Keeping It Clean: Why is this so hard?

Cleaning

A clean house. It shouldn’t be that hard, right? Think again. I’ve seen those cleaning schedules on Pinterest, and honestly, they overwhelm me. I’m mentally defeated before I even get started. There is absolutely NO WAY I can do all of that. Obvi. One look at my house tells you I just can’t keep up with the mess. 

Unexpected Visitor Test

I can handle the everyday tasks needed to keep my house at least semi-presentable — sweeping, dishes, general clutter control (more or less…) I like to think my house is clean enough that a spontaneous visit from my neighbor won’t result in my total embarrassment.

But the bigger cleaning tasks? I can’t ever seem to find time to fit them in. Wiping baseboards? Forget it. Cleaning fans? Not even on my radar until one of the fans gets turned off (on a side note, HOW can the fan blades POSSIBLY accumulate so much dust when they are in constant motion?)

The Deep Clean

At the beginning of the summer, I had compiled a massive list of things that needed to be done (read: I couldn’t get done on my own) to give our house a deep clean. It was overwhelming to me, even though a lot of them were small tasks. When I showed the list to my husband and asked for his help, he went into full-on fixer mode. He disappeared for a few minutes and returned with an organized cleaning schedule. He had split up all of the tasks so that we only had one or two things that we needed to accomplish each day.  It was manageable. And we still had plenty of time for summer fun. 

Get with the Program

As we geared up for another school year, I was so inspired by my hubby’s brilliant idea that I decided to put some of his wisdom into practice. What I needed was a schedule. Just like everything else in my life, if I don’t write it down, it’s not gonna happen. I separated the tasks into buckets based on how often each thing needed to be done: Weekly, Every 2 Weeks, and Monthly. I’ll give a little explanation as to why certain things made the cut and why they were placed where they were.

Weekly

  • Groceries/Laundry: It’s got to happen, and no one likes to do it. But it takes up a huge chunk of the day, and it’s hard to get much more done without totally ignoring the littles and leaving them to fry their brains in front of the TV.
  • Power Mop: We have tile on basically our entire downstairs level. Every time I clean the floor, a big spill is just around the corner. With. Out. Fail. So this has to get done on a weekly basis
  • Kitchen/Dinner Table: This is not just an everyday wipe down. I’m talking declutter, clear off the surfaces, and give it a good cleaning. 
  • Main Bath: It’s our only one downstairs and we all use it all the time. Enough said.

Every 2 Weeks

  • Vaccuum: For me, this is the upstairs carpet. We don’t spend a huge amount of time upstairs, so it doesn’t get that dirty. If you have carpet in a much-lived-in part of your house, this might need to move up to “weekly.”
  • Sheets/Towels: I do them all in one day (not a laundry day). That is, unless someone pees in the bed — and why is it that this is ALWAYS the day AFTER I just changed all of the sheets??
  • All Bathrooms: After 2 weeks, they definitely need it!
  • Blinds/Fans/Basebards: I don’t try to do them all every 2 weeks, but at least a few areas each time it comes up so that I can keep up.

Monthly

  • Dust: I’m actually horrible at this. So I’m trying to keep myself more accountable and not let the dust pile up.
  • Outside/Patio: Depending on what kind of time I have, I might do anything between just a quick pick up to a full-on power wash and shrub clipping.
  • Room by Room: I break down each room so that it can get focused attention at least every two months. This includes going through kids’ closets and collecting items that can be donated (We accumulate so much. I don’t know how it happens).
  • Fridge/Microwave: Just a good wipe down and clean out can never hurt. 

It doesn’t really seem that hard, right? It’s not rocket science. But I just couldn’t wrap my brain around it until I put it all down on paper. I have one weekly task each day, and then either a bi-weekly or monthly task as well. I color-coded because I’m a dork. The way I have it now, it’s rarely more than one hour per day, and it’s usually less than that. It’s manageable.

   

A Few Last Tips

As I have worked through this cleaning calendar for just at a month, I’ve made tweaks and changes as needed, and I’ve also figured out a few things along the way.

  • Keep one day free. It’s a reward and/or a catch-up day.
  • Don’t freak out when there’s a big spill or the bathroom odor is out of control. That task is coming up soon. Get to it earlier if you can, but don’t stress about it if you can’t. 
  • Things that are NOT on my list: daily tasks like sweeping and doing dishes. There is just no getting around these never-ending tasks.
  • Don’t do it all yourself! I didn’t include chores that my kids can do. They are still little, but they can put their own clothes away, help put dishes away and pick up after themselves. 
  • Doing a big, deep clean before you start the schedule will definitely help. But if you can’t get to it, just chink away at it month by month.
  • Figure out how one thing might flow into another. I vacuum on Mondays. So on Sunday night, I get the kids to pick up all the toys and clothes and other randomness so that I can actually get to the vacuuming while they are at school                        
  • Do what works for you! Everyone is different and everyone has a different schedule. I’ve included a few printables in case you want to try out your own cleaning calendar. Think about all of your cleaning/household tasks and fill them in according to frequency. Then calendar them out and give it a month. If you’re anything like me, your house will never be the same! 
  • If this seems helpful at all, feel free to download this blank calendar and fill it in with your own cleaning needs. You know your house better than anyone. Happy cleaning! 

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