I have to confess that I was not a very good housekeeper during the last year or so in our mobile home. It’s really hard to get motivated to clean a place that is ugly, cluttered, and falling apart. I tried to do the very basics necessary for hygiene purposes, but I got no satisfaction out of doing it and in fact it usually just made me depressed.
Now that we are living in our beautiful new home, I want to take great care of it. So I enthusiastically dove into the process of keeping it clean. I began watching YouTube videos and soon locked on to Melissa at Clean My Space. Her videos were fun, friendly, and full of good tips and ideas. I especially love her DIY cleaning product recipes.
However, as the weeks went by I started to feel overwhelmed. There always seemed to be something to do, and I would often get sidetracked. Whatever task I was doing drew my attention to something else that needed doing, and there seemed to be no end to it all. If I took a couple of days off, I spent hours making up for it. So I decided what I needed was a good cleaning routine.
I started at MarthaStewart.com where I found comprehensive task lists for daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal cleaning. I went through them and eliminated anything that didn’t apply to my situation. Then over the next couple of weeks I added anything I could think of that was unique to my situation. When my lists were complete it was time to divide and conquer!
By this time I already had a daily routine established where I make the bed and empty the dishwasher in the morning, then in the evenings I clean the cooktop, the kitchen countertops, the sink, and I run the dishwasher. For the weekly tasks, I divided them over six days, taking care to ensure that things naturally followed. For example, I do dusting the day before vacuuming, because dusting can send dust down onto the floors (as @MelissaMaker says, work from the top down!).
I’ve been doing this for three weeks now and I couldn’t be happier. Every day I just check my list and do what is on it for that day. I don’t worry about what else needs doing because I know it is accounted for in the schedule. My home is constantly in a state of cleanliness, but I devote only an hour a day at most to keeping it that way. I am not afraid of people stopping by unexpectedly, of someone needing to use the guest bathroom (I lived in fear of that in our old place), of giving people tours of the new house…because it is always at an acceptable level of cleanliness.
But it’s not just about keeping the house clean and attractive for visitors (and myself of course – I honestly don’t think my kids or my husband really pay attention to such things), it’s about maintaining everything we have in good working condition. All the appliances are brand new, including my Dyson cordless, and I want to take really good care of them. So cleaning filters and wiping down surfaces inside and out is important.
The best part about this method is that I no longer get sidetracked. For example, Thursday is dusting day. When I notice that tiny fur balls are beginning to form on the floor (we have two cats and a dog, so fur is an issue here), I don’t let it distract me because I know that Friday is vacuuming day, and they’ll be taken care of before they grow to epic proportions.
If I miss something on the day’s list, or even the whole list for that day, I just do it the next day. And if I’m really busy and simply cannot add it on to the next day, I leave it. Because there are few things that really, absolutely have to be done each week, and I know that if I just don’t get it done, it will get done next week. It is just so wonderful to have the place clean all the time, and I no longer spend 5 hours in one day trying to get everything done at once.
For the monthly tasks, some are small and can easily be tacked on to any day, such as giving the pets their flea treatments, or wiping down items that sit on the kitchen countertop. Otherwise Saturdays are for choosing a larger monthly task, such as mopping floors in the rooms that aren’t used heavily, or taking apart my beloved Dyson cordless vacuum to clean the parts and filters.
I also have some tasks that are tackled quarterly (every 3 months), such as replacing the baking soda in the fridge, running the washing machine through a self-clean cycle, or wiping down the kitchen ceilings (thank you, Martha Stewart, for making me realize that was even a thing). There are ten of these, and my plan is to add one to each week with a couple of weeks off if I’m really busy, so that they get done every 12 weeks (3 months).
I even have a list for spring and fall cleaning, which includes tasks such as putting up (or taking down) fly screens on the windows, vacuuming the refrigerator coils, and cleaning out the deep freezer. I’ll set aside one week twice a year to add these to my daily and weekly tasks.
So there you have it. If you are curious about my routine, below is a photo from my planner, which I use to keep track of it all. On the left are my weekly tasks, broken down over six days (you can’t see it, but at the very bottom on Saturdays I have “do one monthly task”).
On the right side I use a “tracker” system to keep track of what gets done. You’ll see that I did not complete all my monthly tasks in January. For February, I have started to note the day that I did the task, so I know how long it has been since I last did that task. For the quarterly tasks, I note the month in which it was done. For example, deworming the pets was done in January (and btw, I must step up the pace on these!).
So that’s my new cleaning routine. I’m loving it, and loving the fact that I’m able to take such great care of my beautiful new home without exhausting myself in the process!
PS: if you are curious about my planner pages, I use the Bullet Journal system, which is a method for organizing your life. I’m mildly obsessed with it right now, and I plan to write a post on that topic soon.