Make it Easy – Create a Cleaning Schedule

As homemakers, we want a home that is easy to manage. We also want a home that magically stays clean.  However, that Magic Wand either hasn’t been invented yet, or someone, somewhere, is keeping it all to themselves. That means, we have to do the work ourselves.

a gray couch with white knitted pillows and a pink standing lamp

However, we do not have ‘Constantly Cleaning House’ on our list of life goals. Instead, we want to streamline any chores we have to make time for other things.  And we don’t want to do all the cleaning on one day, just to have it messy and dusty the next day. The best way to do that is to break the chores down into workable segments.

To get a schedule created, you may have to pull one all-day cleaning spree to get things started.  After that, you can schedule certain tasks daily, weekly and monthly.

create a cleaning schedule with a green bucket surrounded by supplies

Daily Cleaning Schedule

My morning starts like this:

  • Wake up and make my bed.
  • Take a shower / get dressed.
  • Put a load of laundry in the washing machine.
  • Feed animals.
  • Devotion.
  • Put clothes in dryer (or my preferred method – hang them outside to dry) If I have more clothes to wash, I put them in the washer

Cleaning Walk Thru:

  • Grab a trash bag, a ‘collection’ bag, the duster, and a cleaning cloth that has been dampened with warm water and cleaning solution    
  • Start in back bedroom and run a duster over all the surfaces; wipe down doorknobs, light switches, and other particularly dirty areas
  • Pick up out-of-place items and put in the collection bag
  • Wipe down bathroom
  • Move to each room and repeat
  • Run a dust mop over floors
  • Return items from collection bag as I move to the room where they belong
  • Unload dishwasher (the kitchen was cleaned up after dinner, so it has already been done)
  • Repeat the laundry cycle; fold dried clothes and put away

Altogether, with the exception of laundry, my house has been put in order in approximately 30 to 45 minutes.  From there, I can move on with my day.

an oval wicker laundry basket filled with sheets and towels

Weekly Cleaning Schedule

On a weekly basis, I still do my daily walk thru, but add a few things. I put fresh sheets and towels in a basket, then take it from room to room. I leave them on the bed, then start my walk-thru.  As I come to a bedroom and/or bathroom, I change sheets and toss the dirty ones in the basket. I remove dirty towels and replace them with fresh ones, then take the basket full of dirty linens to the laundry room to wash.

As I do my walk thru, this is the day I deep clean the bathrooms.  Due to my daily walk-thru, I only need to scrub the bathtub, sink and toilet.  Everything else is done.

I also check my refrigerator.  I pull out any leftovers designated for soups and get those on the stove for dinner.  Anything else gets tossed or composted.  A quick wipe down and the refrigerator is done.

Instead of running a dust mop, I vacuum and mop.  From there, I just need to wash the sheets, towels and any other laundry that is needed.  Between loads, I work on other projects as needed.

On occasion, I may have to do a few other chores, but from start to finish, I usually have completed the weekly cleaning chores in about an hour and a half, or less. 

Keep in mind, this time frame depends on the size of your home.  Mine is approximately 2800 square feet, and I work diligently to keep it picked up in general.  You will need to adjust your time according to your own square footage.

vintage tablecloths hanging on a line

Monthly Cleaning Schedule

There is some cleaning that just has to be done on a monthly basis.  This may include washing curtains, windows, the oven, and other tasks that do not require daily or weekly cleaning.  These things I add to one day a week during the month.

For instance, I usually clean my oven during the first week of the month.  The rest of the time, I clean up spills and messes as they occur. This way, I only schedule an oven cleaning if it is absolutely necessary.  With daily upkeep, it usually isn’t.

The next week, I will choose a day to clean my windows.  If at all possible, the best time to clean your windows is a rainy, or overcast day.  This allows you to see any streaks, or places you might miss.  As for the exterior, you may choose to do this once or twice a year, but opt for a warm, sunshiny day.

a mantle covered in vintage white linen with bottles of red flowers and a candleabra

Each week I opt for one big chore. Some may have to be repeated, like the inside of the windows, and some may only need to be scheduled once or twice a year, like cleaning out cabinets.  The best way to tackle those is to schedule them one or two at a time on a weekly or monthly basis – depending on the size of the project.

On a monthly basis, you may want to add an over-all cleaning to one room in the house.  This means to pull furniture away from the wall and vacuum behind it.  For the walls, mix up a bucket of warm water and a cleaning solution.  Use a sponge mop, squeeze out as much excess water as possible, and ‘mop’ the walls.  Dust or wash any knickknacks.  If the room is small, you may be able to do two rooms in half a day or less, but for the most part, schedule only one room a day. 

a pink table with laundry supplies

Create a Cleaning Schedule and Keep it Clean

The biggest trick to keeping your home clean is to make it a daily habit.  If you see a spill, wipe it up.  When you finish with a glass, put it in the dishwasher.  Do one load of laundry every day (for larger families, you may have to do two). Pick up behind yourself, and train other members of the household to do the same.

In the spring, the late fall, and once a week (or more) during the summer and winter, go ahead and throw all those windows open for at least 20 minutes.  This allows stale air to escape, clean air to filter inside, and will give your house a fresh smell.

an iron bed made up with vintage linenes, a tray with a tea set against blue walls

Spring Cleaning Schedule

Wait!  Did you notice there isn’t a worksheet for a Spring-Cleaning Schedule?  Actually, if you maintain the daily, weekly and monthly schedules, the only Spring Cleaning you really need to do is to open the windows to allow for fresh air to come in.

If there is a larger cleaning project you want to tackle, such as taking rugs outside for a good beating and airing, just add it to one of the months as a regular monthly project.  For the most part, however, just use the time you would normally schedule for Spring Cleaning and celebrate the idea you don’t have to do it!

a blue spiral notebook with colored pens

Keep a Pencil Handy

When you are doing a daily walk thru or even a monthly cleaning spree, you will start to notice the little things that need to be done. Some of these items you may decide to add to your daily or weekly walk thru.

Other times, you may see that something you have scheduled on a daily or weekly basis doesn’t really need to be done as often. That is when you just simply move it to the appropriate list.

As you work your way through your schedules, you may also see that you are running low on certain cleaning supplies, or when cleaning out the pantry or refrigerator that you need a few staples. This is when you add these items to your grocery list.

Often, when I clean my pantry and refrigerator, I get ideas for meals I haven’t cooked in a while. That’s when I take a moment to make a note on my meal planner.

a small picnic table set for afternoon tea

Step Back and Enjoy!

Now that you have your home in shipshape order, and in less time than you expected, it’s time to step back and enjoy your efforts. A clean home has a way of making you smile, pat yourself on the back for a job well done, and have more time to enjoy the things you love to do, or move on to the next item on your agenda for the day. Or you can spend the time baking a fresh batch of cookies to enjoy during your afternoon tea.

The best part about using a cleaning schedule is you no longer have to worry about having to do a heavy cleaning right before guests are expected to arrive – or even sweat about an unexpected visitor dropping by. Instead, all you have to do is offer them a cup of coffee or a glass of lemonade, add a few cookies to a plate, and settle in for a fun visit with a good friend!

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Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

1 Comment

  1. Nice post. Thank you.
    I have two things to note: 1: it has been proven that making your bed right upon leaving it is not healthy. It does not allow for the sweat of the night to evaporate. I usually make the bed after I dress.
    2: If you have livestock (not just pets) I recommend that you shower AFTER you feed them…not before.
    Otherwise this schedule of the morning is pretty good.

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