Learn how to save time and keep your house clean-ish all the time by creating a weekly cleaning schedule to break up the tasks.
When it comes to keeping the house clean, the work never seems to end, right? Your evenings are so busy, from cooking dinner to that science project your kid “forgot about” that’s due tomorrow, you have no time to even think about picking up a broom and dustpan. This happens again the next day, and again the day after that. Your cleaning duties end up getting pushed to the weekend, then you spend all day Saturday doing everything at once. Sound familiar?
I did this too. One Saturday afternoon, my son actually told me “Mom, weekends are not for work. They’re for fun. Why can’t work days be for housework, too? And weekends just be for having fun?” What a profound statement from a six-year-old! But in all honesty, he was right. Work days should be for work. And days off should be days off. I immediately started brainstorming ways to make this new idea happen, and I came up with a cleaning schedule.
Take Back Your Weekends
By adopting some of the methods I use in my own home, you can get your weekends back and have time to actually enjoy your days off. Instead of spending all day knocking out all of the tasks, you can take 15 to 30 minutes a day doing a little at a time. I usually do my daily cleaning schedule in the evening after I’ve cleaned up from dinner. The guys are settled in watching TV or playing a game, the pets are starting to wind down, and I’ve got 30ish minutes of uninterrupted time.
For me, doing my cleaning tasks in the evening helps me feel good about going to bed at night and even better about waking up in the morning. Mornings are so much less stressful when I wake up to a clean bathroom or a freshly swept house. It just sets the mood for the whole day. Over time, I’ve turned my cleaning schedule into regular habits, and I don’t even think about the time it takes to do them. But I sure do notice the effects on Saturday when we hop in the car for an impromptu hiking trip.
How To Make Your Own Cleaning Schedule
To create your own schedule, grab a sheet of paper and a pencil (or download my free printable cleaning schedule planner) and find a nice cozy, quiet spot. No TV, no phone, no distractions. You need to focus your full attention so you can get this right the first time.
1. Brain Dump
Start by writing down all of the cleaning tasks you have to do during the week and month. Don’t worry about putting them in any specific order, just get them all down on paper.
With this list, break each item down by importance. Label the most important tasks (the ones you absolutely must do) with an A beside them. Label the next important tasks (the ones you need to do but they aren’t completely imperative) with a B beside them. Then label the ones that should get done, but only if the A’s and B’s are completed) with a C beside them. And finally, label the tasks that you’d like to do but only if you have time with a D beside them. The goal is to have four levels of priority and all tasks should fall into one of those four levels.
3. Time Estimates
On this same list, estimate how long it takes to complete each task and write that time down. For example “Clean guest bathroom-10 minutes” or “Wash Bed Linens-30 minutes.” (Yes, I know it takes way longer for bed linens to wash and dry, but we’re only writing down hands-on time.)
4. Consider Your Schedule
Do you have more time at home on certain days? Do you get off work early on Fridays? Favorite hour-long television series come on Monday nights? Take into consideration your weekly schedule and commitments and note any days you have more or less time.
5. Plug In Tasks
Here’s where the real scheduling begins. On a new sheet of paper (or the printable schedule included in my free cleaning schedule planner) plug in all your A tasks into days you know you’ll have time to get them done. Then add in the B tasks. Then the C’s and D’s.
Make sure you also add in a slot for completing monthly tasks like changing vent filters and dusting blinds. I usually just have a section listing monthly tasks, and in the weekly calendar I just say “Monthly task.” That way I can choose whatever one I want to do. (This is all laid out for you in my printable planner, so you don’t have to do any guess-work.)
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My Own Cleaning Schedule
Want an example of a cleaning schedule in action? Here’s my exact one I follow each week:
- Monday: Clean bathrooms, wash/change bed linens
- Tuesday: Sweep, dust, wash towels
- Wednesday: Clean out refrigerator, recycle shipping boxes, wash throw blankets/dog bedding
- Thursday: Sweep, vacuum, mop, wash clothes
- Friday: Spot-clean bathrooms, straighten up anything that needs it, wash cat litter scooper
- Saturday: Sweep, wipe down baseboards in one room, one monthly task
- Sunday: Wipe down knobs, light switches, remotes, handles, appliances, and other touch points with Clorox wipes; water plants, one bi-monthly task
- Every Day: Wipe down counters at night, pick up out-of-place items
- Monthly Tasks: Vacuum filters and screens, shake and steam curtains, sweep porch/deck, clean washer/dryer
- Bi-Monthly Tasks: Straighten garage, dust doors, clean windows, purge pantry, clean trash cans, rotate one rug, purge filing cabinet, wash shower curtains/bath rugs
Stick With It
The hardest part about creating a cleaning schedule is just sticking with it. You’ve really got to discipline yourself to do it every day, and eventually it will become a habit that you won’t even think about doing. To keep yourself on track, I’d definitely suggest doing your cleaning tasks at the same time every day, or somewhere around that time.
Whether you’re tired, you have a headache, or the dog threw up four times already, you’ve got to keep yourself accountable and do the tasks. Think of it this way, you can spend 15 to 30 minutes a day, or you can spend 6-8 hours on a weekend trying to play catch-up. Umm, no thanks to the latter.
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I get it, creating a schedule from scratch might be a little scary. And time consuming. But I’ve got you. I made a Cleaning Schedule Planner you can download and print for free, so you can follow my method without ripping your hair out. It walks you through each step and includes the same schedule template I use in my own home. You can pop it on your fridge or command center. I promise, it will look a lot better than the sheet of crumpled notebook paper you almost used instead.
This is definitely worth doing as it’s so doABLE. I’m afraid I’m one of those people who spend all day doing too much and wearing myself out or none at all and feeling guilty and overwhelmed.
I love making lists and organising so that bit will be very enjoyable.
The cleaning itself will be more enjoyable if I sing-along (and maybe dance a bit around the room!) with Earth, Wind & Fire’s Greatest Hits – Real feel good stuff!
Brad Gandy says
By all means, Kerrie, create your own Boogie Wonderland for cleaning! (See what I did there?) We’re definitely procrastinators too, so any bit of fun we can add to mundane tasks gets us laughing and smiling instead of dreading it.
Sandra Gandy says
Thank you Lela. I tend to put off all my housework until Sunday. I would rather relax on Sunday.
Definitely! I used to do the same thing! Now my Sundays are freed up for dog parks, good food, and couch lounging.
Love this! I think I might give this as a task for my “organizer”daughter to do.
Lela Burris says
That’s a great idea Darlene! I bet she’d love to help, and how awesome that your daughter is already into organizing!
Ashley Allen says
Lela it honestly felt like you were describing my life, finding the time to clean has always been a huge issue for me. The weekend cleaning has been something I’ve done for years but like you said it’s so boring and your son is so right, weekends should be for fun. I can’t wait to try this out in our home and hope to free up so time for other more enjoyable things! Thank you for posting 🙂
Lela Burris says
You are so very welcome Ashley! Once you get on a routine schedule, you won’t even think about cleaning anymore and you’ll be able to knock it out in just a few minutes a day. Not to mention your house will always be clean and ready for those surprise drop-in guests. Good luck planning and starting your new schedule, and please reach out to me if you need any help along the way!