We all have our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to anything, even homemaking. Mine? Well, I enjoy making a lot of everyday stuff from scratch (from salsa to salad dressing). But housecleaning is not a strong suit of mine.
I do take care of the laundry and dishes and keeping the kitchen countertops and floors swept, but as most of you know, there’s a lot more to a clean house than just that! Everything else? Well, I kind of just don’t even notice it…
Which is why my husband actually ends up doing a lot of the deep cleaning around the house, from cleaning the tub to vacuuming the carpet. I mentioned before that it’s part of that “two are better than one” thing that happens in marriages: He takes it upon himself to take up the vacuum and the cleaning supplies while I handle the clutter around the house. Together, the house ends up looking well kept.
But, since my husband already spends more than forty hours a week slaving away, I really want our home to be a place where he can relax and a refuge for him after a long day’s work. It’s not that he really minds cleaning (I nabbed a good one, I tell ya!), but I just want to be more proactive.
So that’s why I started keeping a housecleaning schedule. But not just any schedule, where every day I have to take up a specific task like Mondays are for mopping or Tuesdays are for toilet scrubbing.
I’ve tried those kinds of schedules but found that after a day or two, I just get bored with them. And then abandon them completely and go back to my natural way of cleaning, which is that when it gets dirty enough to tell, I clean it. (But usually that just means that my husband tackles it before I get around to it!)
No, my schedule is one that takes advantage of my desire to mix things up. The beauty of it, in fact, rests on its flexibility. (Keep on reading if you want to download a printable copy of my schedule!)
Because the way I have it set up, is that I have one list of all the cleaning chores that need to be done around the house that I normally never think of or get around to doing. Then, once a day, I’ll look over that list and decide what items I want to check off, depending on my mood or my ambition.
I have the list framed in a picture frame behind glass so that I can use a dry-erase marker to check off each item as I go, and then every Monday, I wipe the slate clean and begin again.
Here’s a closer look at my list:
(By the way, you can check out some of my favorite cleaning essentials here.)
You’ll see that my list isn’t completely comprehensive. That’s because I left off the chores that come naturally to me—like laundry and dishes and countertop cleaning. I already do those routinely, so I don’t need to be reminded by a list to stay up on them. You’ll also see that there are some things that are on there multiple times (like sweep the kitchen floors), because I want to make sure they’re swept at least that many times a week and otherwise I’ll go for longer between grabbing my broom.
The goal isn’t to complete everything on the list every week. The air conditioning filter only needs to be cleaned once every three months, after all. But since it’s on the list, then I can’t forget about it and can aim to repeat it every couple of months. So by tackling a couple of those seasonal or once-in-awhile jobs every week or two, they’re all taken care of in turn.
The thing about this list is that it works so well because if I didn’t have “Clean mirrors” staring me in the face, I probably would not have taken up my spray bottle and newspaper and spent thirty minutes going from room to room, wiping down each looking glass. But because of this list, I did.
If you want, you can download a PDF of my list here. It’s tailored specifically for my home and for my cleaning needs, but it can be a good starting point for any small home or just to inspire you to make your own list.
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Disclosure: This post from my archives is being re-run as part of BlogHer's Smart Mom's Guide to Being Busy editorial series, brought to you by Rice Krispies and BlogHer.