Household Management!

Cleaning Schedule

A long time ago I told you I would post about cleaning schedule options I have used for the mommy years. Before I begin the practical suggestions here, I want you to know that I probably only use a structured house work routine half of the time. The other half of the time I just clean whatever needs the most attention. I will say, however, that I prefer the housework schedule for one main reason: when I’m finished my work for the day, I’m finished. When I’m not using a schedule that whole “always-something-else-to-clean” thing drives me crazy and it feels like there is never an end to the house work to be done. 

I love change and become bored without it, so I have changed between the following methods over the years.

1.  Floor of the House Approach. This approach designates a floor of the house for each day of the week. My schedule (when I use this approach) looks like this:

Monday: menu planning, grocery shopping 

Tuesday: main floor

Wednesday: upstairs

Thursday: main floor

Friday: basement

Saturday: laundry catch up; change sheets (honestly, this doesn’t happen weekly for the kids because they sleep on top of their made bed with blankets 🙂 ).

Each of these floors gets vacuumed, dusted, and the bathroom cleaned on the day that it falls on.  Mind you, I have kids old enough to do these chores, so if it sounds like too much, just modify it. My upstairs and basement only get dusted monthly at best.  You may not need to vacuum as much either. We have burgundy carpet throughout (not my choice, but actually rather pretty) so the main floor could be vacuumed everyday. But because it’s not on my list everyday, I don’t feel the pressure to do it.

2. Chore of the Day Approach. Like the ladies of old, this designates a certain chore to certain days. I haven’t used this for a while now, so I’m a bit rusty, but the schedule may look like this:

Monday: errands, grocery shopping

Tuesday: laundry, ironing

Wednesday: Bathroom cleaning day

Thursday: vacuuming day

Friday: dusting day

Saturday: laundry, scrub kitchen floor

3. Major Cleaning Day. Honestly, I used this more before I had children, but it might work if you have a friend to take the little guys for a while so you can do some serious cleaning (maybe a tradeoff thing). Simply maintain your home during the rest of the week. You probably want to keep up on laundry and keep things picked up at the end of each day.  Then, one day a week do the whole nine yards: vacuum what needs it, dust, scrub some bathrooms, etc. If you’re not a perfectionist, you could probably do this in a couple of hours…as long as it’s basically picked up before you get started.

4.  Default Mode. This is what I always default to, which I’m fine about. Basically, consider the schedule for the week. Am I going to be near Aldis anytime? Will Jason be out of town? Am I hosting a meeting? Are we going out of town? After considering the schedule, I will decide what days are best to do whatever. If I’m having a meeting, my emphasis for housework will be on the floor that the meeting is on. If Jason is out of town, I might do more organizational-type stuff and let the rest of the house suffer a bit. If I’m going to be near a store like Aldis or BJ’s I might just run in real quick rather than have an official grocery day. If we’re going to be out of town and the kids are staying at home with a sitter, my emphasis will be laundry, and freezer meals. You see what I mean? It is less scheduled, so more things fall through the cracks – like dusting the basement…but I’m not a cleany-type, so that’s fine with me.

When my children were little, this work around the house mostly happened when the kids were sleeping, or when they were watching videos.  Otherwise, it was interrupted a lot…which is fine if you’re expecting that it may take all day to dust one floor.

One last thing. When I was first trying to grow in the area of home management, a friend of mine and I decided to coordinate our cleaning schedules. We would call once in a while to see if the other had done the chores for the day. It was fun knowing that I wasn’t alone in my efforts, and the accountability/commaradary was great.

What is your approach to housework?

12 thoughts on “Cleaning Schedule

  1. My approach is “Major Cleaning Day.” As you said you did this mainly before you had children, I’ll be interested to see if my approach changes (probably). Mainly I do this because I only have one day to be home, Saturdays. Saturday is my do everything day, which can be overwhelming (groceries, laundry, cleaning) and can have me quite tired by the end. But it’s really my only day to do all of that, unless I can do some laundry during the week so I don’t have so much to do by Saturday. I like your other ideas, though.

  2. I’m definitely a “chore a day” person. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for 1 year now and love it. I love structure and that was hard at first. But then I picked certain things to work on each day: business stuff, cleaning, grocery shopping, etc. I even try to schedule in a day to work on my crochet/embroidery business or to just bake. That way it’s like planning in fun. The hardest thing was to remind myself that my first priority is to take care of my daughter and if the floor was dirty longer so be it.

  3. No surprise that I am currently operating in default mode. 🙂
    Before kiddos and while I worked, I was a clean all on one day gal.
    Like you, though, what I have done and prefer is to assign certain tasks to certain days, creating more of a routine and a certainty that cleaning will get done.
    I have come up with my own little system for laundry that I have found ensures that I not only get the laundry done but also don’t become overwhelmed by it. I do all the laundry from the weekend on Monday’s. Then, each week day, Tuesday-Friday, I do just one load of laundry. It has really worked well for me lately.

  4. Like you, I get bored with too much of a good thing (routine) and also the “always more to do” lion that roars at me even after a long day of housework. I’ve used all the methods you’ve described. Since I have kids who help a LOT w/ housework (which is why I had kids in the first place, or so they think) Paul and/or I will make up a chunky list of chores when we’re all home at once. Upstairs baths get cleaned weekly, 1/2 bath daily. Vacuuming 2x/week as needed, dusting when Paul starts coughing! Ben and Sarah do their own laundry (one HUGE load a week each, unsorted–gag!) plus whatever else they’re told to do. The boys take care of the basement since it’s their hangout for TV and Xbox. Sarah and I are more main-level people, and we all try do our own bedrooms as needed, more or less.

  5. I’m pretty much do a little each day, kind of like the fly lady ( When I worked away from the house (before babies) I would do everything on Saturday’s. I find that exhausting! My house is MUCH neater and cleaner now that I have two children and do little chores each day. I may try your system, Laurie, becuase it is nice to just have one or two chores that I will do for that day and not run around from room to room with a different cleaner, vacuum or scrub brush. Oh yea, I almost forgot: If you also toss in a very helpful, loving and selfless husband (as I have) it sure makes cleaning easier and more fun 🙂

  6. I’ve been trying to incorporate a chore per day. So far we have cleaning bathrooms on Monday (the kids clean theirs), the homeschool room on Thursday, and bedrooms (dusting, vacuming etc.) on Friday. I guess this is really for the kids as much as for me. I’m in the “fly by the seat of your pants” stage with a 20 month old and a husband who is currently working nights. A couple of weeks ago, I woke up a couple of hours early on a Saturday so I could just clean! I’ve been doing my grocery shopping while my son is at Karate. I’m really trying to figure out a good system for laundry though. Briana I may try yours and see if it will work. Thanks for the suggestion.

  7. I am really stuck. Trying to create a workable schedule. I want to have my place guest ready all the time. I only have one son he is going to be 3 next month. Reading about these schedules helps.

  8. I am a full time working mother of 3 boys ages 7, almost 5, and 16 mos. Trying to clean is like a nightmare! I can’t do the whole clean a little each day because by the time I get home from work, make dinner, clean up after dinner, help with homework, get everyone upstairs to start our bedtime routine, it is 8:30/9:00. I am exhausted! The only time I fine to clean is either on Saturdays or on Sundays after church. So my system now, is to clean the downstairs one Saturday, the upstairs the next Saturday, and then take a Saturday off. So everything basically gets cleaned about once a month. Of course, my husband and I keep up with laundry by doing a load a night, run the dishwasher everynight and empty it every morning, and pick up the house before bed. But I hate giving up so much of my weekends cleaning. If anyone has a better system for a full time working mother….please, please let me know! It’s also hard to clean with the kids running around trashing the rooms that I am not cleaning. I end up with one room clean and then have to clean up after them! It’s crazy!! HELP!!

  9. All these tips are really helpful. as we have just moved into our new home about a month ago. Going from a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom townhouse to a 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom HOUSE was teh best move, except for offcourse all the extra cleaning that goes with it.. Nonetheless I am still trying to work out a schedule where the laundry and ironing can fit in together with the normal cleaning and meals.. together with having a full time job and one 4 year old son. The cleaning is fine.. I just have trouble with fitting the laundry in.. guess it will take a while to get into a new routine.. but I will definitely have to make ready for some trial and error to find one that’ll work for me.. At the moment I’m behind again with my ironing but at least my house is clean and guest friendly .. heheheh..

  10. The only thing that works for me is to set aside about 40 minutes every day, divide it into 5 minute time pockets and use each one for what ever job jumps out at me in the rooms of my choosing. So I aim for 8 x 5 minute pockets, I check them off as I go, it makes it kind of fun, a bit of a game. I call it my daily Boost , it almost feels like a shower for the house (and if I don’t do it, it gets stinky :0)

    I can do 10 minutes if I want or even 15 if need be in a certain place.

    The trick is to be consistent and focus on getting the task done as quickly as possible. Doing it with no kids around helps too! Or allowing more time. Doing even a few pockets every day makes a huge difference.

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