At the start of August, I felt like something needed to change. With Easton’s due date rapidly approaching, The Fun Part gaining momentum, and the start of a new school year, my workload was only going to get worse. And yet, I already felt SO overwhelmed. Keeping the house clean tended to fall on the back burner and was a huge source of stress for me. So, I decided to once again try a cleaning schedule. I had done so before, skimming Pinterest for hours and settling on a schedule that while good, was ultimately still tailored for someone else’s house and lifestyle. Predictably, these attempts always phased out by the third day.
Whilst in the process of trying to modify someone else’s schedule to fit our family, I ended up scrapping the whole thing and starting from scratch. With a notebook and my current planner, I finally created a cleaning schedule that I can actually stick to, that works for our house and what we need. I’m now going on almost a month of using this schedule. Although I haven’t completed every task every day, I have noticed a huge difference in how I feel about and approach cleaning.
Here’s What Having a Cleaning Schedule Changed for Me:
- My bad days aren’t as detrimental. I’m going to be honest, I don’t feel up for finishing my to-do list every day. So, I don’t. But because I spend most days doing something, the house stays so much cleaner than it did. Instead of three days’ worth of dishes going unwashed for another day, it’s only one. This keeps my stress lowered as well as helping the house stay “company ready” most days.
- I don’t get so overwhelmed. Before, I would spend my good days frantically cleaning as much as possible. By the end of the day, sure, it looked nice, but I was close to crumbling under the exhaustion, and I hadn’t gotten anything other than cleaning done. The house would quickly dirty back up (because people live here) as I spent the next day or two in the bed just trying to recuperate. Like I’ve already touched on, my workload is divided up in a way that I can actually get through everything, rather than playing into that cycle.
- I actually know what needs to be done. Writing down “clean the house” as an item to accomplish for the day is not only daunting, you’ll probably never be able to check it off. When I sat down and made my cleaning list, I then had a list of all the tasks that need to be done on a regular basis. This means when I look at my schedule I am faced with manageable tasks like “wash the dishes” and “sweep the kitchen”, rather than having to figure out and prioritize what’s left to do.
How to Make the Cleaning Schedule YOU Need:
1. Write down everything that needs to be done. It’s helpful to mentally (or even literally!) go from room to room and make note of every task that regularly needs to be completed. BE SPECIFIC! Don’t just put “clean the kitchen”, instead dissect it into smaller parts like “sweep kitchen floor” and “clean out fridge”. At this point, don’t stress about committing to how often you will actually do these items, that’s coming up next. Take the time to really consider everything that needs to be done in the house. Don’t be surprised if you manage to still miss a few things, I know I did. They can be added on later, but it’s much easier if you have the most complete list possible.
There’s many cleaning schedules out there that account for seasonal or even once a year cleaning projects. I chose not to include these in my list and stuck with tasks that needed to be done a minimum of once every month.
2. Decide how often you’re going to do each task. I suggest no more than 5 projects be listed as daily to-dos. I went with 4 and chose: wash all the dishes, do one complete load of laundry for clothes and one for towels, and change the puppy pads. Try to consider how often these things need to be done, rather than how often you’d like them done, as it can be easy to overwhelm yourself.
3. Determine what days you’re willing to work. Think about your weekly schedule. If you have a completely full schedule on Wednesdays, consider not adding any tasks to that day. Don’t give yourself a project that will take three hours on a day when you only have one hour you’re willing to share. Since Mr. Man works 4 on/3 off, with an hour commute each way, I don’t get to see much of him on his workdays. So, I like to keep off days with as small of a to-do list as possible. This meant I only wanted to do my daily tasks each of his off days, which leaves the other tasks to be done one of the four days I am willing to do more.
4. Assign each task to a day. It’s important during this step to consider how long each project will take, rather than just the number of tasks you add. For example, shampooing the carpets may take much longer than taking out the bathroom trash. You want to once again take into account your weekly schedule, and try to give yourself a pretty even load each day.
5. Put your schedule somewhere useful. Now that you have the list of what needs to be done and when, it’s time to put it into action. Find a spot for your schedule that works for you. Go with somewhere you look regularly. This could be on your fridge or even at your family command center. Don’t have one? Check out this post for how to make a command center shelf. For me, the best spot was in my planner. I use part of each day’s section on the weekly page of my planner to make a checklist of what needs to be done.
If you’re wanting some inspiration or are just curious, here’s what my cleaning schedule looks like: