Tidying up can often fall to the back burner.
We’ve all been there – promising to sweep tomorrow, clean the stove after the next meal, or toss expired food from the refrigerator before another trip to the grocery store. If we’re being realistic, those promises aren’t always kept, and it’s not because we don’t want to complete those tasks. Sometimes it’s a time constraint. We always think there will be more time later.
If you struggle to complete tasks around the house, feel overwhelmed by the amount of work, or don’t know how often each task should be completed, it’s time to set up a cleaning schedule. Even if you occupy a small space, chores can pile up and feel like a mountain to tackle.
Why create a cleaning schedule?
For starters, it makes the work feel more manageable. You won’t spend an entire weekend in cleaning mode when you disperse the chores throughout the week, month, or year. It also keeps you on track. With a clear idea of what you need to accomplish, you’ll avoid feeling overwhelmed by the to-do list.
Here’s a good place to start: Take a quick audit of your cleaning routine (or lack thereof) – what you do, what you avoid, and what you wish you did. Think of the chores you do daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly. When was the last time you completed those tasks? How did they make you feel? It’s easy to forget how gratifying a clean space can feel until we’re soaking it in.
Now that you have your list of chores, it’s time to create a schedule. Below, find some recommendations on when to complete certain tasks so that your home is the cleanest, comfiest place to be.
Daily: Upkeep tasks
A little bit of work each day can go a long way. You should think of daily tasks as “maintenance.” If you sort the mail each day, for example, you won’t have to spend an afternoon doing it each month.
- Tidy the kitchen: Consider this your “closing shift.” Wipe down countertops, put dishes in the dishwasher, sweep floors if need be. This will make a “deep” clean much more manageable in the future.
- Address daily clutter: Mail, shoes, toys, paperwork. Whatever is piling up throughout the day should be tended to so that it doesn’t become an even bigger hassle. If you need a little motivation, set a timer for 10 minutes and see how much you can get done. It’s probably more than you think.
Weekly: Freshening up
There are a number of things you should try to complete weekly to keep your space clean, but you don’t need to do them all at once. In fact, if you can create a routine, that’s even better. Sundays are great for washing sheets, while focusing on the bathroom mid-week will help you feel refreshed.
- Clean bathroom: Bathrooms are often humid, making them targets for mildew and build-up, which if left uncleaned can affect your health. Cleaning the toilet, sink, and shower weekly helps prevent smells, germs and gunk from taking over.
- Vacuum/mop: Floors can get dirty quickly, so it’s a good idea to clean them often. Not only does this improve the health of your home, it also helps maintain the floors and prevent damage.
- Wash sheets: Do this weekly to keep dust mites, germs, skin cells, and other nuisances at bay. These are all microscopic, so they exist, even if your sheets don’t seem dirty.
Monthly: Deeper cleaning
If you get your daily and weekly chores down, your monthly tasks won’t be so bad. These are chores that don’t need to be done extremely often, but enough to keep your space feeling organized and running smoothly. Pencil in these tasks when you have a bit more time and energy to spend. While they might not necessarily be heavy lifts, they do require some focus.
- Refrigerator clean-out: Is your refrigerator cluttered or your freezer overcrowded? It happens! Take some time each month and get rid of expired condiments, toss old takeout, and clean the shelves. This will feel and look a lot better, and it will also help with meal planning and grocery shopping. If you know what you have, you’re less likely to overspend.
- Dusting: It’s easy to neglect this task, and when it’s not done, dust can become caked on surfaces. Use a microfiber towel to clean blinds, cabinets, shelving, and more to pick up every piece of dust. A dusting tool with a long handle can help with ceiling fans and harder to reach spaces.
- Change necessary filters: Some filters in HVAC systems need to be changed on a regular basis. It’s good to check this monthly to ensure there isn’t any debris blocking the filter.
Every 6 months - yearly: Heavy lifting
There are some tasks that don’t need to be done often, but make a real difference. Harder to reach places, like under furniture, don’t always get our attention, so make an effort every six-to-twelve months to clean these areas or call in an expert.
- Move furniture: When was the last time you vacuumed under your bed? It requires some effort! Vacuuming or mopping the floors under heavy furniture is important because it keeps the flooring in good shape and less likely to need future repair or renovation.
- Replace shower liners: You may want to opt for doing this more often than once per year, perhaps every six months or quarterly, as mold and mildew can build up on a shower liner. If the directions say the material is machine washable, make sure to use disinfectant and dry accordingly.
- Touch up paint: Normal wear and tear in a home is normal! Examine each spot needing attention to see if it requires any filler. Nails and screws can create deep holes that may need a little extra work.
Creating a cleaning schedule isn’t as difficult as it seems. Once you establish a routine, it all sort of falls into place and reminds you that a little bit of work here and there is much easier to commit to than one giant lift.
Written by Kara Mason