After putting together the mini-quiz on your cleaning schedule persona earlier this week, I realized I always start out with the best intentions of going full-on Claire, then I get distracted making something fairly elaborate, Cam style, and when I’m finally through the Phil in me comes out and I can’t focus long enough to actually stick to the new system. This time around I tried to be cognizant of all that and modified my approach accordingly.
That being said, I still made something a little fancy because that’s what gets me excited about cleaning but don’t be scared off. This is really just a chart of what you’re going to do every day. If you want, you could put just the first sheet on the fridge and never touch it again BUT you also have the option to switch things around every once in a while if you want to. Also, I’m providing the templates and you don’t have to use paint chips, labels, or a laminator if you don’t want to. Just cut up and write on some card stock – the whole thing will take you under 5 minutes if you want it to – I promise!
While doing my due diligence on Pinterest, I discovered that cleaning charts largely come in one of two varieties: the calendar setup in which tasks are permanently assigned to each day or the checklist setup in which tasks are dived up into daily, weekly and monthly checklists. I liked how the first let me see exactly what I need to accomplish each day to get it all done. But I also appreciated the flexibility of the second, allowing me to pick what tasks I could handle on a given day. I’ve (hopefully) come up with something that’s the best of both worlds. Click through for all the gory details.
I realized that if my chart is going to survive, I need to be able to alter it when things come up (as they inevitably do). A printable with specific tasks or zones assigned to each day of the week just wasn’t going to work, it had to be more interactive. But a weekly check list, on the other hand, left way too much wiggle room to put things off.
In a nutshell, I came up with a two page fridge chart (see the end of this post for printing directions) with magnetic pieces for every task I want to complete. Each day has a certain number of slots to be filled with either time commitments (work, school, play dates, or scheduled activities) or a cleaning task. For me the three sections under each day represent the morning, nap time, and the afternoon. For you it could be totally different (i.e. before the kids are awake, during the day, and after they’re in bed) or you could just say you have up to three fill-able spots for each day and get them done when you can.
The second page is for displaying all the items that need to get done. There’s a weekly and a monthly section. Finally, to really give myself a chance to succeed, I decided to make a two week schedule instead of just one. Lots of things, like vacuuming and scrubbing the bathrooms, are still on there weekly but a few are only bi-weekly. Also, by looking at things in a two week window, I think I’ll feel less like a failure if I don’t get to every task every week. (This was an idea I got from one of you, my brilliant readers, so thanks to everyone who is so generously sharing what’s working for them.)
So that was the function, next I considered the form. I wanted something that didn’t scream chore chart on first glance and for some reason this kept popping in my head. I loved the modern art feel and muted colors (I’d decided I wanted to channel Martha a bit for this one). Then I kept staring at the photo and decided to go all in with the paint chip idea too.
I gathered up my supplies (some Avery 5408 small circle labels, a 30 inch long strip of magnetic tape, my trusty laminator, and a BEHR paint colors chart from Home Depot). Then I made a list of cleaning tasks I wanted to accomplish once a week, once every two weeks, and once every four to six weeks.
Once I had them all cut out, I put about a 1/2″ strip of magnetic tape on the back of each and then things really started to get exciting (you know, relatively speaking). There are actually a few ways you can use this system but here’s how I do it:
STEP 1: Block out anytime that you definitely won’t be available to clean due to permanent commitments. You can see I blocked out some slots due to working and preschool.
Step 2: Fill in the remaining spots to make your ideal cleaning two week schedule. Not all of my remaining spots were filled with cleaning tasks, I also put some play dates in there. Also, it’s not a bad idea to try to leave a blank spot or two. That way, if you don’t get to those bathrooms during nap time on Monday, you can have another shot at them during nap time on Thursday.
Step 3 (optional): Remove each task as it’s completed. If you’re the kind of person that gets a little high from checking something of a list then you’re gonna love seeing your fridge looking like this at the end of every two weeks. I prefer just to leave my schedule intact but to each his own.
This is the third of four posts in the Cleaning Chart section of Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life. In case you missed it, we started with an inspiration board and tons of reader advice, then we all took a silly little quiz together and finally we debuted our Action Plan for Setting Up a Cleaning Schedule You’ll Stick To!Notes
- The free template runs all the way to the edges of a standard piece of paper so you’ll need to set your margins to 0 when printing. To do this from Adobe, click on the printer icon, then select “page setup”. Click on the photo of an up arrow next to a turned piece of paper to change the orientation to horizontal. Then, under “paper sizes” select “manage custom sizes” and enter “0” into the “top”, “left”, “right”, and “bottom” boxes.
- The labels I used were Avery 5408 and there’s an easy to use free online program for printing on them.
- The pieces stayed best when the magnetic tape was placed centered towards the bottom.
- I’m aware that in response to the plethora of DIY paint chip projects popping up in recent years, the ethics of paint chip projects are currently up for debate in some circles. What I have to say about it is this: yes, I’m guilty of some paint chip atrocities – gluttony mostly. As I’ve said before, I have a sizable paint chip collection because: a) I like to paint things a lot and b) I can never pick a color and always make several trips to Home Depot to get more samples (restless kids in tow). I have been working on the problem and doing my best to only take what I need but, yes, it’s true – I’m a sinner. For today’s project, I didn’t utilize my stash. I only needed one of those large tri-fold sample folders and I just asked the guy at Home Depot if I could have it. He (of course) said yes and I proceeded with my day. If you’re still worried about whether or not taking paint chips for art is theft, my advice would be to stick to Home Depot. From what I’ve read, it’s been confirmed that they’re cool with it plus that way the small business owner of your local hardware store isn’t affected. Still not appeased? Convinced this is absolutely one of the most pressing problems plaguing our world today and want my head on stick? Let me have it in the comments, for the rest of you… go get your DIY on!