Creating a Cleaning Schedule

Growing up, our home was *always* clean.  I’m not saying Mom is or ever was a neat freak, because she’s not.  She isn’t really uptight about the cleanliness of her place like you would associate with the words “neat freak,” but she has been always very meticulous and hard working.  I think it comes down to the fact that she’s quite the aesthete, really, she wants where she is to always be inspiring and beautiful, and for those afternoon aesthetics, she is willing to do some morning maintenance.

I remember asking her about this sometime ago– how did she do it?  You see, not only has she always kept a clean house, she has also maintained a beautiful garden, worked on enormous DIY projects, raised both of us girls, and worked a job.  Don’t get me wrong, she’s had Dad’s help for a good chunk of that, but the house being clean, I know that’s all her.  Some of it was ingrained– her childhood was really tough– and she’s said more than once that you were more likely to stay out of harm’s way if you were working on something, so she tried to stay busy.  She still has problems sitting down and just chilling… but anyway, she told me how once she got older and a place of her own, it occurred to her that she was the only person she had to please when it came to her home.  She wanted it to stay clean, and she wanted to enjoy that cleanliness.  (The is pre-Dad and us girls, of course.)  She figured it was best to divide up the work and just get it out of the way, so since then she’s scheduled the cleaning of every home she’s had by day of the week, leaving the weekends free for other enjoyments.  It’s quite brilliant really, over the course of the week, every week, you hit every room of the house.  Because you are doing this weekly, it never gets gross or overwhelming.  And she’s proven to me that it works, week after week, year after year, with always a pleasantly tidy home.

Colorful Whisk Broom Duo

Colorful Whisk Broom Duo

So since we’re now officially past the crazies of the holiday season, its time for me to sit down and figure it out– what is the weekly cleaning plan for this new home?  How am I going to approach cleaning this monster of a house, MUCH more house than I’ve ever had to clean before?  I need to formulate a plan and get cracking on it before all the good work I did prior to our New Year’s party slips away into a layer of grime….  Here it is, loosely formulated:

  • Monday– Kitchen and Dining Room
  • Tuesday–  All three Baths and Laundry Room
  • Wednesday–  All three Bedrooms and Hallway
  • Thursday– Living Room, Foyer/Stairwell, and Playroom
  • Friday– Den, Garage and Greenhouse
  • Saturday and Sunday– Just try and MAINTAIN!

Originally I had left the garage and greenhouse off of this list, but I reworked it all to include them once I really thought about it.  After all, they ARE part of this house, and I will need to keep them clean as well….  And truthfully, the garage still contains a good portion of our possessions, so if I have it on the list that will push me to unpack and organize it a little better.

So here’s how this works.  The ‘daily maintenance’ happens everyday, all the time–

  • dishes are processed just like the food they held (in a timely manner)
  • spills and debris are wiped and swept up where ever and whenever they occur
  • personal items (Fox’s toys, my nail polish and doodle pads, Pan’s socks) are picked up out of public spaces by the owner, before bedtime at the latest
  • try to get the beds made everyday (you would be amazed at how good this will make you FEEL, it is as if a new part of you suddenly has ‘their act together’ and a little bit of stress goes away.)
  • laundry happens all the time, a load or two a day (at a rate determined by your household’s needs, I do about 2-3 loads a day)
  • pet spaces and belongings are kept up (this means food and water bowls kept relatively clean and in a clean area; litter boxes scooped; pet beds shaken out or laundered every so often; leashes stored in a designated area; hamster shavings changed; fish tanks de-algaed, etc.)
  • holiday decor is processed as quickly as possible (as to not gum up the works and be enjoyable for a longer period of time)
  • exceptions are made for holidays, just plan for them and do a little ‘extra’ work the days before

As it comes to each individual room, each day, you are cleaning according to the needs of the room.   Mostly you are dusting your surfaces, emptying the trash, windexing glass and mirrors, watering plants, and cleaning the floor via sweeping/mopping or vacuuming (or whatever that floor needs).  In the bedrooms you are laundering and changing sheets, tidying closets, and tending to personal items.  (This could be that in the master you clean your makeup brushes, or shine your shoes… in children’s rooms you could be organizing hairbows or whatever.)  When you come to time for seasonal changes for your rooms, this is when you change out your bedspreads, wash soft window coverings, do a little deeper cleaning chores.  Kitchens and baths tend to be ‘harder work’ days, merely because they are germier and more likely to get gross if you don’t dedicate time to them regularly.  My kitchen sort of ends up with a schedule of its own….

In the kitchen for the weekly work, I always do the obligatory dusting of my cookie jars and whatzits (man, I have got too many whatzits), I pull out all my canisters and wipe all the counter tops and backsplash, I clean the sink, I wipe out the microwave and toaster oven, and I sweep and mop the tile floor.  Really there is just too much to be done in a kitchen if you are trying to do an in-depth clean each and every week, plus some of it is pointless on a weekly basis.  I mean, really, you don’t clean your oven weekly, right?  (If you do, you may want to talk to a doctor about that– you are a neat freak, emphasis on the freak, and exposure to those chemicals could be harming your noggin.)    Instead I rotate these bigger tasks.  I aim to clean out and wipe down my fridge every other week, and then on the weeks I *don’t* do the fridge, I choose from a myriad of other activities.  Now that I have a dishwasher, I need to include scrubbing the filter and running cleaning cycles on that machine as part of those activities.  I also rotate wiping down the cabinets, cleaning out the pantry, scrubbing the trash cans, scrubbing the grout to whiteness, wiping out the range hood exhaust thingamabob, and yes, cleaning the oven.  I also rotate my glassware, as I have collected an INSANE amount of vintage printed glassware over the years, and changing it out every two months is the way I have chosen to enjoy it, rather than trying to display and maintain 500+ pieces via the old way.  (Yeah, scrubbing ovens hasn’t made me nuts, it must have been something else that did it.)  But you get the point, I have a veritable ferris wheel of kitchen chores to ride my way through, week to week.

I know it sounds like a lot to process, but I’m a girl that gets overwhelmed very easily.  When faced with cleaning this house on a regular basis, I get really light-headed.  I know I WANT it to be clean, I ultimately want people to be able to drop in at nearly any time and it be presentable.  I also know that we cannot afford a housekeeper, and with me being a stay-at-home-Mom that’s kind of MY job.  So what are my options?  I could wear my cookies out every Monday and then resent my guys for the place being dirty by the time the weekend rolls around, OR I can get smart and adapt a plan that I have *seen* work!  Um, I don’t have to be a freaking genius to make this choice, do I?

Um, so now if you’ll excuse me, I have a living room, foyer and playroom that I simply MUST get to cleaning before my boy gets home!



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