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.)
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.
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.