Welcome to Part 3 of the Home Management Series! So far we have talked about Decluttering and Simplifying. Today we are going to be talking about another important part: Cleaning. Specifically, I hope to help you create a cleaning routine that keeps your house sparkling but doesn’t become an overwhelming part of your daily life. Before we get started though, the most important part in this is making sure you aren’t cleaning around junk 24-7. Your job will be so much harder and take twice as long if you have to pick up 25 pairs of shoes while trying to vacuum the floor. By now you may be sensing a theme….it all comes back to decluttering! This is the crucial starting step. If you are still struggling with this – consider purchasing Allie Cassazza’s Uncluttered Home course. Having some skin in the game will encourage you to keep moving forward. With all of that said, let’s get started!
Creating a cleaning schedule or basically a plan for when and how you clean certain areas of your house is Step One. Why? When you create a schedule for yourself, things will be less likely to get missed, like cleaning the inside of your dishwasher. Cleaning starts taking less time as you get more efficient and it doesn’t get overwhelming because you already know what to expect.
The next step is to be realistic with your calendar and cleaning habits. You will need to think through the following questions: What do you have time for daily, weekly, monthly? Do you like to clean in 1-2 big swoops – like a Saturday and Sunday purge? Or do you like to do a little bit every day? What’s realistic?
If you don’t have time in your calendar or season of life, house cleaning is one of the first things I would outsource. Even monthly deep-cleaning sessions with a specific team might take a huge burden off of your plate and be well worth the extra expense. Be honest with yourself!
Finally, now you need to get everything out on paper and organized. I break everything down into daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly/annual items below. My entire system is organized and color-coded on Trello, an amazing online resource. I’ll share a quick screenshot here:
There are certain items that need to be done every single day to keep your house fresh. Since these items are done regularly they should be split up among the family members to keep the load spread out. In our house, we do the daily items in the evening and after dinner. I’ll list them here: tidying up clutter, wiping down kitchen countertops, kitchen table and the stovetop, sweeping up the kitchen floor, cleaning the kitchen sink, running the Roomba, wiping down bathroom vanity, loading and unloading dishwasher, taking out the trash and finishing one load of laundry.
Besides the laundry routine, which I have discussed in more detail on my Instagram highlight if you are interested, these items take us no more than 15 mins.
For me, I prefer to spread out my cleaning and do a little bit every single day. I typically spend about 30 minutes during quiet time because I can put on a podcast while the kids are occupied and get to work. We load a little bit more on Saturdays since that is when David gets his items done and I have a little more time with extra child-care.
Here is what a typical week look likes:
Monday: Dust upstairs and downstairs. Polish wood furniture
Tuesday: Clean bathroom sinks, vanity, and mirrors.
Wednesday: Declutter surfaces. Monthly item (see below).
Thursday: Clean kitchen appliances and kitchen cabinets. Sanitize sponges.
Friday: Annual item (see below).
Saturday: Vacuum and mop floors. Deep clean Matthe & Molly’s room. Clean toilets & tubs. David’s monthly item.
David and I split up the monthly tasks into four different weeks to keep it more manageable. I do my monthly tasks on Wednesdays and David does his on Saturdays. Again, this doesn’t take more than 30 minutes and the beauty is in the schedule to make sure things aren’t getting missed!
Week 1: Wipeout fridge. Dust light fixtures and molding.
Week 2: Clean stairs handrail and molding. Clean behind and under furniture.
Week 3: Wipe down baseboards and doors. Sanitize trash cans.
Week 4: Wipe down bathroom cabinets & clean out drawers. Remove cobwebs.
Week 5: Deep clean oven, washer and vacuum. Clean inside of windows and window sills.
Quarterly and Annual Schedule
The way my cleaning schedule works out, I do one of the below items on Fridays. This part was honestly the most time-consuming in the beginning. Basically I did a big brain dump of everything that needed to get done (down to washing bedskirts and stuffed animals) and started back-tracking to get to a schedule that has 4 items per month. You will also see that I schedule in specific times for decluttering!
Here is what the annual items looks like:
January: Launder pillows & comforters, Launder throw pillows and blankets, Wash bedskirts, Wash waterproof toys
February: Flip mattress & vaccuum, Clean area rugs, Launder shower curtains, Deep-clean Washer & Dryer
March: Clean inside of dishwasher, Declutter medicine cabinets, Launder stuffed animals, Declutter linen closet
April: Clean chimney & fireplace, Declutter kitchen cabinets, Declutter bathroom cabinets, Deep-clean Washer & Dryer
May: Upholstery & carpet cleaning, Declutter pantry, Clean front door, Clean window tracts
June: Wash waterproof toys, Remove broken toys, Dust blinds, Wipe down TVs and remotes
July: Clean curtains, Launder throw pillows, Clean electronics, Clean lampshades
August: Flip mattress & vacuum, Launder shower curtain, Deep-clean washer & dryer, Deep-clean dryer & vents
September: Clean range hood, Freezer cleanout, Deep-clean oven, Declutter linen closet
October: Descale coffee maker & tea kettle, Declutter kitchen cabinets, Declutter bathroom cabinets, Clean inside of the dishwasher
November: Freshen drains and disposals, Declutter pantry, Wipe down TV & remotes, Clean electronics
December: Clean heating vents, Wash waterproof toys, Remove broken toys, Dust blinds
*the only thing that is left off this list is air filters and gutters, which David handles separately!
Cleaning with Kids
The kids have certain cleaning chores that they have to do every day. I don’t pay them allowance for doing them because our philosophy is that they are a member of this family, they live in our house and everyone has to contribute to keeping our house clean. Their chores will change as they get older but right now they are three years old and have to do the following daily: make their beds (with help), do a 10 minute clean up of the playroom and their toys, set and clear the table, and 1 age-appropriate task. Molly is responsible for sweeping up the kitchen floor and Matthew is in charge of mopping up the kitchen floor with our Bona spray mop. It’s never perfect (and I could definitely do it faster and more effectively) but the most important thing is that they are involved and feel proud of themselves for helping.
The resources below help me to stay on track with cleaning and keep it as simple as possible.
Trello – I use this program to create my cleaning schedule & keep me on track
Clean it Like You Mean it Course from Kendra Hennessey – if you are a house cleaning beginner, I highly recommend this course!
Branch Basics for healthy cleaning products
Here are a few of my favorite additional cleaning items I can’t live without:
Thanks for tuning in! See you back here next week. XO