A few weeks ago, I had some friends over for lunch. I hadn’t cleaned my house in weeks so before they arrived, I had to go into mad dash cleaning mode. For about three hours my husband and I were running around like chickens with our heads cut off dusting everything in sight. Our friends wouldn’t have judged us on the cleanliness of our home (they may not even have noticed), but you don’t want guests to have to experience – or witness – your messiness.
For me, this was the last straw. Tired of playing catch-up with my cleaning, I decided to make a proper cleaning schedule.
Why Make a Cleaning Schedule?
- No More Frantic Cleaning – Your house will be reasonably clean all the time if you stick to your cleaning schedule.
- Share Responsibilities – I usually end up doing all the cleaning in my house simply because I know what has been done and what needs to be done. If there is a posted schedule, people can be assigned tasks or pick up tasks that haven’t been done yet.
- Less Stress – When my house isn’t clean, I always feel as though I have something I should be doing, which makes it hard to relax. If I follow a schedule, I can relax once I have done everything on my checklist for the day.
- Greater Efficiency – If you don’t have your tasks planned out, time is wasted figuring out what to do. With a schedule, everything is mapped out for you to get started. Not only that, your schedule can be tailored to your family members’ strengths and availability.
- Fight Procrastination – I procrastinate cleaning for a variety of reasons, but being organized and having a cleaning schedule is one way for me to stop and overcome procrastination.
The 7 Steps to a Cleaning Schedule
1. Determine the length of your schedule
Before you begin to list out your tasks, you need to determine the length of your schedule. Will it be a weekly, biweekly, or monthly schedule? I suggest making a 4-week schedule because that way you are able to include tasks that you do daily as well as monthly tasks, such as checking your smoke detectors to protect your home in case of a house fire.
2. List your tasks
Make a list of everything that you can possibly think of that needs cleaning. Use my document as a starting point. Your list will probably vary from mine since we all have different homes and different needs.
3. Determine frequency of tasks
To determine the frequency that you need to do a certain task, think about what makes sense and what is reasonable for you. If you have a guest room that no one ever uses, perhaps you just need to dust it once a month. If you have 2 dogs that shed a lot, like I do, you probably need to vacuum more than the average household.
You may have some tasks that you only need to do once a year or a few times a year. For those tasks, assign them as fall or spring cleaning. Then spend a day in the fall and a day in the spring knocking out these tasks.
4. Assign specific tasks to specific days
If there is a day of the week that is particularly busy for you, don’t schedule any tasks on that day. And if you want to have a couple days off each week, that is OK (and probably good for your sanity). Do what makes the most sense to you. For example, I go to the grocery store on Tuesdays because that is when their truck comes so I know that everything has been restocked.
5. Assign people to tasks
Assign tasks to the most qualified person. I cook, and my husband mows the lawn. I don’t think we would want that any other way!
6. Put it in writing
You can document your schedule however you like. You are welcome to modify my document for your own cleaning schedule. I like using an electronic template so that I can save time by just printing it out, rather than hand writing each month’s schedule.
7. Stick to it
Easier said than done, right? This is definitely the most difficult step. As a motivator, put a dollar in a jar each day you do not finish your tasks, otherwise known as the “Swear Jar Mentality.” This money can then be used as savings!
Tip: If you do get behind on your schedule, don’t sweat it. Either squeeze in some extra work the next day or wait until the chore comes up again in the cleaning cycle.
How to Use My House Cleaning Schedule Template
Using my document to make your own cleaning schedule is simple. After you download and open the Excel file (click on the download link above), you will notice that there are two tabs. The first tab, “Checklist,” is a matrix of chores and dates. It is a 4-week schedule, and you can enter the date of the first day of your schedule in the yellow cell at the top. Inside the matrix, a slash represents the day the chore is to be done. After you have listed your chores and owner and have made the schedule, print it out. When a task is completed, use an opposing slash to make an X to indicate that it is done.
The second tab, “Deep Cleaning,” lists more detailed steps for certain rooms of your home. For example, on the “Checklist” tab, I am scheduled to deep clean my kitchen on the first Friday of the schedule. The “Deep Cleaning” tab contains a list of what that entails along with a place to check it off.
What I like about this schedule is that it is simple, allows flexibility, and is efficient. It is set up in such a way that not much needs to be done to it except for changing the date and printing it out. It’s cleaning made simpler!
Pro tip: If life starts getting more hectic than usual, you can bring in reinforcements. With Handy.com you will be able to find a house cleaner to come in and help. It can be a one time thing or you could schedule them once a month for a deep clean.