Jan 10, 2009

Organized Cleaning Schedule

Here it is......my organizational anal tendencies at their best.....my cleaning schedule.

This schedule helps me to have a house that appears clean at all times, minus toys/activities the kids are currently engaged in at the moment. I thought it up one day when a neighbor's little boy needed to use the bathroom. I was so worried about what the underside of the toilet seat looked like due to having a potty-training boy toddler myself that I told her it was too messy. I wasn't quite sure when the last time I had cleaned the toilet was! I felt terrible, despite the fact they lived right across the street.

I was just starting my transcription business, was working long hours and into the wee hours of the morning and therefore napping with the kids whenever possible, had a baby who was refusing to nap during the day on most days, and was pretty much operating as a single mother due to my husband's schedule. I knew it was no excuse so I figured I needed to come up with the answer that wouldn't make me want to crawl into a hole every time I had an unexpected or unannounced visitor......my life-saving, or at least guilt-saving/make-me-feel-not-a-total-housewife/mother-failure schedule, and it works....

It might gross some people out, but not me at this stage of my life. As you can see, the rooms that need attention more than once a week for certain are the main living areas of the house, i.e. the bathrooms, the living room, the dining room, and the kitchen. I've "scheduled" them twice. I do occasionally deviate from the schedule if necessary too though. Also, the kitchen....the dishes get done every day, or at least every night, but I don't believe dishes in my sink for a day equates to a dirty home either.

WEEKLY: On the assigned days, each room gets a light cleaning, something that keeps it simply presentable. If it needs dusting, then dusting occurs. Vacuuming occurs. Light pickup and quick organization occurs. Bedding/linens are cleaned if needed and switched out. For the more "used" rooms that require disinfecting, the same thing.....these rooms are disinfected and cleaned appropriately on their assigned days. The kitchen floor....it gets swept almost daily because it's needed, but for the most part, I spot clean anything that is "stuck" on the floor rather than cleaning the entire floor, which is saved for the monthly round instead.

MONTHLY: On the first day each room is encountered per month during the first week of each month, I take a good look around from floor to ceiling. If there are cobwebs on the ceiling, they're removed. If the light fixtures need to be cleaned, they're cleaned. If the walls need cleaning, they're cleaned. If there is dust on the floorboards, furniture is pulled out and they are all wiped down, and vacuuming under all the furniture occurs. If the windows look dirty, they get cleaned. Old clothes are removed from drawers for donation or storage. Drawers are organized. Toys are sorted and organized. Walls get washed if needed. Curtains are taken down and washed if needed - ALL of it....top to bottom, or bottom to top. For the rooms requiring disinfecting, medicine cabinets, walls, washing of trash bins, etc. for the deep cleaning. For the kitchen, it means wiping down chairs if needed, floor washing, stove cleaning, etc.

Believe it or not, there isn't a room in the house that actually looks dirty nor is technically dirty at any given time, especially since the main rooms are hit at least twice a week, approximately every 3 days at the most.

This means I don't need 5 hours to clean the whole house, a whole day to do only windows, or a whole day assigned to only moving furniture to dust floor boards. This means I get all my cleaning done in under 1 hour daily too. I don't mind pulling out the window cleaner each day rather than once a week, as I only clean windows for 5 minutes rather than for 2 hours on one day. This also means that I don't have to bother with spring cleaning AT ALL!

I'm also known to clean a toilet if needed while a kid plays in the tub, thereby deviating from the schedule, but that just means I usually don't have to do it on the assigned day (and YES, I wash my hands before touching a kid in the tub after the toilet @@).

I know laundry can be an issue, as it is for my husband, but if you just take a moment to NOT put it into the basket as you are folding it and instead fold it by family member and drawer for each member of your family, get up and walk it to the drawer, it literally ONLY takes 5-7 minutes to put a load of laundry away for a family of 5-not counting the folding, for which I've never timed myself. I divide laundry as I fold it and make piles according to drawer situations, i.e. undies/socks drawer, shirt drawer, jean drawer, sweaters, etc. for each member. I then stand up and pick them up for 2 rooms at a time or place them into the basket altogether organized the way they need to be delivered....walk right in and deliver them to the appropriate drawer. The kids sometimes take care of their own laundry, and when I'm not working on teaching them how to handle it themselves because I've decided it saves me time in keeping their drawers organized, I let them handle it; it's during these times that the drawer organizing happens more often, whereas it doesn't when I just do it, so it depends. Also, if you just make sure to do at least one load a day, in a family of 5, you won't spend a whole weekend or "off" day doing laundry!

I know that moms working outside of the home may not even be able to fit this in, but if you find a variation of this schedule that works for you, I'd love to hear about it!


  1. Wow, your cleaning schedule sounds great! If I could only create a schedule, I think that I could keep everything in order (and I don't even have kids yet). Good job and cheers to a clean house!

  2. I didn't BEFORE kids either. Good time to try it out though IMO (in hindsight of course!). VBG

  3. This is a perfect sample for me to "borrow" for my own cleaning schedule! Hope you don't mind, but it looks like an efficient plan to get the house in order!

    By the way, Thanks for coming by my blog!

  4. Not at all Liz! Lemme know how it works for you or if you have any tweaking ideas to share with me! Thanks for visiting mine too. (Do you comment on your own blog? I dunno. I'm new at all this.)

  5. Hi there,
    I just stumbled upon your blog while trying to improve my cleaning schedule - this is fantastic! I have a similar schedule (though I only hit each "zone" one day per week), but had trouble figuring out when to fit in the monthly chores. Lots of people talk about monthly chores, but don't specify when, or how they actually do them. Your idea is brilliant! Right now I just randomly clean whatever needs cleaning in that room. But I like this idea because then I would know when the fridge was last cleaned, when the mattress was flipped, when the curtains were washed, etc. You work a little harder the first week of the month, but then you know your monthly jobs are done.