by Patty Gardner, Homemakers Daily
Cleaning house may not be on your list of favorite things to do but it still needs to be done. (And yes, I know, cleaning house is like shoveling snow in a snowstorm!)
But since it has to be done, and most homemakers would rather not do it, the best strategy is to do it as quickly and efficiently as possible. To do that, it helps if you have a system – you need to know what to do, when to do it and when to STOP! If you don’t have a stopping point, you can clean forever and never be done.
So if you don’t have a system or if your system isn’t working the way it used to, maybe one of these three will work better for you. I’ve used all of them at some point in my life and they all get the job done.
Method 1 – A Room a Day
This was how I cleaned house when my kids were little. I didn’t have the time or energy to clean the whole house at once, and the few times I did, I was discouraged because of how quickly it got dirty again. I felt like I spent all that time for nothing. So I started doing a room (or two) a day. I don’t remember my exact schedule but it was probably something like this:
Thursday: Living Room & Office
Friday: Family Room/Dining Room
Saturday: Week 1 – Front Porch; Week 2 – Screened Porch; Week 3 – Sweep garage & laundry room; Week 4 – clean out car.
Sunday: no cleaning
I’m not talking about deep cleaning each room. I’m talking about the basics, like dusting, cleaning glass, vacuuming, washing throw rugs, changing sheets, wiping fingerprints off walls, etc. Some days I had more time and energy and did more. Some days I had less time and less energy and I did the bare minimum. I felt like it all evened out. And using this system, I felt like my house was always in decent shape.
If you decide to go with this system, try not to schedule two hard rooms in a row. It’s best if you can alternate between hard and easy. Also keep your schedule in mind. If you have days where you’re really busy, skip those days or schedule an easy room.
Method 2 – Master List
Using this method, you make a master list that includes each room and the chores that need done in that room. Every day you spend a set amount of time – 15 to 30 minutes, perhaps – and start at the beginning of the list and work down the list until the timer goes off or the time is up. Then you stop for the day and pick up where you left off the next day. The goal is to complete the list by the end of the week. If it’s not done, you have a couple of options:
1. Pick up where you left off the next week
2. Spend extra time on Saturday finishing the list
3. Start at the end of the list the next week and work backwards. Otherwise, if you don’t finish every week then the end of the list will never get done and that’s no good!
If you’re not in the mood to start at the beginning of the list, you can chose tasks and work on those until the timer goes off. For example, dust every room; dump the trash in every room, etc. Just be sure to mark off what you do. This variation isn’t ideal but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!
Method 3 – Weekly Cleaning
I used this method when my kids got older and they helped with cleaning. I typed a list of everything that needed done weekly and put the list in a sheet protector. Every Monday afternoon I pulled out the list and we cleaned. Each of us chose a task and marked it off with a dry erase marker. When we finished our task, we came back, chose another task and marked it off. When the list was done, we were done. Here’s a list of our chores:
- Glass (full glass doors, mirrors, tv screen)
- Dump all trash
- Pets (change kitty litter, refill food containers)
- Sheets (each of us changed our own sheets)
- Bathroom (sink, counter, mirror, toilet – inside and out, shower & tub)
- Kitchen (replace sponge, stove top, microwave, refrigerator handle, sink, cat door)
Each of us had chores we hated and chores we didn’t mind so each of us usually ended up choosing the same chores each week. It was a great system! And by the way, it works best if you clean at the same time each week. That way your kids expect it. My kids knew that Monday afternoon we did chores. Once in a while one of them wasn’t available or had something else they wanted to do. In that case, they usually asked me if they could do their chores earlier. I tried to accommodate requests like that as long as they were reasonable and not every week.
So there you go – three great systems for cleaning your house. And having a system will increase the chances that you’ll actually clean your house. It will also help you to achieve balance. House cleaning is one of those things where you want to do enough but not too much. A system helps you do the right amount!
Do you have a system for cleaning your house? Would any of these systems work for you?
Patty Gardner is a “get it done” guru! If you aren’t already a huge fan of Homemakers Daily, you will be! Be sure and stop by her place for a wealth of practical, doable home organization tips.