Tuesdays – Vacuum and sweep
Wednesday – Living room and bathroom
Thursday – Bedroom
Friday – Son’s room, guest room
If you’re a calendar girl (or guy), take your list and assign each of your tasks to a day of the week. For a weekly setup, this free cleaning list printable might be just the ticket. Also, the weekly plan I featured on the initial inspiration board is a customizable pdf.
I’m also thinking of making you a simplified edition of my paint chip chart (pictured above) in case you’d like a quicker way to set up an interactive two week schedule. Let me know if that’s something you’re interested in. In the meantime, reader Lauren put together this version – it does require a little sewing but it’s magnet and lamination-free.
I went the two week route because of the added flexibility (I could plan to clean the bathrooms every Tuesday but only vacuum upstairs every other Friday). Another option for the two week schedule, suggested by reader Korey, is to deep clean one area of the house and lightly clean another each day over a two week rotation (e.g. Monday – deep clean kitchen, lightly clean bathrooms, Tuesday – deep clean living room and lightly clean office, etc.).
- Instead of writing directly on your printable, consider laminating it and using a dry-eraser marker. That way the schedule can be modified if you’re having a funky week.
- Make sure to make a regular spot in your schedule for your “monthly” and “infrequent” tasks. For example, maybe every Tuesday afternoon you pick a monthly task and every other Wednesday you try to get an infrequent task done.
On the last day of the two week cycle, I put “monthly or infrequent task”. Since I currently have 4 monthly tasks, I’ll occasionally do one of my infrequent tasks instead and the monthly tasks won’t quite get done once a month – oh well, it’ll still be a lot more often than it’s getting done now.
Step 2b: Turn Your List Into a Checklist
- Again, consider laminating your checklist and writing with a dry-erase marker to allow for flexibility.
- You may want to write tasks that can be accomplished in 20 minutes in a different color than those that will take an hour or longer. That way you can easily get a visual sense of how much work you really have left for the week.
“I love Wunderlist for all of my to-do’s, including cleaning! Some cleaning tasks go on my “Weekly” list; when the task is done, I just bump it forward to the same day the following week. Less frequent tasks are on a “Rotating” list; those I do, check them off, and when they are all checked off, I uncheck them and start working through the list again. This is for stuff that doesn’t HAVE to be done daily or weekly”
See the “resources” section at the end of this post for more options.
- Wipe down the kitchen and bathrooms whenever I’m in there. I use Clorox wipes (but wish I was organized enough to make these) and give the sink, counters and even the tub or toilet a quick wipe down whenever I remember.
- Keep the dishes and kitchen sink clean. I unload or load the dishes as needed whenever the kids are eating. It’s just easier to do when they’re contained (although C has started doing the silverware). The Fly Lady actually has this whole obsession with the kitchen sink. I just lived far too long without a garbage disposal or a dishwasher as a grad student. The thought of what I would face when I let the dishes pile up back then still gives me nightmares.
- I try not to let the toy clutter get out of control. I’m not a stickler but once the kids have played with, and moved on from, two or three toys they need to pick them up before getting anything else out. Once the kids are in bed, I take 10 – 15 minutes to straighten up, make sure the dishes are done, and wipe down the kitchen. I do this mostly because I can’t really relax unless at least that much is done and I think the kids’ play is more productive in a picked up (if not clean) house.
- Double Up When You Can – One of the best tips several of you gave was to take advantage of the kids being occupied whenever possible. I already mentioned doing the dishes while the little ones are eating. One brilliant reader suggested cleaning the bathroom while the kids bathe.
- Get Everyone to Pitch In – A lot of you pointed out that the kids and spouses need to be involved in all of this and I couldn’t agree more. But I’m not going to even try to tell you how your family should do it. One reader suggested this post on 43 chores young children can do. Here’s my favorite reader write-in on the topic:
- Do Whatever it Takes to Stay Motivated – Whether its seeing a made bed every night or getting to check three things off a list every day, do what you can to stay motivated. Reader Skin & Blisters (that’s a blog name not a person name) has an inspiration board on Pinterest. She wrote, “When I look around and see mess, I go and look at it to remind myself I want a clean, clutter free home – I know that sounds a bit daft but it’s been working and I have a little rule in my head that I’m not allowed to pin anything if I’ve gone on their just to look at motivation!!”
- You Don’t Have to Clean What You Don’t Have – The more often you can work a trip to Goodwill into your schedule, the less you’ll have to clean. We’ll be doing an entire Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life segment on this topic so for now I’ve just made sure to put a spot on my cleaning calendar for “organizational projects”. On this topic one reader wrote:
“I have a box both upstairs and downstairs. When something starts making me crazy (closets are my hot button) I take a bag to it. Even it if it doesn’t totally fix the problem, it gets me a little more sane & more likely to finish it up soon.”
- Stay Flexible and Cut Yourself Some Slack – Another thing a bunch of you agree on was not to be too hard on yourself. Try to realize things will come up and you’re just not going to get to everything all the time. Here are two relevant write-ins:
“I need to have a master list of have to do this week, like to do this week, and in a dream world I would like to do this week. And then not stress if I only get one or two things done.”
That, believe it or not, is everything! There’s a lot here, I know, but I wanted to have it all in one post so you could book mark it (or even better pin it!) to come back to whenever you need an inspiration boost, a new printable or app to try, or just want to chuck your current system and try something completely different. As always, I want to hear from you! Let me know what here looks the best to you, what you’ve tried and what you’re planning on trying. And good luck!
This post is part of MPMK’s Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life. If you’d like to be involved, you can:
1) Buy our eBooks and/or printables here – designed to quickly get you on track and up to speed.
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