So your next step once you’ve made up your mind to try to be cleaner and worked a few minutes into each day for at least the bare minimum, it’s time to start a weekly cleaning routine. Again, it’s prioritized based on my life, schedule, and cleaning needs:
Now I’ve prioritized it this way because I HATE laundry, and would probably use any excuse I could think of to put it off for weeks at a time. So I force myself to do it on Monday; this way, if I have ironing or multiple loads that take me an extra day or two to get through, at least the laundry is done. Plus I get it done while I’ve got energy and motivation built up from a Sunday of rest.
So here are my tips for a successful week of cleaning:
- Spread out your cleaning efforts among as many daily sessions as your schedule permits. If you’re a lucky stay-home mom like me, you can get by with as little as 5-20 minutes per day, Monday thru Saturday. If some days are harder than others, split up cleaning sessions among your less-exhausting days and spend 30-45 mins at a time. The point is to plan ahead, make a schedule that works for you, and gradually work on sticking to it.
Start the week off with whatever is the very most important in your house. If you have pets, that might be vacuuming. If you have small children, maybe mopping. Either way, you start out the week with your biggest hurdle out of the way. So if you run into a wall Tuesday night and can’t bring yourself to clean at all the rest of the week, at least that one thing is out of the way.
- Save things that don’t necessarily need to be done every week for Friday or Saturday.
- Don’t forget things that really only get done on an as-needed basis. I actually schedule them in on top of chores already getting done weekly, just to remind myself to check to see if something needs to get done. These chores include filing, dusting, watering plants, stuff like that that doesn’t need to be done weekly in my house, but gets neglected if it’s not on the schedule.
- Another fantastic tip from Rachelle Wilkinson: Laundry is much less of a headache if you worry less about separating by color and more about separating by person. To paraphrase Rachelle’s words, in this day and age of color-fastness, there’s no need to separate colors and whites, etc. Instead, just dump an entire hamper into the washer and make that person fold their own clothes once they’re dry. I did get burned ONCE using this technique, I threw a cheap red top from Charlotte Russe in with my husband’s and my load of laundry, and all of our white underwear turned pink. Oopsie. So use caution when washing the really cheap stuff.
- By “surfaces,” I mean dusting, cleaning any glass, and polishing any wood or leather as needed. Really only dusting and glass needs to get done every week in my house.
- Use your “catch-up” day to do an honest assessment of what needs to be done most. In the beginning, this was usually a whole week’s worth of cleaning for me. Now, it’s usually some kind of a quarterly or yearly chore I’ve been dreading for months. Still keep your cleaning session down to 20-30 mins… if you can. Be warned, though, cleaning can be addictive once you get the hang of it.
Stay tuned for those dreaded yearly and quarterly chores…