It wasn’t until I got injured and couldn’t walk that I was forced to finally create a home cleaning routine. I was on crutches for four weeks thanks to a running accident. As stubborn as I am, I quickly realized I could no longer clean our house all by myself (at least temporarily).
Apparently I’m not the only one who has experienced stress or guilt in relation to household cleaning. A recent study showed that roughly 80% of US adults feel guilt or shame when their house isn’t clean.
I needed a plan. As someone who has always been allergic to household planning, I was a bit stuck at first. I remember thinking, where do I start? I knew I was probably going to need to hire someone to come and do some deep cleaning, but there was still all of the everyday and weekly type of cleaning to tackle.
My process involved breaking things down into manageable steps, which is what I will lay out for you below. Please read on to learn about four steps to create a home cleaning routine:
Step One: Break it Down
Obviously (and thankfully), you don’t need to clean everything in your house every single day. There are those areas in your home that get dirty super-fast that you likely want to clean daily. Personally, I cannot stand it when my kitchen is dirty. Therefore, one of my, what I refer to as “deal breaker daily cleaning tasks,” is getting the dishes done and wiping down the kitchen counters.
Other than those daily deal-breaker tasks, most other cleaning tasks can be broken up into weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly.
To start to create a home cleaning routine, all you need is a scratch piece of paper or blank document if you prefer typing. This is the brainstorming part.
- First, begin by listing the daily cleaning tasks. These are things that get a lot of traffic and that you tend to notice when they don’t get cleaned. For example, wiping the kitchen counters, sweeping the entryway, and cleaning the kitchen sink.
- Next, list the weekly items or rooms. You don’t need to assign a specific day of the week yet, but if you know there are days of the week that you prefer to clean, definitely list the specific day so you can start organizing your schedule.
- Some ideas for weekly cleaning tasks are: bathroom toilets and sinks, bathroom floors, vacuum floors and mop, and vacuum carpets.
- I suggest also adding in laundry. Although it’s not technically a cleaning task, it is time consuming, and I personally find it’s easier when I schedule it in along with my cleaning routine.
- Next is bi-weekly. This might look different for different people. For me, I like to clean things like showers / tubs, mirrors, and wiping down higher surfaces like the fireplace mantel and the baseboards.
- Next comes monthly. One item on my list is cleaning out the washing machine and
- Quarterly items might include things like windows and cleaning the patio.
- Semi-annual cleaning and maintenance tasks can include items like deep cleaning the oven, cleaning the fireplace, and deep cleaning the fridge and freezer.
- Once per year, or annually, I like to do major de-cluttering projects like taking inventory of my kids’ toys and clothes, household items, and adult clothes and make a trip to a local donation center. Make sure to keep receipts of what you donate so that you can get a tax write-off!
- Another great annual task is to do interior touch-up painting and re-organizing other spaces in the house like the kitchen pantry.
Step Two: Ask for Help
This is the most important step. As moms and caregivers, it’s easy to not ask for help. But you need to remember, it’s okay to ask for help. I’m going to say it again. It’s okay to ask for help. It doesn’t make you weak. It means you are taking control of the situation and seeking a solution to a legitimate problem.
Before my injury, I told myself I could do all the cleaning. Plus, I didn’t want to delegate anything out to my husband or kids because I didn’t think they would be able to clean as well as me. I know it sounds ridiculous. But that’s the way my rationalization went for a long time.
Now I realize how much work it takes for only one person to clean an entire house regularly. It’s nearly impossible.
So, I ask you, what can you outsource? If you can afford to have a cleaning service come in even once per month or once every few months to do a deep clean, that can make a huge difference.
If you can’t afford a cleaning service, what about delegating chores to your kids (if they’re old enough) and your partner or spouse? And maybe another part of the delegating is letting some things go. I’m not saying not to clean your house anymore. I’m just talking about figuring out which items or rooms can get cleaned less often.
We’ve got a family chore chart that we use that’s part of the Ultimate Mom Planner. It’s really made a huge difference in the amount of help I get from my family. Each person is assigned certain cleaning tasks each day, and you can even have your kids check them off. My husband and I tie in the chores with our kids’ allowance, so it is an extra motivator for them to help out more around the house.
Step Three: Stick to the Plan
Stick to the routine. I realize it might not look exactly the same every single day or week. Given all the unpredictability of life with a busy household and all. But, for the most part, if you can stick to a schedule or routine most of the time, you will see the best results!
Once I hired our cleaning person, for example, I was on her schedule every other week. I am less likely to cancel or put it off. It’s already planned out so I know I can expect a deeper clean of our house every two weeks. From there I just filled in the blanks.
For the everyday and weekly cleaning tasks, I delegate tasks to my kids using our Family Chore Chart. It has made an enormous difference!
Hopefully this post has lessened the cleaning overwhelm for you. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help. Trust in your family and/or a cleaning person or service to be able to do the job, or at least some of the job, and do it well. Of course, it won’t be as good as how you clean. However, coming up with a schedule and getting some help can be a game changer!