It has been a few years since I have popped in to share our current cleaning process and schedule. Just like our home has evolved as our family has changed and grown over the years, our cleaning tasks and assignments have also changed. I have always been a believer in everyone chipping in to help around the home, and our kids have been actively helping sweep, do laundry and wash dishes for years. But there have been times when we fall off track or when some of us seem to carry more weight than others. Or certain tasks would be neglected for far too long. The only way we have ever been successful in staying on the same page and holding everyone accountable has been through creating and displaying charts.
Today I am not only going to share some sweet new printables with you all, but I am also going to share our current cleaning plan. We are in the busiest stage of life yet. Our three boys are in three different schools as well as three different sport leagues (with 6-7 days of practices and traveling), Bryan works full time, coaches High School baseball and does contract work, while I have been working on projects outside of the home, caring for my nieces a couple days/nights per week, running the boys to and from games, practices, drivers education and work, all while trying to keep this blog and all of its arms afloat. We cherish any spare second of time we have these days, and the last thing we want to do is spend our time cleaning together. Every year that I have been a mom, my cleaning expectations and standards have lessened, although, I will always crave and appreciate a clean home. Without hiring out cleaning completely, is there a way to find that perfect balance? Is it possible to maintain a tidy home while utilizing spare time for going to the park and reading by the fire and building Lego cities and working on afternoon crafts? This is something that has been on my heart so much over the past year; balance, time and family. Not cleaning.
So while I am not aiming for perfect, and maybe clean some things a little less frequently than others, we have found a pretty good balance for us right now. Here are a few of my top tips as well as our current cleaning schedule.
TIP ONE: GET ON THE SAME PAGE
|Download FREE Fillable Cleaning Task Printable|
I have found that if we get too comfortable or things start to slip, that we all benefit with a quick family meeting. We talk about the importance and benefits of task sharing, discuss our current schedules and assess our home goals and priorities. We quickly cover all of the tasks that we find important to work on daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually and annually. I jot them all down and then we talk through priorities and schedules and what chores make the most sense for each family member. Everyone is encouraged to participate and make suggestions, and this has been our biggest cleaning win.
TIP TWO: WHAT REALLY MATTERS?
This will really be different for everyone. No two homes, family dynamics, schedules or expectations are the same. You really just have to decide for yourself what matters in terms of your time and cleaning desires. I have put some cleaning tasks on the chopping block in order to spend more time on other things, and for the most part I haven’t found any negative impacts from doing that. So while creating a cleaning schedule and plan, consider how much you really have to do to find your cleaning harmony.
TIP THREE: CREATE A SCHEDULE/ROUTINE
What happens when someone doesn’t pull their weight? Kids can be a roller coaster of behaviors and emotions and sometimes they don’t want to play nice. OK, who am I kidding? We ALL have those days. There will be times when the boys might ask for help from us or each other, or task share, or even lose a privilege if they aren’t staying accountable. But generally speaking, if we have all of our expectations set in advance and stick to a routine, things go much smoother. The kids know that when they ask to play at their friend’s house, my first question will be, “Did you finish your daily tasks?” Now I can predict when I am going to get asked for something because they will rush to get their chores completed. That doesn’t happen overnight, it was a process that came from a little diligence on all of our parts.
This is where the printables and checklists come in handy! And I am very excited because I have finally put together a printable that YOU can pre-fill on your device and either save and utilize electronically or print out to add to your planner or post on your command station. I have been wanting to add this feature to my printables for years!
There are two primary checklists that keep us on track, both I have modified and updated to share with you today. One covers the entire year, while the other keeps us afloat each week.
|Download FREE Fillable Annual Cleaning Task List Printable|
Above is a general task list that we filled out with what we hope to accomplish over the course of a year. A space to check the list daily and weekly, as well as checkboxes to track those less frequent tasks. Let’s take a look at the tasks we filled in on our family checklist and a little more detail about each one.
D A I L Y
When it was time to come up with daily tasks, we selected things that make the biggest impact to our day and the appearance of our primary living spaces.
Make Bed // This is a goal, but not an everyday thing. There is just something about a made bed that completely transforms the entire look and feel of the bedroom. It is also more enjoyable to crawl into a made bed at night so I try to start and end the day on a positive note.
Total time: 1-2 minutes.
Dishes/Dishwasher // Dishes pile up fast around here so running the dishwasher and a quick handwash is a high priority daily task in order to keep our kitchen sink and counters clutter free.
Total time: 10 minutes.
Wipe Down Kitchen Surfaces // If I force myself to wipe down the sideboard, dining table, counters, and island every night, it also forces me to do a quick counter declutter.
Total time: 1-2 minutes
Wipe Down Bathroom Sink/Counters // A quick scrub of the sinks to remove whiskers and toothpaste and a speedy wipe down of the counters keeps the bathrooms feeling fresh and clean until our deeper cleaning day. Tip: Store scrub brushes, rags and cleaner below the sink for quick access.
Total time: 1-2 minutes
Sweep/Vac Kitchen, Entry & Stairs // I try to run our vac or do a quick sweep of the primary hard floors in our home each day. With a shedding dog, tennis shoes and cleats, and nightly dinners, our floors feel the most pain. I only focus on the dining/kitchen and entryway each day, and the stairs twice per week.
Total time: 3-5 minutes.
Sort Mail // Every day when the mail comes in, it is open, sorted and the junk is recycled. Anything that requires action lives in a bin that is tackled once a week.
Total time: 1 minute.
Laundry // We wash 1-2 loads of laundry per day, but the biggest change we have made this past year was to assign each person their own day. Each day of the week is assigned to a family member, while Sunday is when I wash specialty items and linens.
Total time: 15-20 minutes.
15 Minute Pick-Up // This is for everything else, and we rarely ever need the entire fifteen minutes. During this time we will make sure that everything is ready for the next day (lunch boxes, backpacks, papers, etc…), pick up any daily clutter, fluff pillows and fold blankets, etc… This time shrinks if we stay on top of basic cleaning and picking up each day.
Total time: 5-15 minutes.
OK, I know what you are thinking. If you add up all of that time, the average is about 45 minutes per day. Buuuuut, when you divide that by the five people that live in our house, it goes down to about 9 minutes per person! That is definitely skewed, but having all hands on deck does reduce the total time any single person has to spend cleaning each day. I rarely have 45 minutes to dedicate to cleaning, but I can definitely find 15-30. Especially if I am awake for 17+ hours of a 24 hour day.
W E E K L Y
These tasks are not quite as urgent or impactful to the overall feeling of our house each day, but are still fairly important. I wouldn’t want to go too long without doing most of these items because the longer they go untouched, the longer it takes to clean them when the time comes. Many of these tasks are sprinkled in throughout the week so we aren’t stuck doing extra chores on the weekends.
Mop Floors // I will touch up spots on my dining/kitchen floors with either my all purpose spray or spray mop as needed, and then once per week I will thoroughly cover all of the hard floors in our home including the three bathrooms.
Clean Glass/Furniture/Stainless Surfaces // This includes cleaning mirrors and glass, as well as our two primary windows (front picture window and back sliding door). Furniture is given a dusting and kitchen appliances and cabinet faces are quickly wiped down.
Vacuum Floors // All rugs and carpet are vacuumed.
Clean Bathrooms // Toilets and showers are cleaned.
Collect and Take Out Trash/Recycling // Each week on garbage night we collect all of the trash from the bins throughout the house and take it down to the curb.
Tidy Workspace // It’s nice to start the week with a fresh work surface, this goes for myself and all of our boys.
Clean Out Fridge/Pantry // Before and after my weekly trip to the grocery store, I clean out any expired foods and leftovers from our pantry and fridge. I wipe up any spills and do a quick inventory of our stock to be sure I am meal planning accordingly and not over-purchasing food we already have on hand.
Clean Out Cars // Our cars always seem to get so messy so quickly. We try to bring everything in each day, but let’s be real, there is always containers from eating on the road, dirty socks and athletic gear, loose change, travel mugs, napkins, cords, etc… I shudder just thinking about it. It really helps to dedicate a couple of minutes each week to cleaning out both cars and wiping them down.
Wash Linens // As I mentioned above, once per week we wash any specialty items, bath mats, and bedding.
M O N T H L Y
Vacuum Furniture // This includes vacuuming the sofa and chair cushions, as well as removing the cushions and vacuuming the remaining nooks and crannies of the furniture.
Clean Trim/Doors/Hardware/Cabinets // I love white trim but it does show everything. Each month I try to quickly run my vacuum brush attachment along the floor trim and then wipe down the interior trim and doors where they are dirty (I am not scrubbing every last piece of trim from floor to ceiling each month). I will also clean the white treads on the stairs, wipe down door handles and cabinet hardware, and also clean the cabinet faces throughout the remainder of the home (the kitchen cabinets are wiped down weekly).
Clean Trash Cans // I can’t seem to figure out how trash cans can get so sticky and dirty when they are generally used with a bag, but each month I spray them and wipe them down inside and out.
Wash Windows // I only clean our primary windows each week and the remainder of our windows are washed once every month or two. I will wipe down the glass and clean the grooves with a rag and cotton swabs.
Clean Appliances // The dishwasher and washer are run through a special cycle to clean the interiors and then wiped down. The oven is vacuumed, the glass door is cleaned and the interior wiped down. Fridge shelves and bins are checked for spills and the microwave interior is also cleaned.
Vacuum Vents // We take the vacuum brush attachment to the vent covers, exhaust fans, and dryer vents. We will also remove floor vent covers and vacuum down as far as our hose will reach.
Vacuum Mattresses // We run over the mattress tops with the furniture attachment and then sprinkle a very thin layer of scented baking soda. This task is also a trigger to rotate mattresses and wash specialty bedding.
Room-By-Room Declutter // This one task really makes a big difference in how we maintain all of the organizational systems we have put in place over the years. Once a month I will grab a basket and go room to room to remove anything that we no longer need or use. The number of items collected is generally less and less each month, but I do try and challenge myself and the rest of the clan to be ruthless. This process includes pairing down bathroom toiletries, quick clothing purges, extra papers and office supplies and junk drawer revamps. We keep a bin in the trunk of each car for returns and donation drop-offs and staying on top of this each month prevents us from having to do big annual purges and closet cleanouts.
Q U A R T E R L Y
Quarterly we will tackle some general home maintenance items.
Change Filters // We check in and clean or replace the filters for our fridge, furnace, fans and air purifier.
Descale Appliances // I run my descaling solution through my coffee machine and maybe clean our iron.
Descale Shower Heads // We fill gallon-sized bags with vinegar, attach them to our shower heads with rubber bands and let them soak overnight. The following morning we remove the bags and run the water through the shower head. If they are heavily clogged, they can be boiled in hot water and vinegar for 10-15 minutes and scrubbed clean with a bristle brush.
Clean Vacuum // The vacuum is disassembled and cleaned, including the filters and brush roll attachment.
Wash/Replace Shower Curtain Liners // Liners can be washed in the washer if you add some soft towels to the mix. I just wash with our regular homemade detergent by adding it directly to the drum of the washer and vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser. Hang to dry.
Clean Cabinet Tops // The very tops of our cabinets and tall furniture are vacuumed/dusted/wiped down.
S E M I - A N N U A L L Y
Wipe Out Cabinet Interiors // Dust can collect and build up behind closed doors, so twice a year we remove everything from our cabinets and drawers to vacuum them out and wipe them clean.
Deep Clean Grout // We have gone through the process of sealing our grout so our daily maintenance keeps it pretty clean, but a couple of times per year we give it a little extra attention to clean up bad spots and even re-seal it if necessary.
Touch-Up Paint // Occasionally walls, trim, and furniture show our wear and tear so once or twice a year I like to do some quick paint touch-ups.
Clean Window Treatments // I am not one that will wash my curtain panels as I have shrunk them and ruined them in the past. On occasion, I will go over them with the brush attachment on our vacuum and will dust the grooves of our wooden blinds.
Clean Garage // Each spring and fall we try to do a clean out of our garage which includes purging old items, dusting anything on shelves and washing the walls and floors.
A N N U A L L Y
Wash Deck // With some deck wash and a handled scrub brush we remove a year worth of outdoor grime.
Wash Exterior Windows // The exterior windows are sprayed with the hose, cleaned with our long handled window attachment and then squeegeed dry.
Wash Outdoor Furniture and Textiles // Each spring I will wash our outdoor cushion covers in the washing machine and spray and scrub non-machine washable pieces. We also take this time to oil our wooden furniture and wash the dining tables and chairs.
Clean Light Fixtures // The globes and shades to our pendant lights and sconces are removed and washed.
Deep Clean Appliances // Once a year we will pull out appliances and clean the floor under and behind them. We will also wipe them down and vacuum any vents and hoses. Specialty pieces/components are removed and washed.
Power Wash Exterior // Have you ever sprayed down your siding with your garden hose or a pressure washer? I am always wide eyed at the amount of dirt and number of bugs that come streaming down when I do this, so I try to at least spray down the siding on our front porch, around the garage door and along the back side of our house once every year.
TIP FOUR: TAKE BREAKS!
We generally try to leave our Saturdays as our “play” days. We do the bare minimum on this day each week so we can focus on refreshing ourselves and doing things we enjoy. When it comes to many of the tasks that we spread out throughout the year, we may schedule them in for a few hours on a weekend or check one or two things off when we have a slower week or season. We can add dates to the checklist and always see what we haven’t touched in awhile when we have some time to spare. The goal is not to be overwhelmed, and if we pile on a few things one weekend, we may decide to treat ourselves to something special the next.
TIP FIVE: DISPLAY IT!
I have found that these lists work best when they can be paired with a dry erase marker, especially the things we need to focus on daily/weekly. That way we can display the chart in a central location, check it off each week, and then start again the following week without printing a new sheet.
I purchased some flat clear sign holders that I affixed to the inside of our pantry door with Command Strips. The annual printable slides behind our weekly list; we use a pen for maintaining the annual page, and the dry erase marker directly on the acrylic holder for the daily tasks. The acrylic is easily wiped clean with my homemade screen cleaner and a dry rag. (I use the second sign to hold our meal planning printables).
The daily task checklist is the glue to this entire operation. There is a line for each member of our family, and we list the items we need to focus on each day of the week. This is where I will spread out the daily and weekly items so they don’t feel so cumbersome and overwhelming. Each boy has 1-2 household chores per school day, the additional tasks on their lists include general reminders for homework, reading, packing their lunches, etc… This is where we assign our specific days for laundry or times for showering (we spread it out so we aren’t running three showers at once). I also use this as a place to keep myself on track with my days to do general business logs, budget check-ins, grocery tips, etc…
(People always ask why Bryan has fewer items on his daily lists and it is because he does many of the heavy lifting chores such as yard maintenance, shoveling, the majority of the cooking, and a large portion of those household maintenance items that occur quarterly/semi-annually. It all really evens out but looks a little skewed on the chart.)
The downloadable printable has five total pages, breaking down a week for five, four, three or two people, and another that can be used with even more flexibility.
|Download FREE Fillable Weekly Task List Printable|
I know that cleaning is not generally a favorite activity and that most of you would rather be doing just about anything else. But, there are ways to make it more enjoyable and to help ease some of the pain.
- Upbeat music is a great way to boost energy and lighten the cleaning mood.
- I have become completely addicted to podcasts and find they are a great way to keep me entertained while I do mundane chores. Audio books have the same effect.
- Clean with another person and agree to be personal cheerleaders for each other.
- Set a timer and race the clock. See how much you can accomplish in just a short amount of time.
- Host friends/Have a party! If I need a little motivation I will invite some people over for appetizers and drinks. It’s a great way to check a few extra things off of my list to prep the house and then reward myself after.
- Think of other fun ways to incorporate your hobbies into cleaning. Do you love to exercise? How can you build a workout into your cleaning routine?
- Lower your expectations. Your family members may not clean to your standards, but if they are trying, then keep them encouraged and let their efforts be good enough. If they see you re-doing their work, they won’t be motivated to do it again.
- Fall behind? It happens! Give yourself a few hours to catch back up. Start at the back of the house and work your way to the main living areas. Grab your cleaning caddy and an empty basket to collect items that need to be re-distributed. Give yourself an hour or two for each level of the home. You can do it!
- Having a place for everything is SO important and is what helps reduce time while picking up. It is always the items that don’t have a home that end up piled on random surfaces and cause headaches. Prioritize those items high on your list to organize as it will save time in the long run.
- Less is always more. Less to organize and clean means more time to do the things you truly love.
To download printables, click blue “download” button from the Box.com screen. The printables work best when opened with Adobe Reader, which can be downloaded free here (and is also available as an app on most devices). Printables should be editable upon opening, and lists can be saved and re-edited time and time again.
from IHeart Organizing http://www.iheartorganizing.com/2017/05/creating-cleaning-schedule-with-free.html