that doesn’t mean we have to give up all hope. The solution to battling the mess without losing your mind: a cleaning schedule.
Everyone’s family is different, but no matter what, you can make a cleaning schedule that works for you. Your goal can be to have a perfect house or your goal can be to be able to find the stairs. Either way, tweak the schedule to make it something you can actually follow. Try it for a few weeks and see how it goes. Scratch things out. Move things from one day to another. Make it work.
Ready to put on your cleaning gloves? Here is how to set up your schedule.
Figure Out What Needs To Be Done
There are some tasks that need to done everyday, some weekly, some once a month or year. The goal is to use your time as efficiently as possible in order to keep the whole house clean. If you have a big dog who loves to shed, vacuuming once a week may not be enough. If you have five children, you may need to do two loads of laundry a day to stay on top of it. Think through how you use your home and where messes tend to pile up. Focus your efforts on those areas.
Disclaimer: If you sit down and make a list of everything that needs to be done, you’ll cry. Start small.
I am a FlyLady fan so I incorporate her Zones into my cleaning schedule. Basically with zone cleaning, you divide your house up into manageable areas and deep clean one area per week. You can read all about her methods and zones here.
When you deep clean that are you’ll wash windows, clean ceiling fans, dust baseboards, organize, etc. You spend 15 minutes on two different days working on that area. Now, the idea is that from your other weekly cleaning tasks, you have already dusted, vacuumed, and picked up the room. This 15 minutes is strictly to do extra tasks. If the room is extra crazy, you’ll spend your first few 15 minute sessions removing clutter.
Examples of zones: kitchen & laundry room, family & dining room, bedrooms, bathrooms.
Here is a basic outline of what needs to be done in the average household.
Daily Morning Tasks:
Unload the dishwasher or put away dishes from dish drainer
Wash a load of laundry
Daily Evening Tasks:
Prep breakfast & lunch
Fold & put away laundry
Load dishwasher & clean counters
15 Minutes picking-up/decluttering
Wipe down bathroom sink & toilet (at least the one you use the most)
Empty all trash cans (our trash collection is on Tuesday)
Take trash can to curb
Clean mirrors & doors
Deep clean bathroom
Bring in trash can
Vacuum all floors
Clean Area Rugs (as needed)
15 Minutes of deep cleaning one area (rotates)
Make grocery shopping list & print coupons
15 Minutes of deep cleaning one area (rotates)
Wipe down kitchen cabinets, sink, & stove
Print new coupons & go grocery shopping
Clean out cars & purse
Rest & Worship
Print It Out
To help you get started, here is a printable cleaning schedule template. You can print it and fill it out based on whatever works for you. You can even print a copy for each family member and list their chores on it. I find it works great to laminate it or put it in a clear sheet protector so I can erase and edit as needed.
If you aren’t a fan of columns, you can use the this option instead. You can print this blank copy and fill it out.
While I have 3 teenagers now, I’ve always felt there were jobs that even little 2 year old hands can help! The key is to find age appropriate chores for everyone. Keep in mind that if your kids aren’t used to doing chores, there will definitely be a learning curve. Show them grace and praise the good.
There are all kinds of chore charts and award systems out there, so try out a few different methods to see what works for you. I like to keep things simple, so my kids do things for a quarter. Clean out the car: you get a quarter. Put away the laundry: a quarter. Pick up trash in the yard: a quarter. You get the idea.
Pick Your Tools Wisely
The goal is to work smarter, not harder. A big help to that goal is to pick your tools wisely. You can get more done with less work if you aren’t vacuuming the same spot ten times.
Here are a few of my favorite cleaning products and tools:
Seriously, if you haven’t tried these, they will change your life. They are crazy absorbent, dry quickly, and collect dust like a champ. I like to use the white for dusting, blue for the bathroom, and yellow for the kitchen.
Tip: to prolong their life, don’t put them in the dryer.
While I often use Mircrofiber clothes for dusting, I really love using Swiffer dusters for picture frames, knick knacks, books, etc. It can quickly get in between gaps and speeds the whole process up.
I know this item just made the organic crowd cringe, but hear me out. I have tried to clean my shower with baking soda and vinegar. I have scrubbed on my hands and knees and it still looked gross. Then I saw this magical bottle at Publix. It had a coupon for .75/1 attached right to the bottle. It was on sale…. practically begging me to buy it. I sprayed down my shower and went to bed. The next morning, it looked like I had cleaned for hours. My grout had not been that white since the day we moved in.
Still not convinced? You can go here for homemade organic cleaner recipes. They work well too.
To maintain this beautiful shower you have two options: spray it down every couple of days or grab a quick drying towel. After you are finished using the shower quickly dry it with the towel. There won’t be any build up.
This is by far one of the best cleaning purchases I have ever made. It has amazing suction and is so much easier to quickly grab than the big vacuum. Plus even little kids will want to help use it!
A vacuum will be the most expensive cleaning tool you purchase (unless you hire a maid). It’s worth it. This is not something to skimp on. You can buy that $20 vacuum and after you use it, it will still look like you still need to vacuum. Save yourself and frustration and make the splurge.
This is all of the things we love about microfiber clothes (super absorbent, quick drying, etc.) in mop form. The best part is that you can remove the head and throw it in the washing machine.
See more frugal living tips.