Clean House Project: Making a schedule – and sticking to it

So, it’s been about a year since I started this Clean House Project, and I apologize for the long wait for Part Two. However, I still feel that this is an important part of keeping a happy home – and given the number of “cleaning checklists” pinned on Pinterest, a subject that’s very much in demand. I’ve worked out a simple and easy routine for keeping my home clean and organized, and want to share what I do in the hopes that it helps others.

First, make sure you check out Part One of the Clean House Project:

And so, now that you’ve taken a hard look at your home and determined what actually needs cleaning and when, let’s move onto the next step:

Write out a schedule

So, you know that your bathroom needs to be cleaned every week. Maybe your living room needs to be vacuumed twice a week due to your horde of furry pets. You’ve written this all down, so let’s turn it into something that makes sense.

Sit down and take out another sheet of paper. I use a notepad with a magnet on the back, so I can stick this on my fridge. Then, write out the dates for upcoming weeks. I keep writing dates until I run out of room, so I usually end up with three months worth of weeks. You do can do this any way you want, but I will write out the dates for each week beginning Monday and ending the following Sunday: “March 30-April 6”.

Then, start scheduling what rooms you’ll be cleaning, and when. If you clean your bathroom every other week (like I do), write “Bathroom” on every other line. If you thoroughly clean your kitchen once a month, write it once, and then again four weeks later, and then again four weeks later…It’s not rocket science.

For me, it doesn’t matter what weeks which rooms are cleaned, unless, of course, we’re going out of town for a long period of time. If you only deep clean one or two rooms a week, you can clean when you have time. For some, that’s Saturday or Sunday. For others, it may be on their day off during the week.

Now, you have to be realistic. As I mentioned in the first post, you can’t expect to deep clean your ENTIRE house every week – especially if you have a full-time job, have kids, have a hobby, interact with friends…aka, have a life. Sure, some people have the time and willpower to clean a different room everyday; those are different kinds of cleaning schedules, and if that’s what you want, they’re out there. This is the kind of cleaning schedule for those with little time on their hands, a smaller place, and the willpower to keep things organized throughout the week so that you don’t NEED to deep clean the entire house every week.

That being said, I do not recommend scheduling more than two rooms per week. Two a week is usually what I do, and when, while scheduling, I end up with only one room that week, I’ll stick in a special project (more on that later). The idea is not to overburden yourself.

Now, once you have this schedule all written up, you can type it up so that it’s prettier, but above all, put it somewhere where you’ll see it on a regular basis and then FOLLOW IT. I use a planner to keep track of my grad school assignments, dinners, and workouts, and so I also write down what rooms need to be cleaned that week. Then, I’ll work cleaning into my weekly schedule, depending on what my week looks like.

However, this kind of cleaning routine is not going to work if you don’t follow it. You’ve already determined that your bathroom only needs to be cleaned every other week; if you don’t actually clean the bathroom when you’re supposed to (aka, every other week), then it’s going to be even dirtier when you do get to it. The hope of this kind of routine is that by strictly following a schedule, your rooms won’t be THAT dirty when you finally get to cleaning them. And if you maintain your highly-trafficked area on a regular basis (more on that later), they’ll be even cleaner.

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